Family planning is both vital for econoimc stability and a solid investment with strong returns, so why wasn’t it better funded in the President’s budget? Last week President Obama unveiled a 10-year budget that reflects the ambitious and progressive agenda he laid out in his State of the Union address. With investments in infrastructure, education,
Click here to subscribe to Roosevelt First, our weekday morning email featuring the Daily Digest. Under GOP Plan, Pay More for Junk Insurance, Leave More Uninsured (The Hill) Roosevelt Institute Senior Fellow Richard Kirsch breaks down the Republican plan for replacing the Affordable Care Act, which he says will allow barebones high-cost plans instead of
A youth advisory committee for the Department of Health and Human Services has the potential to reduce the costs of chronic disease for generations to come. In the United States, chronic diseases including heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes and obesity are among the most common, costly, and preventable of health problems. Half of all adults
Click here to subscribe to Roosevelt First, our weekday morning email featuring the Daily Digest. Budget Day Feels a Lot Like Groundhog Day (Marketplace) Roosevelt Institute Fellow Mike Konczal says that year after year, the president’s budget tried to compromise with Republicans from the start, but this year’s has broken off that routine. Obamacare is
Click here to subscribe to Roosevelt First, our weekday morning email featuring the Daily Digest. Don’t Trade Away Our Health (NYT) Roosevelt Institute Chief Economist Joseph Stiglitz argues that the Trans-Pacific Partnership’s intellectual property agreements will raise drug prices unnecessarily and slow innovation. Obama Veers Left (Politico) Ben White speaks to Roosevelt Institute Fellow Mike Konczal
As economic inequality takes center stage in politics, it’s important to remember that reproductive justice and bodily autonomy are just as essential for secure lives. Yesterday’s 42nd anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision prompted a week of stark contradictions. Thousands of anti-choice protesters descended on Washington yesterday while the House of Representatives
The United States’ embarrassing maternal mortality figures are closely tied to extreme economic inequality, and better understanding of one will help the other. Imagine that each year six U.S. passenger jets crashed, killing all passengers on board. Imagine that every person who died on those planes was a woman who was pregnant or recently gave
The mass resignation at the New Republic had several people joking about how the magazine wanted to become “vertically integrated.” What does that even mean here? But if anything was vertically integrated in 2014, it was the conservative movement. And you could see this clearly from the reaction to the Halbig decision in July.
I’m occasionally asked what conservative sites people should read. My answer is usually that people should read the blogs of the major think tanks, like AEIdeas, Daily Signal (Heritage), and Cato-at-Liberty. There are many writers who are conservative, or who cover conservatives, who are interesting to read, of course. But if you want to understand the conservative movement as the actual movement it is, you want to look upstream to where the ideas and arguments are first formulated.
From there, you can then watch them move downstream, first to the set of gatekeepers on the right who can give these arguments credibility or otherwise charge them. From there they move down to the front line right-wing writers who incorporate them into their various Hot Takes, as well as the TV and radio stations with their massive audiences.
And we have a real-time example this year. Since 2011, think tanks have been building their Halbig argument, which is that the ACA doesn’t allow state-exchanges created by the federal government to access subsidies. They learned how to discuss it. Most of all they learned how they couldn’t call it a “glitch” but instead, given administrative law, had to argue it was a conscious decision. But the argument wasn’t part of the mainstream discussion.
But then the court case had a success July 22nd, where the Federal Circuit Court for the District of Columbia agreed with Halbig. And you could then watch it move down the river and become mainstream conservative logic almost immediately.
This is where gatekeepers were important. The editors of National Review immediately jumped on it (“States were expected to go along and establish their own exchanges. When it became clear that many states wouldn’t do so because the law was so unpopular, the IRS just rewrote the law”). One of the more important conservative gatekeepers, Ramesh Ponnuru, did the same at Bloomberg (“It’s wrong, then, to say that Congress obviously didn’t intend to include this restriction”).
With that, the low-level writers could write their takes and mass media personalities could speak as if this was always obviously always the case. Rush Limbaugh (“The Obamacare law specifically says […] the only people qualified for subsidies are those who acquire their insurance through state exchanges, exchanges established by the state”) is one of many example. Those far away from the think tanks who are good at digging up embarrassing examples soon found numerous examples of Jonathan Gruber embarrassing himself once they knew what to dig for, which in turn boosted the upstream arguments. Vertical integration.
You can go back and see liberal writers trying to figure out in real time how Halbig became conservative common wisdom, when none of the conservative reporters covering the bill while this was all debated ever noted it, or that it wasn’t part of the extensive rollout strategy by ACA supporters. Brian Beutler’s Why Are Conservative Health Journalists Covering for Halbig Truthers? and Jonathan Chait’s The New Secret History of the Obamacare Deniers are good examples. It shows a genuine surprise at how vertically integrated the conservative movement can be, and how quickly a new logic became their reality once an opportunity presented itself.
An important thing I noticed from the outside is how there was no strong opposition at the gatekeeper level, only mild skepticism. Reihan Salam wrote “I’m not a Halbig guy […] I am (at best) agnostic on whether Halbig is correct.” Ross Douthat tweeted that point while describing his own “conflictedness.” But this was the extent of it. Neither they or any other gatekeepers I could find leveled a strong charge, much less a sustained case, against Halbig from within the movement. In a movement, people know when to be quiet.
I noticed this dynamic quickly when I first started reading conservatives writing about the financial crisis. Virtually all the front-line writers were mimicking an odd argument about the GSEs that I didn’t recognize from my time in the industry. I quickly looked upriver to see it all comes from AEI’s Peter Wallison. Again, some crucial gatekeepers air quiet skepticism, like his GOP colleagues on the FCIC whose email trail shows how they tried to minimize his bad arguments. But that doesn’t stop the movement writers from pushing just that narrative at all times.
Next time you read a random article from a conservative site, see if you can see how it’s just a rewritten form of some talking points created far upstream. And always remember that when a movement acts, it creates its own reality.
Click here to subscribe to Roosevelt First, our weekday morning email featuring the Daily Digest. What a Housekeeper at Harvard’s Hotel Tells Us About Inequality (WaPo) Lydia DePillis speaks to one of the housekeepers fighting for a union at a DoubleTree owned by Harvard and operated by Hilton. DePillis says that split makes organizing more difficult.
Hospitals are buying private physician practices left and right, and state attorneys general should consider whether such mega-providers violate anti-trust laws. In 2002, only 22 percent of private physician practices were owned by hospitals. Today, this number has climbed to more than 50 percent, and 75 percent of newly hired physicians are entering the workforce