Civility Dep’t

Ezra Klein calmly and politely calls Paul Ryan a liar on the subject of controlling health-care costs.

Ezra Klein calmly and politely calls Paul Ryan a liar on the subject of controlling health-care costs. It seems to me that the mainstream-media claim that Ryan is serious and courageous is so at variance with reality that it may not be able to stand up much longer.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com

11 thoughts on “Civility Dep’t”

  1. Ezra Klein does a nice job. However, it is much as if someone had suggested that American democracy would be improved by creating a powerful hereditary house of lords, and it fell to him to make the sober and patient argument to the contrary.

  2. I wouldn’t say he called Ryan a liar, not at all.

    He’s just pointing out the huge distortions in his descriptions of reality. Those may be unintentional.

    I think it is a very good sign that Ryan was willing to answer questions. Maybe he’s not as bad as I thought. I hope they talk more.

  3. I still really can’t grasp how anyone on the right thinks a middle-income old person will be able to afford insurance, but this conversation is perhaps shedding some light.

    The answer appears to be, conservatives have wildly optimistic ideas about the future costs of private health insurance, coupled with a complete lack of concern over what will happen if they are wrong.

  4. Holy mackerel, it’s just like their position on global warming!

    I think we should stop calling them conservatives, and call them the radicals they are. Subversives, in fact.

  5. NCG- No subversive is not mean, it is exactly correct. The great success “conservatives” have enjoyed in wrecking bothe our government and the democratic processes that guide it is due in large part to the polite civility of those of us who see this destruction as the crime it is.
    In the 1980s you could make the case that supporters of supply side economics were mistaken, naive or delussional. After three decades of crashing failure, the rape of our public resources and the destruction of the middle class anyone claiming the “conservative” ideas spouted by the likes of Paul Ryan are anything but a scheeme to loot America is a lying SOB.
    Call a lying SOB a lying SOB and loudly.

  6. But Anomalous, you assume a rational evaluation of evidence. We are clearly dealing with a cult-like adherence to ideology, where opposing evidence actually works to *support* their position, in that they simply dig their heels in further.

    I suppose the pragmatic approach is to try and move the center. Movement conservatives no doubt believe themselves to be brave defenders of THE TRUTH, so I wouldn’t call them liars. But I would call them morally bankrupt and unamerican.

    I don’t know. Framing people politically is so ugly – this sentiment is exactly why the left is so bad at it. Yet reductionism sells.

  7. Good points all. I was just coming on here to respond to David, because in talking to a highly intelligent person today, I was reminded that Ryan is a Randian acolyte. This makes me suspect that perhaps his “mistake” about predicting medical cost inflation will be no higher than the overall rate — something I don’t believe has happened in living memory — is not a mistake at all, but rather a Norquist-ian maneuver. Ie, a lie, just like Mark said.

    Now, I don’t know the man. I can’t say which is which.

    But can one make such a mistake and still be a “serious” thinker? I think not. So at a minimum, the guy is out to lunch, isn’t he?

    I still think it’s kind of cool that he is willing to let Klein scrutinize him, so, maybe it will turn out he is just an honest ideologue/zealot like Eli says. And again to agree with Eli, I think we need to start getting out in the street. We’ve got to move the middle back where it used to be, at least. Which pains me b/c I usually hate demonstrations. The sound is always bad. The speeches interminable. And on a blue coast, you kind of feel like, what’s the point? I wish they would tell me, be here at such-and-such time for the aerial photo and then you can leave…

  8. Oops. David’s comment has disappeared. That’s weird. I wonder if it is a personal thing between him and Mark? I thought he was wrong to use the word “scum,” but I wouldn’t have thought it a hanging offense.

  9. Maybe the machine did it. Just for the record, Mark I think you’re a lovely person! Ignore the trolls!

  10. I don’t think his willingness to talk to Klein is about anything but positioning. Ezra is (as noted) way too polite to call him out to his face or even in an article directly quoting his counter-factual statements. So in effect, you have a chair of a crucial congressional committee gaining legitimacy (as we see by the benefit of the doubt being offered above) by submitting to an interview with a wonky young blogger.

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