How Democracies Die

Academia has its prejudices, and they aren’t the ones ascribed to us by rightwing critics. For example, there’s a common opinion that most economists are sort of weird. (Apologies to my friend and colleague Jerome…)

Obviously, I don’t know Paul Krugman personally, but he and Joseph Stiglitz are my very favorite economists, and Krugman ranks right up there with my other favorite political columnists. I particularly liked this year’s Christmas Eve column, in which he addressed the stock market’s free fall.

Two years ago, after the shock of Donald Trump’s election, financial markets briefly freaked out, then quickly recovered. In effect, they decided that while Trump was manifestly unqualified for the job, temperamentally and intellectually, it wouldn’t matter. He might talk the populist talk, but he’d walk the plutocratic walk. He might be erratic and uninformed, but wiser heads would keep him from doing anything too stupid.

In other words, investors convinced themselves that they had a deal: Trump might sound off, but he wouldn’t really get to make policy. And, hey, taxes on corporations and the wealthy would go down.

But now, just in time for Christmas, people are realizing that there was no such deal — or at any rate, that there wasn’t a sanity clause. (Sorry, couldn’t help myself.) Put an unstable, ignorant, belligerent man in the Oval Office, and he will eventually do crazy things.

There is no sanity clause….Love it.

Earlier this month, in a column with the threatening headline “How Democracies Die” he wrote,

Donald Trump, it turns out, may have been the best thing that could have happened to American democracy.

No, I haven’t lost my mind. Individual-1 is clearly a wannabe dictator who has contempt for the rule of law, not to mention being corrupt and probably in the pocket of foreign powers. But he’s also lazy, undisciplined, self-absorbed and inept. And since the threat to democracy is much broader and deeper than one man, we’re actually fortunate that the forces menacing America have such a ludicrous person as their public face.

I have actually made similar arguments. What if Trump actually knew what he was doing? What if he was just as greedy, self-important and mentally-ill, but smart? And able to spell…

Trump’s election was a service to democracy, in much the same way that a fire burning down your house when no one was home is a service: it reminds you what is truly valuable.

Of course, there’s a lot of damage to repair…

Like so many Americans, I was (naively) reassured by Obama’s election. Look how far America had come! Then, of course, the rocks lifted and the cockroaches crawled out. Racism and resentment of the black man in the White House motivated despicable behaviors from neighborhoods to Congress.

If Hillary had been elected, it’s almost certain that misogyny would have motivated the same tribal behaviors.  Meanwhile, the erosion of democratic norms–an erosion that began long before Trump, and enabled his election– would have continued unnoticed by the general public.

The election of Trump was our national house fire. He has done an enormous amount of damage, both domestically and to America’s stature in the world, but as the midterm elections confirmed, he has also been democracy’s wake-up call. (Scholars tell us that more people have taken to the streets to protest Trump than protested during the height of the Viet Nam war.)

Thanks to the absence of a sanity clause, we are at a crossroads: we can rebuild the house–and while we’re at it, repair some of the parts that weren’t working properly, or had outlived their usefulness–or we can retreat into our respective tribal enclaves and accuse each other of lighting the match that burned it all down.

We can turn what’s left of our democracy over to the plutocrats who already control so much of it, or we can use the election of this pathetic man as a turning point, and build it back– better. And better–as Krugman points out–means without gerrymandering, without voter suppression, without authoritarian power grabs like those in Wisconsin, North Carolina and Michigan.

We have our marching orders for the New Year…..


  1. It will get worse with this pay freeze. The patriots in the House of Representatives will figure out a way to have their way with him.
    Stay tuned. The Opposition will be empowered on January 2nd. Democrat strategies will be so clever that he’ll be stunned. It will be in stark contrast with the miserable GOP. The people are sick of this but help is on the way.

  2. If only we still had real news outlets that would tell the actual facts. The propaganda outlets that people are addicted to just may push what little is left of a democracy over the edge and into oblivion.

    Just try to explain gerrymandering and voter suppression to a devoted GOP voter. They either don’t understand them or don’t care, as long as they keep listening to fox noise and their radio fascists.

  3. Spot on! Donald Trump is Exhibit A for everything that is wrong with American culture/neoliberalism/us. He will spur us into the New Progressive Era, where we will once again attempt to deal with income/wealth inequality, racism, misogyny, homophobia, anti-semitism, etc.

  4. Pundits keep saying the Dems have to put up a candidate we can fall in love with. And therein lies the problem. People couldn’t fall in love with Hillary, even though she was probably the best equipped individual ever to run for that office. She was dull, but she had plans that included what to do and how to pay for it. For a Scorpio, she acted too much like a Virgo. That’s not what we want. We want to be entertained, not led.

  5. As mentioned above, the mess that is Donald Trump and the result of some of his shenanigans has turned the spotlight on many of our problems such as the gaps between legal, moral, ethical, and downright dishonest behavior of our leaders. ( if I hear one more newscaster, expert of one kind or another, say that what is happening is not normal I will scream (again)). Of course it’s not normal. Unfortunately for the citizenry crooked behavior, or “not normal” behavior can take a lot of time to sift through, legislate, etc.
    Trump has mastered the art of being the inflicting chaos and surrounds himself with a team helping him find all those gaps and using them to his advantage. If they spent one tenth of that expended energy on governing….oh well……..
    As stated above: “Trump’s election was a service to democracy, in much the same way that a fire burning down your house when no one was home is a service: it reminds you what is truly valuable” However, the resulting renewal and intensity of hate and violence is the downside of Trump. Always two sides to every situation.
    And Nancy, for the most part I agree with you about journalists/news stations, but if you look hard enough there are professionals out there who work diligently to inform people about what is happening rather than just expounding on their own world views. Thanks again Sheila.

  6. Maywin,

    Yes, there are professionals who actually report the truth. However, as you stated – one must look hard to find them. There are far too many people who choose to be lazy and they prefer being fed their daily doses of bias confirmation.

  7. I agree with Sheila on her rating of economists. Stiglitz and Krugman are also two of my favorite economists, and I would add Piketty, who had a PhD and was lecturing at MIT at age 22 (when I was pursuing an undergraduate degree in that discipline) before returning to his native France. All are brilliant and I keep the books of Stiglitz and Piketty on hand and in view as my secular bibles.
    Krugman tells us that he is now 65 and ready to do some political talk, and he is good at it. He sounds like a political scientist and that is no surprise since politics and economics have been necessarily intertwined since even before Smith, Ricardo, Marx and others, something I am sure Professor Trump fully understands and appreciates. Uh. . . .
    I have read Krugman’s notion here reiterated by Sheila that Trump may in the long run be doing American democracy a favor by showing us the sick underbelly of the admixture of terminal capitalism and a politics designed to keep it that way, but I’m not sure the vote of 2018 signalled that specific result and I am not sure given the present environment that our democracy can survive long enough to enjoy future halcyon days of Madisonian insight what with some 35% of Americans devoted to cult worship of a man who plainly wishes to destroy our democracy – my prime concern.
    The destruction of our democracy is my prime concern because, unlike taxes, wage inequality, corruption in governing etc., which can be corrected, once our democracy is destroyed, its resurrection is by no means assured – ever.
    I am in accord with what Krugman wrote but do not draw the same conclusions from what he described. I hope I am wrong and that the American people, energized with this brush with near loss of their democracy, have a new and strong appreciation for the freedoms only democratic rule can offer (see their enshrinement in the Bill of Rights, which Trump apparently wishes to reverse).
    Our task? Remove Trump from office, and vigorously deal with the debris he will have left us, and the sooner the better.

  8. I’ve been looking at the silver lining of Trump’s victory for two years. When I read the first couple of paragraphs today, I thought Sheila was going there but she fell back into the same lame diatribe repeated often by the Clintonite faux #Resistance crowd on Twitter.

    The #Resistance crowd protests against Trump, not the systems which created Trump. It’s the same crowd now clamoring after the Biden/Beto ticket for 2020. What. A. Joke.

    Nancy Pelosi made deals with Republicans in Congress to keep her leadership position. Why such drastic measures?

    Why does Paul Krugman, another Clintonite, just focus on democracy when he’s an economist?

    The answers to both questions are to create distractions. The Gannett owned newspapers in Indiana love pushing the Ball family designated economist from Ball State. He’s a Koch owned shill whose views are known before he even starts writing his views on democracy.

    His solutions to our market-based problems are eliminating government intervention. Always. Indiana’s problems are it needs to be more like Wisconsin or Kansas. Why not when the media will look the other way for ya!! LOL

    Yesterday, one of the posts addressed our healthcare problems by looking at how single payer insurance reform would turn our system into wellness advocates but then stopped at the immediate outcome.

    Go deeper and broader…if our doctors become health and wellness advocates (which they should be today) how would that change other industries, including the media?

    I’ve had Democrats tell me there would be no difference because our medical system does advocate for our health. This must be a Rachel Maddow talking point.

    If doctors were rewarded for keeping their patients out of the hospital and the media helped them by giving them a voice, how many other industries would be impacted?

    [let me say this…healthcare IS pandora’s box]

    If my doctor became my health advocate and they were supported by the media, the following industries would be impacted immediately:

    1. Food industry
    2. Alcohol
    3. Pharmaceutical
    4. Energy
    5. Legal
    6. Sugar
    7. Fast food
    8. Food processing
    9. Meat processing
    10. Labor markets
    11. Agriculture
    12. Hemp/Marijuana
    13. Prison industry
    14. Fitness
    15. Insurance

    I could go on but the above industries would see major transformation overnight if our medical professionals were tasked with keeping our healthcare costs down. Especially, if they were incentivized with bonus monies. If the media would allow itself to be used to advance positive healthcare outcomes, our local public schools could also become fitness centers.

    Do you see how this would spawn innovation vs restricting it?

    My doctor has told me that our air is so toxic in East Central Indiana that she could prevent lots of asthma and cancer cases but if she raised her voice, she would get her license yanked tomorrow for “over-prescribing meds to a patient.”

    Our medical professional’s hands are tied by the profit-making scheme encapsulating it.

  9. Apart from the usual escalator down Todd’s rabbit hole of logic, it IS clear that the citizens were/are activated by the Trump horror show now matter what ANY media are saying. Those Trump supporters will ALWAYS push back against reason because the are compelled to by their family structure of having to obey the strong leader. Trump is their Pied Piper and they will follow him over the cliff.

    But that leaves the rest of us. 65% of 330 million people is a LOT of activism. When we finally wake from this political nightmare, we WILL get to work fixing the messes. People who whine about the media having so much influence give no credit to individual thought. They’re being as elitist as those they attack, but in reverse.

    Watch for the months of January and February to be the key periods for the outright rejection of Trumpism, Republicanism and the resurgence of “doing the right thing” for fixing the problems created during the last two years and the period of time that created the cult of the Orange Hairball.

    Who DOES do his hair? It’s just the ridiculous crown to the worst person in the world.

  10. This democracy officially died with the Patriot Act… remember that one? The roots of corruption were planted post world war II the pawns we have seen put forth have been ever increasingly adjusting the frequency of what we can stomach, just think of television, and for some many years now digital information has been pouring into people to the point where nearly everyone of us has a celphone with some kind of net connection to catch the game, the news or just to send what we believe are life changing photos to one another, all while blindly walking into traffic or driving while watching an LED screen in our vehicle, and texting at the same time.., or allowing police on the streets who do not know the people could care less about them and only want to beat heads, act like they are in charge and make bucks doing it! Now, is it any wonder we got what we as a nation deserved for our apathy and ignorance? The clown in the room – is us… those that allowed this whole scenario are what George Carlin referred to as the ‘class comedian’ – the ones that put us all up to this. If it were not true, we wouldn’t be in this situation. Happy New Year.

  11. The problem with motivating doctors to keep people OUT of the hospital is that this creates a conflict between getting a bonus and doing what is right for the patient. Many of the people I worked with as an addictions counselor were not given economic access to adequate levels of care due to managed care by insurance doctors which resulted in more relapses. A relapse is as dangerous as Russian roulette. Insurance companies treat addiction like something that can be cured and the outcome studies are not valid or reliable.

    I agree that we need a health care system that focuses more on prevention and helping us stay healthy. Lots of information is available online and in the media on how to stay healthy. The question is this “How do we motivate people to stay healthy with exercise, diet etc.?

    If you talk to the working poor who work 16 hours per day or people living in poverty, they don’t make enough money to buy healthier foods and the working poor don’t have time to exercise. We’d have to address wealth inequality to further advance the health of our citizens. Rotating shifts has been proven to damage one’s cardiac health and many of my nursing peers are rotating shifts. I can guarantee that rotating shifts further disrupts a wellness lifestyle. I know because at one point I had to do it. I never had any energy because there was so much disruption to my circadian rhythms.

    We could save a ton of money on health care costs if each person was empowered and motivated to stay healthy and everyone had enough time and money to invest in his/her health maintenance.

  12. Peggy Hannon: “People couldn’t fall in love with Hillary, even though she was probably the best equipped individual ever to run for that office.”

    Please refer to: and then perhaps define “qualified”, in whichever way sustains the fiction that Hillary Clinton was the most qualified to ever run for president. My God, that’s an ugly assertion! I think it requires an apology to the finely qualified candidates of American history whom you insult with that conclusion.

    But maybe those who over-inflate the Hillary balloon believe it necessary for future presidential candidates to have spent eight years as First Lady in order to qualify for the job of president?

  13. When we awaken from our long national nightmare, we will still have 85% of Republicans who approve of a garbage spewing sadistic sociopath as the nation’s leader. What Trump has done is to awaken us to the fact that the dumbing down of America has succeeded beyond its wildest dreams, and that large segments of our nation are so filled with hate, racism and nihilism that they will anxiously await the arrival of the next blow-it-all-up populist. Trump’s ineptitude and inability to plot as he would like buys us some time. However, we can’t fall into the trap, as we did after Obama’s election, of believing that the ideologically diseased portion of our population has been reduced.

    The emergence of women as a potent political force gives me a spark of hope. Now if we can figure out how to re-establish education, in the form of critical thing, as a national value, that spark could turn into a flame. I am not encouraged by the ability of the far right to turn the word “elite” – in the sense of someone who got a good education – into an epithet.

  14. Robin for president (Of Aetna or Blue Cross-Blue Shield)! Obviously a way to beat the rap is not to get there in the first place, and as she suggests, people who are poor and/or have to work all the time (due in part to wage inequality) have neither energy or resources to stay healthy, so the single payer I incessantly champion could use prevention as the means since profit will have been removed from healthcare, as it should have been long ago. In retrospect, Nixon’s award of HMO status to his Kaiser friends in California in 1973 was perhaps a worse act than those he performed in re Watergate. If there ever was a program that should not be privatized (where otherwise premium dollars go into the pockets of HMO executives and shareholders), it is healthcare. With billions of such dollars in profit reassigned to pay for real healthcare and prevention as our mode of delivery of health services (which is cheaper than
    treatment and retreatment), we could (as proven in other countries) have a far better healthcare system at a cheaper price, so what’s the problem? Can you spell campaign contributions? GRRRR!

  15. Did anybody mention taking care of one’s own health? You don’t need a medical degree to know what’s good for you.
    Go to the professionals when you DON’T know. Then, don’t neglect it by praying it will go away.

  16. While politicians are easy targets for our disdain remember that they get hired and fired by an electorate. To me the biggest lesson of 2016 was that ignorance isn’t far behind responsible knowledge in numbers and it’s more easily united.

    The lesson of 2018 is that the electorate isn’t hopeless that way. Democracy will still work but it can’t be taken for granted. We must unite around purpose, not personality.

  17. Paul Krugman: “Two years ago, after the shock of Donald Trump’s election, financial markets briefly freaked out, then quickly recovered.”

    I really do not know what Krugman means about “freaked out”. If you just read this without any context you might presume their was some wild gyrations in the Dow Jones Industrial Average or Standard and Poor’s 500. The Dow was at 18,161 on 10/28/2016, by 12/30/2016 it was at 19,763, as of 12/28/2018 it was 23,062. That is roughly a 27% upward movement since October 2016. The S&P 500 shows a similar movement.

    The Plutocrats and 1% seem to have so far decided they can keep gathering up the profits from shifting money from one pocket to another. I suspect all this upward movement (27%) has not “Trickled Down” into wages increases to the Proles.

    The Theme is the same from the Krugman types. Lock on and Target President Agent Orange and press the button. The thought process here is so one dimensional.

    Will the Democratic Majority in the House put forward Progressive Ideas in 2019 that will form a basis for 2020, or just react to President Agent Orange’s Tweets???

    Todd: “Biden/Beto ticket for 2020. What. A. Joke.” I agree.

  18. OMG apparently does not understand genetics. We are not always able to take care of our own health as he would dictate. Childhood cancers, inherited heart weaknesses, asthma caused by environmental pollution, lead in drinking water, autoimmune diseases of all kinds are most often beyond the ability of individuals to control.
    The individualistic worldview is not the real world. It never has been.

  19. This post and the comments deal with several topics of particular interest to me. Thank you all. I’m motivated to respond with some thoughts of my own.
    First, I’m a Stiglitz fan, too, and a supporter of the Roosevelt Institute, where he is Chief Economist and Senior Fellow. As for Krugman, I’m still struggling to get past his trashing of Bernie (Sanders) during the 2016 Democratic primaries. I thought it was mean spirited and uncalled for, and it makes me skeptical of all his positions now. I do read him again mostly, but find his opinions a little too centrist and corporate friendly. Kind of the same way I feel about The NY Times in general. In that regard, I suggest a look at this: Interesting analysis of a wide range of media sources. A few others I follow: (great on education, mainstream Dem)
    And for even more adventurous leftist views:
    You are right, Nancy, it’s challenging to find these sources, and the corporate power brokers have made deliberate attempts to make it hard:
    But (so far), these voices are still speaking, as is our Sheila!
    Getting back to economists, I’ve lately discovered Stephanie Kelton, a proponent of modern monetary theory (MMT) — a total revelation to me:
    As for Trump, I totally agree with Sheila’s conclusion: “…we can use the election of this pathetic man as a turning point, and build it back– better.” Not only can we, but I think it’s happening already. I can’t wait for the new House of Representatives to get started!
    Finally, Todd, I think you make an interesting case for medical advocacy. I never thought of it in quite the terms you use, but I do think single payer would have a profound impact. Medicare for all is my choice. I like your list of industries. I would add tobacco/vape and military/ weapons. Does anyone else notice that, with a few exceptions, these are producers of things that are unhealthy, dangerous and/or life threatening (if overused in some cases)? Major industries, many jobs, devoted to pushing “poisons” and in many cases hiding evidence of potential or certain harm. I hope changes to these industries will be part of the better system Sheila challenges us to build!

  20. Charles @ 12:37 pm I would agree with your assessment of Krugman concerning his trashing of Bernie Sanders. You and I visit much of the same Web Sites. You might add

    Also for Cable News I like Newsy. It has some news on President Agent Orange and Pastor Pence but Newsy is so much more.

  21. Thanks a ton for this one Sheila,

    We absolutely have to use this moment to change the course of this country. No doubt like many of you have also I have watched and read about countries all over the world have governmental systems that have imploded leading to not only chaos for them but also other countries that are geographically close to them or are linked to them via multilateral economic and political linkages. One thing that I’ve never contemplated until now in any sort of serious way is the demise of our system and our country while in the hands of what amounts to a despot surrounded by a merry band of sycophants and oligarchs supporting him. Regardless, this is our current reality.

    We not only have to think about how to restore some semblance of balance and equity to our government and the way it operates at every level and we also have to think about how that trickles down to our daily life where for over 240 years we have not had to think about such things other than during some rather significant lapses, the civil war and the great depression, where during both the cohesion of this country was a grave risk-the first where it was split apart both culturally and geographically and at war with itself and the second where our system of governance was in direct threat of collapse because of a collapsed global economy where he even the hope of a light at the end of the tunnel boiled down to just one leader bucking us up and helping us to believe in ourselves again.

    Right now, given how dug in Trump’s base is, unwilling to even contemplate reason and the factual realities of what we’re dealing with as a result of this man infesting the White House, we have roughly 28% of the country that is off the rails just like their fearful leader is. I recently had a discussion with a Facebook friend of mine who, while being a rational person, told me that she likes Trump because he does what he says. Apparently, it does not matter to her at all that what he says is and does is detrimental to this country’s future and puts at risk our country standing in the world and, ultimately, our own national security. Quite frankly, such commentary makes my brain hurt and I’m sure I’m not alone, far from it obviously.

    So, in my humble estimation, we ultimately have two choices. One where we just throw up our hands and give in to the rampaging chaos that this man is creating along with his sycophantic buddies in the U.S. Senate and accept the pot luck that we made end up dealing with or the second, where we fight this with all we’ve got realizing the true depth of what is at stake right now. It would be a horrible epitaph for the potentially destroyed United States of America that it devolved into regionalism and profound ethnic divisions, i.e., complete chaos wherein it is stated that the people of this country end up and it up not really giving a damn about their history, their communities, their families and their own lives and just rolled over and played dead and in doing so ripping a great big hole in the course of not only our future and that of the rest of the world. If we can’t even think about ourselves to do the civilization fatigue we are currently suffering from we mustn’t forget that while that may be going on that the rest of the world might very well be going down a very dark and destructive progression itself without us having any influence or any semblance of having our hand among many on the tiller in order to save it.

    Maybe it’s time for those that see this danger and want to avoid it to also reclaim the ancient Gadsden flag that some of my ancestors fought under well over 240 years ago that was misappropriated by the tea party movement and use it as a symbol of the fight for a resurgence United States of America that has as its core liberty and justice for all once again.

  22. Larry; as my little old Irish mother used to tell me, “Consider the source.” Consider the sources on both sides regarding qualified presidential nominees and Hillary Clinton certainly was the most qualified; former First Lady, Senator and Secretary of State. Once Joe Biden bowed out; there was no other more qualified at that level of political life. She was the wrong selection as the first woman presidential nominee due to too much baggage, too deeply embedded in corporatism and her personality was grating to many people. My vote for her was the only vote I could in good conscience and common sense, use to vote against Trump. The best presidential contest would have been between Sanders and Kasich; but we can’t unring that bell. Monday morning quarterbacking and 20/20 hindsight is of little value. Have the Republicans learned anything from the past 3 years of Trump? Do they actually believe Pence could easily move into the Oval Office and save the party and the country? Future history books, if written honestly, will forever be questioning both choices by the Republican party and will be looking for excuses for Congress upholding the “deconstruction” of the government, democracy and denying all value of the Constitution.

    IF written honestly! They will also be written with the admonition to “Follow The Money” for answers.

  23. While I agree with Sheila’s basic premise, I fear the irreversible damage that may be done. Fortunately, massive oil spills along the coasts probably won’t happen due to the time it takes to get started and probable legal action by states. On the international front, some things may not be easily reversed.

    After Glorious Brilliant Leader withdraws all American troops from the world to guard our southern border, he may congratulate Putin on “liberating” the Baltic States. The Middle East will be fought over by Russia, Iran, and Saudi Arabia. (Turkey will be happy just to do to the Kurds what they did to the Armenians).

    Another problem – knowing “who lit the match”. The scientist in me always says you need to (1) ask the right question, (2) collect the right data, and (3) interpret it correctly (and conservatively – don’t claim more than the data show). The IT professional in me knows that nothing gets fixed permanently without “root cause analysis”.

    While I was reading today’s post, the talking heads on the TV in the other room were giving advice to the Democrats. Their biggest worry? Those radical progressives. They energized the party and they believe not only was FDR great, but that Reagan was not a saint sent by the Almighty. These talking heads keep talking about winning independents by echoing Reagan, like Clinton did.

    Here is another perspective. Clinton and Obama won their elections with the help of the progressive base along with independents. Both spat on their base (Clinton said Liberals were bad; Obama said Liberals were well meaning but foolish – both believed that no Liberal had a place at the table). Both suffered big congressional losses in midterms.

    Who lit the match? Should Democrats believe that the problem was not being enough like Reagan? Nominate Joe Donnelly. Should Democrats believe that a return to their mid-20th Century roots would deliver a message that would both excite their base and appeal to independents? Nominate a more progressive candidate.

    How we rebuild our democracy will involve some decisions (if we actually get to do it). Ending gerrymandering, voter suppression and various phobias are an easily agreed upon start, but what next? Do we leave a tax code that rewards the successful and encourages multi-generational (royal) dynasties or do we return to a more progressive tax code that asks people to contribute according to their success? Do we radically restructure our healthcare system, or to be leave it as a profit-driven system with government assistance for the poor?

    Perhaps we can seek solutions without knowing “who lit the match”. If by “who lit the match” you are suggesting that we avoid navel gazing and finger pointing, then I agree with you, but we do need analysis to point to a direction to first retake our weakened democracy and then to know how to strengthen it beyond where it was before.

    I think we should add increased civic literacy and reading Sheila’s blog as part of the easily agreed upon start (gratuitous, but true).

  24. I wish Krugman had cited The Marx Brothers in “A Night at the Opera” for the “sanity clause” line … but otherwise, it was a great column.

  25. Todd, I had a healthcare system designed a while back in which all financial decisions and medical decisions were made by the medical professions. You would pay a medical group so much a month and they would keep you healthy and well, using the best services available from the best providers. They could cover their risk with available risk providers, make a reasonable profit and the result would be lower cost to the consumer. It could be in need again, I believe in the efficiencies of group practices’ innovation and personal involvement. Protecting the entity and the various controlled costs can be laid off to various risk managers in the public or private sectors, It will take a group of entrepreneurial docs to do this, but it could work like a top.

    ALSO, Todd, I am a denocrat. We are not perfect by any means. BUT but not all turds either. If you would like to discuss my systen, send me an email message and we can have coffee,


  26. In my view, Stiglitz and Piketty are top notch, while Krugman wore out his welcome serving as the New York Times Clinton surrogate attacking progressives in 2016. Now, he’s changed his tune, but will he again swear allegiance to another neoliberal candidate in 2020?

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