Krugman: Obama Didn't Bring Us Revolution, but He Sure Helped Make America a Better Place
In his Friday column, Paul Krugman ponders Obama's quiet uptick in popularity in recent months, about an 11 percent increase in approval nationally that has the president close to 50 percent.
Krugman makes the compelling suggestion that part of that rise is due to the public getting a whiff of how awful the alternatives are to Obama's approach, but also tied to some of the big successes of the Affordable Care Act:
Back in 2012, just after the Supreme Court made it possible for states to reject the Medicaid expansion, the Congressional Budget Office predicted that by now 89 percent of the nonelderly population would be covered; the actual number is 90 percent.
The details have been something of a surprise: fewer people than expected signing up on the exchanges, but fewer employers than expected dropping coverage, and more people signing up for Medicaid—which means, incidentally, that Obamacare is looking much more like a single-payer system than anyone seems to realize. But the point is that reform has indeed delivered the big improvements in coverage it promised, and has done so at lower cost than expected.
After recounting more Obama administration accomplishments in financial reform and the environment, Krugman concludes, "The lesson of the Obama years, in other words, is that success doesn’t have to be complete to be very real. You say you want a revolution? Well, you can’t always get what you want—but if you try sometimes, you just might find, you get what you need."