Krugman & Klein Against Puppies and Rainbows

Bernie Sanders’s single payer plan was met with derision from policy writers Paul Krugman and Voxer Ezra Klein. Their criticisms venture even further than the Sanders’s plan, speculating on whether a single payer system is preferable at all.

Sanders has offered a puppies-and-rainbows approach to single-payer…this is what Republicans fear liberals truly believe: that they can deliver expansive, unlimited benefits to the vast majority of Americans by stacking increasingly implausible, and economically harmful, taxes on the rich. (Ezra Klein)

Paul Krugman joined in on the fear mongering in his weekly column, even adopting Klein’s puppies-and-rainbows line.

Perhaps Krugman needs a refresher on metaphors; single payer, like puppies and rainbows, is real – and can be found all over the world! And unlike the U.S, which spends nearly 18% of GDP on healthcare, these chimerical single-payer economies cover everyone for 12% or less – a true testament to the power of puppies and rainbows.

Here’s our simple answer to anyone who thinks single payer is “impossible”:




  1. Robert John on January 22, 2016 at 3:51 pm

    Wow! Even Paul Krugman can be egregiously wrong!! Kinda damages the brand to be willfully ignorant of what every other country we compare ourselves to can do it but we can’t.

  2. Anthony Sanchez on January 22, 2016 at 4:24 pm

    The only thing wrong with Bernie’s plan is people like Paul Krugman and other republicans. They refuse to believe in things that already exist and thrive. Bernie’s plan is not made up its extremely simular to the healthcare system the dutch have land was voted the the third best healthcare system in the world. It is very important we vote Bernie into office and explain thoroughly explain how good this is.
    PS: Paul Krugman is a joke

  3. Carla on January 22, 2016 at 5:01 pm

    I am surprised at Krugman’s assessment of raising taxes on the ultra wealthy. Today he states that raising taxes on the ultra wealthy is “harmful,” and this flies in the face of what he says in his great book, “The Conscience of a Liberal.”
    It is mandatory that we do raise taxes on those who can well afford a higher tax rate, and we must finally disallow individuals and corporations to off shore their accounts or form “dummy” companies, to evade taxes.
    We need to have revenue in order to have a single payer system of health care which is sorely needed. Needed, too, is revenue to upgrade and improve our crumbling infrastructure, and our failing educational system.

  4. clyde winter on January 22, 2016 at 8:08 pm

    Krugman is so-o-o bo-o-o-gus.

    The DNC doesn’t want the people to even think about and consider the (his word) “incremental” solution to the health care crisis (let alone the consequent personal and national fiscal crisis), which is simply strengthening and expanding Medicare to cover everybody because, of course, it was the DNC genuflecting before massive corporate power, that drove the Medicare for All solution “off the table” and disappeared it in 2009 (with the complete concurrence of the RNC and the corporate mass media).

    Every paragraph which Krugman wrote in his essay contains outrageous fallacies, and it also telegraphs and advocates abject surrender by the people, on the grounds that we just can’t win. NUTS to that and nuts to you, Krugman. Might I be far off base, and way out of line if I surmise that your life and your future is well-protected by what you call “better-than-average coverage” that is increasingly available only to the 1 percent? It was “liberals” like Krugman who insisted (and their successors still do today!) that it was Abolitionists who prolonged the persistence of slavery, while compromisers would have ended slavery much sooner had their counsel been heeded and the Abolitionists just shut up and gone away.

    Don’t even try, says Krugman, you’ll never win.
    What an inspiration, what a heroic figure to emulate.

    paragraph one, Krugman – skipping the outrageous fallacies in the first two sentences of your article – check out sentence 3:
    We the people don’t need health insurance, Mr. Economist, it’s health care that we need. Get rid of the greedy blood sucking middle man. Now!

    I can’t waste any more time focusing on Krugman’s nonsense. Have at ’em yourself, if you wish. I’ve rebutted it all in my essays on the health care crisis in “Hearts and Minds”.

  5. Rowland Scherman on January 25, 2016 at 9:26 pm

    Apparently, there are certain forces at work within the United States that disallow the most progressive initiatives. It’s called graft.

  6. Nancy Churchill on January 29, 2016 at 11:25 am

    As to Ezra Klein’s “increasingly implausible, and economically harmful, taxes on the rich,” why are they so? Because everyone’s been drinking the Kool Aid that tells us it is so. That’s why taxes on the rich are so low. It wasn’t particularly economically harmful when their taxes were 90% under Eisenhower. But it is impossible to get any of this if we don’t try, if we just say, “it’s implausible, so let’s not go there!” That’s not what progressives do! Progressives will save this country from the anti-democratic plutocracy!

  7. Adam Treat on January 29, 2016 at 12:33 pm

    Your answer is truly puzzling to me in that the British system – which I enthusiastically support – is not really single payer. In this system, the government directly employs the doctors and manages the hospitals. It is a category error to conflate that with Sander’s single payer “Medicare for all” system where doctors and hospitals would still be private entities.

    • Nathanael on February 19, 2016 at 8:08 pm

      True, Sanders’s proposal is much more like Canada’s.

      But in fact even though you have many directly NHS-employed doctors, you also still have a lot of privately employed doctors and hospitals in the UK (owned by various trusts) who are paid for by the NHS — so it’s really a hybrid single-payer in the UK

  8. Down With Oligarchy! on February 10, 2016 at 8:35 am

    We are not a “Puppies and Rainbows” generation. Clinton’s middle aged pundits don’t get it! You are clueless! This generation of younger Americans have watched their grandparents AND their parent AND NOW THEM, work two or three jobs with college educations and not get ahead. It is a form of serfdom. They understand that continuing to vote for candidates that are owned by the oligarchy will continue to seal their fate and the fate of their children and grandchildren. They understand that a vote for Donald Trump puts the oligarchy fully in charge of this nation. Keep talking Ezra Klein! You and your arrogant colleagues ignite and galvanize us!