Five Best Tuesday Columns

Jonathan Chait explains how Obama could delay the individual mandate, Greg Sargent on the damaged GOP, Matt Yglesias on the political implications of the jobs report, Sally Kohn is a happy Obamacare customer, and Adam Alter explains Banksy's worth. 

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Jonathan Chait at Daily Intel on how Obama could delay the individual mandate without Congress. If continues to struggle into March, the President could delay Obamacare's individual mandate until functioning improves. "The real upside here is that, because it doesn't require Congress, the administration could use a mandate delay to actually improve the functioning of the law, as opposed to using it to destroy the law, as Republicans in Congress have suggested," Chait writes. The option is a long way off, but "delaying the individual mandate only for states that can't get the exchanges working, and reinstituting it when the exchanges come online, would be a way of making the program work." Conservative New York Times columnist Ross Douthat responds, "Amazing how malleable the law turns out to be :)" Matt Yglesias, an economics writer at Slate, tweets, "This seems about on a par with using the pardon power to enact unilateral immigration reform."

Greg Sargent at The Washington Post on the shutdown's political damage for the GOP. "Do Republicans actually think it matters that their image is in such disastrous shape, or is that rendered inconsequential by the degree to which the House GOP majority is believed to be invulnerable?" Sargent asks. According to a new Washington Post/ABC poll, "only 21 percent of Americans approve of the way the Congressional GOP is handling the federal budget, versus 77 percent who disapprove." And "crucially," a large majority thinks the shutdown damaged the country. Bottom line? "This is emerging as another case — along with immigration and social issues – where the very fact that individual House Republicans live in safe districts, insulated from the currents of national opinion, is actively setting back the party’s efforts to broaden its national appeal." Paul Brandus of West Wing Reports notes this statistic: "3/4 of independents, moderates & seniors say GOP not interested in doing what's best for country."

Matt Yglesias at Slate explains the political implications of the latest "dreary" jobs report. The Bureau of Labor Statistics released its shutdown-delayed September jobs report today, and the numbers aren't great. "Though the release of these numbers was delayed by the shutdown, the jobs picture they provide is a pre-shutdown look at the American economy. It's next month's report that might be depressed by shutdown-induced furloughs and such," Yglesias predicts. Though the number of new jobs was lower than expected, involuntary part-time work didn't increase. Alana Horowitz, a senior editor at the Huffington Post, tweets, "Despite the GOP's Obamacare doomsday warnings, there's actually NO increase in workers forced to go part-time."

Sally Kohn at Fox News on how the Obamacare exchange worked for her. "There were literally 50 plans that were better than my current insurance — both with lower premiums, lower out-of-pocket costs and better coverage. And there were ten plans with a higher premium than my current insurance, but with lower deductibles," Kohn, a liberal commentator, explains of her experience with the New York state exchange. She continues, "the fact is that ObamaCare has created a private marketplace so that millions of American families like mine can get affordable, quality health insurance while keeping more of our hard-earned money." Bottom line? "Ideologues may not like Obamacare, but my wallet and my family’s health sure do." Judd Legum at the liberal ThinkProgress tweets, "Fox News contributor signs up for Obamacare. And LOVES it." But Slade Sohmer at HyperVocal responds, "to be fair, Sally is not the average Fox News contributor."

Adam Alter at The New Yorker explains Bansky's worth. As part of his New York residency, street artist Banksy had a man sell his paintings as "street art" for $60. People did not realize they were authentic, and either didn't pay very much for them or didn't buy them at all. Alter asks, "How can a person be willing to pay five hundred times more than another for the same art work born in the same artist’s studio?" Because art is "inherently invaluable." "We’re swayed by all the wrong cues, and our valuation estimates are correspondingly incoherent," Alter explains. "Banksy knew this when he asked an elderly man to sell his works in Central Park. It’s comforting to believe that we get what we pay for, but discerning true value is as difficult as spotting a genuine Banksy canvas in a city brimming with imitations." Benazir Shah, a reporter at Newsweek Pakistan, tweets, "Why Banksy's paintings didn't sell for $60."

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.