Is the New York Times Learning about the Economy?

Sure, the paper screwed up on Iraq and is not doing much better on Iran, but maybe it is learning about economics.

Barrionuevo, Alexei. 2007. “Rising Electricity Prices Set Off Regulation Debate.” New York Times (17 February).

“Utility rates had been capped in Illinois for 10 years, but the state agreed last year to raise them as part of an effort to open up its electricity markets to competition. Maryland, New Jersey and a half dozen other states are also removing caps. But residents in this part of Illinois are seeing some of the highest rate increases in the country — in some cases, 100 percent to 200 percent higher.”

“In Maryland, the decision by the public utility commission to allow a rate increase of 72 percent this year prompted a special session of the General Assembly to provide relief. And in Virginia, lawmakers voted Feb. 6 to abandon the state’s decade-old experiment by halting its planned market opening in 2011.”

“The idea at the time was that by the time the rate freezes would expire, the competitive pressure would drive prices down and they would expire with a whimper rather than a bang,” said Lawrence J. Makovich, managing director for global power at Cambridge Energy Research Associates.”

Frank, Robert H. 2007. “A Health Care Plan So Simple, Even Stephen Colbert Couldn’t Simplify It.” New York Times (15 February).

Okay, it is just a columnist rather than a news story, but he offers a nice twist based on New England Journal of Medicine article by Ezekiel J. Emanuel, M.D., Ph.D., and Victor R. Fuchs, Ph.D.

The idea is to bribe the insurance companies, offering them what they would have earned, then reducing that amount over time.


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