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Krugman: Budget proposals ‘only considered serious if you inflict pain on vulnerable people’

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Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman on Tuesday said it was “unfair” to accuse President Barack Obama of not putting forth serious reforms to Medicare amid the fiscal cliff negotiations.

Krugman noted on PBS’ Newshour that Obamacare seeks to reduce Medicare costs without affecting eligibility or benefits. The law is estimated to have provided $716 billion in savings by reducing payments to hospitals and insurers.

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“He’s actually done more to bring down the cost curve for Medicare than anyone has ever done before,” Krugman remarked. “But in Washington, that is considered not serious because he’s not actually taking benefits away from people who need them. So, it’s a really weird thing. It’s only considered serious if you inflict pain on vulnerable people.”

Republicans have proposed reducing the cost of Medicare by raising the eligibility age. Currently, Americans can enroll in Medicare when they turn 65. Some Republicans have proposed increasing the eligibility age to 67 or 68.

But Krugman said that proposal wouldn’t bring much savings, because most seniors between 65-68 years old are relatively healthy.

“It makes almost no difference to the financial outlook,” he said. “But it’s cruel.”

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Krugman said it was wrong to focus on Medicare and Social Security to reduce the federal deficit.

“All of these things that have occupied all our attention are not actually where the big bucks are. The big bucks are in making high-income people pay higher taxes and in actually addressing health care costs, which the Affordable Care Act does and none of the things that we’re talking about now will actually do.”

Watch video, uploaded to YouTube by PBS, below:

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CNN’s Toobin says all evidence points to Trump running an extortion scheme for political dirt

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On Monday's edition of CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360," chief legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin laid out how all the evidence points to President Donald Trump attempting to extort Ukraine for political dirt — even the evidence Trump himself has put forward to the public voluntarily.

"May 14th, Trump tells Vice President Pence not to attend Zelensky, the Ukrainian president's inauguration," said Cooper. "July 18th, Trump decides to withhold nearly $400 million in aid to Ukraine that's already been passed by Congress. July 25th is that Trump and Zelensky phone call. I mean, I don't know if it's, you know, if it begins with the call from Putin, but there certainly is a lot of activity, a lot of dominos falling."

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Trump’s attack on congressional legitimacy ‘boggles the mind’: Ex-Whitewater counsel

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On Monday's edition of CNN's "OutFront," former Whitewater senior counsel Paul Rosenzweig and anchor Erin Burnett discussed how Alexander Hamilton warned about leaders like Trump in his writings — and the president's stunning declaration of the impeachment probe as "crap" and "illegitimate."

"Historian Ron Chernow, whose biography on Hamilton is the biography, the one used for the Broadway musical, wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post," said Burnett. "He says Hamilton, who was a defender of executive power, would have supported impeaching Donald Trump. He cites one of his Federalist Papers, where Hamilton writes, in part, 'When a man unprincipled in his private life, desperate in his fortune, bold in his temper ... when such a man is seen to mount the hobby horse of popularity to take every opportunity of embarrassing the general government and bringing it under suspicion, it may justly be suspected that his object is to throw things into confusion that he may ride the storm and direct the whirlwind.' Hamilton warning such a leader will become a demagogue and a tyrant ... Does it sound like Hamilton, even so long ago, could have been warning about a person like President Trump, Paul?"

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Trump is ‘phony president’ who must immediately be removed from office: Ethics watchdog Richard Painter

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The former chief White House ethics lawyer in the George W. Bush administration argued President Donald Trump must be immediately removed from office during a Monday appearance on MSNBC "The Beat."

Guest anchor Ayman Mohyeldin played a clip of Trump saying the emoluments clause of the United States Constitution is "phony."

"What other parts of the Constitution are phony?" Painter wondered. "The First Amendment? Freedom of the press? The impeachment clause of the Constitution? He is going to find out than one soon. The 25th Amendment, is that phony? The 25th Amendment that empowers the cabinet and Congress to remove a president who is psychologically unstable, unfit for office? He wants to say the Constitution is phony."

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