But having done his homework on health systems that are both cost-effective and humane, Klein joined the “political feasibility” gang, allowing Barack Obama and Max Baucus to keep single-payer off the table, accepting the insurer-dominated and hopelessly inadequate Affordable Care Act. Would Klein, the objective, even-handed reporter, have used the political-feasibility argument against the suffragists, against the civil rights movement? Let’s hope not.

Given his smarts and current megaphone, I wish he’d stand up and holler, “We Americans are paying twice as much for healthcare as taxpayers in other countries, yet we tolerate poorer outcomes, and leave millions uninsured. How can we be so dumb?”

Harriette Seiler
Louisville, KY

I have been reading Ezra Klein, Daily Kos, and Andrew Sullivan for years. Not because I always agree with them, but because I thought they were the ones making the best arguments. They seemed to care about facts and used them to create their arguments. When history, facts, or conventional wisdom was against them, they dealt with that honestly and tried to give you multiple sides of the argument. I agreed with Klein that, politically, a single-payer option was not going to happen, but I think Klein’s big fault was in making the single-pager option too easy for Republicans to deal away without incurring a political cost. Consumers should be able to choose a public option.

Colleen Mahaney
Roswell, GA

Notes from our online readers

In September, Ann Friedman wrote her weekly #realtalk advice column about becoming a successful freelancer, suggesting that aspirants amass clips by writing for free for websites (their own and others). Readers took issue:

The only place you should ever write for free is your own site, never for anyone else. I am extremely disappointed that CJR would promote such an idea, and while Ms. Friedman is a fine journalist, I am equally disappointed that CJR has someone in the “midst of her own freelance experiment” offering advice to freelancers. No veteran freelancer would ever tell someone to write for free. Freelancing is not a game. It’s a business. It should be treated as such, which means getting paid for your work, not giving it away. —Jen A. Miller

While I don’t know Ann Friedman, I do know a LOT of extremely successful freelancers. Perhaps asking them to write a column on how to freelance would have been a wiser choice. . . . Writing for free and sending out those links is basically going to get you nowhere. No editors worth their salt are impressed that you posted an item on your blog or wrote something for a content mill for $10. —Susan Ladika

Friedman responded:

Do I wish even very inexperienced writers could get paid for every single thing they write that’s not on their personal website? Yes. But this column isn’t called #hopeanddreamstalk, it’s called #realtalk.

Arthur O. Sulzberger, 1926-2012

The Editors