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Introduction

I'm not one for long introductions. This is a blog. I'm a blogger. We'll have fun. You'll see.

But the overlords say it's good form. So! Our topic will be the politics and policy of the economy. But that doesn't limit us to the latest unemployment numbers or the wreckage of a freshly collapsed bank. Those are economic outcomes. We'll be focusing at least as much on economic inputs. The forces that decide what tomorrow's economy will look like. Health care reform, which is the central fiscal challenge of our time, threatening to bankrupt both the government and the rest of us. Cap and trade, which proceeds from the recognition that carbon emissions, and thus global warming, is governed by what we do -- and do not -- purchase. Financial regulation, education policy, the future of organized labor, even the food production system. Anything else that comes up.

It's a lot to make sense of. But we have an access point: A couple blocks from here, at the cross of Independence Avenue, Constitution Avenue, and 1st Street, the thousands of economic tributaries combine. That's where the economy we live in -- and the economy we want to live in -- crashes into the dysfunctional and idiosyncratic Congress that we actually possess. A Congress that's being asked to act with great speed and wisdom even though extreme polarization and the oppressive reality of the filibuster have virtually paralyzed it. A Congress that takes potential solutions and refashions them into something else altogether: Legislation. Watching the sausage get made isn't always pretty. But it ensures a better sausage than if no one is watching.

I'm Ezra Klein, I'll be your guide on all this. (If you want a quick bio, head here). But I won't be the last word on any of it. Instead, I'll be curating our conversation. Bringing issues and news stories to your attention. Publishing graphs and charts you might find useful. Tracking down the academic studies and Congressional Research Service policy briefs that are informing policy makers and should be informing their critics. Offering a first crack at explanation and analysis. Responding to your comments. Posting your best insights.

They say the greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist. Well, the greatest trick that Washington ever played was convincing the nation that the actual work of government was too dull for the people to participate in or pay attention to. They pay me to make this interesting and comprehensible. I'll do my best. In return, the hope is that you stay awhile. Bookmark the site. Subscribe to the RSS feed (full text, cuz that's how we do). Comment when you feel moved. E-mail when you feel compelled. Twitter when the mood strikes. Send links and tips and corrections and arguments. Engage. Believe me, it'll be more fun that way.

By Ezra Klein  |  May 18, 2009; 1:38 AM ET
 
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Comments

Bueno!

Let the fun begin!

Joe K

Posted by: joemken | May 17, 2009 10:50 PM | Report abuse

Hey, Ezra! From your old, old place, to your not so old place, to here. Whew!

Seems your bio link isn't actualized yet - if the error message is indicative.

I'll be lurking in the background as before.

Best wishes.

Posted by: bystander007 | May 17, 2009 10:51 PM | Report abuse

I kind a preferred 'Momma said wonk you out'

Posted by: leoklein | May 17, 2009 11:46 PM | Report abuse

What leo said ^. ;) Welcome to your new world, Ezra. My hope and suggestion is that you're still overly heavy on health care wonkery. Both important to our time and my fave...

Posted by: deanlambrecht | May 18, 2009 12:18 AM | Report abuse


i dont know if it correlates with the arrival
of your new blog, but the world has just moved
out here in california!

wonk them out!

Posted by: jkaren | May 18, 2009 1:37 AM | Report abuse

gee, another white male blogger. just what the wash post needed....

Posted by: nancyjeanmail | May 18, 2009 6:32 AM | Report abuse

woo hooo, more journalist groupthink, just what we all needed, another wall in the echo chamber.

Posted by: permagrin | May 18, 2009 6:39 AM | Report abuse

There's something else Klein touches on but doesn't quite plumb -- using an "authority" figure as cover for irresponsible spending, with a dollop of manic American optimism on top. Like too many Americans, I would know that from personal experience. (a) I know it's a bad idea, (b) I want to do it anyway, (c) a "professional" tells me I can. (b) & (c) totally trump poor little (a).

The Constant Weader at www.RealityChex.com

Posted by: marieburns | May 18, 2009 6:53 AM | Report abuse

Yay! I was a devoted reader at TAP although I didn't comment much. I'll try to do better.

It seems the RSS link at the bottom of the page isn't working. (The one at the top is.)

Posted by: KatherineWelsh | May 18, 2009 7:20 AM | Report abuse

Welcome Ezra: I was a fan at the old digs, and look forward to some real wonking in this remarkably unrealistic publication.
And we need more recipes...

Posted by: mrbill30560 | May 18, 2009 7:31 AM | Report abuse

Good luck!

Loved your work at TAP, can't wait to see what you do here.

Posted by: bcamarda2 | May 18, 2009 8:12 AM | Report abuse

[Random incoherent quote.]

[Unfounded assertion that the farthest fringes of right-wing nuttery is, in fact, the "center".]

[Snide anti-Ezra comment.]


Posted by: icoleman | May 18, 2009 8:41 AM | Report abuse

Good for you. Ezra.

Posted by: drindl | May 18, 2009 9:27 AM | Report abuse

"They pay me to make politics and policy of the economy interesting and comprehensible"

"They", hopefully, not being who I think they are . . .

Posted by: wardropper | May 18, 2009 10:06 AM | Report abuse

If you're to be our "guide" on economics, I'd like to know what qualifies you to fill that role. In my experience, journalists have a poor grasp of economics, so what makes you different? Why should I read you and not the dozen or so economic blogs out there already, like Marginal Revolution, EconLog, or Freakonomics? (At least the NY Times has a real economist for their econ blog.)

Posted by: rebnox | May 18, 2009 10:17 AM | Report abuse

I've made the jump and will be reading. Keep it coming.

Posted by: TheIncidentalEconomist | May 18, 2009 12:12 PM | Report abuse

I have switched my bookmarks.

Good luck. As before, I hope you find all that you are seeking.

KJ

Posted by: punchaxverulam | May 18, 2009 12:43 PM | Report abuse

Welcome, Ezra! I see a few of the usual trolls have arrived, so you should feel right at home.

Posted by: idlemind | May 18, 2009 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Look forward to reading you at your new digs.

Posted by: ilyagerner | May 18, 2009 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Congratulations on the new position.

One issue that needs more coverage is Drug Policy Reform.

The Obama Administration has backed off on federal funding for Needle Exchange and in their budget has not shown any indication of changing priorities in the "War on Drugs."

I quote Norm Stamper:

"In the 2010 budget, prevention takes a 10.6 percent hit while domestic law enforcement gets a boost of 2.3 percent, with "interdiction" (military and police actions designed to stem the flow of drugs into and about the country) gaining 4.4 percent. On the positive side of the ledger, treatment shows a 4.4 percent increase. And what of the never-ending seesaw battle between supply and demand initiatives? Unfortunately, demand reduction efforts (education, prevention) are down 0.8 percent, while (generally futile) supply reduction initiatives (enforcement, burning or poisoning crops) gets a 2.7 percent bump.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/norm-stamper/new-drug-czar-were-not-at_b_203711.html

Posted by: randy80302 | May 18, 2009 1:05 PM | Report abuse

Hey, is this the same Ezra Klein who was [my recollection] that really wonky kid who knew a lot about health care? Congrats on the new digs.

@rebnox. Watch and learn, pal. And try to keep up.

Posted by: bamage | May 18, 2009 6:18 PM | Report abuse

You're contributing to the food section too? Awesome.

Posted by: eirinn22 | May 18, 2009 7:31 PM | Report abuse

Yo!! Let's do it!

Posted by: TopTenPercentOwn70PercentOfUSassets | May 18, 2009 8:35 PM | Report abuse

What's the relationship of this blog with Fred Hiatt? Something about your very fine blog establishing a relationship with a newspaper whose editorial pages whose rep is pretty tarnished is puzzling to me. I am not that familiar with the career paths of progressive bloggers so I am not sure what this gives you? The usual money, power, fame? Or just a bigger megaphone? You'll have to be good to measure up to Dan Froomkin that's for sure.

Posted by: mickster1 | May 19, 2009 2:57 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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