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Ezra Klein: January 24, 2010 - January 30, 2010

Tab dump

1) How a good bill doesn't become a law. 2) There's no such thing as simple health reform. 3) Can you kill the filibuster with 51 votes? 4) "I strongly supported the Clinton administration's push to save the budget surplus...

By Ezra Klein  |  January 29, 2010; 6:11 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
 
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Obama: 'You'd think that this thing was some Bolshevik plot'

I've long felt the administration has done a poor job explaining that its health-care bill is an incremental, centrist compromise that resembles nothing so much as the Republican health-care bills proposed in the 1990s. But during today's Q&A, Obama...

By Ezra Klein  |  January 29, 2010; 4:58 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (44)
 
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Strange relationship advice

I've been coming across some strange relationship advice for husbands over the past few days. First, this study says they shouldn't be more attractive than their wives. In the current study, the authors examined how observer ratings of each spouse's...

By Ezra Klein  |  January 29, 2010; 3:59 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
 
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Reconciling with the Senate

I'm surprised to see Kent Conrad taking direct aim at the Senate's dysfunctions. The Senate "was not designed to have everything require 60 votes," Conrad said. "It wasn't designed to prevent important action on the problems facing the country."...

By Ezra Klein  |  January 29, 2010; 3:27 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
 
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This is the death of the efficient markets hypothesis -- a moment of silence

Most people who go to Davos just eat some good food and listen to some dull speeches. Not Daniel Gross. He went to Davos and disproved the efficient-markets hypothesis: This afternoon, while walking into the Congress Center, the main hub...

By Ezra Klein  |  January 29, 2010; 3:16 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
 
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President's question time

Remember the old joke, "I was at a fight and a hockey game broke out?" Well, earlier this afternoon, I was at a photo opportunity and a policy debate broke out. Obama's Q&A session with the House Republicans was...

By Ezra Klein  |  January 29, 2010; 2:42 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (39)
 
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Lunch break

A stop-motion video using shadow art -- more than 6,000 pages of it -- for the animation. It would be better if it was a bit more whimsical and less Dragonball Z, but it's still visually stunning....

By Ezra Klein  |  January 29, 2010; 12:37 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
 
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Freeze frame

Chris Hayes offers a guide for the perplexed on the spending freeze....

By Ezra Klein  |  January 29, 2010; 12:25 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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Rahm Emanuel makes me very pessimistic about health-care reform

According to the New York Times, the "White House on Thursday signaled the outlines of its strategy for breaking the partisan logjam holding up President Obama’s agenda." And that outline is the most depressing thing I've read on the...

By Ezra Klein  |  January 29, 2010; 11:41 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (81)
Categories:  Health Reform  
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GDP on the rise

GDP growth was rocking last quarter, soaring to a 5.7 percent annualized rate. As you can see on the graph to the right, that's a big change from recent trends. But many economists are advising that we ignore the topline...

By Ezra Klein  |  January 29, 2010; 11:31 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (10)
Categories:  Economy  
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Can frogs explain finance?

Alex Tabarrok has an enjoyably weird post this morning wondering whether animals really have "animal spirits," as defined by John Maynard Keynes. To figure it out, he offers an economic analysis of a pond. And "pond" isn't a technical...

By Ezra Klein  |  January 29, 2010; 10:57 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
Categories:  Economics  
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The dead writers' society

J.D. Salinger died yesterday. The Post's obituary is here. I find myself curiously affected by the deaths of novelists I didn't really like. David Foster Wallace, for instance. I reacted to his suicide like that of a warm acquaintance, even...

By Ezra Klein  |  January 29, 2010; 10:42 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (23)
Categories:  Books  
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The quotable Chait

For the record, as a professional blogger, I consider having government officials writing blog posts refuting Wall Street Journal op-eds to be a dangerous encroachment by Big Government upon a vital function of the private sector. That's Jon Chait writing...

By Ezra Klein  |  January 29, 2010; 9:08 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
 
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David Axelrod: 'Reconciliation is a tool that is there to be used'

"The Republicans have it both ways," David Axelrod said in a conversation with a handful of journalists this afternoon. "They have the ability to block, but they assign us the responsibility to govern." But pressed for the White House's...

By Ezra Klein  |  January 28, 2010; 6:09 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (42)
Categories:  Interviews , Obama administration  
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Meet the new Fed chairman, same as the old Fed chairman

Full details on the vote -- which saw Ben Bernanke pocket 70 ayes -- here. Am I wrong to think that this makes Timothy Geithner's future cloudier? Photo credit: By Jason Reed/Reuters...

By Ezra Klein  |  January 28, 2010; 5:20 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
 
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The quotable Pelosi

Yesterday, Nancy Pelosi was asked about health-care reform at a small gathering of writers and columnists. Her reply: I've said to my colleagues, go in the door. The door's locked? Go to the gate. The gate's locked? Climb over the...

By Ezra Klein  |  January 28, 2010; 3:07 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (12)
 
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What Obama did, and didn't, say on health-care reform

I wrote yesterday that congressional Democrats were frustrated with the lack of specificity from the White House, and that the cause of their frustration was, in part, a White House that has pointedly refusing to commit to a path...

By Ezra Klein  |  January 28, 2010; 2:41 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (17)
Categories:  Health Reform  
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Should Europe call Susan Collins or Barack Obama?

A very good, and very unsettling, point from Matthew Yglesias on the effect relentless minority obstruction has on international cooperation: The dysfunctional nature of the United States Congress means that essentially all diplomatic intercourse with the American government is...

By Ezra Klein  |  January 28, 2010; 1:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
 
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Chat transcript

Seattle: So, the big question from the SOTU address is the same as always: did it change any votes in the House or increase the likelihood of a substantive vote in the Senate? Ezra Klein: It's hard to say. Some...

By Ezra Klein  |  January 28, 2010; 1:19 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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Lunch break

Cooking with liquid nitrogen:...

By Ezra Klein  |  January 28, 2010; 12:33 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
 
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The iPad will not save newspapers

Little has made me as pessimistic about the fate of the media as the strange bubble of anticipation surrounding Apple's iPad tablet device. The thinking was that the media's woes could be traced back to an original sin: offering free...

By Ezra Klein  |  January 28, 2010; 12:08 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (11)
Categories:  Journalism  
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Sentence of the day

It's always hard to say, "I don't know." But no one else can say it for you. That's Ta-Nehisi Coates on Chris Matthews. I would love to see Matthews invite Coates on his show to discuss the whole post....

By Ezra Klein  |  January 28, 2010; 11:46 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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Ready for some real talk?

I've got one of them chat thingies at noon today. We'll talk State of the Union, next steps on health care, and anything else you care to ask about. Submit questions here, or join in live at noon....

By Ezra Klein  |  January 28, 2010; 11:35 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
 
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The big questions

Eliot Spitzer on the meaning of love (seriously):...

By Ezra Klein  |  January 28, 2010; 11:25 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
 
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Doesn't the SEC have better things to do right now?

On Wednesday, the Securities and Exchange Commission voted "to require that companies disclose in their public filings the impact of climate change on their businesses -- from new regulations or legislation they may face domestically or abroad to potential changes...

By Ezra Klein  |  January 28, 2010; 11:03 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
Categories:  Climate Change  
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The alchemy of finance

Daniel Gross reports from an event in Davos where people gathered to hear a very rich man -- in this case, George Soros -- say very conventional things. And this was one of the better sessions. While copies of his...

By Ezra Klein  |  January 28, 2010; 10:22 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
 
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Tim Geithner's honorable unpopularity

David Cho has a nice piece today talking to Timothy Geithner about why nobody likes him. Geithner's explanation is convincing, so far as it goes: He held office at a time when the right things to do were also unpopular...

By Ezra Klein  |  January 28, 2010; 10:15 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
 
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Money in politics

Before the State of the Union last night, I saw Lawrence Lessig give a version of the above presentation. The version I saw was focused on getting libertarians to unite behind public funding, but since my audience isn't primarily...

By Ezra Klein  |  January 28, 2010; 9:28 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (16)
 
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A good speech that needs a good follow-through

The build-up to tonight's State of the Union -- on this blog as well as many others -- was that this was a make-or-break speech for the president. The drama of the occasion mixed with the gravity of the...

By Ezra Klein  |  January 27, 2010; 10:58 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (20)
 
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The State of the Union: Just the policy

This was a big speech, with a lot in it. I want to digest for a bit before I write up my reaction. But Obama touched on so many issues that it seemed worth cutting the speech down to just...

By Ezra Klein  |  January 27, 2010; 10:05 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
 
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Open SOTU thread

Rumor has it the State of the Union is today rather than tomorrow to avoid conflicting with the Lost premiere. But my feelings towards one are pretty similar to my feelings towards the other: I'm confused by the most recent...

By Ezra Klein  |  January 27, 2010; 8:50 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (11)
 
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What Obama has to do tonight

My big hope is that Barack Obama opens tonight's State of the Union by saying, "You want the State of the Union? You can't handle the State of the Union!" But barring that, I'm looking to see whether he uses...

By Ezra Klein  |  January 27, 2010; 6:05 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
 
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Reconciling with reconciliation

Fox News has started calling the reconciliation process "the nuclear option," which implies that Bush's two tax cuts -- both of which went through reconciliation -- were Little Boy and Fat Man, respectively. Nancy Pelosi has a more apt term:...

By Ezra Klein  |  January 27, 2010; 5:37 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
 
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The radicalism of majority rule

As a bit of an addendum to the post below, it's always worth noting that the radical vision of filibuster opponents is ... majority rule. The majority rule that Congress used until very recently, the majority rule that is...

By Ezra Klein  |  January 27, 2010; 5:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
Categories:  Senate  
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Party polarization is not the same as ideological polarization

Ruth Marcus's column defending the filibuster turns on what I think to be the strongest argument in favor of the filibuster. It goes something like this: Yes, the filibuster has become constant. And yes, that's a new development. But...

By Ezra Klein  |  January 27, 2010; 4:37 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (13)
Categories:  Senate  
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The defense budget should be frozen

Spencer Ackerman explains the insanity of exempting the defense budget from the spending freeze. Everyone in Washington who studies the Pentagon budget quickly finds gobs and gobs of wasteful spending. Not some people. Not dirty hippies. Every. Single. Defense. Analyst....

By Ezra Klein  |  January 27, 2010; 3:46 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (15)
Categories:  Budget  
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White House to reaffirm commitment to health care?

The White House is apparently telling Capitol Hill that "Obama will leave no doubt that his commitment to addressing health care is as strong right now as it was in his September speech." Let's hope....

By Ezra Klein  |  January 27, 2010; 3:06 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (11)
 
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The little commission that couldn't, cont'd.

Somewhat surprisingly, a bipartisan coalition of senators rejected the proposed budget commission yesterday. A little while before they did that, Max Baucus got a 97 to 0 vote taking changes to Social Security off the table. There's talk today that...

By Ezra Klein  |  January 27, 2010; 2:41 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
Categories:  Budget  
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Ben Bernanke: Big in Europe

Looks like the Europeans -- or at least the head of their Central Bank -- want us to reappoint Ben Bernanke: European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet offered qualified support for a U.S. plan to rein in the size...

By Ezra Klein  |  January 27, 2010; 2:02 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
 
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Lunch break

It's not as depressing as it seems for the first minute. And it's sort of a palindrome....

By Ezra Klein  |  January 27, 2010; 12:48 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
 
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Do presidential elections produce more ideologically extreme senators?

If so, it would be a surprise. The electorate that votes for president is larger and more moderate than the electorate that votes in midterm elections. You'd expect that to lead to more moderate Senate elections, too. But according to...

By Ezra Klein  |  January 27, 2010; 12:28 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  Political Science  
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The SOTU guest list

One way to predict the focus of the State of the Union is to scan the list of guests who'll be sitting with Michelle Obama. This year, for instance, we've got Li Boynton, an "18-year-old senior from Bellaire, Texas whose...

By Ezra Klein  |  January 27, 2010; 11:58 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
 
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Taxing rich people is popular

As Jonathan Chait notes this morning (and as Oregonians proved Tuesday), taxing rich people is a popular way to fund social services. Indeed, every poll on health-care reform has shown that taxing rich people is a lot more popular than...

By Ezra Klein  |  January 27, 2010; 11:17 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (28)
 
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Waiting for Barack

Every Hill office I've spoken to in the past week has had the same complaint. "Where," they ask, "is the White House?" There's been no clear message on the way forward for health-care reform. No clear articulation of preferences. No...

By Ezra Klein  |  January 27, 2010; 10:48 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (40)
Categories:  Barack Obama  
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The State of the Union Obama should give

Steve Pearlstein writes the speech Obama should give tonight. My fellow Americans, the state of our union is . . . well, quite wretched at the moment. As president, I owe you that honesty and candor. It would be bad...

By Ezra Klein  |  January 27, 2010; 8:05 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (20)
 
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Can the states make a real dent in climate change?

Brad Plumer investigates: Already, ten states in the Northeast have put their electric utilities under a cap-and-trade system known as RGGI. Eleven Western states and Canadian provinces are now laying the groundwork for their own cap-and-trade system, known as the...

By Ezra Klein  |  January 27, 2010; 7:09 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
Categories:  Climate Change  
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Tab dump

1) A lot of liberals in Congress seem to have bought into the odd premise that the benefits that they receive would somehow be a step down for the rest of the country. 2) A lot of conservatives in Congress...

By Ezra Klein  |  January 26, 2010; 6:49 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
 
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The upside of reconciliation

Ben Nelson says he will vote against any health-care compromise that runs through reconciliation. Same goes for Evan Bayh. Blanche Lincoln added her name to the list, too. Which is all as it should be. The virtue of running...

By Ezra Klein  |  January 26, 2010; 6:03 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (22)
Categories:  Health Reform  
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How dumb are the bond markets?

I don't really understand this argument that the spending freeze is about convincing the bond market that Washington has the courage to deal with the long-term deficit. The long-term deficit is almost entirely driven by health-care costs. The White House...

By Ezra Klein  |  January 26, 2010; 5:57 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
Categories:  Budget  
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Populism

I don't agree with everything in David Brooks's column on populism, but this is a smart distillation of what populist campaign rhetoric translates to in Washington: Populism is popular with the ruling class. Ever since I started covering politics, the...

By Ezra Klein  |  January 26, 2010; 5:12 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
 
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Is deposit insurance the problem?

Raghuram Rajan, who was extremely prescient in predicting that the deregulation of the financial sector would lead to a global economic crisis, doesn't think regulating the size of banks is the way to go. It's too difficult to do, he...

By Ezra Klein  |  January 26, 2010; 4:48 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (17)
Categories:  Financial Regulation  
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Uh oh

According to Politico, Senate Democrats didn't even mention health-care reform at their weekly luncheon. I'm sure they just forgot....

By Ezra Klein  |  January 26, 2010; 4:39 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
 
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Catastrophe tears us apart

"It is amazing that some people here in Congress still don't get it," says Sen. Evan Bayh, who's counseling Democrats to move to the right. "For those people it may take a political catastrophe of biblical proportions before they...

By Ezra Klein  |  January 26, 2010; 4:04 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (23)
 
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The day's worst news

No, not the freeze. El Bulli -- the Spanish laboratory considered by many to be the world's best restaurant -- might be closing. And I've still never been. Guess I'll have to content myself with Adam Roberts's write-up....

By Ezra Klein  |  January 26, 2010; 3:38 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
 
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Remember school uniforms?

Before the freeze was announced and completely consumed the headlines, the Obama administration had proposed five policies meant to help the middle class. All of them are good. All of them are small. All of them are reminiscent of late-term...

By Ezra Klein  |  January 26, 2010; 2:57 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
 
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Taking the freeze seriously

Jared Bernstein tries to sell the freeze: First, an important note on timing. No one is arguing that we should take our foot off the accelerator today, when the economic recovery remains fragile and job growth has yet to return....

By Ezra Klein  |  January 26, 2010; 2:50 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Budget  
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Whatever happened to making deals?

One of the odder elements to the non-security discretionary spending freeze -- a policy that really needs a better title, or at least a better acronym -- is that it's not in exchange for anything, at least as far as...

By Ezra Klein  |  January 26, 2010; 1:41 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (17)
 
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Lunch break

Dinosaur ballet....

By Ezra Klein  |  January 26, 2010; 1:31 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
 
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Senate considering radical move to confirm Bernanke with a simple majority

This is just an appalling way for the Senate to act. When it comes to progressive priorities in the Senate, there's one standard: 60 votes are needed. But for Ben Bernanke, there's a second standard: 50 will be just fine,...

By Ezra Klein  |  January 26, 2010; 1:16 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (12)
 
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Rachel Maddow vs. Jared Bernstein

This conversation between Rachel Maddow, who's skeptical of the spending freeze, and administration economist Jared Bernstein, who's obviously a defender of it, is about as useful a discussion of the freeze's pros, cons and specifics as you're likely to find....

By Ezra Klein  |  January 26, 2010; 11:45 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (17)
Categories:  Budget  
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The Obama administration loses the deficit -- and the spending -- argument

This video is not good for the White House. It shows Barack Obama repeatedly, and eloquently, rejecting John McCain's proposal for a "non-defense spending discretionary freeze." We need a scalpel, Obama says, not a hatchet. The White House can...

By Ezra Klein  |  January 26, 2010; 11:35 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (77)
Categories:  Budget  
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Surprise! We got you a spending freeze.

The Center for American Progress is, far and away, the most plugged-in think tank in town. Many of us watch their reports and releases because they're often the first indication of where White House policy and messaging is moving. Not...

By Ezra Klein  |  January 26, 2010; 10:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (13)
Categories:  Budget  
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The Schumer-Hatch jobs strategy

While the administration mucks about with spending freezes, Chuck Schumer and, surprisingly, Orrin Hatch have partnered on a proposal with some real job-creation merit: We have an idea that is simple, straightforward and easy to explain and administer. In fact,...

By Ezra Klein  |  January 26, 2010; 9:44 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (20)
 
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Trivia question

What was the first e-mail exchange between heads of state? Answer here....

By Ezra Klein  |  January 26, 2010; 9:08 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
 
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The myth of independents

John Sides is annoyed by the pundits continually talking about independents as if they're some giant, dominant, bloc: I want to yell. INDEPENDENTS ARE NOT A “VAST MIDDLE GROUND.” INDEPENDENTS DO NOT COMPRISE MORE THAN “A THIRD OF AMERICANS.”...

By Ezra Klein  |  January 26, 2010; 8:22 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
Categories:  Political Science  
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Mr. Freeze

On a conference call last night, the administration announced that its upcoming budget would freeze non-security discretionary spending between 2011 and 2013. That's like freezing non-defense discretionary spending, but it also exempts the Department of Homeland Security and the...

By Ezra Klein  |  January 25, 2010; 9:03 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (31)
Categories:  Budget  
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Tab dump

1) Five questions for Bill Gates. 2) A round-up of economist reactions to Ben Bernanke's renomination. 3) If you care about health care, this is a good time to call your senators and congresspeople. 4) What the map would look...

By Ezra Klein  |  January 25, 2010; 6:22 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
 
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Keynes v. Hayek

Now in convenient rap form....

By Ezra Klein  |  January 25, 2010; 5:21 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
 
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Lessons of the bag tax

Many think that the problem with taxes is that most people really don't like paying them. But that can also be their great virtue. Take the five cents the District just levied on every plastic bag in the city. Bag...

By Ezra Klein  |  January 25, 2010; 5:12 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (16)
 
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'Democratic policymakers must give success a chance'

Steve Benen has some advice for the Democrats....

By Ezra Klein  |  January 25, 2010; 4:08 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (12)
 
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The corporate 'I'

Justin Fox -- writing from his new perch as editor of the Harvard Business Review -- thinks that the Supreme Court's vision of the corporation would make Milton Friedman blush: The Supreme Court was dealing with three different and conflicting...

By Ezra Klein  |  January 25, 2010; 3:41 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (12)
 
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Changing politics

Rick Perlstein and Mark Schmitt take a bit of time to really get going in their debate over whether Obama's 'theory of change' has been a success, but eventually they do get into it, and they both agree: It's failed....

By Ezra Klein  |  January 25, 2010; 3:35 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (20)
 
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Can reconciliation save the health-care bill?

"Senior aides on both sides tell me that despite Nancy Pelosi’s claim that she doesn’t have the votes to pass the Senate health bill in the House, the Dem leadership still thinks it’s possible to win over enough House...

By Ezra Klein  |  January 25, 2010; 3:15 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (15)
Categories:  Health Reform  
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The upside of the Supreme Court's upsetting new decision

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy I pop into this segment at about the nine-minute mark, and make a sort of strange argument on the Supreme Court's "corporations are people, too!" ruling. I'm optimistic...

By Ezra Klein  |  January 25, 2010; 2:19 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (16)
Categories:  Legal  
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The new financial reform strategy

The Wall Street Journal has a nice piece on how the Massachusetts election has emboldened Senate Republicans to oppose financial regulation reform. "Democrats still control the Senate," reports Damian Paletta, "but political momentum has shifted toward Republicans. The White...

By Ezra Klein  |  January 25, 2010; 1:07 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (14)
Categories:  Financial Regulation  
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Lunch break

I've said some unkind things about cats on this blog. But that's only because I'd never seen one defeat a bear in claw-to-claw combat....

By Ezra Klein  |  January 25, 2010; 12:31 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
 
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Think Tank: Medical malpractice, China and the hot new place for poverty

1) According to the Brookings Institution, poverty is rising fastest in the suburbs. 2) The three faces of work-family conflict in America: the poor, the professionals and the missing middle. 3) Medical malpractice costs and the associated increase in defensive...

By Ezra Klein  |  January 25, 2010; 12:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  Think Tank  
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'Stealth Democracy'

On the recommendation of a friendly reader, I've been reading 'Stealth Democracy,' which despite being published in 2002 and having nothing to do with health care, is probably the single most useful book for understanding why the Nelson deal --...

By Ezra Klein  |  January 25, 2010; 11:32 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  Books , Political Science  
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There's nothing new about deals

The Nelson deal may be galling, but the media has done the public a real disservice by pretending that it's rare. As reader HF explains, the Clear Air Act, to take just one example, was rife with this sort of...

By Ezra Klein  |  January 25, 2010; 11:02 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (18)
 
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How presidents polarize

The figure atop this post comes from Frances Lee's "Beyond Ideology," and it shows something interesting: We're in the midst of a decades-long trend in which presidential agenda items take up more and more of Congress's time. Whether that's...

By Ezra Klein  |  January 25, 2010; 10:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (16)
Categories:  Political Science  
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A note on polling

(Via Bruce Bartlett.)...

By Ezra Klein  |  January 25, 2010; 10:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
 
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If the Federal Reserve chairman falls in the forest and everyone is around to hear...

There's a lot of annoyance among liberal bloggers (and tweeters) that the White House is making strong statements in support of Ben Bernanke's renomination even as they've been vague on the next steps for health care. I'm similarly annoyed at...

By Ezra Klein  |  January 25, 2010; 9:08 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
Categories:  Federal Reserve  
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Contest!

Timothy Noah is holding a contest: If you can figure out a way to pass any significant health reform bill between now and November 2010, fill out the form below. You're limited to 500 words, you must give your entry...

By Ezra Klein  |  January 25, 2010; 8:41 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
 
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The importance of going back on your word

Karen Tumulty was out in Massachusetts for the election, and her take strikes me as correct. Voters were unsettled, she reports, "by the process they saw going on in Washington. Rather than being drafted with the common good in...

By Ezra Klein  |  January 25, 2010; 8:14 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (32)
 
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Return of the Plouffe

Barack Obama's campaign manager David Plouffe is reportedly being brought in to get the party into fighting shape for the 2010 midterms. He previewed his advice in Sunday's Washington Post, and it seems pretty sound. For instance: Pass a...

By Ezra Klein  |  January 25, 2010; 7:05 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (14)
Categories:  2010 Midterms  
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