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Ezra Klein: May 30, 2010 - June 5, 2010

The New York Times and Janelle Brown owe me a correction

In an article about Mickey Kaus's quixotic Senate candidacy, Janelle Brown writes that I "loathe" Kaus. I don't. I find his apparent interest in me puzzling, but that's about all the thought I give to the matter. Moreover, Brown didn't...

By Ezra Klein  |  June 5, 2010; 1:17 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (34)
 
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Reconciliation

Got squeezed for time today, so no reconciliation. But I'll be talking about the politics of the il spill on Countdown with Keith Olbermann tonight. Should be right at the top of the show....

By Ezra Klein  |  June 4, 2010; 6:14 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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The concerned speed-readers of America

At about 1 p.m. today, the Clinton library released more than 45,000 pages of documents relating to Elena Kagan's service in the Clinton administration. You can read them here. At about 1:45 p.m., I got this news release from...

By Ezra Klein  |  June 4, 2010; 3:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (15)
 
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On jobs, watch the trend

It's worth reading the reactions of the Wall Street Journal's panel of economists to the May job numbers. A lot of us have the tendency to look at each new month as a wholly separate slice of data and celebrate...

By Ezra Klein  |  June 4, 2010; 2:47 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (12)
Categories:  Economy  
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Inputs, outputs and growth

Reading Paul Krugman's essay on “The Myth of Asia's Miracle" did a lot to clarify my thinking on China's economy. The key concept, Krugman explains, is that "economic expansion represents the sum of two sources of growth. On one side...

By Ezra Klein  |  June 4, 2010; 2:01 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  China  
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Lunch Break

I'm getting unreasonably excited for “Scott Pilgrim vs. The World.”...

By Ezra Klein  |  June 4, 2010; 12:25 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
 
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Wal-Mart University

I'm still trying to decide what to think about this: Under a program announced Thursday, employees of Wal-Mart and Sam's Club will be able to receive college credit for performing their jobs, including such tasks as loading trucks and ringing...

By Ezra Klein  |  June 4, 2010; 11:38 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (33)
 
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Want to know more about Israel's blockade of Gaza?

This is the best rundown I've seen....

By Ezra Klein  |  June 4, 2010; 11:15 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (10)
 
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New Newsweek

I wasn't in town when Newsweek's online redesign launched, but it's really snazzy. Check it out....

By Ezra Klein  |  June 4, 2010; 11:06 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
 
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More on the job numbers

Last week, pressure from deficit hawks forced the House of Representatives to cut the size of their jobs bill in half. As David Leonhardt wrote, "the case against the jobs bill starts with the idea that the economy is recovering."...

By Ezra Klein  |  June 4, 2010; 10:41 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (18)
 
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How a bill becomes a law

In one comprehensive graphic....

By Ezra Klein  |  June 4, 2010; 10:04 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
 
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Good news and bad news in May jobs report

A serious good news/bad news jobs report this month. The good news: The economy added 431,000 jobs in May, and the unemployment rate edged down from 9.9 percent to 9.7 percent. The bad news: About 411,000 of those jobs...

By Ezra Klein  |  June 4, 2010; 9:08 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (64)
Categories:  Economy  
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Israel's blockade

There's not much I can say about the mess the Israeli government has made for itself that Spencer Ackerman doesn't say in this post. The only thing I'd add is that the international reaction to Israel's actions is evidence...

By Ezra Klein  |  June 4, 2010; 9:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Israel/Palestine  
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Wonkbook: Reid wants energy legislation by July; BP caps well (again); Kagan the boss

Democrats are trying to take control of public anger over the BP spill, and that means moving the debate to energy legislation. Harry Reid is now urging chairmen to pass a comprehensive bill out of committee by July, and...

By Ezra Klein  |  June 4, 2010; 5:56 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  Wonkbook  
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Reconciliation

I'm jet-lagged. But I managed to get off posts looking at possible problems for the Chinese economy, long-term unemployment in the American economy and why people really want the Dartmouth folks to be right about health care. Here's what I...

By Ezra Klein  |  June 3, 2010; 6:23 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
 
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What do you call Chinese food in China?

Part of the problem with taking a trip alongside other bloggers is that they end up blogging your joint experiences first. And so it goes with Matt's post on the food we ate in China. A couple of observations,...

By Ezra Klein  |  June 3, 2010; 5:22 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (11)
Categories:  Food  
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A guide to blaming Obama for BP

I was in China while most of this was playing out, but it seems really weird to judge President Obama on whether he has responded to the BP spill emotionally enough, or whether he's been able to stop a...

By Ezra Klein  |  June 3, 2010; 3:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
Categories:  Energy  
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My name is my name

As an employee of The Washington Post, I'm very upset to hear that Nate Silver has been hired by the New York Times. But as an admirer of Nate and his work at FiveThirtyEight.com, I think it's great news. What...

By Ezra Klein  |  June 3, 2010; 3:18 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (22)
 
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Tom Toles is worth a thousand words

By Ezra Klein  |  June 3, 2010; 2:32 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
 
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Loser-free health-care reform

To say another word about the fuss over the Dartmouth Atlas project, it's worth talking for a minute about why people so badly want the project's conclusions to be right. The Dartmouth Atlas project has amassed an enormous amount of...

By Ezra Klein  |  June 3, 2010; 2:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (24)
Categories:  Health Reform  
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Who is the New York Times 'strafing'?

The New York Times ran a front-page story today arguing that the Dartmouth Atlas project -- which is the ongoing research project associated with the finding that we pay a lot of money for health care that doesn't do us...

By Ezra Klein  |  June 3, 2010; 1:29 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Health Economics , Health Reform  
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Lunch break

Further proving the Internet's awesomeness, here are five videos of birds doing their mating dances. The bird of paradise, for instance, turns himself into what looks like a determined flying saucer. These are all safe for work, unless you work...

By Ezra Klein  |  June 3, 2010; 1:15 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
 
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No, Fannie and Freddie did not cause the housing crisis

Paul Krugman puts up four charts that, together, eviscerate the claim that the housing crisis was somehow the product of government policy meant to extend home loans to low-income borrowers. It's a good post to bookmark and simply forward along...

By Ezra Klein  |  June 3, 2010; 12:28 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (38)
Categories:  Housing Crisis  
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Appointment agonistes

While I've been in China, many people back home were arguing over whether the Obama administration might have offered Joe Sestak a job in return for skipping the Senate race. Or maybe not. Or maybe it was just an advisory...

By Ezra Klein  |  June 3, 2010; 11:49 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
 
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The global economy isn't zero-sum

Matt Miller's got a very good column on education today that allows me to make an almost entirely unrelated point about the way China (and, for that matter, India) gets used in the domestic political conversation. Miller's column argues...

By Ezra Klein  |  June 3, 2010; 11:40 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
Categories:  Economic Policy  | Tags: clean energy, ezra klein, global economy, renewable energy  
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Obama talks carbon pricing

Obama is finally using the BP disaster to talk about the need to get past the sticky black stuff that's choking the Gulf Coast: Now, this brings me to an issue that’s on everybody’s minds right now -- namely, what...

By Ezra Klein  |  June 3, 2010; 11:22 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
Categories:  Climate Change  
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Long-term unemployment

There's more than enough bad news to go around these days, but this graph is among the most quietly scary things to contemplate. It's from the Wall Street Journal, and it charts the historical percentage of the unemployed who've...

By Ezra Klein  |  June 3, 2010; 9:12 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (32)
Categories:  Charts and Graphs , Economy  
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Tell me where have you been? Around the world and I'm back again.

First order of business: Thanks to my terrific guest bloggers. You can continue reading Kate Sheppard at Mother Jones, Mike Konczal at Rortybomb, Jonathan Bernstein at his modestly named Plain Blog, and Dylan Matthews at Minipundit. I'll have some...

By Ezra Klein  |  June 3, 2010; 9:07 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  China  
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Wonkbook: New cap & trade push; nuclear option; new ed standards

Dylan Matthews is writing Wonkbook while Ezra is in China. Pivoting off the oil spill, President Obama has promised to wrangle the votes needed for cap and trade this Congress. Meanwhile, the administration has ruled out plugging the oil spill...

By Washington Post editor  |  June 3, 2010; 8:42 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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Reconciliation

By Dylan Matthews Today, Jonathan assessed Senate reform proposals, Mike considered food policy, I looked at the political science research behind Scott Brown's moderation, and Kate argued that climate policy is health policy. 1) The case against regulatory discretion. 2)...

By Multiplatform Editor  |  June 2, 2010; 7:45 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
 
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Wrapping up Senate reform with Superbill

By Jonathan Bernstein First of all, a major thank you to Ezra Klein. I hope his readers didn't mind having someone a little less policy-wonkish than what they're used to in this space ... at any rate, thanks very much...

By Washington Post Editors  |  June 2, 2010; 7:05 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Congress , Senate  
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Wrapping up Senate reform with Superbill

By Jonathan Bernstein First of all, a major thank you to Ezra Klein. I hope his readers didn't mind having someone a little less policy-wonkish than what they're used to in this space ... at any rate, thanks very much...

By Washington Post Editors  |  June 2, 2010; 7:05 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Congress , Senate  
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Unhealthy food shoppers and inequality of income, consumption

By Mike Konczal Jamelle Bouie leads us to an interesting story from MSNBC: "Pricey grocery stores attract skinniest shoppers." The percentage of food shoppers who are obese is almost 10 times higher at low-cost grocery stores compared with upscale markets,...

By Multiplatform Editor  |  June 2, 2010; 6:32 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
 
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Assessing Senate reform proposals, Part 2

By Jonathan Bernstein Two more proposals to consider: Scott Lilly/Center for American Progress Lilly, a former senior congressional staffer, has two suggested reforms (pdf). One I find intriguing is to set strict time limits on appropriations bills, modeled on the...

By Multiplatform Editor  |  June 2, 2010; 5:18 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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Assessing Senate reform proposals, Part 1

By Jonathan Bernstein Let's go! I'll start with proposals by senators. Evan Bayh's plan Bayh has three ideas: require affirmative written commitments to filibuster, including a "live" filibuster, from at least 35 senators only one filibuster per bill change the...

By Washington Post Editors  |  June 2, 2010; 3:55 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Congress , Senate  
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Climate policy is health policy

By Kate Sheppard Among the many positive outcomes of carbon-reduction policy often ignored when looking at the costs are the health benefits. In fact, health savings due to improvements in air quality alone would outweigh the potential costs of cutting...

By Washington Post editor  |  June 2, 2010; 3:33 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
 
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Best quote about why Senate reform is needed

At one point, perhaps in the 1970s and 1980s, filibusters were frequent but not universal, and the rules and norms worked just fine. What's happened is that it turned out that the rule on the books doesn't actually do what people thought the rule on the books did, once the norms of how senators behaved changed. And once a loophole (an opportunity?) in the rules is exploited, there's little chance of going back to the status quo ante. So the real case for reforming the Senate rules is that it's necessary because the operations of the Senate -- the combination of rules and norms -- have radically changed over 20 years.

By Washington Post Editors  |  June 2, 2010; 1:54 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Congress , Senate  
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Guidelines for Senate reform

The argument so far has been that majoritarian reform is neither required on democratic grounds nor likely, given the inherent structure of the Senate. At the same time, there's no reason that some reform isn't possible, and perhaps a good thing. The urgency of reform, I think, depends on just how broken the system is. In this post, I break down the question of reform across three things the Senate does: confirming executive branch nominations; confirming judges; and legislating.

By Washington Post Editors  |  June 2, 2010; 12:38 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Congress , Senate  
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Scott Brown and the median Massachusetts voter

David Herzenhorn has a good piece on the inevitable conservative disillusionment with Scott Brown, now that he's started voting like a representative of Massachusetts.

By Washington Post Editors  |  June 2, 2010; 11:18 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Tags: ezra klein  
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Excluding the benefits

By Kate Sheppard In addition to low-balling the social costs of carbon, the system we use to account for the price of carbon reduction policies also fails to take into account the litany of benefits that stem from doing so....

By Washington Post editor  |  June 2, 2010; 10:24 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
 
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The democracy behind Senate rules

By Jonathan Bernstein I'll cut to the chase: Democratic theory does not require eliminating the filibuster; democracy is not the same thing as majority rule. On the other hand, democracy does not require supermajority rules in the Senate, so eliminating...

By Washington Post editor  |  June 2, 2010; 9:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (11)
 
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Wonkbook: Criminal spill; chronic unemployment; new health fight

Dylan Matthews is writing Wonkbook while Ezra is in China. The Justice Department is launching a criminal investigation into the BP oil spill. Meanwhile, long-term unemployment has reached an unprecedented high. And an Obama nominee promises to reignite the health-care...

By Washington Post editor  |  June 2, 2010; 8:49 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
 
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Reconciliation

By Dylan Matthews Today, Jonathan explained why we're stuck with the Senate and how it could change, Kate looked into what BP will have to pay up, I praised reproductive rights groups' post-health care lobbying, Mike compared the unemployment crisis...

By Multiplatform Editor  |  June 1, 2010; 6:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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The logic behind Senate rules

Senators talk a lot about "protecting the rights" of each individual senator, and they really mean it. Senate rules are the way they are because they work well for most senators. Or, at least, they did work well. A lot of what we think of as "rules" are a combination of rules and norms. And norms change over time.

By Washington Post editor  |  June 1, 2010; 4:45 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
 
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Disclaimer

In the romantic phrasing of the Census, Annie Lowrey is my unmarried domestic partner. Please do not hold that against her....

By Ezra Klein  |  June 1, 2010; 4:17 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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Our dysfunctional Senate

The basic structure of the Senate isn't very democratic, there's not much we can do about it, and fortunately it doesn't matter very much.

By Washington Post Editors  |  June 1, 2010; 2:38 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (20)
Categories:  Senate  | Tags: Jonathan Bernstein, Senate dysfunction, dysfunctional Senate  
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Questions I've not really heard good answers to while in China

By Ezra Klein One of the questions my group has repeatedly asked is whether China can still be considered a communist country. The answer we've gotten is yes: Development-inducing capitalism is a necessary waypoint on the glorious road to communism....

By Ezra Klein  |  June 1, 2010; 2:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (18)
Categories:  China  
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The unemployment crisis by education

Has this recession, which has reduced hiring more than it has increased layoffs, left the kind of people who converse with the powerful in Washington secure in their jobs and thus communicating calm while the unemployed are engulfed in panic? Are we passively watching an unrepresented underclass of the long-term unemployed created before our eyes?

By Washington Post Editors  |  June 1, 2010; 2:17 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
Categories:  Charts and Graphs , Economy , Education , Financial Crisis  | Tags: economic hardship, job creation, recession, unemployment, widening inequality  
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Labor competition in Asia

By Ezra Klein In the category of "things that concern the Chinese but would confuse Americans," we've been hearing a bit about how Chinese wages are threatening to get to the point that the jobs would move elsewhere. That...

By Ezra Klein  |  June 1, 2010; 12:16 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  China  
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BP's spill

By Kate Sheppard Oil is still spewing into the Gulf of Mexico after last weekend’s latest failed attempt to stop the well. Now at day 43, the gulf gusher has unleashed at least 21.7 million gallons of oil, although the...

By Washington Post Editors  |  June 1, 2010; 12:05 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
 
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Tea Parties and women in politics

By Jonathan Bernstein Do reports of women as major players in Tea Party activity signal that women are about to be more serious players in GOP politics? Dara Lind takes on the argument, pointing out that few if any of...

By Washington Post Editors  |  June 1, 2010; 11:48 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
 
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Avoiding Stupak II

By Dylan Matthews It took the Stupak and Nelson amendments to happen, but it seems that reproductive rights groups are getting serious about lobbying around health-care reform. Regulators are currently determining what counts as "additional preventive care and screenings" for...

By Washington Post editor  |  June 1, 2010; 10:25 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
 
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Wonkbook: Spill in August; T-bills popular; nationalize BP?

Dylan Matthews is writing Wonkbook while Ezra is in China. With "top kill" a failure, the Obama administration and BP are now saying the oil spill could last until August. Meanwhile, demand for Treasury bonds is still high, meaning that...

By Washington Post editor  |  June 1, 2010; 9:28 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (12)
 
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The social cost of carbon

By Kate Sheppard That unchecked climate change will cost us is already well established. Left unaddressed, it will cost the United States about $1.9 trillion per year by 2100, which is nearly 2 percent of the projected GDP. In order...

By Washington Post editor  |  June 1, 2010; 8:50 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
 
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Human capital and China

By Ezra Klein Matthew Yglesias posted last night about our tour guide at the Forbidden City: A guy with a curious accent (Australian? Scottish?) who, it turned out, had "learned English from a native Chinese speaker who himself had...

By Ezra Klein  |  May 31, 2010; 1:19 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
Categories:  China  
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