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Ezra Klein: July 4, 2010 - July 10, 2010

Reconciliation

By Dylan Matthews Today, I thought about depoliticizing stimulus policy, while Ezra talked to Aspen panelists about corporations' unwillingness to spend, passed along snippets from Alan Greenspan's pessimistic talk, and marveled at the accessibility the Web provides to events like...

By Dylan Matthews  |  July 9, 2010; 6:50 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
 
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Why won't we let the market be irrational in our favor?

After listening to Alan Greenspan's presentation Friday, I think it's safe to place him in the camp that would like to see a quick move toward a more austere budget. When Walter Isaacson asked him whether stimulus or deficit reduction...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 9, 2010; 5:08 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (21)
Categories:  Economy  
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Hayek on Social Insurance

By Dylan Matthews Jennifer Schuessler has a great short essay in the New York Times Book Review looking at the reception of Friedrich Hayek's "The Road to Serfdom" over the years, including this can't-be-made-enough point: But unlike some of his...

By The Washington Post editors  |  July 9, 2010; 2:57 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (24)
Categories:  Books , Europe , Government , Health Reform , International Health Care  
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Quotes from Alan Greenspan's talk

I've come to the conclusion that the best way to cover these events is jot down interesting quotes and leave my analytical take for later. Listen first, analyze second. So this post will just collate some of Greenspan's more interesting...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 9, 2010; 2:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
 
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Why are corporations sitting on their money?

At this morning's jobs discussion. I asked the panelists -- Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, AFL-CIO President Rich Trumka, Chamber of Commerce honcho Tom Donahue and Columbia University Professor Jeffrey Pfeffer --why businesses are sitting on $1.8 trillion in reserves. Clearly,...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 9, 2010; 12:50 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (48)
 
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Quotable lines from the panel on disruptive technologies

Participants: Craig Newmark, founder of Craigslist; Amir Bhide, visiting scholar at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government; Andrew Thompson, Co-Founder and CEO, Proteus Biomedical, Inc; and Vijay Vaitheeswaran, a global correspondt at the Economist. Andrew Thompson: "More people have mobile phones...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 9, 2010; 12:45 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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Research Desk responds: How much bigger are U.S. homes?

By Dylan Matthews bharshaw asks: How about a comparison of nations by square foot of housing per person? Or, if not available, of US cities by the same? The U.S. and the EU have different data on this. The Census...

By Dylan Matthews  |  July 9, 2010; 12:25 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (15)
 
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Must be the mountains

"The place where Rich and I agree totally is infrastructure investment," said Tom Donahue, head of the Chamber of Commerce, at a panel this morning. "Rich," incidentally, is Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO. "We support unemployment insurance," Donahue said...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 9, 2010; 12:15 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
 
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Stimulus by any other name

Dylan's argument for using an automatic phase-out to depoliticize the stimulus is a good one, or at least it is in a world where people's stated objections to further stimulus spending are closely related to their actual objections. But I'd...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 9, 2010; 10:48 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
 
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We used to ship things in this country

By Dylan Matthews It sometimes seems like every approach to climate emissions reduction has some unrelated side benefit that on its own would be worthwhile. Taxing gasoline more would cut down car emissions, and also reduce congestion and car accidents....

By Washington Post editor  |  July 9, 2010; 10:46 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (10)
 
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Depoliticizing stimulus policy

By Dylan Matthews It's in Wonkbook, but I wanted to highlight Laurence Seidman's op-ed on using unemployment level triggers as part of stimulus proposals. I could do without his requirement for balanced budgets when the unemployment rate falls below 6...

By Washington Post editor  |  July 9, 2010; 9:21 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
 
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Meta-Aspen

One of the coolest moments I've had at the Aspen Ideas Festival was the realization that I don't need to be here. A decade or two ago, that wasn't the case. If I wanted to see Bill Gates talk about...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 9, 2010; 9:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
 
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Wonkbook: LeBron and the SEC; FinReg fate unclear; another judge rejects drilling ban

With Congress due back in session next week, key Senate swing votes on FinReg are still undecided. Meanwhile, an appeals court has rejected the Obama administration's entreaty to reinstate the deepwater drilling ban. And the IMF has projected slow growth...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 9, 2010; 1:04 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
Categories:  Wonkbook  
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Reconciliation

By Dylan Matthews Recap: I doubted the Fair Elections Now Act's prospects; Ezra wondered whether medical breakthroughs could be cheaper than we expect; I explained how campaign finance works in Europe, and Ezra argued against raising the Social Security retirement...

By Washington Post Editors  |  July 8, 2010; 6:35 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
 
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OMB, ACA, CBO and the deficit

The OMB has dug into the CBO's projections for the Affordable Care Act, and they're pretty pleased with what they see. I'm going to quote the analysis, but if you just want to read one line, the ACA wipes out...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 8, 2010; 5:55 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (15)
Categories:  Budget , Health Reform  
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More on raising the retirement age

Larry Mishel writes in with another argument for why raising the Social Security age makes much more sense for affluent individuals who work in knowledge-oriented industries than for lower-income people whose jobs require more physical labor. If the argument is...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 8, 2010; 4:08 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (38)
 
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Research Desk summarizes: How does the world finance elections?

I obviously can't cover every country's system, but the Library of Congress recently put out a report summarizing the campaign finance laws in Australia, France, Germany, Israel and the United Kingdom. These countries include a variety of different approaches, which I've tried to summarize in the following table. One thing to note is that, because all of these countries have stronger party systems than the United States, and most campaign expenditures are spent by the party itself, I have included the limits on contributions to parties where relevant. The individual limit listed for the U.S., then, is the limit on contributions to a national party, not to a candidate (that limit is $2,400); the corporate figure for the U.S. is for multimember Political Action Committee (PAC) donations to party committees, as most corporations funnel their contributions through PACs.

By Dylan Matthews  |  July 8, 2010; 3:36 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
 
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How health care could lower health-care costs

I'm listening to Dr. Paul Ewald explain his theory that deadly diseases are caused by common infections. Take cancer. In recent years, we've tied a lot of cancers to fairly common infections (HPV leads to cervical cancer, the infection that...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 8, 2010; 1:25 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
Categories:  Health  
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Research desk is open

Ideas festivals are fun, but so is getting Dylan Matthews to look things up for you....

By Ezra Klein  |  July 8, 2010; 1:10 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (21)
 
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Treasury and FinReg

Mike Konczal rounds up the reasons that progressives felt that the Treasury Department was not on their side during FinReg: They fought the Collins amendment for quality of bank capital, fought leverage requirements like a 15-to-1 cap, fought prefunding the...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 8, 2010; 12:40 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Financial Regulation  
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Categories of Fed action

When you hear about the Fed deciding to do -- or not do -- more, you have to look pretty carefully about the category of "more" they're considering. Traditional Fed moves -- lowering interest rates, saying interest rates will remain...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 8, 2010; 11:18 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Federal Reserve  
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From the Senate delay case files

By Dylan Matthews The Senate's inability to get anything done has been highlighted so often with big, visible fights -- climate change, nominations, unemployment insurance, etc. -- that it's easy to forget that plenty of other issues are getting neglected...

By Washington Post editor  |  July 8, 2010; 11:10 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
Categories:  Congress  
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Should we raise the Social Security age to 70?

I'm not surprised to hear there's energy behind pushing the retirement age at which you get full Social Security benefits back to 70. It's the sort of idea that seems like a no-brainer to pundits and politicians who would happily...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 8, 2010; 10:50 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (43)
Categories:  Budget  
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Pricing the Fair Elections Now Act

By Dylan Matthews One last thing on the Fair Elections Now Act: Given as it's a public financing plan, it costs money. Not a lot of money, but enough to make deficit hysteria a viable excuse for lawmakers who want...

By Washington Post editor  |  July 8, 2010; 9:23 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (15)
Categories:  Congress  
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Passing the Fair Elections Now Act

By Dylan Matthews We highlighted it in Wonkbook, but be sure to check out Dan Eggen's piece on the status of the Fair Elections Now Act -- which would establish voluntary public financing for congressional campaigns -- in Congress. I...

By Washington Post editor  |  July 8, 2010; 9:14 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (28)
Categories:  Congress  
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Ideas about Aspen's ideas

I'm not exactly sure what I'm supposed to be doing here at the Aspen Ideas Festival. In the first place, I guess I'm here to listen to some ideas. But more realistically, I'm here as part of my job producing...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 8, 2010; 8:29 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (31)
 
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Wonkbook: Fed considering growth measures; cap and trade cuts deficit; CEOs vs. Obama

The economy's continued weakness is forcing the Federal Reserve to consider taking further measures to spur additional economic growth. But not, you know, very fast, or very aggressively. Meanwhile, the Congressional Budget Office has scored the Senate climate bill,...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 8, 2010; 3:13 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
 
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PSA

I'm heading to the Aspen Ideas Festival today, where I'll be through the weekend. I'll still be blogging, and Dylan Matthews will be lending a bit more of a hand. I just thought you should know....

By Ezra Klein  |  July 7, 2010; 4:23 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
 
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Parliamentary games

To finish with Berwick-blogging and start in on meta-Berwick blogging, today's recess appointment shows yet again that the rampant use of the filibuster doesn't lead to gridlock so much as government-by-loophole (Keith Hennessey seems to think that the filibuster wasn't...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 7, 2010; 3:34 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
 
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The confidence game

When the private market fears that the government is running high deficits that it won't be able to repay, interest rates rise. It's the market's way of charging us for the increased risk. But interest rates on U.S. debt are...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 7, 2010; 2:46 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (33)
Categories:  Economy  
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Majority rules?

Senator Pat Roberts responds to Obama's recess appointment of Don Berwick: This recess appointment proves the Obama Administration did not have the support of a majority of Democrats and Republicans in the Senate I'd bet that if Roberts and other...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 7, 2010; 2:32 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
 
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Berwick and the NHS

A lot of the conservative opposition to Don Berwick appears to come from a speech he gave on the eve of the British National Health System's 60th birthday. In the speech, which you can read here, Berwick both praises the...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 7, 2010; 12:42 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (37)
 
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Lunch Break

How hunger and obesity are flip-sides of the same coin:...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 7, 2010; 12:12 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
 
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Could unemployment insurance reduce the deficit?

Sara Murray makes the case: Once older workers are laid off they take the longest to find new jobs. For workers 65 and up, it takes a median of 45.1 weeks to find a new gig. For those 55 to...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 7, 2010; 11:40 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (12)
 
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The conservative case for Don Berwick

Let's get the obvious out of the way: If not for health-care reform, Don Berwick's nomination to head the Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services would not be so controversial. As Thomas Scully, who headed CMS under George W....

By Ezra Klein  |  July 7, 2010; 11:15 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (96)
Categories:  Health Reform  
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Unemployment benefits are not a deficit issue

You're probably tired of hearing me say that extending unemployment benefits -- and similar forms of temporary, targeted fiscal stimulus -- is neither here nor there so far as the deficit is concerned. But maybe you're not tired of hearing...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 7, 2010; 10:40 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (11)
 
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Outlining the stimulus and deficits debate

I've been frustrated by the imprecision afflicting the debate over stimulus and deficits. Yesterday, for instance, saw a column by David Brooks that many viewed as anti-stimulus but in fact advocated the two forms of stimulus -- unemployment benefits and...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 7, 2010; 10:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (21)
Categories:  Budget  
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The case for austerity, and our case

In recent months, economist Alberto Alesina has become popular among conservatives for research showing that deficit reduction can sometimes be accompanied by economic growth; that spending cuts are better than tax cuts; and for arguing that stimulus is less effective...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 7, 2010; 9:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (13)
Categories:  Budget  
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Wonkbook: Berwick to CMS (and a comment); DOJ files against Arizona, EPA moves

Obama will use a recess appointment to appoint Donald Berwick, head of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, to run Medicare and Medicaid after he ran into Republican opposition in the Senate. I tend to keep these Wonkbook intros pretty...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 7, 2010; 6:28 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (17)
Categories:  Wonkbook  
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Reconciliation

Recap: We should be careful with the planet; we have more consensus than we think on stimulus; and we need the right regulators. Elsewhere: 1) Can America create jobs if it outsources the work of bringing innovations to market? 2)...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 6, 2010; 7:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
 
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Parental happiness and the welfare state

By Dylan Matthews Ezra already highlighted Jennifer Senior's great New York Magazine piece on happiness and parenting, but I wanted to add a point on this section: One hates to invoke Scandinavia in stories about child-rearing, but it can’t be...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 6, 2010; 5:39 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
 
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Regulators, mount up!

Elizabeth Warren on Consumer Protection (MMBM) from the Roosevelt Institute on Vimeo. Reporting my weekend column on the role that regulators will play in the success -- or failure -- of health-care reform and financial regulation left me heavily convinced...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 6, 2010; 4:47 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
 
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Ironies of the 2000 election

Two quotes from Larry Bartels and John Zaller's paper (pdf) trying to assess whether the results of the 2000 election deviated from what models based on economic performance would've predicted. Irony the first: A tax cut might've won the...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 6, 2010; 3:06 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
Categories:  Political Science  
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Does parenting make you unhappy?

I don't think it'd be very interesting to have a childless 20-something comment on an article about how children affect the happiness and satisfaction of their parents. But as a childless 20-something, I'd find it very interesting if some parents...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 6, 2010; 2:48 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (53)
 
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Research Desk researches: How do the U.S., Switzerland and Sweden spend money?

As a follow-up both to Ezra's post on Jeff Sachs's desire to turn the United States into Switzerland and mine comparing government spending in OECD countries, Reihan Salam responds that he would, in fact, like to see the U.S. government spend more like Switzerland. What, exactly, would that mean?

By Ezra Klein  |  July 6, 2010; 2:24 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
 
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Lunch break

Brad DeLong and Michael Kinsley talk deficits, stimulus and death panels:...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 6, 2010; 1:01 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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The case for being careful with the climate

To make one more point on the Manzi/Plumer debate, I really think the concept of "the planet" should be more central in the debate over global warming. It's stating the obvious to say that we really don't know how to...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 6, 2010; 12:26 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (40)
Categories:  Climate Change  
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Is there more consensus on (some) stimulus than we think?

At first glance, David Brooks and Paul Krugman have released precisely opposite columns over the past few days. Krugman's Sunday effort blasted the Senate for failing to pass further stimulus in the form of unemployment benefits. "We’re facing a coalition...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 6, 2010; 11:06 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (15)
Categories:  Stimulus  
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Analysis isn't about liberals and conservatives

I don't want to seem ungrateful for the kind adjectives that Andrew Alexander, The Post's ombudsman, lavished on me over the weekend, but I found myself puzzled by the question raised in his column. There, Alexander notes that my Sunday...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 6, 2010; 11:03 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (20)
 
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CEO pay in Japan

I can't decide whether the right introduction to this post is "I'm moving to Japan" or "I'm not moving to Japan." On June 30 securities regulators began requiring Japanese companies to disclose pay for executives making more than 100 million...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 6, 2010; 10:36 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
 
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Think tank: The cost of war that comes after the fighting stops; the 55% recession; and mobility in America

1) For economists find evidence of a direct connection between civilian casualties at the hands of American forces and insurgent recruitment in Afghanistan. 2) An Urban Institute report suggests that being born poor means, for most people, staying poor. 3)...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 6, 2010; 10:19 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  Think Tank  
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Is it cheaper to just let the planet heat?

Before getting into the debate that Jim Manzi and Brad Plumer are having on the costs of mitigating global warming, it's worth highlighting this bit from Manzi, which is slightly off-topic to the actual disagreement, but could be the...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 6, 2010; 9:38 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (36)
Categories:  Climate Change  
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India vs. China

When I was in China earlier this year, an official charged with attracting tech investment explained that India's democratic system led to underinvestment in infrastructure, while China's more centralized approach gave it the ability to move incredibly rapidly in creating...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 6, 2010; 9:02 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
 
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Wonkbook: BP capturing 1/500th the oil it promised; Dems losing Wall Street; teachers against Obama; WH divisions on stimulus

In the Gulf, documents show that BP is collecting less than 1/500th the amount of oil it initially told regulators it could collect each day. Back in Washington, FinReg is threatening Democratic prospects by causing a dramatic dropoff in...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 6, 2010; 6:57 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (13)
Categories:  Wonkbook  
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