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Ezra Klein: July 11, 2010 - July 17, 2010

Reconciliation

Recap: Five places to watch for the next financial crisis; the scariest jobs graph yet; and there's no "Obama paradox." Elsewhere: 1) The "lump of labor" fallacy. 2) The politics of policy drift. 3) Where did the dollar sign --...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 16, 2010; 6:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
 
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Starting consumer protection right

My worry isn't that the Obama administration will pass over Elizabeth Warren at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and appoint "some banker" instead. My worry is that they'll pass over Warren and choose some gray bureaucrat or friendly ex-congressman...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 16, 2010; 4:34 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (23)
Categories:  Financial Regulation  
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Research desk responds: How fast has the stimulus rolled out?

By Dylan Matthews wcdatx asks: I remember the stimulus bill in '09 being criticized for rolling out over several years, so where are we at in terms of overall stimulus spending to date? Does the administration still have some money...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 16, 2010; 4:17 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Stimulus  
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The incredible obviousness of the Democrats' political fortunes

The topic du jour appears to be the Obama paradox. How, some writers are asking, can the Democrats be both passing a lot of legislation and be headed for a defeat at the polls? But there's no contradiction. No...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 16, 2010; 3:24 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (15)
Categories:  2010 Midterms  
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What will 2.95 million jobs get you?

Neil Irwin: It takes 120,000 new jobs a month, and maybe more, to keep the unemployment rate unchanged. So what would it take to get the unemployment rate to come down at a rate of, say, 1 percentage point...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 16, 2010; 3:24 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  Economy  
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(Late) Lunch Break

I think that if I were a famous singer, I'd spend most evenings going to karaoke joints and performing my own songs incognito: Undercover Karaoke with Jewel from Jewel...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 16, 2010; 2:52 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
 
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The economic, political, and financial problems behind the financial crisis

I didn't want to run over my article on the five places to watch for the next financial crisis with secondary commentary, as then, none of you would've read the underlying piece. But now that it's been up for a...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 16, 2010; 2:16 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
Categories:  Articles , Financial Crisis , Financial Regulation  
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Read me

Five places to look for the next financial crisis (with graphs!)....

By Ezra Klein  |  July 16, 2010; 11:27 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Articles  
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Tom Toles is worth a thousand words

By Ezra Klein  |  July 16, 2010; 11:18 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
 
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Research desk is open

There are no stupid questions. Only unresearched ones....

By Ezra Klein  |  July 16, 2010; 11:11 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (28)
 
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Size matters (at least for stimulus)

Then [Pennsylvania Senator Arlen] Specter and the two crown princesses from Maine [Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins] took it down to less than $800 billion. Spread over two and a half years, that’s a hell of a lot of money, but spread over two and a half years in an economy this large, it doesn’t have a lot of fiscal power.

By Ezra Klein  |  July 16, 2010; 10:57 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (10)
 
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The scariest jobs graph you've seen yet

That's job growth per month on the X axis, and how many months that level of job growth would take to get us back to pre-recession levels on the Y axis. Notice that adding new jobs at a rate...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 16, 2010; 10:41 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (45)
Categories:  Charts and Graphs  
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The White House's capitulation on deficits

President Obama's statement naming Jack Lew to head the Office of Management and Budget said a lot about the sorry state of the administration's message right now. “The experience and good judgment Jack has acquired throughout his impressive career...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 16, 2010; 10:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (44)
Categories:  Budget  
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Wonkbook: Assessing FinReg; Goldman suit settled; oil gusher stopped

Good day for the Obama administration yesterday: FinReg found final approval in the Senate (hope you're ready to start talking Basel III, now), Goldman Sachs settled the SEC's civil suit against it for a lot of money and a...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 16, 2010; 6:28 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
Categories:  Wonkbook  
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Reconciliation

Recap: FinReg passed, and now it's time to assess; estimating a millionaire's tax; and who really cares about the deficit? Elsewhere: 1) What's good for for marginal European economies isn't necessarily what's good for America. 2) The long-term damage from...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 15, 2010; 6:42 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
 
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FinReg vs. Wall Street reform

Matt Yglesias calls it "the underrated FinReg bill," and I take that headline as a personal victory of sorts. But he's right about the legislation. The desire for a bill that does more has obscured a clear picture of...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 15, 2010; 5:42 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (12)
Categories:  Financial Regulation  
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Confused by the filibuster

Earlier today, I tweeted the news* that the financial-regulation bill had gotten 60 votes for cloture. The filibuster was broken. "But when it comes down to it," someone tweeted back, "will they get 60 votes to get the bill passed?"...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 15, 2010; 2:06 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (25)
Categories:  Senate  
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Research desk responds: How much could we make from taxing millionaires?

By Dylan Matthews fakedude1 asks: I'd like to see the total revenue raised by a so-called "millionaire's tax" bracket on annual incomes over $1M. This was first floated by Nate Silver over at fivethirtyeight. Silver's specific proposal -- a 40.5...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 15, 2010; 1:48 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (23)
 
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Lunch break

It's not how good our ideas are. It's how good we are at breeding them with other people's ideas:...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 15, 2010; 12:27 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
 
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More on the Bush tax cuts

Megan McArdle makes the case against even a temporary extension of the Bush tax cuts. Earlier, I made the case for one. I don't actually disagree with much that she says. In particular, I agree that "a temporary extension is...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 15, 2010; 11:49 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (14)
Categories:  Taxes  
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FinReg clears filibuster

The vote was 60-38. In case you missed it, Wonkbook had a special section today rounding up a variety of commentaries, summaries, and analyses of the bill....

By Ezra Klein  |  July 15, 2010; 11:38 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
 
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More on conservatives and deficits

Kevin Drum reminds us that a recent poll of self-identified tea partyers found that they preferred focusing on tax cuts rather than deficit reduction. The split was 49 percent for tax cuts and 42 percent for deficits....

By Ezra Klein  |  July 15, 2010; 11:14 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
 
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What's Congress likely to do about the Bush tax cuts?

Pete Davis lays out the scuttlebutt: My conversations with top Hill staff of both parties convince me that Congress is very likely to wait until a lame duck session in December to pass a one-year extension of the Bush tax...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 15, 2010; 10:27 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (15)
Categories:  Taxes  
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Why voters are angry in one graph

Source....

By Ezra Klein  |  July 15, 2010; 9:59 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (45)
Categories:  Charts and Graphs  
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Do conservatives care about the deficit? Do Democrats?

Matt Yglesias asks the question and assembles some evidence. The two modern conservative presidents, George W. Bush and Ronald Reagan, "both presided over massive increases in both present and projected deficits." The most important deficit reduction packages of the...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 15, 2010; 9:43 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (40)
Categories:  Budget  
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Tom Toles is worth a thousand words

By Ezra Klein  |  July 15, 2010; 9:32 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
 
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Wonkbook: FinReg to pass; Fed to sit; Reid's climate deal; Dems lose rec

The financial-regulation bill might pass today. Or, if Republicans filibuster and force Reid to file cloture (which requires two days to "ripen" into an actual vote) demand their 30 hours of post-cloture debate, it will pass Saturday. Either way,...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 15, 2010; 6:58 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  Wonkbook  
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Unreconciled

Another day, another case of poor time management such that I have to choose between writing reconciliation and going to the gym. So one link: Political Economy, the Washington Post's new economics super-blog. Bookmark it, RSS it, tweet it, foursquare...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 14, 2010; 7:15 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
 
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Market confidence

Republicans have talked quite a lot about how important it is to show the markets that we're serious about tackling our deficits. How confident can it make the markets that the consensus position among Republicans is that the tax cuts...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 14, 2010; 6:16 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (11)
 
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The public's incoherence on spending -- and spending cuts -- in one graph

Source here....

By Ezra Klein  |  July 14, 2010; 4:24 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (10)
Categories:  Charts and Graphs  
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Why the Fed is sitting on its hands

Writing over at The Washington Post's new political economy blog, Neil Irwin looks at all the things the Fed could, but won't, do to kick-start the economy and bring down unemployment. The options include Ben Bernanke testifying before Congress...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 14, 2010; 3:10 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (38)
Categories:  Federal Reserve  
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Research desk compares: What's the fiscal impact of estate tax cuts vs. unemployment insurance?

By Dylan Matthews byelin asks: Could you compare the budgetary effects of an extension of unemployment benefits (currently being considered in Congress) versus a proposal from Senators Lincoln (D-AR) and Kyl (R-AZ) to freeze the top rate on estate taxes...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 14, 2010; 1:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (14)
Categories:  Taxes  
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Lunch break

The opening scene of "Star Wars: A New Hope." But this time, it's on the subway....

By Ezra Klein  |  July 14, 2010; 1:17 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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The failure of conservative elites

Lots of people -- in fact, lots of politicians -- quietly hold unpopular, or in some cases, ridiculous, policy positions. Occasionally, they even pursue them. But it's usually through stealth. They know that excessive transparency about what they actually...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 14, 2010; 12:38 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (47)
Categories:  Economic Policy  
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Fiscal irresponsibility in one graph

By Ezra Klein  |  July 14, 2010; 12:13 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
 
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Research desk is open

Dylan Matthews doesn't cry. He graphs....

By Ezra Klein  |  July 14, 2010; 10:59 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (21)
 
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Keeping up with health-care polling

After a few weeks in which support was trending upward and opposition was trending downward, the recent CBS and Pew polls have shown opposition to the bill. Here's the Pollster.com chart:...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 14, 2010; 10:53 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
 
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A public option -- and an employer mandate -- are working in San Francisco

People don't talk much about the health-care reforms San Francisco put into place in 2006, but Carrie Hoverman Colla, William H. Dow and Arindrajit Dube have looked into the early evidence, and it's encouraging: In 2006 San Francisco adopted major...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 14, 2010; 10:28 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (12)
 
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Bartlett on Kyl: 'More starve the beast nonsense'

The most fiscally responsible interpretation of Jon Kyl's resistance to offsetting tax cuts is that he believes in "starve-the-beast" economics: If you cut taxes, that will mean less in revenue, which will mean government subsequently cuts spending and shrinks. Bruce...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 14, 2010; 10:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (15)
 
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Tom Toles is worth a thousand words

By Ezra Klein  |  July 14, 2010; 9:26 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
 
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Out-of-pocket spending in the last year of life

From "The Risk of Out-of-Pocket Health Care Expenditure at End of Life," by Samuel Marshall, Kathleen M. McGarry, and Jonathan S. Skinner: Spending in the last year of life is estimated to be $11,618 on average, with the 90th percentile...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 14, 2010; 9:04 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
Categories:  Health Economics  
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Wonkbook: The new deficit politics; Lew to OMB; vote on carbon pricing

Comment: The unexpected outbreak of fiscal honesty on the Republican side of the aisle is changing the terms of the deficit conversation, and quick. First, Sen. Jon Kyl told Fox News Sunday that "you should never have to offset...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 14, 2010; 6:50 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (10)
Categories:  Wonkbook  
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Reconciliation

Gotta run today, so just one link: Bruce Bartlett's round-up of papers on stimulus funding. Plenty of evidence there to support whichever position you plan to hold. Speaking of stimulus, I'll be on Countdown with Keith Olbermann at 8:15 Eastern...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 13, 2010; 7:03 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
 
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McConnell: 'No evidence whatsoever that the Bush tax cuts actually diminished revenue'

There are fiscal theories that I disagree with, and that I think are cruel, and that make me upset. But very few actually make me sad. Sen. Mitch McConnell, however, hit my sore spot today. "There's no evidence whatsoever...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 13, 2010; 6:28 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (68)
 
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What to make of Teach for America's recruitment success?

Putting aside whether Teach for America generates impressive teachers, it's surely the service program best at generating impressive applicants. And that's not because of pay, or the opportunities that two years in an urban kindergarten will secure you. Rather, it's...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 13, 2010; 5:01 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
 
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Blurbs

I like reading the blurbs on the backs of books. Maybe I shouldn't: The most prominent authors are inundated with manuscripts [to blurb], far more than they can ever read, especially if they hope to get on with their real...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 13, 2010; 4:08 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
Categories:  Books  
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Research Desk estimates: How much can the EPA, California and New England do to fight climate change?

By Dylan Matthews mike777 asks: How much could we reduce America's carbon footprint with only EPA regulations and state level regulations in say California and the New England States? This is a hard question largely because the EPA has yet...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 13, 2010; 3:18 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
Categories:  Climate Change  
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A chart is worth a thousand words

Poll data here....

By Ezra Klein  |  July 13, 2010; 3:07 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
Categories:  2010 Midterms , Polls  
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'A Chart That Screams, "Extend Unemployment Benefits!" '

You'll have to excuse me for simply stealing Daniel Indiviglio's headline for this chart, but it's really the right way to introduce it: "That giant gap consists of Americans who are unemployed, and couldn't get a job even if they...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 13, 2010; 2:48 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (18)
 
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What FinReg does

The financial regulation bill looks like it's on track to pass this week, and Henry Paulson is generally pleased. “We would have loved to have something like this for Lehman Brothers," he told Andrew Ross Sorkin. "There’s no doubt...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 13, 2010; 2:39 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (10)
Categories:  Financial Regulation  
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Lunch Break

How to expose corruption:...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 13, 2010; 12:33 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
 
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The Game vs. Match.com

Megan McArdle is partying like it's 2006 and talking about "Pick-Up Artists" and “The Game.” I tend toward the view that the whole thing is harmless: It's a way for guys to pump themselves up before trying to meet women...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 13, 2010; 11:43 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (20)
 
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Lew to OMB

And Peter Orszag's successor as director of the Office of Management and Budget is ... drumroll please ... .Jacob Lew! Who actually ran OMB for a spell back during the Clinton presidency. Jonathan Cohn has a mini-profile of Lew here,...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 13, 2010; 11:40 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
 
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The best column I've read today

Dani Rodrik: If economic logic were clear-cut, governments wouldn’t have to justify what they do on the basis of market confidence. It would be evident which policies work and which do not, and pursuing the “right” policies would be the...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 13, 2010; 11:18 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (10)
 
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Corporations not hoarding cash

Over the past couple of weeks, a lot of people have been talking about how corporations are sitting on $1.8 trillion in cash reserves and that if we could just get them to feel more confident, we could unleash a...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 13, 2010; 11:06 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (12)
 
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Abandoning the long-term unemployed

Michael Fletcher has an important piece this morning about Congress's likely abandonment of the so-called 99ers: The folks who've been unemployed more than 99 weeks, which is the limit for unemployment benefits. This is, in part, a function of...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 13, 2010; 10:15 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (26)
Categories:  Economy  
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Tom Toles is worth a thousand words

By Ezra Klein  |  July 13, 2010; 10:06 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
 
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Government size as philosophy

I think, as Daniel Foster's update suggests, Jon Kyl's comment that tax cuts never need to be offset is exactly as fiscally irresponsible as it appears. But I want to respond to another part of his post. He agrees...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 13, 2010; 9:16 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (24)
 
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Wonkbook: FinReg hits 60; Congress abandons 99ers; new well cap and drilling ban

With Olympia Snowe's and Scott Brown's support, FinReg probably has enough votes to beat a filibuster. Remember, though, that Russ Feingold is a "no," Ben Nelson is a "maybe," and Robert Byrd's seat is unoccupied. Meanwhile, the Obama administration...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 13, 2010; 6:23 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  Wonkbook  
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Reconciliation

Recap: Jon Kyl got a bit too honest on deficits; the economy decides elections (with graphs!); and five things Congress could do to help people before November, followed by one thing it can't. Elsewhere: 1) How global warming changes oceans....

By Ezra Klein  |  July 12, 2010; 6:48 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
 
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Five practical ways and one impractical way Congress could improve the economy by November

If elections are dependent on the economy, then the obvious question is what, if anything, can Democrats in Congress actually do to improve the economy between here and November? The answer, even if they had the votes, is probably not...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 12, 2010; 4:02 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (32)
Categories:  2010 Midterms , Economic Policy , Economy  
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Research desk responds: What could we swap a VAT or carbon tax with?

By Dylan Matthews jackjudge4000yahoocom asks: (at the federal level) trade a VAT and a carbon tax for the payroll tax and the income tax: revenue picture looks like what? Nothing good. Eric Toder and Joseph Rosenberg at the Tax Policy...

By Washington Post editor  |  July 12, 2010; 3:33 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (10)
 
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Should Democrats have recess-appointed Donald Berwick?

Tevi Troy says that the problem with the administration's recess appointment for Don Berwick was not the appointment itself, or even the procedure used to enact it, but the timing of that procedure. In particular, it happened before Republicans had...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 12, 2010; 2:39 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (19)
 
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Think tank: FinReg and regulators; Wyden-Gregg; and fiscal multipliers during a financial crisis

1) Douglas Elliott at Brookings looks at the decisions regulators will have to make after FinReg passes. 2) Arloc Sherman and Chad Stone at the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities analyze CBO data that shows the gap between the...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 12, 2010; 1:45 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
 
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Jon Kyl gives away the game on deficits

"[Y]ou should never raise taxes in order to cut taxes," Jon Kyl said on Fox News Sunday. "Surely Congress has the authority, and it would be right to -- if we decide we want to cut taxes to spur...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 12, 2010; 12:55 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (69)
 
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Lunch break

I used to be a huge Michael Franti fan. Now I find out he's playing gigs at Google. Guess he's done well these past few years....

By Ezra Klein  |  July 12, 2010; 12:06 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
 
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Wasted interviews

This New York Times article on Paul Volcker's view of the financial regulation bill is clearly and proudly set around a wide-ranging, on-the-record interview with Volcker himself. But that interview, aside from a few isolated quotes, is nowhere to be...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 12, 2010; 11:27 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
 
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Research desk is open

Fact: Dylan Matthews doesn't sleep. He researches....

By Ezra Klein  |  July 12, 2010; 10:50 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (19)
 
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Innovation and policy

There were two types of people talking policy in Aspen. One group was composed of, well, policymakers. The Peter Orszags, Alan Greenspans, Ezekiel Emanuels, amd Melody Barnes of the world. The second group was largely composed of technological innovators....

By Ezra Klein  |  July 12, 2010; 10:39 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (15)
 
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Why aren't Senate Democrats angrier at Ben Nelson?

If the economy really decides elections -- and there's plenty of evidence that it does -- then it stands to reason that nothing is more important in a given legislator's reelection campaign than the state of the economy. And,...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 12, 2010; 10:21 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (24)
Categories:  2010 Midterms  
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Tom Toles is worth ten thousand words

By Ezra Klein  |  July 12, 2010; 10:15 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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It's always the economy, stupid

My Sunday column will be familiar to readers of the blog: When it comes to elections, the economy -- particularly real disposable income -- matters a lot more than, well, anything else. That goes for candidates, ads, gaffes, weather and,...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 12, 2010; 9:09 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  Articles , Political Science  
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Wonkbook: BP replaces cap; Kagan against the left; White House pushes jobs tax credit

BP has started to replace the cap on the leaking Gulf oil well with one it hopes will stop the gushing oil entirely; the White House wants to extend a limited payroll tax holiday intended to push employers to...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 12, 2010; 6:28 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Wonkbook  
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