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Ezra Klein: July 25, 2010 - July 31, 2010

Reconciliation

Recap: Congress is cutting food stamps to pay for Medicaid and education; Obama's problem is that his accomplishments are unpopular; and Lindsey Graham did not listen to Lindsey Graham on immigration. Elsewhere: 1) Mark Zandi and John Taylor debate the...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 30, 2010; 5:56 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
 
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Food stamps cont'd

I've spent the day calling around to better understand why the Senate plans to slash funding for food stamps (alongside a few other budget items, including some corporate tax breaks) to pay for relief to states. There's an answer,...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 30, 2010; 4:55 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (37)
Categories:  Budget  
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The GDP report

Even uglier than you thought....

By Ezra Klein  |  July 30, 2010; 4:15 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
 
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Can Obama make success popular?

President Obama's remarks at various Michigan automobile plants today get to the heart of the task facing the administration as we enter the 2010 election. The White House doesn't lack for accomplishments. What it lacks is popular accomplishments. The...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 30, 2010; 3:52 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (23)
Categories:  2010 Midterms  
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When did Lindsey Graham change his mind on immigration?

In April, I defended Lindsey Graham when he threatened to abandon climate change if Harry Reid moved on immigration first. Graham's tactic seemed extreme, but I understood his position. As one of the GOP's most prominent supporters of immigration...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 30, 2010; 3:01 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (36)
Categories:  Immigration  
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Research desk compares: Who gets hit hardest if the Bush tax cuts expire?

By Dylan Matthews michaelh81 asks: If we let the Bush tax cuts expire for those making more than $250,000, what will be the distribution of those increased taxes? How much of that increase will millionaire's pay? How much is the...

By By Dylan Matthews  |  July 30, 2010; 1:57 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (13)
Categories:  Taxes  
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A rare bit of good news on the climate front

The EPA is standing firm on regulating carbon emissions....

By Ezra Klein  |  July 30, 2010; 1:13 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
 
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Lunch break

How to be a celebrity chef:...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 30, 2010; 1:03 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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Pete Peterson speaks

Benjy Sarlin has a good interview with Peter G. Peterson, the deficit-hating billionaire who many liberals see as one of the primary threats to Medicare and Social Security. In the interview, Peterson comes off as more reasonable than all that:...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 30, 2010; 12:38 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (14)
Categories:  Budget  
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Happy 45th birthday, Medicare

Only 20 more years til you're eligible for yourself!...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 30, 2010; 11:53 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
 
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GDP grows at 2.4 percent in Q2

Another day, another ugly economic report. Today, we learned that annualized GDP growth over the past quarter was 2.4 percent. Not nothing, but quite a bit lower than the 3.7 percent we saw in the first quarter. More worrying, consumer...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 30, 2010; 11:08 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (11)
 
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What will Congress do about the Bush tax cuts?

Howard Gleckman on the likely end game for the Bush tax cuts: Unlike most recent congressional debates, the Democrats may have the procedural upper hand this time. With health care, for instance, Republicans would have “won” by blocking congressional...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 30, 2010; 10:40 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (12)
Categories:  Budget , Taxes  
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Senate cutting food stamps to pay for Medicaid and teacher funding

It's the Sophie's choice of budget decisions: Should we cut Medicaid? Fire teachers? Or slash food stamps? How about all three? In order to get less Medicaid and teacher funding than we actually need, we're cutting food stamps by...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 30, 2010; 10:29 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (20)
Categories:  Budget  
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Eat your chicken ... or else

Dean Baker critiques the Zandi/Blinder study from the left. "While the analysis of the stimulus is pretty standard and very much in keeping with other estimates," he writes, "this is not the case with the analysis of the financial sector...

By By Ezra Klein  |  July 30, 2010; 9:02 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (14)
 
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Wonkbook: GOP blocks small business aid; Dems cut food stamps; Goldman dodging FinReg

An influential regional Federal Reserve bank president warns that expansionary action may be needed to prevent deflation; GOP senators blocked a bill that would've expanded lending to small businesses; Democratic senators are cutting food stamps to pay for Medicaid...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 30, 2010; 6:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
Categories:  Wonkbook  
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Reconciliation

Recap: Paul Ryan, the ranking Republican on the House Budget Committee, explains what the GOP would do to help the economy recover. And in an interview from last week, Kent Conrad, chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, lays out the...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 29, 2010; 6:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
 
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Research desk explains: What is the CLASS Act?

By Dylan Matthews Patrick_M asks: What is the truth about the CLASS Act? Before I get into the debate over the CLASS Act, I should explain what it is. The Community Living Assistance Services and Supports Act is a provision...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 29, 2010; 5:36 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (11)
 
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What would Republicans do for the economy? An interview with Rep. Paul Ryan.

Paul Ryan is the ranking Republican on the House Budget Committee, and one of the party's most influential voices on the economy. And with Republicans likely to pick up a lot of seats -- and maybe even the House --...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 29, 2010; 4:41 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (55)
Categories:  Economic Policy , Economy , Interviews  
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The economy can't recover until the economy recovers

The economic recovery is sputtering, as Neil Irwin documents. Economists think growth between April and June was 2 to 2.5 percent, which is anemic at best. Job growth has been disappointing. Lately, I've been asking economists about this, and everyone...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 29, 2010; 3:14 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (28)
Categories:  Economy  
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Lunch break

Fareed Zakaria gives good interview: The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10cFareed Zakariawww.thedailyshow.comDaily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 29, 2010; 12:47 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
 
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On macroeconomic models

My interviews with Alan Blinder and Mark Zandi focused, probably to the great boredom of my readers, on the nature of the model they used to estimate the effects of different stimulus and financial policies. I did that because this...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 29, 2010; 12:12 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (17)
Categories:  Economics  
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Blinder: Bank profits 'collateral damage in a war to save the economy'

Alan Blinder is co-director of Princeton's Center for Economic Policy Studies and formerly served as vice chairman of the Federal Reserve's Board of Governors. We spoke on Wednesday about the paper (pdf) he co-authored with Mark Zandi attempting to comprehensively...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 29, 2010; 11:46 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  Economic Policy , Financial Crisis , Interviews  
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Research desk is open

You've got questions, Dylan Matthews has Excel....

By Ezra Klein  |  July 29, 2010; 11:17 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (20)
 
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More care isn't always better care

Ross Douthat reminds me of another paragraph I'd wanted to quote from Atul Gawande's article on dying: Like many people, I had believed that hospice care hastens death, because patients forgo hospital treatments and are allowed high-dose narcotics to combat...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 29, 2010; 10:31 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
 
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Matt Miller savages the deficit commission

Matt Miller is about as credentialed a deficit hawk as has ever walked the earth, so when he delivers this hard a blow to the fiscal commission, it's worth paying attention: I don't want to overreact. I'd hate to prematurely...

By By Ezra Klein  |  July 29, 2010; 10:25 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
 
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What Orszag took from Congress

Matt Bai had a smart piece yesterday arguing that Peter Orszag "promoted and carried out an effort by the White House to pry away from Congress some of the responsibility for making hard decisions, especially when it comes to...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 29, 2010; 10:23 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
Categories:  Senate  
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Research desk: How much do the Bush tax cuts help small businesses?

By Dylan Matthews Ross Cohen asks: Republicans keep fighting for the Bush tax cuts with a talking point about small business owners filing as individuals. I've heard 50 and 75% quoted as the number of $250k filers that are actually...

By Dylan Matthews  |  July 29, 2010; 9:14 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (23)
 
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Wonkbook: Arizona bill blocked; Fannie/Freddie reform coming; feds lose track of majority of Gulf oil

A judge has blocked key provisions of the Arizona immigration law as it was slated to take effect today; the White House is preparing for an overhaul of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac next year; it's not clear whether...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 29, 2010; 6:22 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Wonkbook  
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Reconciliation

Recap: Mark Zandi says the stimulus and the financial rescue added 8.5 million jobs and increased GDP by 6.5 percent; how to keep filibuster reform from becoming a power grab; and the limits of techo-optimism on global warming. Elsewhere: 1)...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 28, 2010; 6:38 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
 
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Zandi: Financial rescue and stimulus responsible for saving or creating 8.5 million jobs

Here's your big thought of the day: George W. Bush and Barack Obama did a pretty good job stabilizing the economy and kickstarting recovery after the financial crisis began. That, at least, is the conclusion of a paper (pdf)...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 28, 2010; 5:23 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (26)
Categories:  Economic Policy , Economy , Interviews  
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Senate not the special snowflake it thinks it is

Jon Chait punctures the pretensions of the U.S. Senate: Most Democratic Senators, especially older ones, are institutionalists. They believe in the Senate as a rarified place of bipartisanship and thoughtful compromise. They also have come to value rules that increase...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 28, 2010; 2:52 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (11)
 
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'The intent of both proposals is to make the Senate more like the Senate'

By Dylan Matthews This morning, I went to the latest in a series of Senate Rules Committee hearings on filibusters and holds. This one focused on two reform proposals, offered by Sens. Michael Bennet and Frank Lautenberg. Bennet's proposal is...

By Dylan Matthews  |  July 28, 2010; 2:17 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (19)
Categories:  Senate  
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The filibuster and the financial crisis

Megan McArdle thinks progressives should want the filibuster left alone: [Democrats] risk empowering a Republican Senate majority -- if not in 2010 (which I think is very unlikely) then in 2012. It's absolutely true that Reagan and others had less...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 28, 2010; 1:05 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (17)
 
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Lunch break

On the art of making decisions:...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 28, 2010; 12:42 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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Filibuster reform and power grabs

Red State digs up a post of mine from 2005 calling Bill Frist's effort to do away with the judicial filibuster a "power grab," and contrasts that unfavorably with my current advocacy for filibuster reform. One problem: I've also described...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 28, 2010; 12:23 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (12)
Categories:  Senate  
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Looks matter

At least if you want to get elected: Researchers showed voters pairs of candidates from 122 elections in Mexico and Brazil. The participants in the study were asked which candidate would be a better elected official. Respondents in India and...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 28, 2010; 11:47 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
 
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Tom Toles is worth a thousand words

By Ezra Klein  |  July 28, 2010; 10:37 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
 
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On global warming and techno-optimism

"Sometimes," Ross Douthat says, "it makes sense to wait, get richer, and then try to muddle through." He's talking about global warming, and giving voice to a common line of thinking. Sure, the argument goes, global warming is real....

By Ezra Klein  |  July 28, 2010; 10:09 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (25)
Categories:  Climate Change  
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The difficulty of dying well

As Atul Gawande writes in a difficult but important article, our system is not set up for it: In 2008, the national Coping with Cancer project published a study showing that terminally ill cancer patients who were put on a...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 28, 2010; 9:04 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (24)
 
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Wonkbook: DISCLOSE fails; Dems deny secret plans; no renewable standard in energy bill

After a final push from the White House, the DISCLOSE Act mustered 57 votes, failing to break a filibuster. Meanwhile, BP has detailed its plans for financing the Gulf's recovery from the oil spill; Harry Reid's energy bill lacks...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 28, 2010; 6:27 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (12)
Categories:  Wonkbook  
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Reconciliation

Recap: How to end the filibuster with 51 votes; possible White House responses to a Republican win; and why you should care about Basel III. Elsewhere: 1) Atul Gawande on the end of life. 2) A less abstract take on...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 27, 2010; 6:12 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
 
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Research Desk responds: What would the stimulative impact of a payroll tax holiday be?

By Dylan Matthews FormerSwingVoter asks: Any idea what the economic impact of an employee-only payroll tax holiday would be? Since it’s a Republican idea, it might actually stand a chance of passing, assuming they didn't actually call it “stimulus". As...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 27, 2010; 5:15 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Stimulus  
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Atheists and (economic) foxholes

Church attendance rises when the economy slips: Every day, the economist Daniel Hungerman looks at the graph that hangs above his desk at the University of Notre Dame. One jagged line goes down and up. This is America’s gross domestic...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 27, 2010; 4:43 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (15)
 
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Why you should care about Basel III

Now that Dodd-Frank has passed, there's not a lot of interest in following a meeting of international bank regulators. But Basel III matters -- some argue that it matters more even than Dodd-Frank -- and Brookings's Doug Elliott, author of...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 27, 2010; 4:13 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Financial Regulation , Interviews  
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Another problem with bigotry

It's economically inefficient: During World War II ... The Army needed warm bodies to throw at a dubious boondoggle that they hoped would make supplying China easier, and so they sent battalions full of black troops who had been drafted...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 27, 2010; 3:34 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (10)
 
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How to end the filibuster with 51 votes

If you can't manage the 60 votes to overcome a filibuster, you can't manage the 67 votes to change the rules and end the filibuster. At least in theory. But in practice, there's another path open to the Senate's...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 27, 2010; 2:48 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (104)
Categories:  Senate  
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Lunch break

Susan Shaw explains the oil spill's toxic trade-off: trying to save the beaches means destroying the sea....

By Ezra Klein  |  July 27, 2010; 12:28 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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Things you should read

David Leonhardt on climate change, and the way the economics of emissions make the problem worse rather than contributing to an eventual solution....

By Ezra Klein  |  July 27, 2010; 11:08 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
 
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Tom Toles is worth a thousand words

By Ezra Klein  |  July 27, 2010; 10:37 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (11)
 
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Immigration graphs

This graph comes from the CBO's report on immigrants, education and employment. The main thing you'll notice is that highly educated native-born women are employed at much higher rates than immigrants, while native-born men are employed at slightly lower rates...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 27, 2010; 9:56 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
Categories:  Charts and Graphs  
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What will Obama do if the Republicans take power?

Mark Schmitt wonders what Republicans will do if they capture the House of Representatives in November. Shut down the government? Nah. Repeal health-care reform? Unlikely. Pass Paul Ryan's budget plan? Absolutely not. Agree to a major and unpopular deficit...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 27, 2010; 9:43 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (26)
 
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Gridlock I can get behind

I, for one, hope the Senate never overcomes its stalemate on sports-related resolutions....

By Ezra Klein  |  July 27, 2010; 8:52 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
 
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Wonkbook: Basel III moving; Filibuster under attack; DISCLOSE falling short

International negotiators have agreed on broad principles for the Basel III banking regulation accord; the Senate version of the DISCLOSE Act is still a few votes short of passage; the House is packing its schedule until the August recess...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 27, 2010; 6:37 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
Categories:  Wonkbook  
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Reconciliation

By Dylan Matthews Today, Ezra previewed next January's fight over filibuster reform, pointed out that congressional inaction tends to give more power to regulators and courts, and noted the Massachusetts health reform's shortcomings regarding cost control. 1) An Economist roundtable...

By Washington Post Editors  |  July 26, 2010; 6:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
 
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Romney Care, cont'd

I'm a few days late -- at least in Internet time -- in responding to Michael Cannon's post on the Massachusetts health-care system, so apologies for that. Let's start with an important technical question: I said that "the [cost]...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 26, 2010; 5:20 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (15)
Categories:  Health Reform  
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Think tank: Food stamps, Basel III, fiscal consolidation and more

1) Dottie Rosenbaum of the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities argues that food stamps are an effective stimulus program. 2) William Gale and Benjamin Harris of the Tax Policy Center defend a value-added tax. 3) Richard Price of the...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 26, 2010; 4:28 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
 
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Research Desk: What if all income groups turned out to vote equally?

By Dylan Matthews cstar asks: Following up from the desk's response on Friday: If turnout among different income levels was homogeneous, would it be expected for Democrats to really dominate nationally? This is a tricky point, but cstar's right that...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 26, 2010; 3:43 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
 
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What Bernanke could do for stimulus

There's been a fair amount of talk about all the innovative and odd techniques that Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke could use to kick-start the economy, but Annie Lowrey rightly focuses on the most straightforward of the options: Bernanke could...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 26, 2010; 2:21 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
Categories:  Federal Reserve  
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Why is the economy so bad?

From the Awl's pseudonymous corporate bond analyst Carl Hegelman: As a corporate bond analyst, I get some perspective on this. My job is to analyze companies and try to figure out whether they can service their debt (pay interest and...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 26, 2010; 1:36 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (15)
 
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Lunch break

District-based superchef Jose Andres talks cooking, liquid nitrogen and Alice Waters with the Google folks....

By Ezra Klein  |  July 26, 2010; 1:12 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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What happens when Congress fails

In June 2009, the Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade bill passed the House of Representatives with a slim majority. In July 2010, Harry Reid, the Senate majority leader, announced that the Senate couldn't find a supermajority for a companion piece of legislation. Cap-and-trade...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 26, 2010; 12:56 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
Categories:  Senate  
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Fo' shizzle

XKCD....

By Ezra Klein  |  July 26, 2010; 11:44 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
 
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Filibuster follies

"I do detect some momentum gathering behind Tom Udall’s constitutional option for curbing the filibuster in January of 2011," writes Matthew Yglesias, who spent the weekend at Netroots Nation. I didn't go to Las Vegas, but I'm getting the...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 26, 2010; 11:13 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (24)
Categories:  Senate  
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Research desk is open

Dylan Matthews is officially a star....

By Ezra Klein  |  July 26, 2010; 10:57 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (17)
 
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WikiLeaks and the press

There's a lot to be said about the 92,000 Afghanistan documents that WikiLeaks released this morning, but I'm not the guy to say it. Go read Danger Room for that. I am interested, however, in the press strategy behind the...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 26, 2010; 10:15 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (11)
 
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Tom Toles is worth a thousand words

By Ezra Klein  |  July 26, 2010; 9:24 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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What went wrong with stimulus

The original stimulus package should've been bigger. Rep. David Obey, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, says the Treasury Department originally asked for $1.4 trillion. Sen. Kent Conrad, chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, wanted $1.2 trillion. What we got...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 26, 2010; 9:06 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (53)
Categories:  Stimulus  
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Wonkbook: EPA limits face veto; deficit tops $1.4 trillion; deportations surge

Following the apparent death of cap and trade, a White House aide says that President Barack Obama will veto any bill limiting the EPA's ability to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. That means that for now, the response to climate...

By Ezra Klein  |  July 26, 2010; 6:37 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (16)
Categories:  Wonkbook  
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