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Reconciliation

Recap: I wondered whether people really want the Senate the Founders envisioned and Dylan Matthews asked economists, commentators and politics where, exactly, the Laffer curve bends.

1) Romer's choice.

2) "No matter how you examine the numbers, the Bush expansion was significantly weaker than the expansions of the 1990s and 1980s."

3) The problem with generous public-sector pensions is stingy private-sector pensions.

4) I'll be talking state budget cuts with Rachel Maddow at the top of the hour.

Recipe of the day:We made some spaghetti amatriciana this weekend that might be the best pasta-based dish I've ever tasted. Here's Babbo's recipe for it. Here are some other takes. We used fresh tomatoes, which meant a sweeter sauce.

By Ezra Klein  |  August 9, 2010; 6:15 PM ET
 
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Comments

Use some heirloom tomatoes for the basic tomato sauce and this dish will make your head explode.

Posted by: bgmma50 | August 9, 2010 9:12 PM | Report abuse

' The problem with generous public-sector pensions is stingy private-sector pensions.'

No, the problem with generous public-sector pensions is the ridiculous 8+% discount rate they could use when calculating liabilities, and that demographics make it fail.

Private companies realized this and made the appropriate adjustments. Fools in government didn't have to make that choice.

The secondary problem is that state/local government payrolls have bloated since 1997 or so. Teacher/student ratios are over 10% lower today than they were in 1997 and 15-20% lower than they were in 1990. We have a huge glut of unnecessary employees.

Posted by: krazen1211 | August 9, 2010 9:16 PM | Report abuse

oh and this gem:

Also, as Dean Baker of the Center for Economic and Policy Research points out, many public employees don’t get Social Security.


Given that Social Security is a financial ripoff, that sounds great.

Posted by: krazen1211 | August 9, 2010 9:17 PM | Report abuse

I also disagree with Cohn. The problem with public employee benefits is that they are unaffordable, period. The state pension unfunded liabiity was recently estimated to be $3.2 trillion (that figure rises to $3.6 trillion recognizing future service and wage increases). The hole is so huge even getting rid of COLA entirely fails to fix it.

http://kelloggfinance.files.wordpress.com/2010/07/nmr_posps_20100718.pdf

The problem is not that private industry isn't putting an unaffordable burden on itself too - the problem is entirely on the public side.

This is why defined contribution is the best approach. Your retirement comfort depends on the person who cares most about it - you.

Posted by: justin84 | August 10, 2010 8:56 AM | Report abuse

Hey Ezra,

Did you use guanciale for the pasta? Where did you find it?

Posted by: jobuca | August 10, 2010 1:58 PM | Report abuse

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