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Questions, questions.

By Ezra Klein  |  August 2, 2010; 10:55 AM ET
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Next: Where do congressional Republicans think the Laffer curve bends?


The term "small business" has always bothered me. It's similar to the "family farm" problem, in that support for both generally is cover for support for large and well-off interests.

I know the Small Business Administration has a definition for 'small', but are there competing standards for this in the U.S.? I'd love some information on what money targeted at small businesses effectively only assists 50+-employee companies - something no one in his right mind would view as small.

Posted by: freddy6 | August 2, 2010 11:06 AM | Report abuse

I’ve got a question:

I’ve read and it seems to make sense that people that live in more urban, dense communities live greener lives. The reason for this is because they drive less and have smaller homes, and so on. I would also think that basically for the same reasons they consume less public resources. For example, not as many roads need to be built and maintained per urban person than per suburban person, same thing goes for the electrical grid, and so on. However property taxes are generally higher in urban areas, and sometimes sales taxes and other taxes are higher too.

So my question is, if city governments save money on urban dwellers, why do they choose to make them pay more?

Posted by: dmb677 | August 2, 2010 11:23 AM | Report abuse

if the carried interest loophole was closed how much revenue would be raised?

Posted by: jackjudge4000yahoocom | August 2, 2010 11:29 AM | Report abuse

An easy question: What are the most popular macroeconomic models and which of these macroeconomic models (and advocates thereof) correctly and provably predicted the onset of the most recent recession? What future insight do those same successful models offer?

Posted by: rmgregory | August 2, 2010 11:30 AM | Report abuse

This is a followup to glenerian's message about Ezra's Lindsey Graham's post:

How many "stateless babies" are born each year in countries that do not confer automatic citizenship on infants born to parents without legal residency (e.g. the U.K., Australia, etc.) and what do they do about that?

In other words, is it an issue that should be considred when crafting proposed changes or an attempt to just shut down discussion?

Posted by: Athena_news | August 2, 2010 11:33 AM | Report abuse

What is the percentage of US workers who are earning the minimum wage? How has that percentage changed over time?

Posted by: 57Kevin | August 2, 2010 11:38 AM | Report abuse

What's the status of the new "federal high risk pool" that was supposed to be operational 90 days after the passage of HCR? Please advise.

Posted by: mayelinden | August 2, 2010 11:40 AM | Report abuse

I have two possible questions:

1. While GDP has been growing at a faster rate than the last two recoveries (see first chart, how about in relative terms? Is GDP growing at a faster rate than the last two recoveries relative to the depth of the GDP loss during the recession?

2. Are there any comparable deleveraging recoveries that could help forecast how long our stagnant growth will last? Is there anything even comparable, historically speaking, to how terribly indebted businesses and private citizens are today?

Posted by: bobsimmons | August 2, 2010 11:44 AM | Report abuse

As I understand it, Members of Congress have some responsibility not to pass laws that are unconstitutional. If you measure the constitutionality of a law by whether the Supreme Court has stricken any part of it (perhaps within a certain time of coming into effect, and excluding recent laws), then you could assess lawmakers' voting records on bills that became law. You could also classify specific Congresses and Presidents. What factors predict the constitutionality of laws? Does it change over time? Is there a left/centre/right divide?

Posted by: bovlb | August 2, 2010 11:54 AM | Report abuse

There was an article in yesterday's Post about Tea Partiers going to Colonial Williamsburg and grilling the Founding "Actors" about rebelling against tyrannical governments. The thing I have been wondering is that for all this "Founding Fathers" talk and talk of revolution, there is never any mention made of the Whiskey Rebellion. Have you, Ezra, come across any sources that compare the Tea Partiers (who starting protesting in earnest April 15, 2009) with the small distillers who rebelled against the tax levied against them in the first Congress in 1791?

Posted by: CHADisBAD | August 2, 2010 12:00 PM | Report abuse

I'd like to know the effect that Medicaid expansion will have on state governments. Will it represent a burden, especially if the economy takes longer to recover than originally envisioned and states have trouble remaining bouyant?

Posted by: mgoblue301 | August 2, 2010 12:02 PM | Report abuse

A blogger recently updated the famous Case-Schiller NYT graphic which showed the extent of the housing bubble back in 2008.

Can you estimate how much farther prices need to drop in various areas before the index returns to pre-bubble levels?

Posted by: fakedude1 | August 2, 2010 12:10 PM | Report abuse

Wow good questions here:

Mine is: Just how mobile are people when it comes to coming into or out of a certain annual income bracket? How far up the ladder do the poor typically go and how far down do the wealthiest fall?

The WSJ has always editorialized that the "inequality" argument is a faulty one because it's based on the statistics of the bracket and not that (what they believe) people actually shift upwards out of the brackets. They feel the poorest people are not poor for long, therefore this bottom bracket is not filled w/ the same people.

I'd like to know if that argument holds water.

Posted by: Rossi1 | August 2, 2010 1:04 PM | Report abuse

I was the only customer in Wendy's on Saturday, watching six cars idle in the drive-through lane, and wondered what the carbon footprint of drive-throughs is. (Fast food, banks, etc.) hen I thought, "I'll bet Ezra's research has an idea of what it is."

Posted by: dlk117561 | August 2, 2010 3:35 PM | Report abuse

How much extra money would be brought into the Federal Treasury by raising each marginal interest rate by 1% (i.e. 10% to 11%, 15% to 16%, 25% to 26%, etc.). How about if each were raised by 2%

Posted by: aardvarks | August 2, 2010 3:50 PM | Report abuse

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