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Ezra Klein: September 5, 2010 - September 11, 2010

Reconciliation

Recap: Seven things to know about Austan Goolsbee; tracking the cost curve in health-care reform; Dean Baker's plan to create 9 million jobs. Elsewhere: 1) If there weren't pictures, I'd think Jeffrey Goldberg's meeting with Fidel Castro was fabricated. It's...

By Ezra Klein  | September 10, 2010; 5:10 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
 
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A better way to test deficit credentials

Matt Yglesias makes a great point on the way the media's faith in a given politician's deficit-fighting credentials is completely unrelated to the actual impact their votes would have on the deficit: I think larger issue here is the perverse...

By Ezra Klein  | September 10, 2010; 3:45 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
Categories:  Budget  
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The health-care reform bill's empty promises, and their curious fullness

The Democrats, Megan McArdle says, "misled themselves on the effects of Obamacare -- both political and economic." As evidence, she points to this column by Peter Suderman. I clicked over with great interest. Were the Democrats really misleading themselves? Why...

By Ezra Klein  | September 10, 2010; 3:03 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (32)
Categories:  Health Reform  
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The Blue Sky series: Dean Baker's plan to create 9 million jobs

Late last week, I spoke with former SEIU president and current Georgetown fellow/fiscal commission member Andy Stern about hosting a series of pieces laying out different ideas to kick-start job creation. The idea here is not to see how many...

By Ezra Klein  | September 10, 2010; 1:18 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (12)
Categories:  Blue sky series, Jobs forum  
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Does health-care reform bend the cost curve up?

At today's presidential news conference, ABC's Jake Tapper asked about the recent CMS report suggesting that health-care reform will bend the cost curve up. I don't think President Obama's answer was particularly clear, so let me explain what's going on....

By Ezra Klein  | September 10, 2010; 12:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (27)
Categories:  Health Reform  
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Lunch break

Never thought much about the possibilities of Internet choirs, but now I'm sold:...

By Ezra Klein  | September 10, 2010; 12:22 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
 
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Even in New York City, $250,000 is rich

Arguments over income taxes tend to get bogged down in arguments about who is really "rich." And what you hear then is that rich in Ohio and rich in New York City are different. But how different? According to...

By Ezra Klein  | September 10, 2010; 11:45 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (32)
Categories:  Inequality  
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Academics in government

Austan Goolsbee's academic work (pdf) suggests that investment tax credits don't do much for the economy. The White House that Goolsbee will work for is, however, proposing just such a credit, and Goolsbee will probably be defending it at some...

By Ezra Klein  | September 10, 2010; 11:11 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (11)
 
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The business lobby thinks forward

I haven't read Jacob Hacker and Paul Pierson's new book on the rise of the business lobby yet, but Kevin Drum sure likes it. Consider it on the list. But one thing that's always annoyed me about the business lobby...

By Ezra Klein  | September 10, 2010; 10:23 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  Education  
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Extending the Bush tax cuts for all Americans is unpopular

Here's a statement that isn't true: The American people want Congress to extend all the Bush tax cuts. The political system acts like it's true. The media often does the same. But here's Gallup: Even Republicans are divided: If anything,...

By Ezra Klein  | September 10, 2010; 9:59 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (16)
Categories:  Taxes  
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Seven things to know about Austan Goolsbee

1) It's Austan Goolsbee. With an "A." No one knows why. But it's going to be misspelled a lot. This post is as much to remind me as to remind you. 2) Many people thought Goolsbee was going to chair...

By Ezra Klein  | September 10, 2010; 9:18 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (12)
Categories:  Obama administration  
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Wonkbook: Goolsbee to head CEA, Voinovich backs small business aid; yuan(na) fight?

It's official. Austan Goolsbee -- economist, media darling, and one-time stand-up comedian (and yes, that links to video) -- will succeed Christina Romer as CEA Chair. At 41, Goolsbee, an economist from the Chicago Business School who has worked...

By Ezra Klein  | September 10, 2010; 7:01 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  Wonkbook  
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Reconciliation

Recap: John Boehner's strategy for the Bush tax cuts; Andy Stern's plan to create 12 million jobs; and no one listens to the president. Elsewhere: 1) On Peter Suderman's list of health-care reform's empty promises, Nos. 2, 3, 5, 6...

By Ezra Klein  | September 9, 2010; 6:25 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
 
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The rich getting richer in one chart

Think about that for a minute: 64 percent of all income growth since 1979 has gone to the top 10 percent. Source....

By Ezra Klein  | September 9, 2010; 5:46 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (23)
Categories:  Charts and Graphs, Inequality  
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People don't listen to the president

Matt Bai blames the Democrats' plight in part on a rhetorical failure of the president. The economic crisis, Bai says, was an opportunity to deliver "one of his trademark orations to an anxious public...explaining then that the country had...

By Ezra Klein  | September 9, 2010; 4:42 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (35)
 
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You're not so special

And here I'd always considered myself a visual learner: Take the notion that children have specific learning styles, that some are “visual learners” and others are auditory; some are “left-brain” students, others “right-brain.” In a recent review of the relevant...

By Ezra Klein  | September 9, 2010; 3:44 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
 
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Why we need an energy bill (in one graph)

And much of that R&D money, of course, goes to researching new ways to pull fossil fuels out of the ground. It's not all going to renewables. Source....

By Ezra Klein  | September 9, 2010; 3:04 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
Categories:  Charts and Graphs, Energy  
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Forum: Andy Stern's plan to create 12 million new jobs

Late last week, I spoke with former SEIU president and current Georgetown fellow/fiscal commission member Andy Stern about hosting a series of pieces laying out different ideas to kick-start job creation. The idea here is not to see how...

By Ezra Klein  | September 9, 2010; 2:16 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (66)
Categories:  Jobs forum  
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The demographics of 2010

People too often forget the power of demographics in predicting elections. Nate Silver, for instance, got his start plugging demographics into a statistical model that proves eerily accurate at predicting primary votes. If the election itself was held among white...

By Ezra Klein  | September 9, 2010; 1:18 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  2010 Midterms  
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Lunch break

In case you missed it in Wonkbook, shana tova from the Muppets:...

By Ezra Klein  | September 9, 2010; 12:42 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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Boehner: Don't throw Republicans into the briar patch!

"House GOP Leader John Boehner offered a concession on tax cuts," reports John McKinnon, "suggesting Republicans would accept a two-year extension of all the Bush-era tax breaks rather than the permanent extension they have been seeking." That's some concession....

By Ezra Klein  | September 9, 2010; 11:41 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (30)
Categories:  2012 Presidential, Taxes  
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Inequality and computers

Tim Noah's excellent series on inequality continues today with a piece exploring one of my chief interests: the awkwardly named "skills-biased technological change." "Skills-biased technological change," which I will not mention again in this post, essentially suggests that technological...

By Ezra Klein  | September 9, 2010; 10:50 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (24)
Categories:  Inequality  
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The Keynesian experiment

It's become common to hear Republicans saying that Democrats' "Keynesian experiment," or in Paul Ryan's case, their "Neo-Keynesian economic experiment," has failed. You'd think that Keynesian economics was a big divide between the parties. But it wasn't and it's not....

By Ezra Klein  | September 9, 2010; 10:11 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (17)
 
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Wonkbook: Bennet vs. Obama; Fed sees "deceleration"; Boehner accepts two-year tax cut

Shana tova to Wonkbook's Jewish readers and -- you know what? -- to its non-Jewish readers too. May your year be filled with fast growth, contained health-care costs, and lots and lots of charts. Sadly, the Fed's latest beige suggests...

By Ezra Klein  | September 9, 2010; 6:29 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (12)
Categories:  Wonkbook  
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Mitch Daniels: 'We all share a common problem'

Mitch Daniels is the governor of Indiana, and George W. Bush's former director of the Office of Management and Budget. Wednesday morning, he published an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal proposing "a time-limited, emergency growth program." Earlier this evening,...

By Ezra Klein  | September 8, 2010; 6:46 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (25)
Categories:  Interviews  
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Defending Mitch Daniels' $450 billion stimulus plan

Jonathan Chait isn't quite so pleased with Mitch Daniels's stimulus proposal and takes me to task for saying some nice words about it. But Chait and I don't really disagree. Daniels said his proposal would pay for itself twice...

By Ezra Klein  | September 8, 2010; 4:26 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
Categories:  Stimulus  
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RIP post-partisanship

"I think it's safe to say that President Obama has given up on bipartisanship," says Jonathan Cohn, who just watched Obama give his speech in Cleveland. I can see what he means: A few weeks ago, the Republican leader...

By Ezra Klein  | September 8, 2010; 3:32 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (17)
 
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Millennials and the stock market

Nancy Cook reports that young people -- my people -- are staying out of the stock market. In fact, according to a new report from Merrill Lynch, "affluent millennials and 30-somethings say their tolerance for risky investments is much lower...

By Ezra Klein  | September 8, 2010; 2:34 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (18)
 
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Why did Barack Obama do health care first?

Joe Romm says that “future generations are likely to view Obama’s choice of health care over energy and climate legislation as a blunder of historic proportions,” which is certainly possible. But like Matthew Yglesias, I don't think it was...

By Ezra Klein  | September 8, 2010; 2:08 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (28)
Categories:  Energy, Health Reform  
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Lunch Break

Animation historian Jerry Beck tells you about the 100 greatest Looney Tunes cartoons....

By Ezra Klein  | September 8, 2010; 12:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
 
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Why elections matter, in one graph

I've been trying to figure out how to link to Timothy Noah's series on inequality, which falls under the rubric of "things you should read that I have nothing to say about." One thing I can say is that Noah,...

By Ezra Klein  | September 8, 2010; 11:44 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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John Boehner's stale 'two-step job creation plan'

Minority Leader John Boehner is proposing what his members are calling a "two-step job creation plan." The two steps? Pass a budget that costs only as much as the 2008 budget, and extend the Bush tax cuts for everyone, including...

By Ezra Klein  | September 8, 2010; 11:23 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (18)
Categories:  Stimulus  
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Should we let housing prices fall?

Tyler Cowen isn't sure: Many smart people say we should. It seems increasingly clear that we must. For how long can the government prop them up? Are we never to have a private market in mortgages again? Yet what happens...

By Ezra Klein  | September 8, 2010; 11:10 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (13)
Categories:  Housing Crisis  
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Emergency rooms cont'd

Yesterday, I wrote about the time mismatch between patients and their doctors that sends so many people to spend unnecessary hours in the emergency room. I also quoted a study suggesting that other countries have figured out how to make...

By Ezra Klein  | September 8, 2010; 10:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (12)
Categories:  Health Coverage  
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A visual guide to deflation

Mint.com guides you through our potential economic catastrophe in pictures....

By Ezra Klein  | September 8, 2010; 10:10 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
 
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Tom Toles is worth a thousand words

By Ezra Klein  | September 8, 2010; 10:02 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
 
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Mitch Daniels has a plan

I'm impressed by Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels's op-ed laying out his proposal for "a time-limited, emergency growth program." It's a real plan, with concrete policy ideas that might actually make a difference. It's mercifully free from vague hand-waving about...

By Ezra Klein  | September 8, 2010; 9:17 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (24)
Categories:  Economic Policy, Stimulus  
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Wonkbook: Stimulus reax; Mitch Daniels' plan; Obamas opposes tax cut extension

Are we calling the proposed raft of tax breaks and infrastructure investments stimulus? Jobs bills? Economic reforms? Either way, Mark Zandi, the Moody's economist who has emerged as the arbiter of stimulus spending, is unimpressed. "Helpful on the margin,"...

By Ezra Klein  | September 8, 2010; 6:50 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (51)
Categories:  Wonkbook  
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Reconciliation

Ran out of time today, but if you're looking for a bit more commentary, I'll be talking with Rachel Maddow tonight at the top of the show....

By Ezra Klein  | September 7, 2010; 6:53 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
 
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The pro-business White House

I've spent a fair portion of the day going through President Obama's new proposals to help the sagging economy. There's the one to give businesses billions of dollars in tax breaks for research and development. There's the one to give...

By Ezra Klein  | September 7, 2010; 6:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (28)
 
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Why the Democrats will get trounced in the midterm election in two graphs

One: Two: This election is less about national preference, where the two parties are quite closely matched, than about the enthusiasm of the two party's bases. Republicans are eager to vote. Democrats are not. It's a funny thing: I think...

By Ezra Klein  | September 7, 2010; 4:48 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (13)
Categories:  2010 Midterms, Charts and Graphs  
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Political scientists forecast doom for Democrats

Mark Blumenthal does something I've been meaning to do and surveys some of the models that political scientists are using to predict the outcome of the 2010 midterm election. Of the five he looks at, fully three project that Republicans...

By Ezra Klein  | September 7, 2010; 4:04 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (10)
Categories:  Political Science  
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Monday NBER round-up

On Mondays, the National Bureau of Economics Research publishes an RSS feed with the abstracts of all their newest papers. I don't have a password to NBER, so I can't actually read these papers. But I enjoy the abstracts and...

By Ezra Klein  | September 7, 2010; 3:40 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  Economics  
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Don't raise the retirement age, cont'd

Earlier, a reader mentioned that the "full retirement age" for Social Security is really 70: That, and not the more commonly cited 66, is when you can begin collecting the maximum yearly benefit. The difference is large: Compared with benefits...

By Ezra Klein  | September 7, 2010; 3:07 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
Categories:  Social Security  
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Rob Atkinson: 'What the president is doing is very useful and nice, but it doesn’t get to the fundamental question' [UPDATED]

The Obama administration plans to announce a $100 billion proposal to make the Research and Development Tax Credit permanent. This is a longtime wish of the business community, but one they'll have to pay to see fulfilled: The White House...

By Ezra Klein  | September 7, 2010; 2:32 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Interviews, Taxes  
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Don't raise the Social Security retirement age cont'd

A reader writes in with some good further thoughts on Social Security. Pay particular attention to No. 3: (1) You indicate that some people work on their feet and strain their backs. True, but it's also true that the Dilbert...

By Ezra Klein  | September 7, 2010; 1:20 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Social Security  
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Why the ER is so crowded

A new study in Health Affairs "analyzed 354 million annual visits for acute care from 2001 to 2004" to see how many were taking place in emergency rooms and how many were ending up with primary care doctors. We...

By Ezra Klein  | September 7, 2010; 1:02 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (23)
Categories:  Health Coverage  
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Lunch break

Education scientist Sugata Mitra has conducted a remarkable series of experiments in which he embeds computers in extremely poor villages -- but doesn't offer any supervision, training or similar help. He's looking to see what the children can do on...

By Ezra Klein  | September 7, 2010; 12:36 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
 
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30 options for reforming Social Security -- and how much they'll save

As I've said, my preference is to make Social Security more, rather than less, generous. There are a lot of areas in which the federal government should be spending a lot less -- but I don't think Social Security is...

By Ezra Klein  | September 7, 2010; 11:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (23)
Categories:  Charts and Graphs, Social Security  
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Don't cut Social Security, cont'd

One point I didn't get into my column as clearly as I would've liked is the degree to which "raising the retirement age" is a way of saying "cutting Social Security benefits." So let's do it here. There are two...

By Ezra Klein  | September 7, 2010; 10:36 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (12)
Categories:  Social Security  
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Basel III looking tougher than expected

Felix Salmon says that the international regulations on bank capital are looking pretty good, at least if you can trust a report in Die Zeit: They start with a bare minimum Tier 1 capital requirement of 6%; that’s a substantial...

By Ezra Klein  | September 7, 2010; 10:03 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Explaining financial regulation  
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Tom Toles is worth a thousand words

By Ezra Klein  | September 7, 2010; 9:52 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
 
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What we lost when we lost our factories

Daniel Gros -- not to be confused with Daniel Gross -- has a sobering essay arguing that, in the long-term, America does have a skills problem: We need to eventually refocus our economy around exports rather than credit-fueled housing-and-tech...

By Ezra Klein  | September 7, 2010; 9:33 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (27)
 
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Americans prefer Democrats to Republicans, prefer voting for Republicans to voting for Democrats

Kevin Drum highlights some of the results from the latest Washington Post poll: This is, of course, the lament of many majority parties facing midterm elections: If it was a choice, they'd win. If it's a referendum, they lose. But...

By Ezra Klein  | September 7, 2010; 9:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
Categories:  2010 Midterms  
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Wonkbook: Obama proposes $50B for infrastructure, $100B for R&D tax credit; Orszag's first NYT op-ed

The Obama administration's next round of stimulus proposals are coming into focus, though the administration would rather prefer that we call them something other than "stimulus proposals." The much-rumored payroll-tax holiday is off the table -- at least for...

By Ezra Klein  | September 7, 2010; 2:27 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
Categories:  Wonkbook  
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What wastes money in stimulus?

The Obama administration has dropped the idea of a payroll-tax holiday. They're interested in making the R&D tax credit permanent, but that's more of an effort to aid long-term innovation than short-term growth. The Bush tax cuts are going to...

By Ezra Klein  | September 6, 2010; 2:07 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (29)
 
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Washington wants you to work longer

It's Labor Day, so I'm spending the day doing rather less labor. But my Sunday column fits the theme of the day nicely. Raising the Social Security retirement age has become as close to a consensus position as exists in...

By Ezra Klein  | September 6, 2010; 1:52 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (12)
Categories:  Articles, Social Security  
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