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Ezra Klein: September 26, 2010 - October 2, 2010

Reconciliation

Recap: The Pete Rouse reader; assessing Rahm Emanuel; and the problem of successful policies that prove to be political losers. Elsewhere: 1) How the recession affected the rich and the poor, in one graph. 2) The man who crashed the...

By Ezra Klein  | October 1, 2010; 6:35 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
 
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Yes, it's progressive to cut wasteful goverment spending

Various libertarians say that a taxpayer receipt would lead taxpayers to want to reduce spending. I think the likely effect on taxpayers is that a receipt will change nothing, but I hope I'm wrong on this, and the libertarians are...

By Ezra Klein  | October 1, 2010; 6:09 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (14)
Categories:  Budget  
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Want to know whom Rahm Emanuel hung out with?

The Sunlight Foundation pulled together all of his video logs and plugged them into sortable data player: Rahm Emanuel Whites House Visitor LogsPowered by Socrata...

By Ezra Klein  | October 1, 2010; 5:15 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
 
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When good policies look bad

Two stories came out today that deserve to be thought of as one -- and that get to the root of the Obama administration's most frustrating problem. First, Jackie Calmes reports on TARP, which is set to expire Sunday....

By Ezra Klein  | October 1, 2010; 5:02 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (13)
Categories:  Economic Policy  
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Climate change in chunks

President Obama told Rolling Stone that climate change will be "one of my top priorities next year," but that "we may end up having to do it in chunks, as opposed to some sort of comprehensive legislation." What would that...

By Ezra Klein  | October 1, 2010; 3:55 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Climate Change  
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Midterm demographics cont'd

I've been getting some pushback on my earlier post saying that Democrats are in trouble in part because many of the young voters who helped them in 2008 are likely to abandon them in 2010, while the seniors who opposed...

By Ezra Klein  | October 1, 2010; 3:20 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (12)
Categories:  2010 Midterms  
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Lunch break

Rahm Emanuel gives the commencement speech at Sarah Lawrence University....

By Ezra Klein  | October 1, 2010; 2:18 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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The chief of staff of change

The Obama campaign was about poetry. It was the pretty rhetoric of hope and change. The Obama administration has been, to the surprise of many of its supporters, entirely about prose. It's been about the thousands of pages of...

By Ezra Klein  | October 1, 2010; 11:23 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (14)
Categories:  Obama administration  
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The tax receipt calculator

I really liked Third Way's proposal for a taxpayer receipt. So, it turns out, did Kareem Shaya, and he did them one better: Rather than just mocking up a taxpayer receipt, he created an online calculator that lets you plug...

By Ezra Klein  | October 1, 2010; 9:25 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (26)
 
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The demographics of 2010

Some nice demographic polling out from Gallup today. Over the past seven months, middle-age voters have been pretty stable in their preferences between Democrats and Republicans. It's the young and the old who've diverged, with the young swinging toward the...

By Ezra Klein  | October 1, 2010; 9:21 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (24)
Categories:  2010 Midterms  
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Wonkbook: The Pete Rouse reader

Today, President Obama will announce that Rahm Emanuel is resigning as chief of staff to run for mayor of Chicago. There will be wailing, rending of garments, and many tears -- and that's just from the journalists. Emanuel was...

By Ezra Klein  | October 1, 2010; 6:34 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (14)
Categories:  Wonkbook  
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The consequences of Central Bank inaction

Monetary economist Adam Posen's speech (pdf) counseling more aggressive action from central banks is worth reading in full, but people should pay particular attention to this part: Periods of persistently sub-potential growth and underemployed resources erode political moderation and...

By Ezra Klein  | September 30, 2010; 4:33 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (11)
Categories:  Federal Reserve  
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Who is Pete Rouse?

Rahm Emanuel is expected to announce his resignation tomorrow, and Pete Rouse, whose current title is the bland "senior adviser", is likely to step in to replace him. It's not clear if Rouse would replace him temporarily or permanently,...

By Ezra Klein  | September 30, 2010; 4:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (18)
Categories:  Obama administration  
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Shouldn't taxpayers get a receipt?

I haven't read through all of Third Way's deficit-reduction ideas yet, but I love the proposal (pdf) for a taxpayer receipt: Corn syrup, milk chocolate, sugar, cocoa butter, coconut, almond, soy lecithin … any consumer can read these ingredients and...

By Ezra Klein  | September 30, 2010; 3:35 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (61)
Categories:  Budget  
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The 'Pledge to America' in one graph

Methodology here. The treatment of the GOP's vague spending cuts is extremely generous. Update Link to methodology fixed....

By Ezra Klein  | September 30, 2010; 2:55 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (10)
Categories:  Charts and Graphs  
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Are we a center-right nation?

Every so often, you hear someone say that America is a center-right nation. What that means is often a bit fuzzy, but it gets applied to everything from why Republicans win about half of our elections to why we don't...

By Ezra Klein  | September 30, 2010; 2:51 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (24)
Categories:  Polls  
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Lunch break

Is a human being really the connections between the neurons in his or her brain?...

By Ezra Klein  | September 30, 2010; 12:18 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
 
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McDonald's vs. health-care reform

I've gotten some questions about the Wall Street Journal story saying the new heath-care law will force McDonald's to stop offering coverage. The short answer is that it won't, but it should. But anything I could write about it would...

By Ezra Klein  | September 30, 2010; 11:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (32)
 
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The Senate becomes a little more broken

Last night, the Senate managed to confirm 54 of President Obama's nominees, including two of his three picks for the Federal Reserve's Board of Governors. Guess they weren't that controversial after all. But McConnell got something out of the deal,...

By Ezra Klein  | September 30, 2010; 10:51 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (14)
Categories:  Senate  
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Charts and graphs that will finally make it clear

This is a great day for political communication in America. And not because the White House is putting Austen Goolsbee, its CEA director, in an embeddable video, and not because of his message, or tone, or some jab a speechwriter...

By Ezra Klein  | September 30, 2010; 10:03 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (18)
 
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Tom Toles is worth a thousand words

By Ezra Klein  | September 30, 2010; 9:33 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
 
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Wonkbook: House votes for China tariffs; net neutrality bill dead; Elizabeth Warren's first speech

In recent days, economist Adam Posen, a monetary expert, has been making a provocative new argument in favor of more aggressive intervention from the Federal Reserve: The issue is not just what the Fed can do, but what it...

By Ezra Klein  | September 30, 2010; 6:40 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (26)
Categories:  Wonkbook  
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Reconciliation

Recap: Can business afford the Republican Party? Is the rise in consumer debt a myth? And the Senate faces a collective action problem. Elsewhere: 1) Larry Summers lays out America's innovation dilemma. 2) The Harvard Business Review says this was...

By Ezra Klein  | September 29, 2010; 6:42 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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Military control of civilian options

This seems a lot worse than anything McChrystal said in front of a Rolling Stone reporter: In Woodward's account, even after Obama decided to send 30,000 more troops, the Pentagon kept coming back with plans involving 40,000. Even after he...

By Ezra Klein  | September 29, 2010; 4:54 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (12)
 
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The Senate as a collective action problem

Most people know that the Senate can't do much of anything these days unless it can muster the votes to break a filibuster. What fewer people know is that the Senate also depends on unanimous consent for its non-controversial...

By Ezra Klein  | September 29, 2010; 4:20 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (14)
Categories:  Senate  
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What could the Fed do? How could they do it?

Neil Irwin explains it all....

By Ezra Klein  | September 29, 2010; 2:31 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
 
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Lunch Break

How to use mobile apps and related technologies to know, track and analyze everything about yourself:...

By Ezra Klein  | September 29, 2010; 12:43 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
 
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Can business afford the Republican Party?

Steve Pearlstein's column wondering whether business can afford a Senate dominated by Jim DeMint and his allies reminded me of a distinction that doesn't get made often enough: Business don't like policy uncertainty. But they don't like policy inadequacy, either....

By Ezra Klein  | September 29, 2010; 12:26 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (17)
 
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Is the rise in consumer debt a myth?

This is an interesting post by Carl Smith arguing that consumers aren't that much more indebted than they used to be. What's really going on, he says, is that credit cards and other forms of consumer finance have replaced...

By Ezra Klein  | September 29, 2010; 11:05 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
 
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Good news for people who like bad news

Time to worry about Europe again....

By Ezra Klein  | September 29, 2010; 9:46 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
 
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What will our grandchildren hate about us?

Ross Douthat has a smart reply to Kwame Anthony Appiah's column wondering what normal practices our descendants will consider atrocious. If you want to know the answer, he says, look for the morally questionable practices that technology is rendering unnecessary:...

By Ezra Klein  | September 29, 2010; 9:39 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (21)
 
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Could Obama have done more to change Washington?

Kevin Drum says President Obama couldn't have done more to push procedural reforms of the U.S. Senate (or, I guess, the other things I suggested) because "the subject is too arcane for most of the public to care about."...

By Ezra Klein  | September 29, 2010; 9:05 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (16)
 
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Wonkbook: CBO thrashes Bush tax cuts; GOP blocks outsourcing bill; gov funding shaky

Testifying before the Senate Budget Committee yesterday, CBO director Doug Elmendorf destroyed the case for an extension of the Bush tax cuts in general, and President Obama's proposed extension of just the cuts for income under $250,000 in particular....

By Ezra Klein  | September 29, 2010; 6:46 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
Categories:  Wonkbook  
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Reconciliation

Recap: Jim DeMint staged a hostile takeover of the Senate; David Axelrod is disillusioned; and the Congressional Budget Office said extending the Bush tax cuts will hurt the economy. Elsewhere: 1) Obama's interview with Rolling Stone. 2) Peter Daou is...

By Ezra Klein  | September 28, 2010; 6:31 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
 
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CBO's case against 'Obama's middle-class tax cuts'

Alert readers will have noticed something odd in the CBO's graph of the harm that different tax cut policies will do to the economy. On the one hand, the harm comes from increasing the amount that we borrow. On...

By Ezra Klein  | September 28, 2010; 4:41 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
Categories:  Taxes  
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CBO: Extending the Bush tax cuts will hurt the economy, reduce incomes

CBO Director Doug Elmendorf testified before the Senate Budget Committee today and dropped something of a bombshell. Extending the Bush tax cuts, he said, will "probably reduce income relative to what would otherwise occur in 2020." The reason is simple:...

By Ezra Klein  | September 28, 2010; 2:46 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (31)
Categories:  Budget  
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On liberals and the White House

I'm sort of tired of debates over whether professional liberals are being too mean to the White House or the White House is being too mean to professional liberals, but Greg Sargent actually manages to say some interesting things about...

By Ezra Klein  | September 28, 2010; 2:18 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (16)
 
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Outsourcing bill dies a quiet death

With 53 votes, the legislation didn't come close to beating a filibuster. Maybe that's what the Democrats wanted. They get to go home and say "Republicans filibustered a bill to end outsourcing!" In fact, Robert Gibbs tweeted something near to...

By Ezra Klein  | September 28, 2010; 2:02 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
 
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California gets started on health-care reform

The states that are resisting the new health-care law are getting a lot of press lately. But on some level, that's a sideshow. The more consequential story is what's happening in the states that are implementing the new law. And...

By Ezra Klein  | September 28, 2010; 1:47 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
Categories:  Health Reform  
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Lunch break

The MacArthur Genius awards were announced today. The lucky winners got a call, some publicity, and a $500,000 check -- no strings attached. Except, I guess, for one: The MacArthur folks asked the winners this year to record quick videos...

By Ezra Klein  | September 28, 2010; 1:25 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
 
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Did Jim DeMint just take control of the Senate?

What is Sen. Jim DeMint doing? Senate staffers I spoke to weren't exactly sure -- but whatever it is, they're really not happy about it. "This is really, really, really, really, really, really bad," one said. "In a precedent-setting...

By Ezra Klein  | September 28, 2010; 12:23 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (55)
Categories:  Senate  
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Why the offshoring bill?

One other thing about the Democrats' dumb anti-offshoring proposal: They don't expect it to pass. No one does. The bill increases the deficit by about $700 million, and so Ben Nelson will vote against it, and so too will every...

By Ezra Klein  | September 28, 2010; 10:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (18)
 
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The disillusionment of David Axelrod

Noam Scheiber's profile of the disillusioned David Axelrod is worth reading. Axelrod, who's been hamhanded at best in his role as Special Envoy to the Professional Left, appears to share their critique of the administration almost entirely. He's presented...

By Ezra Klein  | September 28, 2010; 9:02 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
 
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Wonkbook: DeMint's last stand; Sebelius vs. WSJ; Fed purchases; a longer school year?

Senator Jim DeMint is planning to end the 111th Congress with a glorious show of all-points obstruction. Everything he hasn't personally agreed to, he'll hold. The idea is to just run out the clock so the Senate has to...

By Ezra Klein  | September 28, 2010; 5:27 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (31)
Categories:  Wonkbook  
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Reconciliation

Recap: The payoffs of immigration; the uncertain link between good students and good teachers; and the Senate Democrats' disappointing final act. Elsewhere: 1) Noam Scheiber's profiles David Axelrod's disillusionment. 2) Who should Obama have listened to? 3) Is the CBO...

By Ezra Klein  | September 27, 2010; 6:33 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
 
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The Senate Democrats' disappointing final act

In the few days remaining before the Senate recesses for the election, the Democrats have decided to pull off a bad policy twofer: They'll fight for one policy that doesn't make sense, and in doing, make success less likely...

By Ezra Klein  | September 27, 2010; 4:18 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (87)
Categories:  Democrats, Taxes  
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Our dumb corporate tax system

One place liberals and conservatives should be able to agree is on corporate tax reform. Our corporate tax is so bad that the two seemingly opposed positions on corporate taxation are actually both right. Yes, as liberals say, corporations should...

By Ezra Klein  | September 27, 2010; 2:48 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (11)
Categories:  Taxes  
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Lunch Break

More El Bulli!...

By Ezra Klein  | September 27, 2010; 12:45 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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Monday NBER papers: Workplace inequality, the power of kindergarten, and poor health makes you poor

“Inequality at Work: The Effect of Peer Salaries on Job Satisfaction,” by David Card, Alexandre Mas, Enrico Moretti and Emmanuel Saez: Economists have long speculated that individuals care about both their absolute income and their income relative to others. ......

By Ezra Klein  | September 27, 2010; 12:20 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Economics  
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Results matter. Speeches don't.

You've all heard me make this point a million times, but it's nice to see John Harwood hammer the idea that a display of “empathy” would save the election for Obama. “We have a controlled experiment,” he quotes Stan Greenberg,...

By Ezra Klein  | September 27, 2010; 12:09 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
 
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How to eat at an Indian buffet

This comes from a real expert: Stick to the water; don’t order any beverages off the menu. Scan the buffet area and commit all the dishes to memory. Then go back to your table, look at the menu and identify...

By Ezra Klein  | September 27, 2010; 11:47 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (12)
 
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Would attracting better students to teaching matter?

Here's an interesting opportunity in education: More than half of today’s teachers -- roughly 1.8 million of 3.3 million -- will be eligible to retire within the next decade, providing a rare window of opportunity to shape the next...

By Ezra Klein  | September 27, 2010; 11:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (14)
Categories:  Education  
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Eric Asimov on El Bulli

Saying he liked it would be an understatement: What remains lodged in my memory is the totality — the laughter, the surprise, the moments of discovered deliciousness as each novel presentation unmoored the food from the burden of expectations....

By Ezra Klein  | September 27, 2010; 10:38 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
Categories:  Food  
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The futility of border spending in one graph

One of the points I made in my column on immigration was that it doesn't make much sense to orient our system around family unification rather than economic need. We should set our immigration policies to maximize their benefit to...

By Ezra Klein  | September 27, 2010; 10:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (14)
Categories:  Immigration  
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America's land vs. Europe's labor

I'm about 200 pages into H.W. Brands's forthcoming "American Colossus," and so far, this is the most interesting paragraph: Of workers, America had always had many, of course -- although never enough to meet the demand for labor. In fact,...

By Ezra Klein  | September 27, 2010; 9:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
Categories:  Books  
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Column: The payoff from immigration

I have a plan that will raise wages, lower prices, increase the nation's stock of scientists and engineers, and maybe even create the next Google. Better yet, this plan won't cost the government a dime. In fact, it'll save...

By Ezra Klein  | September 27, 2010; 8:55 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (24)
Categories:  Immigration  
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Wonkbook: Dems to lose votes in lame duck; Senate looks at outsourcing; Carol Browner out

You probably know that Senate Democrats are delaying a vote on the Bush tax cuts until after the election. In its place, they'll be voting on a mostly symbolic bill to discourage companies from outsourcing jobs. What you may...

By Ezra Klein  | September 27, 2010; 6:28 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
Categories:  Wonkbook  
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