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Ezra Klein: October 3, 2010 - October 9, 2010

Reconciliation

Recap: How the anti-stimulus destroyed the jobs report; "the biggest fraud in the history of the capital markets"; and health-care reform notches a win in court. Elsewhere: 1) Who are the winners and losers from the foreclosure crisis? 2) Jonathan...

By Ezra Klein  | October 8, 2010; 6:02 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
 
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Krugman's haikus

Most blogs that have a partial RSS feed don't stay in my RSS folder. Paul Krugman's is the exception, for reasons that this afternoon's almost dadaist offerings illustrate:...

By Ezra Klein  | October 8, 2010; 4:26 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
 
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Health-care reform wins its first constitutional challenge

I wanted to write a long post on the Michigan judge who, in the first ruling on the subject, declared health-care reform -- and the individual mandate -- comfortably constitutional. Then the day got busy and plenty of other people...

By Ezra Klein  | October 8, 2010; 3:37 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (26)
 
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Obama's liberalism

Amid the wave of Republican nostalgia for Bill Clinton's moderate instincts, it's worth reminding people that Barack Obama's health-care plan was the moderate Republican plan that emerged as a counter-proposal to Clinton's big-government vision....

By Ezra Klein  | October 8, 2010; 3:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (10)
 
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Krugman vs. me

Paul Krugman says I'm wrong to suggest that Europe's debt crisis interrupted the recovery: I don’t know where Ezra got that, but it’s just not right. It’s not as if we had a solid recovery, then Greece came along. We...

By Ezra Klein  | October 8, 2010; 2:02 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (27)
 
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'This is the biggest fraud in the history of the capital markets'

Janet Tavakoli is the founder and president of Tavakoli Structured Finance Inc. She sounded some of the earliest warnings on the structured finance market, leading the University of Chicago to profile her as a "Structured Success," and Business Week to...

By Ezra Klein  | October 8, 2010; 1:27 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (19)
Categories:  Housing Crisis, Interviews  
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Lunch Break

El Bulli chef Ferran Adria talks at Google:...

By Ezra Klein  | October 8, 2010; 1:11 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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Silver lining to the jobs report?

The stock market thinks it'll finally force the Fed into the game....

By Ezra Klein  | October 8, 2010; 11:05 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
 
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What does 64,000 jobs mean?

Grim as my earlier post on the jobs report was, I worry it wasn't quit grim enough. Take the report's "good" number: 64,000 private-sector jobs. That's about 35,000 less than the 100,000 or so jobs needed to keep up with...

By Ezra Klein  | October 8, 2010; 10:58 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Economy  
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Sharron Angle hires 'SNL' writing team

The other night, I turned on "Saturday Night Live" and they had the funniest skit. It was satirizing negative ads, and in one Sharron Angle accused Harry Reid of using taxpayer dollars to give Viagra to child molesters and sex...

By Ezra Klein  | October 8, 2010; 9:59 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
Categories:  2010 Midterms  
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Welcome to the anti-stimulus

The good news: The private sector gained 64,000 jobs in September. The bad news? The public sector lost 159,000. And they weren't all census jobs, either. Local governments fired 76,000 workers. In other words, this is the first jobs...

By Ezra Klein  | October 8, 2010; 8:34 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (62)
Categories:  Economy  
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Wonkbook: Foreclosure law vetoed; individual mandate ruled constitutional; IMF takes on China

President Obama vetoed H.R. 3808, the Interstate Recognition of Notarizations Act of 2010, yesterday. The law, which would've allowed banks to speed the notarization process by using out-of-state, electronic firms, passed the House and Senate with virtually no notice,...

By Ezra Klein  | October 8, 2010; 7:13 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (20)
Categories:  Wonkbook  
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Reconciliation

Recap: This is no way to staff a government; the health-care system's status quo problem; and Rep. Brad Miller on the foreclosure crisis. Elsewhere: 1) Who can call themselves a feminist? 2) David Plouffe spins the election hard. 3) More...

By Ezra Klein  | October 7, 2010; 6:15 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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Rep. Brad Miller: 'There is no chance that Congress would pass more TARP'

I'd previously scheduled an interview with Rep. Brad Miller (D-N.C.) to talk about the financial regulation bill. But Miller is known as one of the House's leading experts on the mortgage market, so given the news of the day, our...

By Ezra Klein  | October 7, 2010; 4:35 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
Categories:  Housing Crisis, Interviews  
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Obama won't sign notarization bill

I've not been covering the foreclosure mess that quickly because, well, I'm totally confused by it. Is this an unexpected gift that will slow foreclosures and give distressed homeowners more leverage to negotiate principal write-downs in court? Is this a...

By Ezra Klein  | October 7, 2010; 3:40 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (15)
 
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The Affordable Care Act's Medicare cuts in one graph

That's from Igor Volsky and the Center for American Progress team. Conservatives will look at that graph and say, sure, it might be nice, but those cuts will never be implemented, and if they are implemented, they'll never work,...

By Ezra Klein  | October 7, 2010; 2:07 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (23)
Categories:  Charts and Graphs  
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Why Wall Street supports politicians who swear never to help again

The only reason Wall Street exists today is because Barack Obama linked arms with George W. Bush to help pass TARP. The only reason the Republicans are likely to take the House next month is because they have successfully pinned...

By Ezra Klein  | October 7, 2010; 1:25 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (11)
 
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Lunch break

The good news from the 2000s -- in graphs....

By Ezra Klein  | October 7, 2010; 12:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
 
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Some conservatives want the unemployed to submit to regular drug tests

You stay classy, South Carolina: South Carolina’s more than 236,000 unemployed workers could have to take a drug test in order to receive jobless benefits, according to a proposal by Republican gubernatorial candidate Nikki Haley on Tuesday. [...] Haley said...

By Ezra Klein  | October 7, 2010; 11:58 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (25)
 
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Rereading Hayek

Tyler Cowen rereads Friedrich Hayek's "The Road to Serfdom." The most important phrase in the book, he says, is "this book, written in my spare time from 1940 to 1943." "In those years, how many decent democracies were in the...

By Ezra Klein  | October 7, 2010; 11:49 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  Books  
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The turducken of cakes

What does this look like to you? A cake, right? This, my friends, is the turducken of cakes. "The Pumpple cake. Apple and pumpkin pies are baked inside layers of chocolate and vanilla cake! Vanilla buttercream holds the whole thing...

By Ezra Klein  | October 7, 2010; 11:02 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
Categories:  Food  
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'The real problem was the status quo'

Here's the play: Someone somewhere reports that the Affordable Care Act will require some change in the status quo. Maybe it's that insurers can no longer discriminate against sick children, and so some of them are pulling products that were...

By Ezra Klein  | October 7, 2010; 10:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (44)
Categories:  Health Reform  
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No way to run a government

From Steve Rattner's "Overhaul": Being vetted can be a full-time job. At Josh's suggestion, I had begun talking to my attorneys in mid-December, in part to ascertain whether public office was feasible for me. Every senior appointee has to complete...

By Ezra Klein  | October 7, 2010; 9:34 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (12)
Categories:  Books, Obama administration  
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Wonkbook: Foreclosures stopped; Geithner pressures China; Fed may target; Goolsbee on growth

Across the country, we're watching shoddy work on behalf of the banks and mortgage companies do what the government simply couldn't, or wouldn't: Stop the foreclosure crisis in its tracks. The only question is, to what end? You could...

By Ezra Klein  | October 7, 2010; 6:40 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
Categories:  Wonkbook  
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Unreconciled

Ran out of time for reconciliation, but if you really want to hear more from me, I'll be talking Congress with Keith Olbermann at about 8:10 eastern....

By Ezra Klein  | October 6, 2010; 7:25 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
 
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Austan Goolsbee on the Bush tax cuts, a payroll-tax holiday and what he'd do with $700 billion

Austan Goolsbee was the Robert P. Gwinn Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and is currently serving as staff director and chief economist on the President's Economic Recovery Advisory Board and as the chair...

By Ezra Klein  | October 6, 2010; 4:02 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (28)
Categories:  Economic Policy, Interviews  
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How Del Posto's spaghetti with Dungeness crab gets made

I could do without the pulsating techno, but Del Post's stop-motion video of the process behind this dish is pretty neat: Via Eater....

By Ezra Klein  | October 6, 2010; 3:34 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Food  
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America's innovation gap, cont'd

Joshua Freed, director of Third Way's clean-energy program, e-mails to say that however bad innovation may be in the private sector as a whole, it's even worse in the energy sector: In the U.S., the private sector barely invests in...

By Ezra Klein  | October 6, 2010; 3:24 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
Categories:  Energy  
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How health-care repeal will burn the Republicans

The South Fulton Fire Department was right to let the Cranicks' house burn. You can't sell fire insurance but let people pay after the flames have begun. If you do, people will sign up after their houses catch on...

By Ezra Klein  | October 6, 2010; 2:42 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (55)
Categories:  Health Reform  
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Lunch Break

Steven Johnson on where good ideas come from:...

By Ezra Klein  | October 6, 2010; 12:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
 
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The Democrats are way ahead of Bernanke -- but does he know it?

Ben Bernanke's speech to Congress yesterday was more of a lecture: "Economic conditions provide little scope for reducing deficits significantly further over the next year or two; indeed, premature fiscal tightening could put the recovery at risk," he said. But...

By Ezra Klein  | October 6, 2010; 10:59 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (13)
 
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Only 9% of America's companies are innovating

Michael Mandel summarizes the findings of a National Science Foundation report on innovation. They're not pretty: -Only 9% of companies engaged in product innovation in 2006-08. Only 9% of companies engaged in process innovation over the same period. - Some...

By Ezra Klein  | October 6, 2010; 10:10 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (10)
Categories:  Economy  
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The bears-and-sneakers theory of democracy

Dave Weigel has a good piece looking at how the conservative reformers who predicted a long wilderness for Republicans unless they changed their core message in this or that direction are reacting to the party's 2010 resurgence. "It now appears...

By Ezra Klein  | October 6, 2010; 9:47 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (18)
 
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Democrats don't know how much they've gotten done

Only a third of Democrats agree that the 111th Congress accomplished more than the average Congress? Sheesh. At this rate, they'll have to blow up the moon before the base admits they're getting more done than usual. That said,...

By Ezra Klein  | October 6, 2010; 9:43 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (16)
Categories:  Democrats  
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Wonkbook: Our $900 billion problem; support builds for Fed action; Jill Biden's community college summit

Neil Irwin has a crystal-clear explanation (complete with crystal-clear graphs) of what -- and why -- the economy is so poor right now. "About 7 million working-age people and 5 percent of the nation’s industrial capacity are sitting idle,...

By Ezra Klein  | October 6, 2010; 5:32 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
Categories:  Wonkbook  
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Reconciliation

Recap: How Democrats could lose 86 seats in the midterm; why America might soon envy Japan; and the output gap in graph form. Elsewhere: 1) Anti-libertarian parable comes to life, family's home burns down. 2) Ben Bernanke seems quite willing...

By Ezra Klein  | October 5, 2010; 6:26 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
 
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How Democrats could lose 86 seats in the election

At this point, you're probably getting bored of hearing me say that this election is about who turns out to vote, not what the country thinks. But this Gallup poll makes the point particularly well: In other words, if all...

By Ezra Klein  | October 5, 2010; 4:34 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
Categories:  2010 Midterms, Polls  
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The GOP's excellent trade

On Monday, I argued that the big political mistake of TARP was severing it from financial regulation. There was no immediate punishment or reform connected for the bailout. Of course, financial regulation eventually happened. But as Mike Konczal points out,...

By Ezra Klein  | October 5, 2010; 3:45 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (12)
 
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Will America come to envy Japan's lost decade?

Perhaps the most depressing exchange of this morning's conference -- and believe me, there were plenty to choose from -- was between Goldman Sachs's Jan Hatzius and Paul Krugman. Hatzius started things off by questioning whether the Federal Reserve would...

By Ezra Klein  | October 5, 2010; 2:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (29)
Categories:  Economic Policy  
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Martin Feldstein on the stimulus

Harvard economist Martin Feldstein was chairman of Ronald Reagan's Council of Economic Advisers, where he was known as one of the White House's most unrelenting deficit hawks. Later, he was one of the key economists urging George W. Bush to...

By Ezra Klein  | October 5, 2010; 1:49 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (19)
Categories:  Stimulus  
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Lunch Break

Mechai Viravaidya on how condoms came to Thailand -- and then changed it:...

By Ezra Klein  | October 5, 2010; 1:40 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
 
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The output gap in two graphs

Neil Irwin (with graphics help from Alicia Parlapiano) has a series of interactive graphs explaining both what's wrong with the economy and how long it will take to fit itself at different rates of growth. I've copied one of...

By Ezra Klein  | October 5, 2010; 12:59 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  Charts and Graphs, Economy  
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Health insurers vs. health-care reform

You know, I keep hearing what a gift the health-care law is to the insurance industry, and then I read that they're donating tens of millions of dollars to groups trying to elect candidates pledging to repeal the legislation, and...

By Ezra Klein  | October 5, 2010; 10:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (12)
 
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Stay weird, 2010

The upcoming election, ladies and gentlemen, as told by The Washington Post's latest poll: These results are strange for a lot of reasons. The majority of people approve of their current representative in an environment where Democrats control the Congress,...

By Ezra Klein  | October 5, 2010; 9:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (45)
Categories:  2010 Midterms, Polls  
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How will we know if financial reform is working?

Annie Lowrey* spent Monday at a conference on how we'll know whether financial reform is working. The answer? It's hard to say. I found Rep. Brad Miller's take to be the most convincing -- and the most depressing: “[Reform] would...

By Ezra Klein  | October 5, 2010; 9:05 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
 
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Conferencing

I've got some posts scheduled to go up, but blogging may be a bit slow this morning as I'm moderating a few panels at the Fiscal Choices conference. On the bright side, you can follow along at home! The webcast...

By Ezra Klein  | October 5, 2010; 7:58 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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Wonkbook: Obama talks corporate taxes; IMF frets over international FinReg; foreclosure cases clog markets

President Obama made his administration's openness to a corporate tax overhaul clear in some strong comments yesterday. Like a lot of tax wonks, he'd like to see lower rates paid for by fewer loopholes. The corporate world would also...

By Ezra Klein  | October 5, 2010; 6:29 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
Categories:  Wonkbook  
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Reconciliation

Recap: My take on 'The Social Network', the case for infrastructure investment; and how delaying financial regulation made TARP wildly unpopular. Elsewhere: 1) Where ideas come from. 2) Why wages aren't cut during recessions. 3) Being Glenn Beck. 4) Andrew...

By Ezra Klein  | October 4, 2010; 6:03 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
 
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Public debt passes private debt

The E21 Team notes that public debt has surpassed private debt for the first time in 13 years: Households and businesses borrowed in the run-up to the crisis, and then the government massively ramped up its borrowing once the crisis...

By Ezra Klein  | October 4, 2010; 4:11 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
 
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What chicken nuggets are made of

This pink goop. (Warning: revolting. And I say that as someone who has always loved chicken nuggets.)...

By Ezra Klein  | October 4, 2010; 3:39 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (13)
 
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Who likes Barack Obama -- and who doesn't -- in one table

Gallup breaks it down: I'd just note that if you were profiling the people who typically turn out in midterm elections, you'd probably say something like "married, white, conservative Republicans above age 65."...

By Ezra Klein  | October 4, 2010; 2:59 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (14)
Categories:  2010 Midterms  
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How the Roberts Court works

Dahlia Lithwick and Barry Friedman have an important article explaining the strategies the Roberts Court is using to push the law to the right without the public really noticing. For instance, there are plenty of decisions conservatives would like...

By Ezra Klein  | October 4, 2010; 2:12 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (26)
Categories:  Legal  
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In praise of Google Chrome

I've been a Firefox user for years. But over the weekend, I finally tried out Google's Chrome browser. And I'm not going back. It's not just that Chrome is, as advertised, a lot faster than Firefox. It's that in certain,...

By Ezra Klein  | October 4, 2010; 1:21 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (18)
Categories:  Tech  
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Could Obama have played TARP better?

Sunday was the second anniversary of TARP, the wildly successful, wildly unpopular bailout program that saved the economy while destroying the careers of a good number of the legislators who voted for it. Noam Scheiber asks the obvious question:...

By Ezra Klein  | October 4, 2010; 12:37 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (16)
Categories:  Financial Regulation  
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Lunch break

With "The Social Network" getting a lot of attention this weekend, it seems like a good time to hear from the real Mark Zuckerberg:...

By Ezra Klein  | October 4, 2010; 12:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
 
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How competition brought down Wall Street, and what it did to the rest of us

"How did increased competition affect credit ratings?" by Bo Becker and Todd Milbourn: The credit rating industry has historically been dominated by just two agencies, Moody’s and S&P, leading to longstanding legislative and regulatory calls for increased competition. The material...

By Ezra Klein  | October 4, 2010; 11:31 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  Economics  
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Why Harry Reid is in trouble

Harry Reid is one of the three or four most powerful people in the United States government. But the state he represents isn't just in a bad recession -- it's in something closer to a depression: Unemployment in Nevada is...

By Ezra Klein  | October 4, 2010; 11:21 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
 
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Zuckerberg, Zuckerberg, Zuckerberg!

Much like a Facebook profile, "The Social Network" is made more appealing through some artful lies, well-chosen omissions and careful shading. Eduardo Saverin's ejection from the company, for instance, seems rather more complicated than the movie suggested. And though...

By Ezra Klein  | October 4, 2010; 10:28 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (11)
Categories:  Movies, Tech  
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Tom Friedman, Naderite?

That's certainly the impression you get from his Sunday column, which called for a third party that will "rip open this two-party duopoly" and field a candidate willing to say, "These two parties are lying to you. They can’t tell...

By Ezra Klein  | October 4, 2010; 10:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (19)
 
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What happened while we were talking about Rahm

One of the big mistakes I think people in Washington make is to vastly overrate the importance of political changes and underrate the importance of technological changes. In that spirit, Farhad Manjoo pretty much has me convinced that the most...

By Ezra Klein  | October 4, 2010; 9:35 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Tech  
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Infrastructure: The best deal in the economy

People say that the government should be run more like a business. So imagine you are CEO of the government. Your bridges are crumbling. Your schools are falling apart. Your air traffic control system doesn't even use GPS. The Society...

By Ezra Klein  | October 4, 2010; 9:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (22)
 
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Wonkbook: Outside election spending up sevenfold; Obama gets incremental; how cap-and-trade failed; Lady Gaga on airplane safety

I'm not very excitable when it comes to elections. My usual take is that they're decided by the economy, and most everything beyond the change in real disposable income is noise. But it's hard to wave away the news...

By Ezra Klein  | October 4, 2010; 6:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  Wonkbook  
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