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Ezra Klein: October 31, 2010 - November 6, 2010

What do health insurers want now?

After coming out against the Affordable Care Act in the final stage of the debate, the health insurance industry backed more Republicans than Democrats this election cycle, betting they'd be better off under a GOP-led Congress. One conundrum is that...

By Suzy Khimm  | November 5, 2010; 5:14 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (26)
Categories:  Health Reform  
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The secret about failed initiatives

If you're looking for quick and simple argument for the defeat of Proposition 19, California's ballot measure to legalize marijuana, probably the quickest and simplest one you'll find is that it was an initiative and most initiatives fail.

By Nicholas Beaudrot  | November 5, 2010; 4:20 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (10)
Categories:  2010 Midterms  
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The helicopter drop

Wiki Commons A number of economists are concerned that the Federal Reserve can't on its own stimulate demand. I am skeptical here, but with unemployment holding steady at 10 percent I am more than willing to consider alternate strategies....

By Karl Smith  | November 5, 2010; 3:59 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
 
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Quantitative bonuses

Felix Salmon suggests that QE2 is a give away to big banks. The people selling Treasury bonds to the Fed, then, are big banks, who are told in advance exactly how many Treasury bonds the Fed wants to buy. As...

By Karl Smith  | November 5, 2010; 1:31 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
 
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What you need to know about merit pay for teachers (and why)

With President Obama and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan hinting that school reform could be the big bipartisan focus of 2011, it’s an exciting time to be an education writer. At Time, Andy Rotherham outlines why it could be difficult...

By Dana Goldstein  | November 5, 2010; 11:59 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (21)
 
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Unemployment rate on hold

The BLS has reported its October job numbers this morning. The good news: Private firms are hiring faster than expected. This month 159,000 new private-sector jobs were added. Early this week economists were estimating an increase of only 20,000 private...

By Karl Smith  | November 5, 2010; 11:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
 
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Long-term scarring of hysteresis on employment

Imagine having a fever so bad that it permanently raised your body temperature. Now think of the current unemployment crisis, with new numbers being announced today of a steady 9.6 percent unemployment rate, functioning at the same way. Thinking in...

By Michael Konczal  | November 5, 2010; 10:36 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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Two ways to respond to the foreclosure crisis

Let's discuss two different policy designs for how to fight the worst parts of the ongoing foreclosure crisis, one successful and one not. We'll then discuss a great new report from the National Community Reinvestment Coalition that details many of...

By Michael Konczal  | November 5, 2010; 10:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
 
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Wonkbook: Investors back Fed action; McConnell concedes on health care; Obama calls summit

Mitch McConnell says health-care reform repeal is impossible this Congress. (Reuters) Top Stories Markets rallied in response to the Fed's plan to boost the economy, report Neil Irwin and Lori Montgomery: "The Dow Jones industrial average was up nearly...

By Dylan Matthews  | November 5, 2010; 9:36 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Wonkbook  
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Who's afraid of give-and-take?

The historian James Kloppenberg's "Reading Obama" -- an "intellectual biography" chronicling philosophical and legal theories that have influenced Obama -- is near the top of my current reading list, but I was a bit thrown off by Peter Berkowitz's review...

By Dylan Matthews  | November 5, 2010; 9:05 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  Obama administration  
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Resisting health-care reform, post-election edition

National Republicans have already vowed to put health-care repeal at the top of their agenda once they take power in the next Congress. In reality, there's little chance a full repeal bill could pass the Senate, much less the president's...

By Suzy Khimm  | November 5, 2010; 7:23 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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Overspent?

This post from Alison Schrager is beautiful in that its opening paragraph is so absolutely and perfectly wrong.

By Karl Smith  | November 4, 2010; 3:05 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (19)
Categories:  Economics, Economy, Federal Reserve, Financial Crisis  
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Return of the Midwestern battleground

Hello, Kleiniacs! I'm an accidental political observer who's still doing penance for not voting in 2000. Since I have a head for numbers, my point of entry into the political arena is usually through polls and results; when I started...

By Nicholas Beaudrot  | November 4, 2010; 12:45 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
 
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Kitzhaber's second try

While everyone is busy arguing over whether Republicans won bigger in the House because of health-care reform, arguably the most consequential race in the country for health issues has finally been called. John Kitzhaber (D), who was governor of Oregon...

By Dylan Matthews  | November 4, 2010; 12:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
 
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Recovery is still job No. 1

Before the election, Paul Krugman suggested that a GOP victory would spell disaster for the economy. But we won’t get those policies if Republicans control the House. In fact, if they get their way, we’ll get the worst of both...

By Karl Smith  | November 4, 2010; 11:28 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (26)
 
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Assessing our first female speaker of the House

A few weeks ago, a friend returned to New York City from a visit to her family in suburban Ohio with the following query: “Why do people hate Nancy Pelosi so much?” It’s a good question. By any measure, Pelosi...

By Dana Goldstein  | November 4, 2010; 10:56 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (32)
 
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Wonkbook: Fed commits $600 billion; tax cut negotiations; Obama offers deficit hints

Ben Bernanke's Federal Reserve will inject $600 billion into the economy. (Getty Images) Top Stories The Fed will buy $600 billion worth of new assets to speed up the economic recovery, reports Neil Irwin: "Fed officials concluded that growth is...

By Dylan Matthews  | November 4, 2010; 8:40 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
 
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Reconciliation -- and more

I'm off for a bit. The timing is a tad inconvenient, with the election just finished and the Federal Reserve announcing $600 billion in quantitative easing, but I've got two good reasons: First, a reservation at El Bulli. You go...

By Ezra Klein  | November 3, 2010; 6:38 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (66)
 
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Structural losses

Kevin Drum suggests that Democrats performed even worse than the 45-seat loss the Hibbs model would have forecast on the basis of structural factors alone. But the model I wrote about, which comes from Douglas Hibbs, only predicted a 45-seat...

By Karl Smith  | November 3, 2010; 5:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (20)
 
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The message

Brad DeLong wonders if President Obama can discover some message discipline: The message is PAYGO. Any proposal that does not pay for itself over the next ten years--any proposal projected to increase the debt relative to baseline as of 2020,...

By Ezra Klein  | November 3, 2010; 2:45 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (20)
 
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A foreign policy president

I wouldn't run the argument the same way Matt Yglesias does, but I definitely think you'll see a more foreign-policy-focused White House over the next two years. In some ways, the domestic and economic focus that the financial crisis forced...

By Ezra Klein  | November 3, 2010; 2:18 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
 
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What do Republicans want to accomplish?

So what's the affirmative agenda of the Republican majority in the House? Well, as Mark Schmitt writes, it's hard to say: There have been three major Republican/conservative takeover elections in recent history: 1980, when Ronald Reagan carried 12 seats and...

By Ezra Klein  | November 3, 2010; 1:45 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (12)
 
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Lunch Break

How to have e-voting without fraud:...

By Ezra Klein  | November 3, 2010; 1:14 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
 
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The Cult of the President lives on

One of the GOP's pledges was that "we will require that every bill contain a citation of constitutional authority." The idea, I guess, is that the government should run more as the Founders envisioned it. But then you hear John...

By Ezra Klein  | November 3, 2010; 12:41 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (16)
 
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Five hypotheses about the next two years

Stan Collender games out the next few years: 1. Unless the White House is willing to capitulate completely, fiscal policy simply won't be available to deal with the economy. 2. We need to hope (prayers might also be useful) that...

By Ezra Klein  | November 3, 2010; 12:02 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (13)
 
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Cost-benefit election analysis

As various Democrats get down to the important business of using the election to justify their preexisting policy and political preferences (I'm looking at you, Evan Bayh, Third Way, PCCC...), it would be nice if we set some ground rules...

By Ezra Klein  | November 3, 2010; 10:51 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (21)
 
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Democrats lost big because young voters stayed home

I basically agree with Kevin Drum's take on the overall election results: Most of the losses were predicted by structural factors, but not all of them. Democrats lost at least 15 more seats than the basic model would've predicted, and...

By Ezra Klein  | November 3, 2010; 10:48 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (24)
Categories:  2010 Midterms  
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What comes next in a universe where the government works

On Feb. 5, 2011, the president signed the Economic Growth and Deficit Reduction Act of 2011 into law. The legislation lifted the employer-portion of the payroll tax for a year, approved more than $50 billion in infrastructure investments, and...

By Ezra Klein  | November 3, 2010; 9:47 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (16)
Categories:  2010 Midterms  
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House vs. Senate

From the White House's perspective, it would've been much better for Republicans to capture the Senate than the House. The institutional barriers on action, the fact that Susan Collins would chair the committee charged with investigations in the Senate while...

By Ezra Klein  | November 3, 2010; 9:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (16)
Categories:  2010 Midterms  
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Wonkbook: Welcome to gridlocked America

Welcome to gridlocked America: The GOP is on track to win about 65 seats in the House of Representatives, and 7 or 8 in the Senate. This is a huge victory: the Republican House majority will be the largest since...

By Ezra Klein  | November 3, 2010; 6:19 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (39)
 
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No reconciliation tonight

As posting may go on fairly late. Or it may not! Most of the thoughts one has on election night are Twitter-appropriate one-liners rather than blog-appropriate analytical judgments, and so you may want to follow along there, too. Speaking of...

By Ezra Klein  | November 2, 2010; 7:21 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
 
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Which party is better on the deficit? Maybe the one trying to reduce the deficit.

Megan McArdle has a really good post demonstrating how seriously Democrats took deficit reduction in the health-care bill, only she seems to think it's a post about how they didn't take it all that seriously. It's really odd. The examples...

By Ezra Klein  | November 2, 2010; 4:50 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (24)
Categories:  Budget  
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Some questions for the Fed

Neil Irwin's got five questions for the Federal Reserve as it begins QE2. I think the most important is the second: 2) HOW OPEN TO EXPANSION? It's not just the volume of purchases announced that matters. More important is what...

By Ezra Klein  | November 2, 2010; 2:43 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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The Senate still needs reform

A couple of commenters asked how I can say, on the one hand, that this Congress was the most productive in 40 years, and still hold, on the other, that the Senate's rules need to be reformed to make action...

By Ezra Klein  | November 2, 2010; 1:51 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
 
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The end of the 'do-something' Congress

Republicans will probably win the House today. They might win the Senate, too. But either way, the brief moment in which Democrats not only controlled Congress, but held enough seats to do big things, is over. And it'll end...

By Ezra Klein  | November 2, 2010; 12:44 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (45)
Categories:  2010 Midterms, Congress  
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Lunch break

This has been an acrimonious and divisive political season. But politics, of course, is where we go to be acrimonious and divisive. Better to get it out at the polls than on the battlefield. At the same time, it's worth...

By Ezra Klein  | November 2, 2010; 12:18 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
 
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Obama and Clinton

Ron Brownstein compares his pre-midterm election interviews with President Bill Clinton in 1994 and President Barack Obama last week. The two men, he says, couldn't be reacting more differently: On the Sunday before the 1994 Republican landslide, I interviewed President...

By Ezra Klein  | November 2, 2010; 11:11 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
Categories:  2010 Midterms  
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Election predictions

The thing to do today is election predictions, but I don't have any. Instead, here's Nate Silver on five reasons the Republicans might do better than expected and five reasons the Democrats might to better than expected. Go vote!...

By Ezra Klein  | November 2, 2010; 10:48 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
 
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Is Obama a Keynesian?

This is pretty funny: (Via Greg Mankiw.)...

By Ezra Klein  | November 2, 2010; 10:36 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
 
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Should this be titled 'the culture that is the media' or 'markets in everything'?

Wondering which candidate got the most coverage this year? [Christine] O'Donnell, despite lacking national name recognition earlier this year, has been covered more than any other 2010 candidate, according to research provided by Pew's Project for Excellence in Journalism....

By Ezra Klein  | November 2, 2010; 10:33 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (12)
 
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Wonkbook: Mobile edition

Wonkbook's template has never played nice with the glorious diversity of mobile devices that exist in the modern world. Until now. Thanks to the hard work of Charles Balasz, Michelle Williams, and Sarah Halzack, Wonkbook's got a brand new mobile...

By Ezra Klein  | November 2, 2010; 9:56 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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What will a GOP win mean for health-care reform?

The question is not whether Republicans want to repeal the health-care overhaul. They do. "We offer a plan to repeal and replace the government takeover of health care," reads the 2010 Republican Agenda. The question is whether they'll succeed. There,...

By Ezra Klein  | November 2, 2010; 8:59 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (37)
Categories:  2010 Midterms, Health Reform  
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Wonkbook: Do markets like divided government? And what will lame duck look like?

From a policy standpoint, it's hard to say much of anything until tomorrow, when we know the size of the GOP's gains. A world in which they control the House will mean something very different from a world in...

By Ezra Klein  | November 2, 2010; 6:44 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  Wonkbook  
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Reconciliation

Recap: The Social Security shortfall in one graph; the Republican dilemma on tax cuts; why lawmakers like having money in politics. Elsewhere: 1) Though gangsters will still find things to do if drugs are legalized, it's unlikely those things would...

By Ezra Klein  | November 1, 2010; 6:22 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
 
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What drives elections?

There are some ongoing conversations about how much of tomorrow's vote should be blamed on structural factors like the once-in-a-generation economic crisis and how much should be understood as a specific repudiation of President Obama and the Democrats. In some...

By Ezra Klein  | November 1, 2010; 5:01 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (11)
Categories:  2010 Midterms  
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Column: Lawmakers hate fundraising, but not as much as they hate campaign-finance reform

When all is said and done, the 2010 elections will have cost more than $2 billion, or even twice that amount, by some estimates. Those are staggering sums, leading some observers, such as Yahoo's Daniel Gross, to wonder whether,...

By Ezra Klein  | November 1, 2010; 2:21 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (24)
Categories:  2010 Midterms, Articles  
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Tom Toles is worth a thousand words

By Ezra Klein  | November 1, 2010; 1:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
 
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What does divided government mean for the market?

Annie Lowrey* looks at the evidence (emphasis mine): Stovall studied the performance of the S&P 500 from 1900 until this year under three scenarios: total unity (one party controlling the House, Senate and White House), partial gridlock (one party controlling...

By Ezra Klein  | November 1, 2010; 12:42 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (10)
Categories:  2010 Midterms  
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Lunch Break

We're less than 24 hours from polls opening in the 2010 general election, so it's interesting to go back to the 2008 election and listen to then-candidate Obama make the case for his candidacy. This is from a 2007 forum...

By Ezra Klein  | November 1, 2010; 12:19 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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The Social Security shortfall in one graph

That's via Kevin Drum, who calls it "the most important Social Security chart ever." And he's probably right. Here's the point of that chart: Social Security is facing a bump, not a curve. To see the difference, think of...

By Ezra Klein  | November 1, 2010; 12:04 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (20)
Categories:  Social Security  
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The GOP's tax-cut dilemma

Josh Barro thinks the White House's proposal to split the tax cuts for the rich and the tax cuts for income under $250,000 is "a trap" that will lead to the expiration of the cuts for the rich. He's...

By Ezra Klein  | November 1, 2010; 11:33 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (17)
Categories:  Taxes  
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The almond state

I grew up in California, and so am slightly ashamed that I didn't know this: California now produces close to 80 percent of the world's almonds, around 70 percent of which it exports. It's the state's largest food-crop export by...

By Ezra Klein  | November 1, 2010; 11:08 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (11)
 
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From the 'probably not' files

Could ballot design save the Democrats?...

By Ezra Klein  | November 1, 2010; 10:45 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
 
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What would the 2010 deficit have been without the financial crisis?

Ever wonder what the deficit would've been if there'd been no financial crisis, no bailouts, no stimulus and no recession? Justin Fox did. And he did more than just wonder. He ran the numbers: In my no-financial-crisis, no-bailout, no-recession, no-stimulus...

By Ezra Klein  | November 1, 2010; 10:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (19)
Categories:  Budget  
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That searching look

I think Tyler Cowen would title this "the culture that is Washington": Business success both delighted and deflated Harman. On one hand, he could champion cherished causes—he funds the Shakespeare Theatre Company in D.C. And yet business didn’t fulfill other...

By Ezra Klein  | November 1, 2010; 9:52 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
 
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The media's pro-Palin corruption

"Corrupt bastards," tweeted Sarah Palin. "CBS/media plot against Joe Miller before our Anchorage rally Thurs Kinda'what I've put up w for 2 yrs." That's a bit hard to parse, but it's safe to say Palin doesn't like the media much....

By Ezra Klein  | November 1, 2010; 9:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (17)
 
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Military stimulus

I'm pretty skeptical that a war with Iran would do much for the economy. It's not just that the inevitable spike in energy prices would grind everything to a halt (and what if Russia or Venezuela or OPEC decide to...

By Ezra Klein  | November 1, 2010; 9:02 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
Categories:  Economic Policy  
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Wonkbook: WH's new tax cut strategy; Bernanke's fears; Sorensen remembered

Here's a word you'll get to know well in the coming weeks: "Decoupling." It's the White House's term for pulling the Bush tax cuts for income over $250,000 out of the whole package and giving them their own vote...

By Ezra Klein  | November 1, 2010; 6:45 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
Categories:  Wonkbook  
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