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Recap: The Social Security shortfall in one graph; the Republican dilemma on tax cuts; why lawmakers like having money in politics.


1) Though gangsters will still find things to do if drugs are legalized, it's unlikely those things would be as lucrative.

2) Voting for people, rather than parties, is absurd.

3) Did World War II really end the Great Depression?

4) More arguments over the 2009 tax cuts.

Recipe of the day: Rootbeer cookies.

By Ezra Klein  | November 1, 2010; 6:22 PM ET
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Next: Wonkbook: Do markets like divided government? And what will lame duck look like?


"Did World War II really end the Great Depression?"

Had the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act been $1.5 trillion would our unemployment rate now be below 8% and our economy be growing lickety-split?

An obsessive compulsive Keynesian like Krugman would give a resounding yes to both questions. Lefties who use Keynesian rhetoric as justification for their voracious appetite for borrowing and spending draw the line at following Keynsianism to its logical conclusion.

Posted by: bgmma50 | November 2, 2010 1:07 AM | Report abuse

Essentially, for most people, when you vote the party, you are voting the person. For me, unless there was something really unusual going on, a person would never choose to run as a Republican if she held positions overall close to mine and didn't grossly misunderstand economics.

It's like if you're choosing a person to maintain your computer room and he's a Luddite -- there's no reason to look any further; you know immediately he's toxic for the job, otherwise he would have never chosen to be a Luddite in the first place.

Posted by: RichardHSerlin | November 2, 2010 1:24 AM | Report abuse

In this way party is a lot like brand name, and serves a very similar purpose as outlined in economics. On my ballot I may not have time to research the candidates for drain commissioner, county clerk, city judge..., but I know if the candidate is a Republican it's like he's a Yugo, and if he's a Democrat, it's like he's a Toyota/Lexus. It's very unlikely that even the best Yugo is better than the worst Lexus.

Posted by: RichardHSerlin | November 2, 2010 1:32 AM | Report abuse

Of course today, with the Republicans having gone to stunning extremes, the parties are vastly different, so brand really means a lot, and yes, there's also the huge issue of it decides who controls the chamber.

In the 1950s it meant a lot less; Republicans were far closer to Democrats. It was like comparing a Lincoln to an Oldsmobile. Lincolns were usually better, but there could easily be exceptions.

Posted by: RichardHSerlin | November 2, 2010 1:38 AM | Report abuse

The "party, not the person" argument is certainly valid for national level elections and probably most broad statewide elections. But for some specific statewide and for many local elections, the party apparatus is somewhat irrelevant. In the progressive districts I've voted, often progressive or progressive-moderate local candidates run as Republicans just to oppose the incumbent. And for an office with very specific duties (for example, "comptroller"), you very well might want someone with appropriate experience for those specific duties, rather than someone you agree with ideologically on other issues. (It doesn't matter to me what my comptroller thinks of same-sex marriage or the war in Iraq).

Posted by: madjoy | November 2, 2010 11:15 AM | Report abuse

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