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Posted at 6:16 PM ET, 11/30/2010


By Ezra Klein

Recap: Mitch McConnell's political psychology -- and ours; the federal-pay freeze and private-sector resentment; and why is the Obama administration making the tax cuts its problem?


1) "I'm a senior at Harvard and I'm undocumented."

2) Inexpensive HDMI cables are a right, not a privilege.

3) If this sentiment is really prevalent among Republicans, it explains a lot.

4) Is there any evidence that the actual budget deficit matters politically?

Recipe of the day: Grilled brussels sprouts.

By Ezra Klein  | November 30, 2010; 6:16 PM ET
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: The tax cuts vs. the pay freeze
Next: Wonkbook: White House takes over Bush tax cuts; Senate passes food safety but rejects earmark ban; fiscal commission report coming


Ezra I read the undocumented/illegal alien story, as I, regrettably, read almost all of your links in whole or in part.

What's next a story about an amputee who died waiting for healthcare reform? A man who committed suicide because the stimulus package wasn't large enough?

I can only say to you what Joseph Welch said to Joe McCarthy:

"Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?"

Posted by: 54465446 | November 30, 2010 7:25 PM | Report abuse

1. anybody who wants to send her back to SA hates America

2. (not spam, they're just good)

3. T/GOP = no heart, no brains, no soul, but they can win an election once in a while

4. I suppose if you never took out a loan for a house or a car, deficits don't matter to you

Posted by: seriousfun | November 30, 2010 8:03 PM | Report abuse

Respecting #3... Where to start?

Klein links to Chait, who links to ThinkProgress, where it is written...

"According to calculations by the Congressional Budget Office, Moody’s Economy, and myriad other economists, unemployment benefits are the single best way to pump money into the economy and generate economic activity"

... with a link to a CBO pdf, a link at "Moody's Economy", a link at "myriad other", and another link at "economists". Four links, right? Four citations of four different economists, right? Nope. The last three all end up going to Zandi. "Moody's Economy", "myriad other", and "economists" are all Zandi. Typical Think Progress, I suppose. With support from Chait and Klein.

Klein's beef is with Rep. Shadegg, though, for arguing that economies are driven by job creators, rather than with unemployment benefits quickly spent by recipients. Shadegg is a moron, of course, but that isn't to say that Klein, Chait, and Garofalo are any less moronic for continually humping the unemployment-benefits-drive-the-economy meme.

If the contention were true, Europe would have led the U.S. in economic strength over the last half century, instead of consistently trailing in factors like... unemployment.

The fact is, Shadegg and the link-sisters are talking about two different things, and Shadegg is closer to being right than the link-sisters are in that at least Shadegg is talking exclusively about the private sector, the realm where "the economy" happens, while Klein and crew are talking about using government to drive that which it is incapable of driving.

There is no free lunch, Klein. Giving away money that has to be either printed or stolen does not create wealth. If it did... see my comment on Europe, just above. Stealing from A to give to B creates nothing, for the money that B spends can no longer be spent by A, who earned it. And A, who did something productive to earn the money, and likely would have used it to further his productivity and create more wealth, is stymied in such regards, while B, who can only consume, and not produce or create wealth, has his incentives to take action on his own behalf reduced.

So, while giving stolen loot to poor people gets the money into the economy, so would throwing it out of helicopters over Manhattan. In either case, someone else is poorer for the endeavor, and, for that matter, dealing with having been robbed, and put in a frame of mind to take steps to keep from having further monies stolen from him, either by hiding earnings better, or refusing to expend the effort to acquire same.

Posted by: msoja | November 30, 2010 8:50 PM | Report abuse

i have NEVER linked to McMegan and in fact I stumbled upon it via a twitter link "healthcarewire" but i just HAVE to. Its too juicy not to.

When we commenters on here stated that HCR would cause people to lose coverage and said that the faulty premise of "if you like your coverage you can keep it" was full or garbage we were laughed out of here as shills or worse.

When insurers stated that the HCR bill would drastically affect costs to unaffordability for too many and not enough was done to effect costs now they were chastised by most pundits as well as Secretary Sebelius, President Obama et al.

Now that a HUGE proponent of PPACA, SEIU has gone ahead and CUT benefits for children I certainly hope that gets the same amount of attention around here.

I expect a full post on this story tomorrow Ezra. Maybe something along the lines of, "if you think your insurer was bad wait until your union cuts off benefits to your children."

Sure they're already backtracking on it as any good political type would but WHY did they state it directly to their membership in the first place? Why did they blame PPACA in the first place?

"In addition, new federal health-care reform legislation requires plans with dependent coverage to expand that coverage up to age 26," Behroozi wrote in a letter to members Oct. 22. "Our limited resources are already stretched as far as possible, and meeting this new requirement would be financially impossible."

Posted by: visionbrkr | November 30, 2010 9:32 PM | Report abuse

"as I, regrettably, read almost all of your links in whole or in part."

Stop whining for your own dubious self-aggrandizement.

Posted by: pseudonymousinnc | November 30, 2010 9:48 PM | Report abuse


LOL good one.

Posted by: 54465446 | November 30, 2010 10:04 PM | Report abuse

Missed this one- it smells like the future to me.

Posted by: staticvars | November 30, 2010 11:33 PM | Report abuse

Great brussel sprout recipe. Made it up tonight, and I must say, first time I've enjoyed eating brussel sprouts.

Posted by: enormousturnip | November 30, 2010 11:51 PM | Report abuse

"I'm a senior at Harvard and I'm undocumented."

She wouldn't need documents to live in a free country - Harvard student or not.

"If this sentiment is really prevalent among Republicans, it explains a lot."

Chait fails to realize how the following two sentences are interconnected:

"What about the fact that unemployment benefits pumped into the economy are an immediate benefit to the economy?"

"And in point of fact, businesses are sitting on mountains of cash right now."

Remember that "cash" doesn't represent dollar bills hidden in the CFO's mattress. If corporations decided to start spending that cash, they would have to unwind their short term investments and some other bogeymen - perhaps banks or foreign governments - would be sitting on piles of "cash".

Furthermore, it's surprising that Chait has never had the curiosity to look at what is on the other side of corporate balance sheets... a mountain of debt!

Posted by: justin84 | December 1, 2010 10:22 AM | Report abuse

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