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Ezra Klein: December 5, 2010 - December 11, 2010

Reconciliation

Recap: Why tax reform will be harder than you think; six lessons from the tax deal; and Silicon Valley thinks different. Elsewhere: 1) How generous was the original Social Security program? 2) McConnell convincing Democrats of the need for filibuster...

By Ezra Klein  | December 10, 2010; 6:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
 
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Schumer vs. the White House?

One of the reasons that I've been pretty positive about the tax deal is that the other compromises on the table were so bad. The worst -- and, in the minds of most Hill staffers I talked to, the likeliest...

By Ezra Klein  | December 10, 2010; 5:51 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (18)
 
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Why I like reading about Silicon Valley

I've been reading and thinking more about the technology sector lately, in part because it's interesting and in part because it cultivates good habits of mind. In Washington, thinking is constrained by the routine experience of being unable to achieve...

By Ezra Klein  | December 10, 2010; 5:05 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
Categories:  Tech  
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Will 2012 be different than 2010?

Greg Sargent posts a chart from MoveOn.org showing that the tax deal looks bad if the good stuff sunsets over the next two years and the bad stuff is extended indefinitely: And that's true! But another way to say it...

By Ezra Klein  | December 10, 2010; 4:48 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (15)
 
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Column: Six lessons from the tax deal

In Washington, the temperature dipped into the 20s this week, which is evidently the point when hell freezes over: President Obama reached an agreement on the Bush tax cuts with the Republican Senate leader who said "the single most...

By Ezra Klein  | December 10, 2010; 1:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (39)
Categories:  Articles, Wonkbook  
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Lunch break

"The Daily Show" had a cute segment last night noting that Americans' approval ratings are down among Barack Obama. Head to 4:30 or so for some graphs. The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10cNational Displeasurewww.thedailyshow.comDaily Show...

By Ezra Klein  | December 10, 2010; 12:31 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
 
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The White House's case for the tax-cut deal in one graph

They're circulating this around the Hill: It's also worth noting that those numbers could end up looking a lot better -- say, if the payroll-tax cut gets extended next year, which many think likely – or, if Democrats let their...

By Ezra Klein  | December 10, 2010; 11:24 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (21)
Categories:  Charts and Graphs  
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Time for tax reform?

That's the word out of the White House. It's also what the deficit commission recommended, and the incoming chairman of the Ways and Means Committee is talking it up, too. But if you really want to see why we...

By Ezra Klein  | December 10, 2010; 10:49 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (101)
Categories:  Taxes  
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The road not taken -- or built

Andrew Samwick is right that we'd be better off borrowing $850 billion to repair and upgrade the nation's infrastructure than to give people tax breaks of varying quality and purpose: The ASCE released a new report card in February 2009....

By Ezra Klein  | December 10, 2010; 9:32 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (34)
 
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The Republicans' smart bet

It's important, as Jacob Hacker and Paul Pierson say, to keep in mind the nature of the 2001 and 2003 Bush tax cuts that got us into this mess: Most reporters have done a lousy job of reminding us of...

By Ezra Klein  | December 10, 2010; 9:08 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
 
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Wonkbook: $858 billion price tag on tax deal; Obama weighs tax reform; AFL-CIO opposes South Korea trade deal

Washington, we've got a price tag: $858 billion. About $450 billion of it is the tax cuts for income under $250,000. The tax cuts for for income over $250,000 and the estate tax cut add in another $125 billion...

By Ezra Klein  | December 10, 2010; 6:45 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (24)
Categories:  Wonkbook  
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Reconciliation

Recap: Why the left hates the tax cut deal (plus some great graphs); why some general fund revenues could be good for Social Security; and why Senate Democrats don't want to vote on the debt ceiling. Elsewhere: 1) There's no...

By Ezra Klein  | December 9, 2010; 6:31 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
 
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The tax cuts and 2012

Paul Krugman thinks the tax cut deal might hurt President Obama's reelection chances. To understand his argument, you need to see this graph from political scientist John Sides, which tests presidential election outcomes against income growth in the preceding four...

By Ezra Klein  | December 9, 2010; 5:55 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (14)
Categories:  2012 Presidential  
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DADT didn't fail. The Senate did.

The bill repealing Don't Ask Don't Tell didn't fail: The Senate did. The bill got 57 votes, not 49. As Dylan Matthews pointed out, a procedural failsafe that's theoretically meant to protect the rights of minorities was just used to...

By Ezra Klein  | December 9, 2010; 4:58 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (75)
 
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Why Democrats don't want to tie the debt ceiling to the tax cuts

What's important to understand about the debt-ceiling vote -- where Democrats and Republicans will either strike a deal to increase the Treasury's borrowing cap or the country will collapse into default -- is that it's not like Democrats have simply...

By Ezra Klein  | December 9, 2010; 4:06 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (19)
 
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America in 2010

I can't decide if this is a good job or a bad job: His presence did not go unheralded in the apartment, in a new warehouse conversion along the Brooklyn waterfront, although the intimate cluster of guests could have easily...

By Ezra Klein  | December 9, 2010; 2:33 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (10)
 
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Lunch Break

How to make houses out of reclaimed junk:...

By Ezra Klein  | December 9, 2010; 1:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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The payroll tax cut, Social Security and the problem of the trust fund

The tax deal cuts employee-side payroll taxes by two percentage points in 2011. This won't harm Social Security, or at least it shouldn't harm Social Security, because the money will just be replaced by general fund revenues (confused yet?). All...

By Ezra Klein  | December 9, 2010; 11:23 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (42)
Categories:  Social Security  
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The case for a tow

Paul Krugman doesn't like the recovery metaphors that talk about jump-starts or pump-priming. The economy, he says, doesn't need a shock. It needs time. And the role of stimulus is to give it that time: More than a year ago,...

By Ezra Klein  | December 9, 2010; 10:43 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (12)
 
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Tom Toles is worth a thousand words

By Ezra Klein  | December 9, 2010; 10:28 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
 
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Why liberals don't like the tax cut deal -- in graphs

CAP's Michael Linden produced a nice chart showing why the tax deal is tough for liberals to swallow: The red and blue on the chart are a bit confusing, so read it closely: On the left, you're seeing the amount...

By Ezra Klein  | December 9, 2010; 9:46 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (68)
Categories:  Charts and Graphs, Taxes  
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The tax deal in one graph

From the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities: Or maybe you prefer bar graphs?...

By Ezra Klein  | December 9, 2010; 9:24 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (22)
Categories:  Charts and Graphs, Taxes  
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Wonkbook: Senate to begin debate on tax cut deal; DREAM passes the House; Republicans block Social Security COLA

Top Stories Senate debate on the tax cut deal begins tomorrow, report Lori Montgomery and Shailagh Murray: "Senate leaders are planning to begin debate on a far-reaching tax package as soon as Thursday as rank-and-file Democrats warm to an...

By Ezra Klein  | December 9, 2010; 6:39 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
Categories:  Wonkbook  
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Reconciliation

Recap: Elizabeth Edwards's impressive legacy; the GOP's next hostage; remembering Elizabeth Edwards; and Rep. Peter Welch on why he opposes the tax cut deal. Elsewhere: 1) Brian Beutler is right: Whatever the merits of this deal, most on the Hill...

By Ezra Klein  | December 8, 2010; 6:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
 
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Nothing is agreed to until everything is agreed to: Jeff Merkley edition

Sen. Jeff Merkley isn't thrilled with the tax-cut deal. And according to one of his aides, he's planning to offer an amendment to make it better. The Merkley proposal would end the tax cuts for income over $1,000,000 and redirect...

By Ezra Klein  | December 8, 2010; 5:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
Categories:  Taxes  
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Mark Zandi on the tax cut deal

I called Moody's chief economist Mark Zandi this morning to see what he thought of the tax cut deal. When it comes to stimulus, Zandi's figures are probably the most influential in the country, and I've cited them several...

By Ezra Klein  | December 8, 2010; 4:39 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (20)
Categories:  Taxes  
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You know what?

Humans are weird....

By Ezra Klein  | December 8, 2010; 2:43 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
 
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Rep. Peter Welch: 'We don’t know whether we could’ve gotten a better outcome'

Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) is leading the charge in the House against President Obama's tax-cut deal. The problem, he says, isn't just the deal itself, but the process that led to it. We spoke this afternoon, and a lightly...

By Ezra Klein  | December 8, 2010; 2:26 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (11)
Categories:  Interviews, Taxes  
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Democratic presidents and the left

Two readers e-mailed me in the past 24 hours with quotes showing the complicated relationship past Democratic presidents -- both real and fictional -- have had with the left. First up is a quote from Taylor Branch's book, "The Clinton...

By Ezra Klein  | December 8, 2010; 1:40 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (21)
 
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Lunch Break

And now for something completely different. While watching this, keep in mind that it's a 3D projection on the face of an actual building in Dallas, Texas:...

By Ezra Klein  | December 8, 2010; 1:26 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
 
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Nothing is agreed to until everything is agreed to

Tim Fernholz comes up with four ways the tax deal could be improved....

By Ezra Klein  | December 8, 2010; 12:41 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
 
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The GOP's next hostage: The full faith and credit of the U.S. government

The worst answer of President Obama's news conference yesterday had nothing to do with the left. It had to do with the debt ceiling. The National Journal's Marc Ambinder stood and asked the president whether there was "any attempt...

By Ezra Klein  | December 8, 2010; 11:55 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (38)
Categories:  Budget  
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What the tax deal is likely to do to the economy

Macroeconomic Advisers -- one of the leading economic forecasting firms -- runs the tax deal through their model: There are three major components that we had not assumed [in our 2011 baseline], and that would, in fact, together significantly impact...

By Ezra Klein  | December 8, 2010; 11:45 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (11)
 
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Two options on the Bush tax cuts

It's worth taking a step back from the current politics of the tax cut deal and just thinking about the two basic options here. Option 1: Let the tax cuts for the rich expire. We keep the tax cuts for...

By Ezra Klein  | December 8, 2010; 10:27 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (36)
 
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Elizabeth Edwards's legacy

The first time I came to Washington as an adult, I came to visit Elizabeth Edwards. It was May 2005, and a few weeks earlier, I'd gotten an e-mail inviting me to dinner with her and her husband. The...

By Ezra Klein  | December 8, 2010; 9:23 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (16)
 
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Wonkbook: Remembering Elizabeth Edwards; tax deal fallout

Back in 2008, Democratic voters were presented with a choice between a seasoned veteran of Washington who wasn't much beloved by the base and wasn't known for inspiring speeches, but who had the long experience in government and realistic...

By Ezra Klein  | December 8, 2010; 6:36 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (11)
Categories:  Wonkbook  
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Reconciliation

Recap: Everything you need to know about the tax cut compromise; the other possible tax cut deals; and how the White House cut a pretty good deal but lost its base. No links today, but an observation: I think there's...

By Ezra Klein  | December 7, 2010; 6:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (28)
 
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Hubbard: 'I wouldn’t support a permanent extension'

Glenn Hubbard is dean of the Columbia University Graduate School of Business and coauthor of 'Seeds of Destruction: Why the Path to Ruin Runs Through Washington, and How to Reclaim American Prosperity'. From 2001 to 2003, Hubbard served as President...

By Ezra Klein  | December 7, 2010; 4:43 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (15)
Categories:  Interviews  
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How the White House cut its deal and lost its base

If you look at the numbers alone, the tax cut deal looks to have robbed Republicans blind. The GOP got around $95 billion in tax cuts for wealthy Americans and $30 billion in estate tax cuts. Democrats got $120...

By Ezra Klein  | December 7, 2010; 3:17 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (195)
Categories:  Obama administration, Taxes  
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Lunch Break

How your Facebook account could stop the spread a deadly epidemic:...

By Ezra Klein  | December 7, 2010; 12:55 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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CAP: Tax cut deal could create 2.2 million jobs

CAP's Michael Linden and Michael Ettlinger have taken the stimulus estimates used by economist Mark Zandi and the Congressional Budget Office and tried to come up with a ballpark figure for the jobs the tax-cut deal will create. They've also...

By Ezra Klein  | December 7, 2010; 12:36 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (26)
Categories:  Taxes  
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Remembering the good times

One of the Bush administration's redeeming qualities was its insistence that the Republican Party needed a more realistic -- and humane -- policy on immigration than bigger fences and more deportation. It lost that battle when talk radio led...

By Ezra Klein  | December 7, 2010; 12:04 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (15)
 
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What were the other possible tax cut deals?

No deal: Paul Krugman made the case for this yesterday. In a "no deal" scenario, Republican demands to extend the tax cuts for high-income earners are met with simple refusals from the Democrats. The two sides can't agree, and the...

By Ezra Klein  | December 7, 2010; 11:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (19)
Categories:  Taxes  
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The White House takes on Pelosi and Schumer -- but why?

Last night, the president said this: Sympathetic as I am to those who prefer a fight over compromise, as much as the political wisdom may dictate fighting over solving problems, it would be the wrong thing to do. The American...

By Ezra Klein  | December 7, 2010; 9:02 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (40)
 
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Wonkbook: Everything you need to know about the Bush tax cut deal

I'll admit it: I didn't think they had it in them. A temporary extension of the Bush tax cuts? Sure, they could manage that. Fear is a powerful motivator in Washington, and nothing scares politicians like the threat of...

By Ezra Klein  | December 7, 2010; 6:34 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (62)
Categories:  Wonkbook  
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An imperfect, but not-that-bad, deal on the tax cuts

The White House and the Republicans are pretty close to a final deal on the Bush tax cuts. Here are the specifics, though it's worth saying that as near as this is to completion, it's still not done, and...

By Ezra Klein  | December 6, 2010; 6:14 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (94)
Categories:  Taxes  
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Why aren't the Democrats using reconciliation to pass the tax cuts?

Lots of questions about this in my inbox lately, so here's the answer. Actually, scratch that. Here are the two answers. 1) They already used it: You can't call an audible and switch over to budget reconciliation in the middle...

By Ezra Klein  | December 6, 2010; 4:17 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (23)
Categories:  Senate, Taxes  
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Why Facebook matters

In the post about whether Mark Zuckerberg is the world's more important twentysomething, the comments feature some good disagreement about whether Facebook really matters, or whether it'll be gone in 10 years, hopefully replaced by something that holds fewer embarrassing...

By Ezra Klein  | December 6, 2010; 4:02 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
 
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Who graduates, who votes and who's unemployed -- in one graph

It seems a little crazy that tax cuts for the nation's very richest residents are commanding more political energy and consensus than unemployment insurance. Among other things, the tax cuts aren't popular. Unemployment insurance is. And this is one of...

By Ezra Klein  | December 6, 2010; 2:51 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (11)
Categories:  Charts and Graphs  
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Lunch Break

The future of video games: Xbox 360 Games - E3 2011 - Wii Fit Plus...

By Ezra Klein  | December 6, 2010; 1:20 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
 
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Can the White House win in 2012 by losing on the Bush tax cuts now?

The compromise the White House is negotiating on the Bush tax cut is looking more and more like the White House's opening gambit in the 2012 campaign. The White House has stopped negotiating for ideal -- or even acceptable...

By Ezra Klein  | December 6, 2010; 12:27 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (223)
Categories:  2012 Presidential, Taxes  
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What 'millionaire' now means -- at least in Washington

Andrew Gelman notices an important shift: It used to be that a millionaire was someone with million dollars. Nowadays, though, the term is often used to refer to people who make a million dollars a year. (See here, for example,...

By Ezra Klein  | December 6, 2010; 10:32 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (11)
 
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The Bush tax cuts in one chart

It's time, I think, to repost this chart showing how much taxpayers at different income levels would get from the Democratic plan, which was to simply extend the cuts for income under $250,000, and the Republican plan, which was to...

By Ezra Klein  | December 6, 2010; 9:32 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (20)
Categories:  Charts and Graphs, Taxes  
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Who's the most important twenty-something in the world?

Last night, 60 Minutes had a two-part interview with Mark Zuckerberg that's worth watching. It includes an appearance from the real-life Winklevoss twins, who are very large and who very much need to move past what did or didn't happen...

By Ezra Klein  | December 6, 2010; 9:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (22)
 
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Don Draper: Scourge of business, hero of information

At the beginning of Ken Auletta's "Googled," Auletta talks with Mel Karmazin, then the CEO of Viacom. Karmazin is aghast at Google's campaign to measure the effectiveness of advertising by tallying clicks. "I want a sales person in the...

By Ezra Klein  | December 6, 2010; 9:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (14)
Categories:  Journalism  
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Wonkbook: Likely deal will extend tax cuts and unemployment insurance; South Korea and U.S. finalize trade pact; Romer on uncertainty

Top Stories Senate Republicans successfully filibustered middle-class tax cuts, reports Shailagh Murray: "The Senate on Saturday rejected two Democratic proposals to let tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans expire, a symbolic but bitter defeat that now forces the Democratic...

By Ezra Klein  | December 6, 2010; 6:48 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (19)
Categories:  Wonkbook  
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