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Posted at 6:28 PM ET, 12/21/2010


By Ezra Klein

Recap: Chris Christie is falling in the polls; the State of the Union should prominently feature investments; and the Senate voted to defund the implementation of both health-care reform and financial regulation.


1) Mitch McConnell should've added a "MWAHAHAHAHA" to his comments here.

2) A smart bailout could've shortened the recession.

3) Older entrepreneurs perform better than younger entrepreneurs.

4) The facts on the state budget crises.

5) I'll be talking about the continuing resolution and the problems it'll cause for health-care reform and financial regulation on Countdown tonight.

By Ezra Klein  | December 21, 2010; 6:28 PM ET
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Next: Wonkbook: Stopgap budget passed; America moves West; net neutrality rules move forward; food safety bill moves to Obama


On #4,

"Total state and local spending, not including federal grants, is no larger now as a share of the economy than it was 20 years ago, according to U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis data."

The U.S. economy grew by roughly 2/3rds from 1991-2007 - why does it follow that state and local spending also needs to grow by 2/3rds?

It would be a like a person earning $50,000/yr and spending $47,500/yr, getting a raise so that they earn $100,000/yr and spend $95,000/yr, and then seeing a paycut to $85,000/yr and whining about how their spending growth had been modest and prudent because it didn't grow faster than income.

If the economy tripled in size tomorrow, it doesn't follow that government spending should also triple so that its percentage share is maintained.

Posted by: justin84 | December 21, 2010 7:03 PM | Report abuse

When economies grow, it is usually because of population increases.

And that means new homes and shops and streets and schools and hospitals (etc) are needed.

And that means gvmt spending has to increase.

Posted by: lauren2010 | December 21, 2010 7:22 PM | Report abuse

Response to 1)

What are the odds Dems will have the courage or fortitude to institute filibuster reform? If they fail to reform the Senate rules, Republicans rule the roost.

Posted by: will12 | December 21, 2010 7:44 PM | Report abuse

Republicans already have neutered the effect of filibuster reform.

Last week they agreed to vote on many of Obamas judicial nominees if only the Dems would agree not to push the nomination of the four most liberal nominees.

The Dems agreed, and that signals that filibuster reform is not a serious idea in the eyes of Dems, otherwise, they wouldn't have needed to accept the terms of that deal because with filibuster reform all of Obama's nominees would have been voted on anyway.

Posted by: lauren2010 | December 21, 2010 8:31 PM | Report abuse

The House of Lords is no longer the most encrusted, antiquated, aristocracy in the world, the Senate has taken it's place.

Posted by: 54465446 | December 21, 2010 8:42 PM | Report abuse

love, beauty and magic reconcile everything.
a gift of the season...

Posted by: jkaren | December 21, 2010 10:47 PM | Report abuse

"When economies grow, it is usually because of population increases."

Usually, half or more of that growth comes from productivity improvements, not population growth (slightly less than half in the 2000s, a good deal more than half in the 1990s).

As we can see, inflation adjusted spending per person has nearly doubled from 1990-2010 at the state level, and is up over 60% at the local level.

Posted by: justin84 | December 22, 2010 1:12 AM | Report abuse

Starting this year your child (or children) cannot be denied coverage simply because they have a pre-existing health condition. If you don't have insurance for you and your children search "Wise Health Insurance" online they are the best.

Posted by: andrewthoone | December 22, 2010 2:38 AM | Report abuse

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