Jonathan Chait

The Debt Ceiling And The Crisis Era
July 29, 2011

My TRB column this week argues that the debt ceiling fight portends a new era of semi-regular power struggles that will shake not just the financial system but the entire U.S. political system. It's subscriber-only, and I advocate subscribing.

July 28, 2011

-- The most dangerous haircut.  -- The great missed opportunity of Dodd-Frank. -- What’s actually going to happen after August 2nd. -- A look at “the godson of a man once known as the Human Cannonball”  

What Tonight's House Vote Means
July 28, 2011

Tonight's House vote on John Boehner's debt ceiling plan is unusual. It's not a vote on a plan that has a chance of passing. Democrats would be out of their minds to agree to it -- Boehner's offer is like a kidnapper who offers to give you back your child in return for $100,000 and your other child. What's more, the vote coalition Boehner's trying to assemble has no relationship to the vote coalition that will ultimately pass the debt ceiling increase. Boehner is trying to put together an all-Republican coalition.

The Coin That Will Save The World
July 28, 2011

Somehow, I've missed out on a discussion of the coolest (and apparently legitimate) way to avoid a debt ceiling crisis: Sovereign governments such as the United States can print new money. However, there's a statutory limit to the amount of paper currency that can be in circulation at any one time. Ironically, there's no similar limit on the amount of coinage. A little-known statute gives the secretary of the Treasury the authority to issue platinum coins in any denomination.

Go Back To Where You Came, Frum
July 28, 2011

I think everybody in my corner of the internet has a gentleman's understanding that pointing out the hilarious lies of the Wall Street Journal editorial page is my job. I got that job from Michael Kinsley. One day I hope to pass it on to somebody else. I don't take kindly to it when somebody takes my job. Especially when that somebody is a foreigner like David Frum: I used to write editorials for the Wall Street Journal myself, 20 years ago now. So I’m well aware of the challenge faced by those assigned to compose these documents.

Rep. Joe Walsh: I Can't Complain But Sometimes I Still Do
July 28, 2011

I don't usually get excited about personal scandal stories, but the hypocrisy in this report about Rep. Joe Walsh is just too enjoyable: Freshman U.S. Rep.

How And Why The Boehner Bill Matters
July 28, 2011

Yesterday I argued that John Boehner's (apparently) successful taming of the right-wing insurgency within his party represents an important step toward the eventual solution of the debt ceiling crisis. Jonathan Cohn is more cautious, and guest posting Norm Ornstein is downright morose: [A] speaker can only go to the well once or twice to get his or her members to walk the plank. In this case, Boehner’s tactical maneuvers mean that he is asking two dozen or more of his colleagues to walk that plank in return for something that has no chance of becoming law.

Does Anybody Here Speak Boehner?
July 28, 2011

I am trying to figure out what sort of factual circumstances could make this argument by John Boehner true: “There are only three possible outcomes in this battle: President Obama gets his blank check; America defaults; or we call the president’s bluff by coming together and passing a bill that cuts spending and can pass in the United States Senate,” Boehner told the rank and file, according to aides to the speaker. “There is no other option." Somebody explain this to me. So the first two options are "default" or "blank check." Default means failing to lift the debt ceiling.

Please, Boehner and McConnell, Don't Fight In Front Of Jennifer Rubin
July 28, 2011

A couple weeks ago, Mitch McConnell leaked his debt ceiling plan to Jennifer Rubin. She defended it assiduously. It was a brilliant idea, perfection itself. If it had any flaw at all, it was merely that it was too brilliant for its critics to understand: If there is a criticism of the McConnell plan it is that he vastly overestimated the ability of the political class to understand an out-of-the-box proposal.

The Four Kinds Of Pro-Electoral College Arguments
July 28, 2011

Rick Hertzberg continues his thankless, vital lonely job of carefully refuting every argument raised against the National Popular Vote plan. For instance, one op-ed asserts: Under NPV, the necessary plurality could be confined to a few states, or a single region of the country. Multiple regional or even favorite-son candidacies would be encouraged, and each new candidacy would increase the likelihood of one of them receiving a majority of the electoral votes (courtesy of the NPV compact) while capturing a very low percentage of the overall vote.