Jonathan Chait

What Has Obama Done, Anyway?
August 25, 2011

When I read this quote, from a New York Observer story about disillusioned pro-Obama hipsters... Mr. Mahfouda said that the flag is now in his living room and hasn’t been unfurled in over a year. There are no immediate plans to bring it back out again for 2012. “My intuitive response is that [Obama] hasn’t done a ton,” he said.

&c
August 24, 2011

-- With the mercenaries in Libya. -- Nine of the best studies on the stimulus. -- How the residents of the National Zoo anticipated and responded to the earthquake. -- Instead of doing their fantasy football draft, the crew at Alphaville played Fantasy Fed.   

Why Republicans Turned Against Payroll Tax Cuts
August 24, 2011

In 2001, as the economy slowed, Republicans endorsed temporary payroll tax cuts in order to boost demand. And again in 2008, when the economy slowed, they endorsed payroll tax cuts to boost demand: Giving temporary tax rebate checks to families, as important as that is, is not the same as economic growth,” said Representative Jeb Hensarling of Texas, chairman of the Republican Study Committee.

I Have Seen The Future And It Is Ron Paul
August 24, 2011

Gallup's new national poll also finds Rick Perry surging into the lead. This may not matter as much as state level polling in early primaries, but it is an indicator that a lot of national Republicans have absorbed Perry's entry and see him as both acceptable and a front-runner. Meanwhile, look at the age breakdown here. Those crazy Republican kids just love Ron Paul: In 40 years, the Millenial generation will have taken over the GOP, and they'll be nominating 116-year-old Ron Paul, who already looks like he's 116 years old and by that point will look like Yoda.

Life In Ohio, A Continuing Series
August 24, 2011

Ohio man steals truck so he can ram through the wall of a sex shop and steal a synthetic vagina: LORAIN COUNTY, Ohio—  Deputies in Lorain County are on the lookout for a man who pulled a 'crash and grab' with a stolen tractor-trailer truck in an AdultMart and stole an $800 sex toy. "Definitely weird. It's kind of crazy to steal a vehicle that's that expensive to break into a story to get some kind of sex toy," said Det.

Marco Rubio And The New Republican Consensus
August 24, 2011

Marco Rubio, the near-certain Republican vice-presidential nominee, delivered a speech that is yet another signpost in his party's rightward lurch. During the 1980s and 1990s, the thrust of mainstream conservatism held that American government started veering off course in the 1960s with welfare and the counterculture.

The Mystery Of The Close Presidential Race
August 24, 2011

The most interesting question about the presidential election is whether President Obama can continue to defy political gravity. The abysmal state of the economy would, in ordinary conditions, mean almost certain defeat for an incumbent president. But two factors are, at least for now, keeping Obama competitive. First, Obama's popularity is holding up better than conditions would normally indicate. Second, the Republican Party remains incredibly unpopular. PPP's national poll shows that Mitt Romney would fare better against Obama than would Rick Perry, who is already radioactive to moderates.

The Stimulus Did Not Permanently Increase The Budget
August 24, 2011

Byron York, writing in the Washington Examiner, points out that entitlement spending has not caused the short-term deficit to rise: Was there a steep rise in entitlement spending? Did everyone suddenly turn 65 and begin collecting Social Security and using Medicare? No: The deficits are largely the result not of entitlements but of an explosion in spending related to the economic downturn and the rise of Democrats to power in Washington.

Rick Perry, Science And Empiricism
August 24, 2011

National Review's Kevin Williamson has a post, responding to me, entitled, "What Does Jonathan Chait Know about Science?": Scientific disputes are highly specialized, and meaningful participation in them requires a great deal of non-generalist knowledge. I’m generally skeptical of argument from credential, but there’s a time for it. For instance, a great number of scientists have a particular view of global warming. Richard Lindzen has reservations about that view. Professor Lindzen is an atmospheric physicist a full-on professor at MIT.

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August 23, 2011

 -- C-SPAN's tribute to presidential losers. -- The bright side of a slow economic recovery. -- A long look at Clarence Thomas.  -- Why do earthquakes happen on the east coast anyway?  

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