Jonathan Cohn
Senior Editor

Mccain Refines His Tax Argument. It's Still Wrong.
November 02, 2008

Sometime in the last ten days or so, John McCain distilled his argument about taxes to this line: "Senator Obama is running to punish the successful. I’m running to make everyone successful." It's not a new concept. The idea that higher taxes will suffocate the economy has been a staple of conservative widsom for a long time now. But for most of the campaign, McCain wasn't really focusing on the link between higher taxes and (supposedly) lower growth. Instead, he was focusing on the moral outrage of the government taking people's money.

The Cruelest Cut
October 30, 2008

Ten days ago, the campaign’s unofficial referees came down pretty hard on Barack Obama and his campaign. The issue was Medicare--specifically, Obama’s accusation that John McCain intends to slash the program.McCain’s advisers have insisted he would do no such thing. agreed, calling Obama’s claim “false” and “not true.” The Washington Post came to the same conclusion, giving Obama "three pinocchios" for "significant factual errors." I respect both Factcheck and the Post's policy writers. Attempting to verify campaign boasts is a difficult, thankless job they generally do well.

Making You Pay For Your Ovaries
October 30, 2008

As if women didn't face enough obstacles already, today the New York Times reminds us that health insurance companies discriminate against them all the time. And it's all perfectly legal. Using data from online brokers and insurance companies, Robert Pear looked at what men and women have to pay for insurance when they try to buy coverage on the individual market.

Mccain's High Risk Health Plan--exposed
October 30, 2008

One of the more curiously named elements of John McCain's health care plan is something he calls the "Guaranteed Access Plan" (GAP). According to McCain and his advisers, the GAP is there to make sure even people with pre-existing medical conditions can purchase an individual health insurance policy, something that's frequently impossible now.

Another Reason The Polls Could Tighten
October 29, 2008

My colleague John Judis is starting to show some concern about the election. Noam Scheiber blew past concern a little while ago, just reached angst, and seems to be heading in the direction of full-blown panic. And while I take some comfort in the repeated reassurances of Nate Silver, whose instincts have proven impeccable this election cycle, I'm following John and Noam down the worry path. For a while now, I've thought Obama's lead in the polls was bound to shrink. And what I just saw on television makes that seem even more likely. It was a clip from McCain's speech in Miami.

Mccain To New York: Drop Dead
October 28, 2008

OK, McCain hasn't actually said "Drop Dead" to New York. But he's sending the same message with his economic agenda.  Consider the latest news from Albany, where Governor David Paterson has just provided this bleak picture of the state's fiscal condition: In a speech from the governor’s office in Manhattan, Mr. Paterson said that New York State's budget division now expects the budget gap for next year to be $12.5 billion--nearly double what it projected a few months ago, and that the deficit for this year’s budget has reached $1.5 billion. ... The forecast Mr.

Not All Men Like Threesomes*
October 27, 2008

In a tough economic speech this morning, John McCain warned that Barack Obama would empower a "dangerous threesome" with unchecked power to enact a liberal agenda of taxing and spending. The other members threesome, of course, would be House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. McCain is not the first conservative to make this argument. His allies have been making similar statements, with increasing urgency, for the last few weeks. But I wonder just how well it will work. For one thing, it's not clear how much the public even agrees with the substantive argument.

When Republicans Sound Like Democrats
October 27, 2008

If Democrats end up winning big next week, not only at the presidential but the congressional level, to what extent will it represent an endorsement of the party's ideas? That would be the major question going forward. And those who oppose the Democratic agenda will, almost certainly, argue that Democratic themes and policy proposals had nothing to do with it.  The claim will have at least some truth. Lots of people vote on personality or parochial loyalties.

Locking Up The Ted Nugent Vote
October 23, 2008

The advertisement below just popped up during a CNN commercial break. It comes from Let Freedom Ring, a conservative group interested--according to its website--in "promoting constitutional government, economic freedom, and traditional values." I believe in all three values. (Yes, we liberals cherish freedom, too.) But I wonder about the argument the ad is making. The man speaking to the camera is supposed to be a small business owner.

Health of the State
October 22, 2008

In 1992, Bill Clinton ran for president promising a bevy of expensive spending initiatives: assistance for college tuition, new public works, not to mention a massive universal health insurance plan. "In the absence of increasing investment in this country," Clinton said, "you can't get growth going again." But critics insisted the budget had no room for such extravagances--a belief Clinton eventually embraced.