Noam Scheiber
Senior Editor

Today’s Jobs Report: Private Sector *Not* Fine
July 06, 2012

It was this time last month when the president committed his infamous “private sector is doing fine” faux pas. To Barack Obama’s defenders, it was a classic Washington gaffe, in which a public figure utters a true but nonetheless impolitic remark. And, on some level, there was a fair amount of truth to it. Obama’s point was that the real drag on the economy isn’t the private sector, which has steadily added jobs over the last few years, but the public sector, which has continued to shed them at an alarming pace.

How Megabanks Corrupt Regulators, LIBOR Edition
July 05, 2012

If you haven’t been following that other British scandal—not Murdoch, but the interest-rate scandal that made heads roll at Barclays—then you really should be. As Matt Taibbi explains, it’s a neutron-bomb of a revelation that’s caused even hardened cynics to rethink their assumptions about the banking system.

The WSJ Editorial Page Has, Er, A Point
July 03, 2012

My first reaction to the conservative fulminating against John Roberts was that the right doesn’t realize how good they have it. The chief justice finds a way to limit future government activism while preserving (actually resurrecting) the nonpartisan standing of the Supreme Court, and all for the low-cost of a affirming domestic program that, while no doubt detested, was democratically enacted, and conservatives can’t find something nice to say about him?

Who’s the Supreme Court Leaker?
July 02, 2012

If for some reason you haven’t read the remarkable Jan Crawford piece about how John Roberts changed his vote on health care, then you really should. As Jonathan Cohn points out, Crawford is well-sourced and highly credible on matters involving legal conservatives, and she based her account on “two sources with specific knowledge of the deliberations.” The obvious next question, as Orin Kerr writes, is “who leaked”?

The Brass Tacks Calculation for Romney
June 28, 2012

Mitt Romney finds himself in a somewhat awkward position. According to his conservative base, the Affordable Care Act is not just an assault on the constitution, but on the natural order of the universe. Yet a chief justice with solid conservative credentials has just affirmed this legal abomination. Going forward, the battle over the law’s basic legitimacy is not one Romney is likely to win in the only court he can appeal to—that being public opinion.  So what’s the de facto GOP nominee to do?

The Political Upshot of the Roberts Vote
June 28, 2012

A number of commentators have noted that one upshot of the Supreme Court largely affirming the Affordable Care Act is that it will help shape public opinion on the law, which is still a bit amorphous. I agree, and think the effect could be even larger than they realize. If you look at recent polling, you find that around 35 percent of Americans support the law, around 40 to 45 percent oppose it, and the rest don’t really have an opinion.

Big News From the World of Garbage
June 27, 2012

And, no, I’m not talking about the sad, steady decline of “Glee.” I’m talking about this genuinely good idea from Portland’s sanitation brain trust, via The Wall Street Journal:  “In a first for any large American municipality, Portland last fall abolished weekly trash pickups, switching to once every two weeks.

Your Military Industrial Complex at Work
June 25, 2012

Hey, looks like Ike was onto something after all! From today’s Politico story about Lockheed Martin:  Right before Election Day, the company is likely to notify the “vast majority” of its 123,000 workers that they’re at risk of being laid off, said Greg Walters, the company’s vice president of legislative affairs. Walters’s comments are some of the most specific threats yet from an industry that’s trying to head off the $500 billion in automatic cuts in defense spending set to begin taking effect Jan. 2.

Why’s Romney So Good at Fundraising? Mormonism
June 21, 2012

Like a lot of liberals, I’m skeptical of the idea that successful businessmen are likely to become successful presidents by virtue of their business experience alone.  But there is one way in which business success seems very likely to benefit a future president: fundraising. It’s not just that the businessman knows a lot of affluent people whom he can tap for money, though that helps. And it’s not just that the former businessman is steeped in the social mores of businesspeople, making him deft at rubbing elbows with those he doesn’t know.

Why We Don't Catch Tax Cheats
June 20, 2012

Bloomberg has an absolutely infuriating story out today about a whistle-blower attempt to rein in an outfit called Alliantgroup, which helps companies score extremely aggressive (and, the whistle-blowers allege, illegal) tax credits. According to the piece: The firm also helps companies sidestep taxes, two former employees alleged in July 2009. In a 32-page submission filed with the Internal Revenue Service, along with internal e-mails and documents, they claimed Alliantgroup’s clients could owe the U.S. Treasury as much as $712.5 million in refunds over wrongly claimed tax credits.