Noam Scheiber

Senior Editor

Much has been written about Janet Yellen’s views on the proper tradeoff between unemployment and inflation, and about her economic forecasting powers. We know a lot less about her views on financial regulation, a third key responsibility of the Fed chairman.

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A Short-Term Debt Limit Increase Would Be a Disaster

President Obama shouldn't want it. Neither should John Boehner.

Let’s stipulate that yesterday’s acknowledgement that the White House is open to a short-term debt-limit increase didn’t deserve half the breathless coverage it received. No, White House economic adviser Gene Sperling’s statement was not a “crack” in the Democratic Party line, as Politico put it.

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Politico reports today that Joe Biden, who led President Obama's negotiations in last winter's "fiscal cliff" standoff, has been noticeably absent during the showdowns over the government shutdown and the debt ceiling. According to the story by Jonathan Allen and Carrie Budoff Brown, Biden has been banished from the backrooms by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who stipulated a no-Biden policy during planning meetings with the president last summer.

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Cokie Roberts is Hurting America

She said what on Sunday?

Jonathan Chait says the problem with Republicans is that they’re operating as if they’re either unaware of or don’t understand why the president can’t negotiate over the debt limit, which he truly can’t do.

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Everything you need to know about the health care crisis in this country in two outtakes.Yesterday on Fox’s “The Five” (transcript via Nexis):BOB BECKEL: But there were a lot of people who yesterday got a chance for the first time in their lives to get health insurance, and I think it's a wonderful thing. …FORMER BUSH WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY DANA PERINO: For the first time in their life? Honestly, Bob.BECKEL: No, really.

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The current thinking inside the alternate reality known as the House GOP is that Republicans will try to combine the fight on the continuing resolution (which would reopen the government) with the debt limit fight (which is necessary to avoid a default) and insist on a fiscal grand bargain (presumably a deal that cuts trillions in spending) as the price of doing both.*

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It’s no secret why Republicans are facing a PR debacle over the shutdown they triggered. Not only have conservatives chosen an unpopular issue on which to make a stand—polls consistently show that Americans oppose defunding Obamacare by a fairly wide margin. The Tea Partiers have exacerbated the problem by choosing a massively unpopular approach to getting their way.

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Countdown to Shutdown

Think 1996 was bad for the GOP? This time will be much, much worse

The year 1996, the last time the GOP took its toys and went home rather than fund the government, hasn’t loomed so large in Washington since it actually was 1996. Democrats, the media, and a not insignificant number of Republicans are convinced the looming shutdown will be just as disastrous for today’s GOP as the previous one was for Newt Gingrich’s.

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Here’s the question to ask yourself while watching the government shutdown/debt-limit insanity play out these next few days: Is the congressional GOP a global menace, bent on destruction of an epic scale, or merely a goofy, intermittently-competent-at-best, primarily self-destructive force?

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What the hell is John Boehner thinking? I don’t mean that strictly in a rhetorical sense, though it’s hard not to slap your head when you see the most powerful Republican in the country lurching from one cockamamie strategy to another. I mean it quite literally: What is Boehner’s personal calculation when it comes to navigating the various challenges—potential government shutdown, potential debt default, lunatic Republican caucus—he faces over the next few weeks?

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