Alex Hart

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-- Alex Hart on why the states need federal aid. -- The Lisa Simpson Book Club -- Dave Weigel asks why cutting entitlements equals “leadership” but raising taxes doesn’t. -- Things Bill O’Reilly can’t explain.  

The latest employment report confirms what we've know for a while: The economic recovery is very weak and far too many people main out of work. From Calculated Risk, whose graph appears above: For the current employment recession, employment peaked in December 2007, and this recession is by far the worst recession since WWII in percentage terms, and 2nd worst in terms of the unemployment rate (only the early '80s recession with a peak of 10.8 percent was worse). This is a very disappointing employment report and far below expectations.

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The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that yet another prominent Republican politician seems to think we could cut unemployment significantly if only we would cut benefits: Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Corbett on Friday accused some jobless Pennsylvanians of choosing to collect unemployment checks rather than going back to work, prompting swift criticism from his Democratic opponent and one of the state's top labor leaders. "The jobs are there.

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Sharron Angle, the Republican trying to unseat Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, made herself an easy political target when she told an interviewer that cutting unemployment benefits was the right thing to do: RALSTON: How would you have voted on that bill to extend unemployment benefits? ANGLE: I would have voted no, because the truth about it is that they keep extending these unemployment benefits to the point where people are afraid to go out and get a job because the job doesn't pay as much as the unemployment benefit does.

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Does the world really need another blog on politics and policy? There was a time when that question made sense. A year and a half ago, when I started a blog about health care reform, I distinctly remember thinking it would be a nice little diversion from my longer articles—a way to keep in touch with readers and, once in a while, to amplify a point I couldn’t make within the confines of the print magazine. I turned out to be very wrong.

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