Bob Greenstein

Both plans jeopardize America's ability to invest in its future.

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I may be a card-carrying member of the liberal blogging guild, but I'm not a Tom Friedman hater. Seriously, I respect his body of work, going back to his days when he was reporting from Lebanon for the New York Times. I appreciate the breadth of his knowledge, which surely exceeds mine. And I admire his ability to produce columns for as long as he has been doing it. Opinion writing isn’t as easy as it looks. But Wednesday’s column was one of those that drove even me bonkers. And it’s not because the column as a whole was awful.

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The Washington Post had a nice piece out Monday on the way state spending cuts have crimped the economy these past few years, and on the difficulties Obama encountered trying to mitigate that problem.  As the piece reports: Obama had tried to address the problem in the 2009 stimulus bill by including more than $150 billion in aid to state and local governments to fill budget gaps. But as his second year began, economic advisers told the president that state and local governments were still poised to lay off huge numbers of workers, posing one of the biggest threats to the burgeoning economic r

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Welcome to TNR’s 2011 List Issue. In putting the issue together, we had one major priority: to avoid creating a power list featuring anyone who regularly dominates headlines. Instead, we had a different idea: What if we revealed something about D.C. by documenting who quietly wields power? From there, we began to hatch other ideas for lists, and we realized that—while they can certainly be cheap gimmicks—lists can also convey a lot about a city. Below is the first list from the issue: Washington’s most powerful, least famous people.

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Bob Greenstein lays out just how radical John Boehner's debt ceiling plan is: The Boehner plan calls for large cuts in discretionary programs of $1.2 trillion over the next ten years, and it then requires additional cuts that are large enough to produce another $1.8 trillion in savings to be enacted by the end of the year as a condition for raising the debt ceiling again at that time. The Boehner plan contains no tax increases.

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While researching an item from earlier this morning -- yes, I do research, I just try to avoid talking to people -- I came across a fascinating exchange about the concept of economic stimulus. In 2001, the economy was undergoing a mild slowdown. Liberals generally argued that the scale of the problem was small enough for the Federal Reserve to handle with monetary policy, and didn't require a Keynesian fiscal stimulus. Conservatives took the opposite position.

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President Obama's speech today was about policy and politics. But it was also about principles, as Obama made clear early in his remarks:  From our first days as a nation, we have put our faith in free markets and free enterprise as the engine of America’s wealth and prosperity.

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Take the Deal

The tentative deal on taxes and Obama's defense of it deserves additional analysis. Jon Chait has some over at his blog. I hope to provide some more here, as well. For now, I thought I'd point readers to a statement from Bob Greenstein, of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

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When people talk about important endorsements, they usually mean endorsements from interest groups, politicians, or maybe editorial pages. But the endorsements that matter most to me are the ones that come from people who understand public policy and share my values. And nobody fits that description better than Bob Greenstein, head of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Few experts in Washington command more respect than he does. Even conservatives agree he is as honest as he is smart.

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A Change for the Better

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and his allies have addressed, at least in part, a major weakness of the Senate Finance bill: The role of employers. To review, both the Senate HELP and House bills contained relatively traditional "employer mandates." Under their terms, firms with more than 50 employees would have to offer their employees insurance coverage or pay a modest fee. The Senate Finance committee went with a different strategy. Its bill included what's known as a "free rider" provision. The government wouldn't require companies to cover their employees.

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