David Leonhardt

Meet the future of the New York Times

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Survival of the Mittest

JACKSON, Michigan – Did Mitt Romney win the Michigan primary? Or did he merely survive it? That really depends on your perspective. As recently as a few days ago, Romney was trailing in the polls. And as recently as Tuesday afternoon, Romney staffers were talking down expectations. But Romney won a clean victory on Tuesday night. He won handily in the Detroit metro area, his home turf, but he also ran strong in more contested counties, like Livingston and Jackson, to the west. But why was it ever this close? Romney had superior money, organization, and, for a long time, name recognition.

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Stay Classy

It’s college admissions season, which makes this the perfect time to note that our national conversation about income inequality has mostly spared from criticism one of the country’s principal culprits: elite universities. Perhaps because Ivy League schools and their peers are so frequently attacked by conservatives, liberals have come to reflexively think of them as allies. And it is certainly true that the vast majority of professors, and probably students as well, at elite colleges are liberals.

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The economy is sluggish and unemployment is on the rise, but Republicans and their allies say they want nothing to do with President Obama’s agenda for job creation because it’ll be just another “failed stimulus." Here's John Boehner making that argument on his official blog. Here's Karl Rove doing the same on Fox News. And here's Richard Posner offering his version at TNR -- although, to be fair, he merely calls the stimulus "botched" and I'm not sure he qualifies as a Republican ally.  Of course, the argument isn't new.

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&c

--Shutdown Minnesota government fires the people who could tell them how shutdown they are --Stiff upper lip: David Cameron celebrated Christmas season and went horse-riding with embattled tabloid editor Rebekah Brooks.  --Elizabeth Samet untangles Joseph Heller --David Leonhardt on the business lobby's faux-roundtable on the deficit --And Jim Sleeper probably isn't a fan of twitter townhalls

with Nick Marchio In a New York Times article in June, David Leonhardt wrote about the German Example for the U.S., and what we can learn from reforms in its labor market, education, and tax systems. However, one of the biggest lessons Germans can teach Americans nowadays is how to help companies to sell abroad.  While it’s difficult to believe that American businesses need a lesson in selling, the export sector in the U.S.

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The notion that the gap between the rich and the non-rich largely reflects differences in effort and innate skill is a crucial premise of right-wing economic thought. Here, for instance, is how Arthur Brooks, president of the American Enterprise Institute and evangelist against any form of income distribution, puts it: In America we stand for equality.

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Bill Keller takes note of David Leonhardt's "build your own deficit reduction" feature, which he sees as a model for the bipartisan "Gang of Six": Nearly 9,000 readers worked the puzzle. Individually, they were all over the map. But as a group, they accomplished the goal by splitting the difference: almost exactly half the savings came from tax increases, half from spending cuts.

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The Sidney Hillman Foundation has just announced the winners of its annual awards for journalism that fosters "social justice and public policy for the common good." Among the very deserving winners is Slate’s Timothy Noah, for his exhaustive series on inequality. Not only did "The Great Divergence" offer a deep, textured discussion of a critical policy issue. It deployed Slate’s multimedia capabilities, including detailed graphics and interactive features, to make its point (or points) in ways that words alone might not have.

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David Leonhardt has one of the best and most important news analyses of the year today, explaining how and why the Federal Reserve has contributed to the downturn by persistently overestimating the possibility of growth and inflation.  One group of Fed officials and watchers worries constantly about the prospect of rising inflation, no matter what the economy is doing. Some of them are haunted by the inflation of the 1970s and worry it may return at any time.

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