Do Republicans Actually Want A Deficit Deal?
May 12, 2011
Derek Thompson has a little-noticed reporting scoop that may be far more significant than anybody is giving him credit for: a senior GOP aid I spoke with, who asked that his name be withheld to speak freely, said the Republicans' no-tax-increase stance wasn't "intellectually honest" in the real world. "There are two worlds," the source said. "One world is political, and the sole objective is to maintain party message. The other world is real, and in the real world, fixing the deficit is a matter of national survival.
The Health Care Fight, Without Numbers
January 21, 2011
Sometimes it's useful to dissect a policy debate with lots of figures, quotes from experts, careful scrutiny of history, etc. And sometimes it's useful just to take a step back and describe the two sides in simple, basic terms. Here's an excellent attempt at the second method, by the Atlantic's Derek Thompson: One side doesn't want to spend more money to insure more Americans, and the other side wants to pay for their insurance with tax increases and spending cuts. The numbers are beside the point now.
Public Distrust Of Government Will Not Shrink Government
April 19, 2010
Tyler Cowan makes an interesting point -- countries have had success in cutting spending when the public trusts the government: The received wisdom in the United States is that deep spending cuts are politically impossible. But a number of economically advanced countries, including Sweden, Finland, Canada and, most recently, Ireland, have cut their government budgets when needed. Most relevant, perhaps, is Canada, which cut federal government spending by about 20 percent from 1992 to 1997.
Obama Embraces Aniston, Again
September 21, 2009
That would be the Jennifer Aniston theory of Obamaism, of course. A bit of back-story: After Frank Foer and I wrote a piece earlier this year laying out our theory of Obamaism, The Atlantic's Derek Thompson helpfully reimagined it as the Jennifer Aniston theory. As Thompson explained it in this post: This is, in a nutshell, the theory that Obama prefers to tweak incentives for private actors rather than have the government take over.
Medpac And The Jennifer Aniston Theory Of Obamaism
July 24, 2009
Sticking with the same topic as my previous post, The Atlantic's Derek Thompson, who brilliantly recast Frank's and my theory of Obamaism as the Jennifer Aniston theory of Obamaism, tries to extend the metaphor to accommodate Obama's enthusiasm for MedPAC (i.e., an independent agency that would make health care cost-cutting recommendations, which Congress could reject all at once but couldn't monkey around with). Thompson writes: I wonder how this statement on MedPAC jives with my Jennifer Aniston theory of Obamaism.
Jennifer Aniston Explains Obama's Worldview
April 23, 2009
Derek Thompson has a very generous, very smart post about the piece Frank and I wrote for our current issue. If you want a feel for our argument, he lays it out in a more lucid and pithy way than we managed. More importantly, he weighs in with an absolutely perfect metaphor for Obama's theory of the state: the girlfriend-boyfriend relationship. Take it away Jen and Vince: Obama won't force you to do the dishes. And he doesn't want to do the dishes for you. He wants you to want to do the dishes. Genius. --Noam Scheiber