How to Fix the Deficit
October 01, 2010

The United States is in a fiscal bind. Last week saw the release of two reports which vividly illustrate the policy dilemma we face—but they also point to a strategy we could use to overcome it. The first appeared on September 28, when CBO Director Doug Elmendorf presented an analysis of our fiscal policy choices before the Senate Budget Committee. Among his key findings: Cutting taxes is good for the economy in the short-term but bad in the long run.

A Patch of Economic Sunshine
September 30, 2010

Economic conditions remain quite bad, and I don’t want to oversell the importance of a few data points, but it’s worth noting some positive news. Here are three positive developments, as reported by CNN Money: 1.  Despite the stomach churning month, stocks ended September with strong gains. The Dow jumped 7.7%, the biggest September gain in 71 years.

News Flash: Women Still Make Less Than Men
September 29, 2010

Everybody knows that women make less money than men. But is that because of discrimination? The lifestyle choices they’re making? Some other factors? A new GAO report offers some new, intriguing answers.  The study focuses strictly on people who occupy managerial positions. While the pay gap has narrowed slightly over the years, the GAO finds, women in these positions still make approximately 20 percent less than men do:  By itself, this statistic doesn’t tell us that much. And it doesn’t prove that there is widespread, overt discrimination against women.

A Possible Summers Successor and Her (Potential) Citigroup Problem (UPDATED)
September 24, 2010

The early frontrunner to succeed Larry Summers at the National Economic Council is Anne Mulcahy, according to various reports. Don’t feel bad if you’re wondering who she is or what her appointment would mean—while the former CEO of Xerox is well-known in the business community, there’s not much to tell about her life in politics.

Thrifty’s Not So Nifty
September 22, 2010

Few people have heard of the “paradox of thrift,” a very old economic theory that was revived, and dusted off, and contextualized, by John Maynard Keynes and has lately reappeared as a shuttlecock in the battle between Left and Right over stimulus spending and other responses to the economic crisis.

An Idea a Day to Keep Jobs in Play
September 22, 2010

What a president does communicates a message to the American people, and, sometimes, what he does not do communicates a message as well. It can inform the public’s opinion about what he thinks is wrong and what he thinks is right; what needs fixing and what is working. This principle helps explain why, despite saying he is on their side in helping the economy improve, President Obama has struggled to convince the American public that he understands and wants to alleviate their suffering.

What You Need to Know About Austan Goolsbee (and Then Some...)
September 10, 2010

[Guest post by Noam Scheiber:] One of the least suspenseful decisions in Washington became official today when President Obama named Austan Goolsbee to be the chairman of his Council of Economic Advisers. Goolsbee, who’s on leave from the University of Chicago, is a longtime Obama adviser currently serving as a member of the three-person Council.

You Say Recession, I Say Depression
September 07, 2010

The terms “recession” and “depression” were once used to suggest that a downturn was not as bad as a “panic” or “crisis.” In fact, for the first years of his presidency, Herbert Hoover chose to refer to the downturn as a “depression” in an effort to convey that what the country was experiencing was just a temporary indentation. Only in 1931 did Hoover begin to speak of a “Great Depression.” Our current downturn has also been plagued by word games. Faced with the fear that the U.S.

TNR on the Labor Movement
September 06, 2010

It's Labor Day, a time to commemorate and reexamine the role of organized labor in American life. The best way to do so, of course, is to browse this collection of classic TNR pieces on labor, written by senior editors John B. Judis and Jonathan Cohn: "Can Labor Come Back?" by John B. Judis. May 23, 1994. By the mid-1990s, it became conventional wisdom to think of organized labor in America as a fading political force.

Sarah Palin is So... Predictable
September 02, 2010

[Guest post by Noam Scheiber:] Per this excellent Times story, it appears that Palin's opposition to just-defeated Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski stems not from ideological differences or even tactical disagreements but ... a personal slight: Many people expected Ms. Palin to run against Ms. Murkowski herself once 2010 arrived, but Ms. Palin made a point of saying she would not. Fresh off the newfound fame created by the 2008 presidential campaign, she created a political action committee and made a show of donating to Ms. Murkowski’s campaign in early 2009. A few months later, Ms.