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.

That Gallup Poll May Be--Gasp!--Worse Than It Looks
August 31, 2010

[Guest post by Noam Scheiber:] Much of Washington--this resident included--spent the morning clucking over the just-released Gallup poll showing Democrats down ten points in a generic contest with Republicans. This, Gallup helpfully informs us, is the largest GOP margin in the poll's entire history, dating back to 1942. My first reaction was similar to Nate Silver's: It's highly unlikely that Democrats are actually down ten points--any given poll is likely to be an outlier if it, well, lies outside the range of recent data points.

Goodbye to Berlin
August 30, 2010

In early February, the top financial officials of seven major industrialized countries gathered in Canada to mull the state of the world economy. To grease their interactions, the Canadians had created an intimate setting in Iqaluit, an Inuit town near the Arctic Circle. A planning document waxed on about fireside chats at a cozy inn and decreed that the attire would be casual.

Let Them Eat Credit
August 27, 2010

By most counts, the U.S. economy started growing in the middle of last year. For many Americans, though, it does not feel as if the Great Recession has ended—unemployment and underemployment are still alarmingly high, and job growth is weak. Many causes have been suggested for both the economic collapse and mediocre recovery, but one that is hardly ever mentioned is income inequality. This is a mistake. Growing income inequality in the United States and the policy responses it has spawned have done tremendous damage to our economy.