GM

It's up to 2.6 million cars.

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TOLEDO, Ohio—Two polling places and about two dozen voters. That’s not even close to a scientific sample, even if the sample is from Ohio. If you're reading in order to divine how the rest of the nation will vote, please stop. You won't find it here. But staking out interesting precincts has become an election year tradition for me, because conversations with actual voters inevitably yields some insights about how they are thinking—and, more specifically, how they process the information and arguments so familiar to those of us in the business of politics.

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Having told Ohio one whopper about Obama's auto industry rescue, Romney tells an even bigger one.

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So if you haven’t found a job yet: You’re better off coming to the city than sitting on your parents’ couch. Mayor Mike Bloomberg, Remarks at the Cornell University 2012 Convocation, May 27, 2012 As another college graduation season draws to a close, today’s New York Times reports the results of a small analysis we conducted on college degree attainment rates in metropolitan areas. We examined the share of adults age 25 and over in the 100 largest U.S. metro areas who held at least a bachelor’s degree in 2010, versus in 1970.

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Mitt Romney is talking about the auto industry rescue again. But his latest argument is even more convoluted, and misleading, than his previous ones.  Romney makes the argument in an op-ed that appears in Tuesday’s edition of the Detroit News. (You may have seen it; Greg Sargent flagged it this morning). Romney starts by reminding readers of his connection to the state (he was born and grew up here) and to the auto industry (his father, George Romney, ran the American Motors Company before becoming governor). “Cars got in my bones early,” Romney writes.

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Two days ago, I noted the element of nostalgia for the post-World War II era  in President Obama's State of the Union address and its precursor, his much-hyped speech last month in Kansas. In his call for restoring the public investment and middle-class stability of those years, I wrote, Obama seeks to "demonstrate that more broadly shared prosperity, with higher marginal tax rates, is not incompatible with strong economic growth, and is in fact inextricably linked with it.

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Sovereign Equality and Moral Disagreement By Brad R. Roth (Oxford University Press, 320 pp., $70) Sovereignty is back. Our debates about the global economic crisis keep returning to the problem of sovereign debt and the need for sovereign guarantees to reassure the markets. We keep hoping that somewhere, sometime, in the downward spiral of de-leveraging and disillusion there will be an authority—a sovereign—to take charge and put an end to our anxiety. This longing for an authority, after years of market follies, runs very deep. We want to know that someone is in control.

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Given the blizzard of White House briefings to eager reporters in recent days, we already have some sense of what the president will say in tonight’s State of the Union address. But in considering the speech, we shouldn’t forget to judge it in its full political context—most of all, the fact that this is an election year. Here are five things to listen for: For better or worse, an incumbent president’s record is at the heart of his reelection prospects. President Obama cannot run away from his record; he must run on it.

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Nader and the Corvair

A number of readers have expressed surprise at my statement (which I attributed to the late Daniel Patrick Moynihan, then a Harvard professor and subsequently a senator from New York) that Ralph Nader was wrong about the Corvair. I thought the story was well known, but apparently it isn't. In his 1965 book Unsafe at Any Speed, Nader made the Corvair a case study in corporate irresponsibility. I don't know the details but the car had some sort of rollover problem. Many of the same criticisms of the Corvair were made around the same time by the journalist James Ridgeway in this magazine.

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with Louis Liss The Obama administration recently announced that it intends to ratchet up automobile fuel economy and emissions standards in the next 14 years to levels currently reserved for hybrids. But is this proposal a bridge too far or just what the economy needs? A Washington Post article from a few days ago outlines the debate, with several detractors worried that it would raise costs too much and take away jobs. On the flipside, the Infrastructurist’s Eric Jaffe quotes some interesting rebuttals from both the United Auto Workers and GM.

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