Carp, Carp, Carp
April 23, 2010

The great lakes are in danger of being overrun by an invasive species of Asian carp, gigantic eating machines which devour all the plankton and thereby kill off the local habitat. Great Lakes states have resorted to all kinds of highly expensive interventions, such as electric barriers, to stop the invasion. I've been wondering, why not just eat them? Well, others have thought of this as well. The problem is that people think of the Asian carp as a fish they wouldn't like to eat: In China and Vietnam, the carp have been farmed and considered delicacies for millennia.

Jindal's Louisiana Purchase
April 06, 2010

Via Thinkprogress, The Eunice News reports that Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal persuaded Attorney General Buddy Caldwell, a Democrat, to join the healthcare lawsuit he had deemed frivolous by promising to spare his office from budget cuts: But his decision may not have been as willing as he attempted to make it appear. In a subsequent address to employees of his office, the Attorney General said the decision was made more out of the necessity of saving jobs in his agency than any real hope—or desire—of overturning the health care law. One employee said Caldwell, in a candid admission, cl

Is There Another Kind?
March 31, 2010

Politico reports: The Republican National Committee is planning a four-day fundraising convention in New Orleans in two weeks, hoping to use the same GOP talent to draw donors who are headed to Louisiana to address the Southern Republican Leadership Conference... Southern Republican Leadership Conference... isn't that redundant?

The New Nullifiers
March 25, 2010

WASHINGTON -- Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli seems determined to use an attack on health care reform to bring us back to the 1830s. Cuccinelli, to cheers from the Tea Party crowd, went to court this week to overturn the new law, which he says conflicts with a Virginia statute "protecting its citizens from a government-imposed mandate to buy health insurance." "Normally, such conflicts are decided in favor of the federal government," he said, "but because we believe the federal law is unconstitutional, Virginia's law should prevail." The Republican attorney general's move reveals how

What's the matter with Arkansas (and Idaho, and Oklahoma, and….)
March 17, 2010

Harold Pollack is the Helen Ross Professor of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago and a Special Correspondent for The Treatment. The New Deal was famously described as an arrangement whereby the South was forced against its will to accept billions of dollars every year. Something similar might be said of the current health reform. Washington is on pins and needles waiting to discern the votes of Blue Dog Representatives whose constituents have the most to gain from health reform.  I was reminded of this fact by Michael Tomasky's recent column.

Health Care And The 1994 Precedent
March 15, 2010

There has been a lot of argument over whether passing health care reform or letting it die would offer the most attractive strategy for Democrats.

What Failure Would Cost the Democrats
March 15, 2010

Disgruntled (if not former) Democrats Pat Caddell and Doug Schoen are the latest to join in offering advice to President Obama and Congressional Democrats to abandon their health reform quest before it causes catastrophic damage to the party.

In Red America, The Stimulus Is Permanent
February 26, 2010

The way that Republican governors made a fuss last year about accepting stimulus dollars, and their continued uproar about growing deficits, it's worth another reminder that the most Republican states also get the most money from the federal government over what they put in. Here's a chart put together by a reader showing that, since 1981, some of the most conservative states have been the biggest beneficiaries of federal spending.  The 48 blue marks (the chart leaves off Hawaii and Alaska) show how much federal funding each state receives beyond what it pays in federal taxes.

Nice Guys Finish Last
February 11, 2010

Everyone remembers that George W. Bush’s first tax cut was contentious when Congress considered it back in 2001. So contentious, in fact, that the Bushies didn’t even try passing it under normal Senate procedures. The GOP leadership, worried that it couldn’t collect 60 votes to overcome a Democratic filibuster, relied on reconciliation, the Senate rule that allows budget-related measures to pass with a simple majority. What fewer people remember is the margin by which Bush’s tax cut finally passed the Senate. As it happens, the number of yeas was 62—including 12 Democrats.

Changes to EITC in Proposed Budget
February 05, 2010

The president’s proposed budget for FY2011 contains a few key provisions that will mean good news for low-income working families at tax time, even after the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA/stimulus bill) runs its course. It also proposes to terminate an ineffective program for these families, but stops short of advancing a much-needed replacement. Top 10 States and Metro Areas for Increases in EITC Dollars due to ARRA Changes in Eligibility First, ARRA temporarily expanded two important tax credits for working families that the Administration now proposes to make permanent.