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.

Failed Reform Would Haunt the Democrats Like the Undead
February 03, 2010

President Obama is going to address another Congressional gathering today. The audience will be more friendly this time: It will be the Senate Democratic caucus. But the stakes will be just as high as they were when Obama spoke to Republican House members last week. Health care is bound to come up at the meeting. I assume Obama will raise it during his prepared remarks; if not, he'll get questions about it. And the big controversy right now is whether the Senate is willing to amend its bill through the budget reconciliation process.

No Organized Political Party
January 20, 2010

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee emails this: From: Ryan RudominerSent: Wednesday, January 20, 2010 1:17 PMSubject: Winners and Losers from the Mass. Senate special - Washington Post's Chris Cillizza  From: Chris Cillizza To: Chris Cillizza Sent: Wed Jan 20 13:08:51 2010 Subject: Winners and Losers from the Mass. Senate special Winner. Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee: In light of the Massachusetts loss, the DCCC's record of five straight special election wins -- including one last fall in a difficult environment in Upstate New York -- looks a lot more impressive.

Steele Cage
January 15, 2010

Last weekend began with Michael Steele, chairman of the Republican National Committee, clinging to his job primarily via implicit racial blackmail. Steele’s tenure has consisted of a string of gaffes and managerial blunders, but Republicans had concluded that his color made him un-fireable.

Can't We Just Eat All Those Pesky Asian Carp?
January 11, 2010

Last week, The New York Times had a great piece about how Asian carp have been making their way up the Mississippi River and are threatening to invade Lake Michigan. If that happens, the Great Lakes would be screwed—the carp would overrun the ecosystem, eat all the food, and devastate the area's $7 billion fishing industry. So far, the carp haven't made it past electric barriers in Illinois, but they're coming unnervingly close, and states like Michigan and Wisconsin are suing to shut down Chicago waterways until a good solution can be found.

Playing With House Money
January 07, 2010

If there’s one area in which the House health care reform bill is obviously superior to the Senate version, it’s coverage and affordability. There’s more financial assistance for buying insurance and much stronger protection against out-of-pocket medical costs. That means more people getting coverage and fewer people struggling with expenses. Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her allies, both on and off Capitol Hill, have made clear this is one of their top priorities for the coming negotiations over how to merge the two pieces of legislation.

Hold Off On Those Climate Bill Obituaries....
January 05, 2010

Seems like the conventional wisdom in Washington right now is that there's no way the Senate passes a climate bill in 2010—especially after that long, gory health care battle we just saw. Here's The Washington Post's Chris Cillizza: "No matter what Obama and his advisers said… there is now no chance that the Administration's climate-change proposal will come up for a vote in the Senate prior to the 2010 election.

Hard Times--And How You Can Help
December 30, 2009

The economists tell us that the recession is over or, at least, nearly over.  A California woman named Claudia Bruce might not agree: Claudia Bruce was laid off from her well-paying job 13 months ago after the economy fell. Now, Bruce is among a growing number of people who, in what seemed like an instant, went from middle class incomes to relying on public assistance. Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo counties fed a record-breaking 272,000 people in November.