Which Party Loves Deficits?
November 02, 2010
Which political party cares more about reducing deficits? Megan McArdle says it's not really either. To me, it's an easy call. McArdle argues that the proper time frame is the last 20 years, and I agree. Let's briefly review the history of the deficit during that period. The story begins in 1990, when George H.W. Bush decided to compromise with Democrats in Congress and sign a major deficit reduction law.
The Bailout That Worked
October 30, 2010
General Motors made news twice this week. First it announced that it was investing $190 million in a Michigan factory that will build its newest Cadillac and, along the way, create 600 jobs. Then it announced it would be buying back some of the preferred stock now owned by the Treasury Department, further reducing its debt to the government. Even after the repurchase, GM will still owe the taxpayers around $40 billion. And the new GM workers are making a lot less money than old ones do. But the news is still pretty good--and, more important, it’s not isolated.
McArdle's Stomping Prophecy Fulfilled
October 27, 2010
I have to admit I was a bit skeptical of Megan McArdle's claim that my headline about Michael Kinsley "curb-stomping" Greg Mankiw would provoke violence. But I have to admit that she seems to be onto something. After my item appeared, a Rand Paul volunteer stomped a liberal activist. And then a Notre Dame football player stomped a helpless Navy Middie: While Kinsley himself seems to have held off for the time being, it's probably a good idea not to provoke him. Lord only knows what I've unleashed.
A Sincere Apology To Megan McArdle
October 25, 2010
Last week, Michael Kinsley wrote a really smart column completely dismantling the shoddy mathematical underpinnings of Greg Mankiw's self-pitying column about how high marginal tax rates will ruin his children's life.
The Taxpayer Receipt: Bipartisanship Breaks Out!
October 04, 2010
The center-left think tank Third Way has proposed that all taxpayers get a receipt breaking down what they got in exchange for their tax dollars. Liberals seem enthused about the idea. Interestingly, right-wingers do too. Here's Megan McArdle, and Jonah Goldberg: Indeed, I think many middle-income Americans are undertaxed given the amount of government they are demanding.
Elitism, According to Megan McArdle
September 15, 2010
Megan McArdle is unhappy with my recent piece about the Johanns Amendment.
Let's see, what unnerving bit of geoscience is going to drop on our laps this week? Michael O'Hare points to a grim new study in Nature about phytoplankton. Yep, that should do the trick. These microscopic organisms live in the ocean and account for half of the organic matter created on the planet. They're gobbled up by larger plankton, which, in turn, underpin the marine food web. Fish and whales depend on them for survival. And that means we do, too. And it turns out that the number of phytoplankton has been declining steadily for the past half century—down about 40 percent since 1950.
July 15, 2010
--Ezra Klein and Megan McArdle debate extending the Bush tax cuts. --Arthur Laffer's laughable argument: unemployment benefits cause unemployment --Why is the RNC defending the Tea Party? --A former IMF economist looks at how income inequality fueled the economic crisis. --Chris Orr criticizes Inception.
Conservatives have been claiming that a new report by the Congressional Budget Office shows that the Affordable Care Act will cost $115 billion more than estimated, because of discretionary budget costs. (That refers to money Congress appropriates every year to run agencies, as opposed to checks the government writes for benefits.) Megan McArdle leaps all over this: The progressive response on this, as I understand it, is threefold: 1. We don't have to fund this stuff 2. Maybe we'll cut something else to fund this stuff 3.
The GOP's Secret Speech
May 05, 2010
Yesterday Chuck Grassley threw cold water on the idea of a bank tax to repay the financial bailout. His logic was, on its face, puzzling: "Any money raised from the TARP tax would have to be used to pay down the deficit. If a TARP tax is imposed and the money is simply spent, that doesn't repay taxpayers one cent for TARP losses. It's just more tax-and-spend big government, while taxpayers foot the bill for Washington's out-of-control spending." Ezra Klein puzzles over what Grassley was saying. Let me translate.