The Democrats’ Big Tax Problem
August 02, 2010

 I never imagined I would suspect Jonathan Chait of political naïveté. But his recent post, “How To Fight the Tax Cut Wars,” leaves me no choice. Chait gleefully maintains that Democrats “hold the whip hand” in the upcoming battle in Congress over whether to retain the Bush tax cuts that provided a windfall for the richest Americans. If the Dems try to extend the cuts only for taxpayers with incomes under $250,000, Chait argues, the GOP will seem like lackeys of the rich for filibustering the bill. And if no bill passes, the nation would revert to the more equitable rates of the 1990s.

Americans Are Angry and the Parties Are Clueless
July 24, 2010

It is now conventional wisdom that the Obama administration and congressional Democrats haven’t been able to sell the people on the merits of their economic program. Even so, the results of the most recent Pew Research Center survey are startling. To begin, substantial majorities believe that the policies of the past two years have benefitted the wealthy (57 percent), large corporations (70 percent), and large banks and financial institutions (74 percent).

Well, That's Reassuring
July 16, 2010

Sen. Claire McCaskill on her hesitance to support a climate bill: “I think it’s still a work in progress,” said Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill, who worries that a cap would be a loser for Democrats in November. “You know, it took 50 years on health care. Actually, the time span between Harry Truman proposing universal health care and President Obama signing the Affordable care Act was more like 60 years. But that's okay! I'm sure nothing irreversible will happen to the atmosphere between now and 2070.

What If California's Climate Law Gets Killed, Too?
July 12, 2010

Over the past few years, large polluters have become pretty adept at blocking climate legislation in Congress. But there are still plenty of individual states out there trying to put limits on carbon emissions. So what's a poor oil or coal company to do? Why, bring the battle to the states, of course. Back in 2006, California passed AB32, a law that would set up a cap-and-trade system and cut the state's emissions 15 percent by 2020.

Passion Pit
July 12, 2010

Washington—If the midterm elections were held now, Republicans would likely take control of the House of the Representatives. It's as hard these days to find a Democrat who's not alarmed as it is to find a Cleveland Cavaliers fan who's cheering for LeBron James. Worse for Democrats: They face two very different challenges, and addressing one could make the other worse. The outcome of the 2010 elections thus depends in large part on whether they can find a solution to a set of simultaneous equations before November. On the one hand, independent voters are turning on them.

Obama and the Coming "Choice Election"
July 09, 2010

[Guest post by Noam Scheiber:] Mike Allen reports in his "White House Mindmeld" today that Obama is settling into a "choice election" strategy for November (i.e., trying to make it as much about the other guys as you) rather than a "referendum election" strategy (i.e., making it solely about you): The President used his remarks in Missouri to frame the November elections as a choice between the economic policies that led us into this mess and the policies that are leading us out – a theme you’ll hear a lot of in the coming four months. Setting aside the fact that this is almost always the stra

Producers vs. Parasites
June 23, 2010

David Jungerman of Raytown, Missouri has attracted attention for a large sign by the highway calling Democrats the "party of parasites": The Kansas City Star reports that Jungerman himself falls into the parasite category: The Raytown farmer who posted a sign on a semi-truck trailer accusing Democrats of being the “Party of Parasites” received more than $1 million in federal crop subsidies since 1995. But David Jungerman says the payouts don’t contradict the sign he put up in a corn field in Bates County along U.S.

Who Versus Where
May 26, 2010

Last week on this blog, I riffed about one of the more interesting findings to emerge from our State of Metropolitan America report—that demographically, our nation’s major metropolitan areas didn’t always look very much like their geographic neighbors.  To illustrate the point, I looked at the Southeastern seaboard, which counts metropolitan members from each of the seven demographic categories we identify in the report, from the “Next Frontier” region of Washington, DC to the “Industrial Core” area of Augusta, GA.  We argue that metropolitan demographic peers may have more to learn from one

The Stevens Myth
April 07, 2010

Legal circles have been abuzz for the last eight months with the news that Justice John Paul Stevens had hired only one law clerk to begin working this summer. This move, Supreme Court watchers observed, strongly suggested that Stevens’s thirty-fifth term at the Court would be his last. As journalists and scholars begin contemplating his place in history, Stevens himself has not-so-subtly attempted to burnish his judicial legacy. In a series of interviews over the last few years, Stevens has repeatedly attempted to portray his views as fundamentally unaltered since he joined the Court.

Can Your Town Beat Champ Village, Missouri?
March 29, 2010

Champ Village, Missouri is currently the champ of Census 2010 participation. Eighty percent of its residents have already returned their questionnaires.