August 03, 2011
-- It's a "Great Contraction" not a "Great Recession." And that means we need some inflation. -- But where are the Fed appointees? -- How Nancy Pelosi bailed out John Boehner. -- Bloomberg surveys economists. And the survey says: strong chance that everything is screwed. -- The consequences of the autism-vaccine myth. -- David Frum's Susan Sontag moment.
What Should Liberals Demand From the Super Committee?
August 02, 2011
The next step of the deficit fight moves to the super committee, in which each party appoints members. Since the committee can't recommend any deficit reduction without a majority, each party has the incentive to appoint members unamenable to compromise. I would like to see the committee come up with a sensible bipartisan compromise. But since Republicans are already vowing to insist that any appointee disavow any increase in tax revenue, it makes sense for Democrats to reciprocate. But what does "reciprocate" mean?
The Butterfly Effect
July 28, 2011
It is often said that the age of the Washington hostess is dead. Gone are the days, we are told, of Katharine Graham and Pamela Harriman, who assembled Washington power players around tables where deals were struck and alliances forged. But that may not be entirely true. The name Rima Al-Sabah doesn’t ring many bells to people outside the Beltway. Inside, it rings a lot. Al-Sabah is the wife of the Kuwaiti ambassador, Salem Al-Sabah. Since the couple arrived in Washington in 2001, she has become known as the issuer of invitations one doesn’t decline.
The Pathologies Of The Anti-Deficit Lobby
July 11, 2011
The anti-deficit lobby is a powerful force in American political life.
Does anything matter to Republicans more than protecting tax cuts for the very wealthy? Developments of the last 18 hours suggest very strongly that the answer is no. As you have probably heard by now, House Speaker John Boehner on Saturday evening informed President Obama that he was no longer interested in pursuing a “grand bargain” on deficit reduction. It was a major turning point in the debate.
Ruling? What Ruling?
June 30, 2011
Wednesday’s decision upholding the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act was, importantly, the first appellate ruling on the law, as well as the first not to be decided along partisan lines.
House Democrats And The Debt Ceiling
June 27, 2011
Nobody has paid much attention to what House Democrats think about the debt ceiling vote. But, given that large chunks of the GOP caucus will not support any debt ceiling increase, Democratic votes will be needed. And it's not necessarily safe to assume that House Democrats will line up behind whatever deal President Obama cuts. For one thing, they might not like the deal. For another, their political incentive structure is very different than Obama's. Pay close attention to a pair of recent comments by Nancy Pelosi.
Look, if a politician admits to, or is convicted of, a serious crime, or if his or her actions run completely contrary to the beliefs that they profess to have guided their voting, then there is good reason to demand their resignation. But a sex scandal that involved no illegal activity—that is not a firing offense.
Our Asymmetrical Parties
May 20, 2011
Michael Gerson has a pretty interesting column noticing that the Democratic Party is riven in two, while the Republican Party is unified: Republican leaders have proved themselves capable of producing proposals that unite perhaps 90 percent of their congressional delegation, losing just a thin margin at each end of their ideological spectrum. But the job is made easier by the narrowness of the Republican ideological spectrum.
May 19, 2011
A few years ago, four of the current Republican presidential candidates—Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty, Newt Gingrich, and Jon Huntsman—all supported a cap-and-trade approach to cutting greenhouse-gas emissions. In the years since, however, conservatives have made “cap-and-trade” a dirty word, and climate denialism is now de rigueur on the right.