Better Bowl Game Matchups Through Economics!
January 02, 2012

Today, millions of Americans (who, unlike your humble blogger, are still on vacation) are trading the champagne of December 31st for the six-packs of January 2nd. That’s right: It’s time for college football. Today, Houston and Penn State play in the TicketCity Bowl, Ohio State and Florida play in the Gator Bowl, Michigan State and Georgia play in the Outback Bowl, Nebraska and South Carolina play in the Capital One Bowl, Wisconsin and Oregon play in the Rose Bowl, and Stanford and Oklahoma State play in the Fiesta Bowl.

A Metro Lens on the New National Poverty Data
September 14, 2011

The release of new Census Bureau poverty data yesterday confirmed suspicions about the state of the economy for the nation’s most vulnerable citizens: even as GDP growth resumed in 2009, things continued to deteriorate at the bottom of the ladder. The U.S. poverty rate rose from 14.3 percent in 2009 to 15.1 percent in 2010, reaching its highest point since 1993. The news is a stark reminder that poverty is first and foremost a reflection of labor market conditions.

Slideshow: Demon Sheep, Pink Tutus, and Other Ads by Fred Davis
July 25, 2011

The 2012 presidential campaign is gearing up, and that means it’s game-time for top political consultants—including veteran GOP ad man Fred Davis. Davis, who just came out with a slew of strange spots for Republican presidential candidate and former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman, is known for his idiosyncratic m.o. Here is a sampling of his past work. Sonny Perdue  In the 2002 gubernatorial election in Georgia, Davis conceived of this spot depicting opponent Roy Barnes as a rat thumping through Atlanta.

The Gang Of Six's Strangest Bedfellows
July 21, 2011

Here's something I did not expect at all: supply-siders appear at least open to supporting the Gang of Six budget. Larry Kudlow offers a qualified endorsement as does the Wall Street Journal editorial page: [T]he outline from the three Republicans (including Oklahoma conservative Tom Coburn) and three Democrats is different from most other such offers because it combines spending cuts with reform that would lower tax rates. Most Beltway budget deals combine immediate tax increases with the promise of future spending cuts that somehow never occur.

The Gang Of Six In Winter
July 19, 2011

Despite months of media hype, I've expressed long-standing, deep skepticism that the Senate "Gang of Six" would ever succeed in getting a deficit agreement passed into law. The final stages of the group are just plain sad: In a last-ditch effort to make their deficit-cutting ideas relevant to the debt ceiling debate, the remnants of the Gang of Six will give a presentation on their plan to a bipartisan group of about 50 senators on Tuesday morning, according to several congressional sources. Sens.

Michelle Bachmann's Worldview
June 15, 2011

Michelle Goldberg has a terrific piece exploring the intellectual roots of Michelle Bachmann: Bachmann honed her view of the world after college, when she enrolled at Coburn Law School at Oral Roberts University, an "interdenominational, Bible-based, and Holy Spirit-led" school in Oklahoma.

Jesus and Jefferson
May 19, 2011

God’s Own Party: The Making of the Christian Right By Daniel K. Williams (Oxford University Press, 372 pp., $29.95) From Bible Belt to Sunbelt: Plain-Folk Religion, Grassroots Politics, and the Rise of Evangelical Conservatism By Darren Dochuk (W.W. Norton, 520 pp., $35)  In the presidential election of 1976, the Democrat Jimmy Carter split the votes of American white evangelical Protestants almost evenly with the Republican Gerald Ford. With a clear plurality of at least ten percentage points, Carter did even better among the nation’s white Baptists.

All the Hill’s a Stage
April 07, 2011

Around 11 a.m. on Thursday morning, Nancy Pelosi fielded a question from a journalist who wanted to know the same thing everyone else wanted to know: How, exactly, are the talks over a spending bill to avoid a government shutdown faring? The former Speaker of the House paused—back when Dems had a majority, after all, she would have been smack in the center of those negotiations. But now?

Tom Coburn Traps Grover Norquist
March 30, 2011

Senator Tom Coburn, the conservative Republican from Oklahoma, is doing something mischievous, clever, and important. Coburn is a key player in bipartisan negotiations to reduce the medium-term deficit. Everybody understands that a deal like this can only happen via some combination of spending reductions and revenue increases. The latter part violates sacred GOP theology, and the high priest of this theology is Grover Norquist. Through Americans for Tax Reform, Norquist has gotten most Republicans to sign a pledge never to increase tax revenues for any reason.

A Magic, Budget-Cutting Formula?
March 02, 2011

A quick recap of the standoff over the budget: Republicans want to snip off some $60 billion in government spending for the rest of the year. Democrats are arguing that the steep cuts cheered on by conservatives would hit essential programs that people actually need and use—good-bye Pell Grants, good-bye food-safety inspectors, good-bye well-functioning Social Security administration, and so forth. Worse still, economic forecasters—including Ben Bernanke have argued that slashing federal spending right now would drag down the economy.