Does Process Matter?
November 04, 2010
Paul Krugman watched the presidential press conference on Wednesday, but had to turn it off when Obama started talking about the congressional process and how it turned off voters: Nobody cares about this stuff--they care about results. If Obama had used fancy footwork and 2 AM sessions to pass a big public works program, and this program had brought unemployment down, Republicans would be screaming about the process--and Democrats would have comfortably held control of Congress. Remember the voter backlash against the way Medicare drug benefits were passed?
It Was a Brutal Night
November 03, 2010
How bad a night was it for the Democrats? Worse than it seemed on television, I think. Early in the evening, Democrats were surprisingly competitive in a bunch of key races--for house seats in Kentucky and Indiana, Senate seats in Illinois and Pennsylvania, and governorships in Florida and Ohio. Although they would go on to lose all of them, pending final numbers in Florida, they held onto their Senate majority. And that complicated the media narrative. The symbolic importance of Harry Reid's victory, in particular, made it difficult for pundits to call the night a Republican rout.
Shovel Ready. And Good for Your Health.
October 20, 2010
Ezra Klein, Paul Krugman, and others have been writing about physical infrastructure investments I've been enjoying these columns, which I agree with. I do have a pet peeve on the matter of shovel-readiness. In late 2008 and early 2009, I and others were trying to sell public health investments, many of which were quite cost-effective investments that were well-supported by the policy literature.
Introducing: Today In Wrong
September 07, 2010
I sometimes feel that I spend too much time pointing out all the ways in which various people are wrong, and even then, the vast quantity of wrongness in the public discourse overwhelms my capacity to process it. In that spirit, I'm launching an occasional feature called "Today In Wrong." In it, I'm sweeping up some of the wrongnesses that don't quite merit an individual post. I'm starting with two of the most consistent and reliable sources of wrongness. 1. Today's Wall Street Journal editorial page purports to rebut liberal arguments about the stimulus.
Krugman vs. Brooks (And Germany)
August 27, 2010
David Brooks today says there has been a "natural experiment" of the propostion that a bigger stimulus promotes economic growth. America had a big stimulus, Germany didn't, and now germany is growing faster: This divergence created a natural experiment. Who was right? The early returns suggest the Germans were. The American stimulus package was supposed to create a “summer of recovery,” according to Obama administration officials. Job growth was supposed to be surging at up to 500,000 a month. Instead, the U.S.
Do the Rich Need *Bigger* Tax Cuts?
August 23, 2010
Yes, I have more to say about the debate over extending all of the Bush tax cuts, including those that affect only the top income brackets. And I'm going to start by quoting what Paul Krugman said, in this morning's column, about who would benefit from such an extension: According to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, making all of the Bush tax cuts permanent, as opposed to following the Obama proposal, would cost the federal government $680 billion in revenue over the next 10 years. ...
Confusion Reigns at TNR on the Stimulus … For Good Reason
August 19, 2010
This month, various contributors to TNR have argued about economic stimulus: It works, it doesn’t work, or we don’t know if it works or not. On August 17, Josef Joffe asserted (with caveats) on Entanglements that we know stimulus doesn’t work because (1) economic trendlines in the United States have not improved dramatically since it was instituted here, and (2) those countries that have spent a lot on stimulus don’t seem to be doing as well as some countries that have not.
The Persecution Of Paul Ryan
August 12, 2010
The Wall Street Journal has an editorial today whose headline, "Washington vs. Paul Ryan," captures its basic contention that the the poor right-wing congressman is being ganged up on and maligned by the establishment. It's a fairly odd premise. Ryan has been riding months of slobbering praise from the conservative press.
What the Fed Actually Did Yesterday
August 11, 2010
As you may have read or heard, the Federal Reserve yesterday sent a clear signal of concern about the economy and took some steps to boost the recovery, such that it is.
Can You Measure The Stimulus?
August 09, 2010
In January of 2009, the Council of Economic Advisers released an economic projection predicting unemployment with or without the stimulus: Of course, unemployment has risen even higher than the chart's worst case scenario. This fact has been cited by, well, pretty much every single Republican and/or member of the conservative movement as proof that the stimulus failed. What it actually shows is that the economy was in much worse shape than the government realized in January of 2009, though some economists predicted that the administration's forecast was too optimistic.