Tax Haven
January 27, 2011

The deficit is a huge dilemma that’s too big for one party to solve, say the pundits and various deficit scolds. (Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles: “Neither party can fix this problem on its own, and both parties have a responsibility to do their part.) Nonsense, I say. There’s a really easy, and 100 percent partisan, answer: Just let all the Bush tax cuts expire. President Obama can accomplish this without negotiations, compromise of any sort, or even putting aside petty agendas for the national good.

Arizona Shooting: Rep. Giffords Wounded in Head, Federal Judge and Others Killed
January 08, 2011

A gunman shot Representative Gabrielle Giffords, Federal District Judge John Roll, and more than a dozen bystanders at a public event in Tuscon, Arizona on Saturday morning.  At least five people have died, according to multiple media accounts, including Judge Roll and a nine-year-old girl. But the exact number is not clear. Several victims are at hospitals, in critical condition and undergoing treatment. Giffords survived the attack and, according to a physician from University Medical Center at Tuscon, is recovering from neurosurgery.

How Republicans Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Teachers' Unions
January 04, 2011

Seyward Darby wrote a great article a few months ago arguing that, despite Obama's embrace of a historically Republican-friendly approach to education reform, Republicans were bound to oppose his reform agenda. I concurred, "Obama's willingness to take on the teachers unions takes all the fun out of being in favor of education reform for conservatives." And, sure enough, here is Republican economist Douglas Holtz-Eakin urging his Congressional party not to quickly cooperate with Obama on education reform. Holtz-Eakin offers four reasons to withhold cooperation.

Can Obama Cut A Deficit Deal?
December 21, 2010

It's starting to look more plausible that President Obama will try to cut a budget deal with Republicans. Bob Kuttner thinks Obama plans to spring a proposal in the State of the Union address: The tax deal negotiated by President Barack Obama and Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky is just the first part of a multistage drama that is likely to further divide and weaken Democrats. The second part, now being teed up by the White House and key Senate Democrats, is a scheme for the president to embrace much of the Bowles-Simpson plan — including cuts in Social Security.

Democrats Deserve the 'L' Word: 'Lame'
November 12, 2010

If you’ve been following the debate about the future of the Bush tax cuts, Thursday was a busy day. It was also a depressing day. The activity started early, when the Huffington Post reported that the White House was ready to cut a deal with Republicans—and temporarily extend all of the Bush tax cuts, including those that affect higher incomes exclusively. Why was this newsworthy?

Change in the Senate?
November 10, 2010

This is part 2 in a three-part series on the prospects for government reform in the coming year. Part 1 ran yesterday. Ah, here we go. This is what everyone wants to hear about, especially liberals. Are we in for a reformed Senate in 2011-2012? Quick answer? Maybe, on nominations. Not likely, on bills. I'll go through an argument for that position, and then suggest why a January vote on reform might be a mistake, and what Harry Reid should do, starting in the lame duck session, to move reform forward.

How the Republican Congress Will Vote
November 05, 2010

To get ready for the coming Republican Congress, we asked six of The New Republic's most knowledgeable experts to outline how the change will affect politics, regulation, the environment, education, health care, and the economy. Here's how they responded. Jonathan Cohn on politics: The pre-election polls seem to trending, ever so slightly, back towards the Democrats. But it still seems likely that the Republicans will control one, and maybe two, houses of Congress come January. That's obviously not good news for liberals or for liberalism.

Is There Any Reason to Be Optimistic About Economic Policy in a GOP Congress?
November 01, 2010

This is the sixth and final installment in an occasional series examining how Republican control of Congress might affect policy debates in the next two years. (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5) Many political scientists believe the economy is the single biggest factor in determining election outcomes. It will likely cause Democrats to lose big on Tuesday. And, if conditions don’t improve, it could cause Democrats to lose big again in two years.

Is The Environment Doomed Once Republicans Take Congress?
October 25, 2010

This is the third in an occasional series examining how Republican control of Congress might affect policy debates in the next two years. (Part 1, Part 2) First, a question: Have the last two years, with Obama in the White House and Democrats running Congress, really been that great for environmental policy? It depends how you look at it. There was that debacle in the Gulf, which obviously wasn't handled well. Then the Senate failed to pass a climate bill, and the Copenhagen talks dragged along without much resolution.

Mike Castle Versus the Tea Party
September 15, 2010

WILMINGTON, Del.--On the eve of the primary that would end his electoral career, Rep. Mike Castle was in a reflective mood.