Peter Orszag's Misguided Tax Trade
September 07, 2010

Recently departed budget director Peter Orszag says that Democrats should make a deal with Republicans to extend all the Bush tax cuts for two years in return for canceling them all out after two years: Ideally only the middle-class tax cuts would be continued for now. Getting a deal in Congress, though, may require keeping the high-income tax cuts, too. And that would still be worth it. I don't understand the logic of this argument.

Vermont's Shockingly Nice Primary Election
August 26, 2010

There’s not much doubt that this primary season has set some new lows for intra-party civility, from the hundred-million-dollar hate fest put on by Californian Republicans Meg Whitman and Steve Poizner to the mutual-assured-destruction of Hawaii Democrats Ed Case and Colleen Hanabusa that handed the GOP a U.S. House seat.

Sorry, Democrats, Being Less Unpopular Than The GOP Isn't Worth Much
August 13, 2010

The most recent NBC/WSJ poll has some Democrats feeling optimistic about their chance in November. Obama pollster Joel Benenson plays up the highlights: • Today’s NBC/Wall St. Journal poll underscores the fact that with fewer than 90 days until the mid-term elections, the Republican Party’s standing is at one of its lowest points ever and its competitive position vs. the Democrats looks much as it did in the summers of 1998 and 2002, neither of which were “wave” elections.

The Unnecessary Fall
August 12, 2010

A counter-history of the Obama presidency.

Look Out Grandma--Here Come the Death Panels
August 10, 2010

Health care reform would mean rationing of care, the critics warned. The government would be slashing Medicare funding and, pretty soon, groups of experts--a.k.a., "death panels"--would be dictating the terms of coverage. Sure enough, it's starting to happen. From the Washington Post: Starting in January, the new health-care law will make it easier and cheaper for seniors to get preventive care. Medicare beneficiaries will be able to receive for free all preventive services and screenings that receive an A or B recommendation for seniors from the U.S.

Elena Kagan Confirmed
August 05, 2010

Jonathan Bernstein is a political scientist. He blogs at A plain blog about politics. And so, we have a new Supreme Court Justice, as expected. Final count: 63-37. Five Republicans and one Democrat defected. I didn’t post (or tweet) much during the floor debate, because, well, it was pretty dull. Look, this isn’t a partisan blog, so unlike United States Senators I can be honest about these things. This is politics. The Supreme Court is part of the political system; their decisions, while certainly driven by law and precedent, are nonetheless political actions.

Which Obama Is the Good Obama?
July 27, 2010

One of the frustrations that comes with reading a David Brooks column about policy is that inevitably it will revolve around some ill-defined distinction between good centrism and bad knee-jerk ideology. Good centrist policy is inevitably fitted with certain descriptors, like "modest," or (depending on Brooks' mood) "bold." It will be said to encourage the private sector while steering between the ideological evils of old-fashioned big government and anti-government animus.

Why Elizabeth Warren Will Likely Be Confirmed
July 27, 2010

Last week, Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd aroused the ire of progressive activists when he wondered whether Elizabeth Warren, the former Harvard Law professor who is a leading candidate to head the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, would be “confirmable.” “There’s a serious question about it,” he said on NPR’s “Diane Rehm Show.” Dodd’s concern is legitimate given that a mere 41 votes can block action in the Senate, and that the GOP has been willing to filibuster even seemingly popular proposals.

Obama's Push-Back On BP
June 03, 2010

Ridiculous as it may be that the press corps is going to spend every day demanding why President Obama hasn't plugged the oil spill in the Gulf, or demanding evidence that he is actually angry, that is the reality the White House faces. The only way out of the trap is to move the debate to a place where he can actually do something. Yesterday, Obama reiterated his call to eliminate tax breaks for oil companies, and to divert that money into clean energy.

Today's Must-Read
April 20, 2010

Noam has another terrific article loaded with great reporting on the state of financial reform. There's so much good stuff, I don't want to pick out one section, but I will anyway because this chunk was especially interesting: “I think right now, everyone sort of sees it as win-win-win,” says a senior administration official. “Frankly, Rahm’s hearing from friends in the financial industry that he should cut a deal before it goes to the floor--that probably makes him less likely to do that, work this out.