Yank the Chain: Washington's Terrible New Social Security Fix
December 11, 2012
Why the latest bipartisan idea to cut the deficit--"chaining" Consumer Price Index increases for Social Security--is a loser.
Romney, Ryan, and Etch-a-Sketch
March 22, 2012
One irony of Eric Fehrnstrom’s “etch-a-sketch” comment, suggesting that Mitt Romney was all set to remake himself as a moderate, is that it came on the same day that Romney embraced the new Paul Ryan budget – a radically conservative plan that, if enacted, would take health insurance from tens of millions of people while effectively ending the federal government except for entitlements and defense spending. Of course, Romney has spoken up for Ryan and his proposals before: Either directly or through surrogates, he embraced the original Ryan budget, from 2011.
Our Budgets, Our Selves
February 13, 2012
President Obama is catching some grief, because the budget proposal he released on Monday predicts that the deficit will be more than $1 trillion next year. That’s represents a large number, whether you measure it in dollars or as a proportion of the nation’s wealth. It also represents a broken promise, since Obama, after taking office, had promised to cut the deficit in half by the time this first term was over. He’s not going to meet that goal. Personally, I think it’s hard to fault Obama for that failure, although I’m not sure it was so wise to make the promise in the first place.
Poverty Up, Incomes Down - And What to Do About It
September 13, 2011
The Census Bureau just released its annual report on income, poverty, and health insurance in the United States. The news is as about as dreary as you'd expect. The official poverty rate is now 15.1 percent, which is a fancy way of saying that one in six Americans are extremely poor. That's the third year in a row the proportion of Americans has risen. If you want to find a year when the poverty rate was significantly higher, you have to go all the way back to the early 1960s, before enactment of the Great Society. As always, the report has a ton of data.
Coming Soon: The Mother of All Policy Battles?
August 02, 2011
Remember the agreement to extend the Bush tax cuts, which President Obama and congressional leaders enacted in December? The deal seemed like a complete capitulation with no upside, until we learned that the agreement extended unemployment insurance and reduced payroll taxes, providing a much-needed boost to the economy. Later, in April, an agreement to avert a government shutdown and cut government spending seemed just as dreadful. But then we learned the spending cuts were not quite as bad as we'd thought.
This Is Not Leadership
August 01, 2011
Late Saturday night, media outlets first reported that President Obama would sign onto a debt ceiling deal with large spending cuts and no promise of revenue, signaling a final concession that seemed unthinkable just a few days ago. Out of exasperation as much as curiosity, I e-mailed a Washington insider who happens to be among President Obama’s most loyal supporters. How, I asked, could Obama agree to such a lopsided deal? This person answered with a different question: What would I have done instead?
The more analysts dig into Paul Ryan's comically villainous "Path to Prosperity," the more unworkable it gets.
A Budget Equal to its Political Moment
February 14, 2011
By now, readers of this space should be familiar with Robert Greenstein of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. He, and they, are among the most respected authorities on budget matters in Washington. Reliably attentive to the needs of Americans that depend on government programs, but also committed to fiscal responsibility, they are as honest as they are thorough.
Obama's Budget, for Better and for Worse
February 14, 2011
President Obama on Monday will release his budget request for the 2012 fiscal year. As you read commentary on it--or, if you’re as nerdy as I am, as you read the document itself--keep in mind that this is the first budget request he’ll be producing since the Republicans took over one house of Congress.
Daley, Sperling, and Obama 2.0
January 06, 2011
Multiple media outlets are reporting that President Obama today will name William Daley as his new chief of staff, which means I've missed my chance to weigh in on him. Both Jon Chait and Ezra Klein have expressed misgivings about Daley and I share them.