Archive

  • Does a Recession Loom? Let's Talk to All the People Who Were Caught by Surprise

    NYT columnist David Leonhardt notes that the manufacturing sector has slid into a recession and raises the possibility that the rest of the economy might follow suit. To get insight on this topic, he talks to several people who were caught by surprise with the new signs of weakness. It's always good to talk to the people who were shown wrong and ask them how they assess the situation in light of the new evidence. However, it also might be a good idea to talk to some of the people who were not surprised by the economic weakness. After all, once we accept that the earth revolves around the sun, we don't want to get all our information on astronomy from believers in an earth centered universe. ( Here's my own two cents on the economic prospects.) Just to remind everyone about the accuracy of econometric forecasters and the lack of consequence in this profession for being completely wrong, in the fall of 2000, not one of the fifty "Blue Chip" forecasters saw the 2001 recession coming. --...
  • IF KIDS COULD VOTE ...

    IF KIDS COULD VOTE ... The Children's Defense Fund started a faux presidential campaign supporting a 10-year-old girl named Suzie Flynn for president. The press stunt is largely targeted at drawing attention to funding cuts for the state program called SCHIP, the State Children's Health Insurance Program. It's currently scheduled to expire in September, and governors have gathered testimony from mothers around the country to support federal funding for the program. -- Kay Steiger
  • EITC VS. THE...

    EITC VS. THE MINIMUM WAGE. You often hear conservatives argue that we shouldn't increase the minimum wage, we should raise the Earned Income Tax Credit. Setting aside the claim's disingenuousness -- not much in the way of EITC increases after six years of Republican governance, I fear -- it's not true that the two policies are interchangeable. The minimum wage has uses and benefits that tax credits don't, and vice-versa. Over at EPI, Max Sawicky has a paper laying those variations out in full. He concludes that while simplifying and expanding tax credits may be a worthwhile policy objective, "boosting incomes with a higher minimum wage avoids the dangers of reduced work incentives and larger marriage penalties in the income tax, escapes the burden of offsetting the cost of an expanded credit under the pay-as-you-go rules, foregoes the complexity of redesigning the tax system, and provides a benefit in plain view of the worker." That PayGo bit is particularly important, as the...
  • THIS AIN'T NO KOREMATSU, THIS AIN"T NO FOOLING AROUND.

    THIS AIN'T NO KOREMATSU, THIS AIN"T NO FOOLING AROUND. The Canadian lawblogger Pithlord has a good analysis of the Supreme Court of Canada's recent Charkaoui decision , which held that the Canadian government's procedures for detaining and deporting terrorist suspects were insufficient to meet the requirements of fundamental justice. As he said, the decision is judicial review "at its best": "[t]he Court encouraged a more moderate response to a serious problem, one that has the potential to reduce miscarriages of justice." The Court's meticulous balancing of legitimate state interests and constitutional rights is particularly instructive in light of Benjamin Wittes' world-weary sneering about the inherent incapacity of courts to make reasonable legal judgments during times of war. --Scott Lemieux
  • POSTED ON TAP ONLINE: THE GAY GRENADE

    POSTED ON TAP ONLINE: THE GAY GRENADE . In the fight to garner popular support for a revitalized ERA campaign in select states, some proponents have taken to reassuring voters that the ERA in no way guarantees gays the right to marry. Keely Savoie explains why this approach isn't good for gay rights OR women's rights activists. -- The Editors
  • EDWARDS EVOLVES AGAIN....

    EDWARDS EVOLVES AGAIN. John Edwards 's latest on Iran, according to ABCNews : Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards told a group of New Hampshire voters Saturday that he would consider pursuing a nonaggression pact between the United States and Iran. Edwards' statement came in answer to a voter's question at a house party in Nashua on Saturday morning. Asked about it later in an interview with ABC News, Edwards confirmed that he views such a treaty -- in which the United States would promise not to attack Iran -- as "a possibility down the road." But he emphasized that the Iranian government would first have to change its behavior in several areas. "I wouldn't give away anything until it became clear what the intent of Iran was, that they've given up any nuclear ambition, that they would no longer sponsor Hezbollah, Hamas and other terrorist organizations," Edwards told ABC News, in an interview to be broadcast on "Nightline" Monday night. "So there would be huge jumps and...
  • AGAINST FALSE COMPLACENCY.

    AGAINST FALSE COMPLACENCY. Brad Plumer has a good piece about how any Republican President will almost certainly try to replace John Paul Stevens with a doctrinaire reactionary in the mold of Sam Alito . To add to his point, I think it's easy to be lulled into a false sense of security by the fact that most landmark liberal precedents survived a significant number of Republican appointments (even leaving aside the fact that this is, as Brad notes, a misleading metric - -the Rehnquist Court's strategy was to largely drain precedents of substantial content rather than overturn them outright). First, you will often hear the idea that many Republican appointments have been "disappointments," with the implication that it's more likely than not that a new swing appointment will be surprisingly liberal (indeed, a few people -- despite a complete lack of evidence -- made this claim about Alito himself.) But this is misleading -- conservative justices selected for ideological reasons have, in...
  • NOW WITH THE PIGEONS.

    NOW WITH THE PIGEONS. Coming hard upon the heels of the Chinese anti-satellite test, and the report of US Navy foolin' around with sharks , it appears that China is attempting to create an army of cyborg pigeons. Scientists with the Robot Engineering Technology Research Center of east China's Shandong University of Science and Technology say they implanted micro electrodes in the brain of a pigeon so they can command it to fly right or left or up or down. The implants stimulated different areas of the pigeon's brain according to signals sent by the scientists via computer, and forced the bird to comply with their commands. An insidious effort to develop a delivery system for weaponized avian flu? Noah at Danger Room has the following to say: I, for one, am outraged. Those of us growing up in New York know that there is nothing nastier than the swarming, disease-ridden, flying rats who turn every public place into a fight for room to breathe. Now China is looking to engineer a fleet of...
  • POLITICIZED NATIONAL SECURITY,...

    POLITICIZED NATIONAL SECURITY, CIRCA 2003. Yesterday, I was traveling back from my unsuccessful effort to -- no joke -- talk to Al Gore at the Governor's Ball (he didn't show before I left), so I missed the excitement in the Scooter Libby trial over the juror who got booted for exposure to media coverage of the trial and the happy reaction from the defense. (For what it's worth, I got the very strong impression from Sunday night that Gore will not be running for president -- who needs the hassle when you're on an inexorable march to sainthood?) While I was traveling, I had a chance to look back over Libby's grand jury testimony, and was struck again by just how involved, in ways that continue to surprise, Cheney was in the politicization of national security in July 2003. A small but interesting example that didn't even come up at the trial concerns a topic I have discussed before: Libby and Cheney's story that they were really concerned with the declassification of the October 2002...
  • POSTED ON TAP ONLINE: CHENEY FOLLIES.

    POSTED ON TAP ONLINE: CHENEY FOLLIES. In his column this week, Matt ruminates on Vice President Dick Cheney -- national joke, national nightmare. --The Editors

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