Archive

  • SO SORRY NOT TO HAVE MISSED IT.

    SO SORRY NOT TO HAVE MISSED IT. Gee, thanks, Brother Sam , for not letting that essay by the junior senator from Connecticut slip by me. I was really trying hard not to see it; I saw the headline and said, ugh, him again. Then I turned the page -- only to have it turned back at me. (I do not like that Kosher ham; I do not like him, Sam-I-am!) I suppose I should be grateful that Joe Lieberman decided not to throw control of the Senate to Vice President Richard Vader Cheney , but this bit of drivel , as Sam pointed out, is hard to take. My favorite bit: Because of the bravery of many Iraqi and coalition military personnel and the recent coming together of moderate political forces in Baghdad, the war is winnable. We and our Iraqi allies must do what is necessary to win it. Pair that with this headline, in today's Washington Post , from an actual news story by staff writer Nancy Trejos : "December's Number Steadily Edging Toward Highest Monthly Tally of '06." If that doesn't break your...
  • THERE'S A WORD FOR THAT "TENSION." IT ALSO BEGINS WITH "T."

    THERE'S A WORD FOR THAT "TENSION." IT ALSO BEGINS WITH "T." I know that the words Deficits Don't Matter are engraved over the doorway to the American Prospect offices, so I'll put a little at risk here by pointing out that while the current deficit is entirely manageable, as Ezra says, the fiscal outlook for the next ten years is much bleaker -- an additional debt of $3.5 trillion, under current policies, even without accounting for the costs of the war. At that level, deficits certainly will matter. They are economically unsustainable, they leave no cushion to respond to a recession or other emergency, and they certainly leave very little room to push the deficit up even further to finance public investment, social spending, health care, or other goods. Anyone who wants to argue that we should move to invest more in those public goods, without addressing in some way the medium- and long-term deficit, is implicitly arguing that this country can handle deficits of $500 billion a year...
  • GOOD CALL, CONNECTICUT.

    GOOD CALL, CONNECTICUT. Joe Lieberman -- he's ruining my holiday vacation. I'm a bit late in getting digs in at Lieberman's appalling Washington Post op-ed backing escalation in Iraq, but everyone really should take a look at this thing in its entirety. The out-of-the-blue insertion of Iran as our central threat not only in Iraq but in the global war on terror, the non sequitors, the comic book stylings and language, the assertion that "vision, will and courage" is all that we've been lacking and all that we need to secure victory -- it all serves to make the very idea that this writer has staked his political career partly on perceived foreign policy expertise and gravitas truly absurd. The lowlight: Lieberman insists that the troop surge should have "a clearly defined mission." Elsewhere Lieberman describes that mission as defeating "the extremists." Clear as a bell! --Sam Rosenfeld
  • EDWARDS VS. THE...

    EDWARDS VS. THE DEFICIT HAWKS. Des Moines is a very charming town, with some truly fantastic steakhouses. That's particularly if some of your fellow reporters are feeling generous with ther expense accounts. But I digress. I spent much of yesterday in Iowa watching John Edwards do the Townhall thing. And believe me: The boy got skillz. Speaking to a room of a 1,000+ people (the campaign estimated 2,500; the papers 1,000), Edwards easily outdid his announcement speech from the morning, going far deeper into the policy and at far longer length. And it was an impressive performance, particularly compared to his relative insecurity when discussing such issues in 2004. Afterwards, I couldn't find a member of the crowd -- not that there were none, just that I couldn't find him -- who wasn't now supporting Edwards in 2008. As I said, an impressive performance, But Nick Beaudrot 's post on the deficit reminded me of a fairly remarkable exchange from the Q&A that I want to transcribe here...
  • WHAT'S NOT THE MATTER WITH KANSAS

    WHAT'S NOT THE MATTER WITH KANSAS : Freshly re-elected governor Kathleen Sebelius has some gratifying parting shots for Kansas's outgoing Underwear Drawer Monitor Phil Kline : Gov. Kathleen Sebelius today criticized Attorney General Phill Kline�s actions in his abortion investigation into George Tiller. �The story just continues to get stranger and stranger,� Sebelius said in response to questions from reporters. On Wednesday, a state district judge rejected for the second time an attempt by Kline to file charges against Tiller, a Wichita doctor who performs abortions. Kline, an abortion opponent, said he would appoint Don McKinney, also an anti-abortion advocate, as a special prosecutor to take over the case before he leaves office Jan. 8. Asked if she thought Kline�s actions were appropriate, Sebelius said, �I think what the judge found is that he did not follow the law, he did not abide by the steps that needed to be taken. He looked at it twice, and to me that�s not appropriate to...
  • Globalization and Redistribution from Wages to Profits

    It is standard wisdom that globalization has led to a redistribution from wages to profits. In fact, an NYT column by Tyler Cowen actually presents this redistribution as a reason to cut Social Security and Medicare benefits. (For low income workers, the cuts are offset by contributions to private accounts.) I hate to ruin a story line with evidence, but the profit share of corporate income just returned to the level of the 90s' cyclical peak this year. Since profits are usually revised downward, it remains to be seen if we will exceed the profit share of the 90s cycle in the current cycle. While there was a shift from wages to profits in the 80s and 90s, if we don't cross the 90s profit peak in this cycle, it would mean that the huge increase in trade and the trade deficit over the last decade did not lead to a redistribution from wages to profits. This implies that globalization does not necessarily entail a shift from wages to profits. Of course, most workers have benefitted little...
  • EDWARDS' SHREWD MOVE:

    EDWARDS' SHREWD MOVE: While I, like Garance , will reserve judgment on Edwards' announcement speech until I hear it, there is one aspect of his entrance into the race that I think shows that he is taking the right approach: his choice of location. The Ninth Ward of New Orleans has the potential to be the Democrats' Ground Zero--a symbolic space that can be used to rally the public. Having made poverty eradication a centerpiece of his 2004 campaign, Edwards is perfectly positioned to take advantage of the Republicans' weakness on this issue. Hurricane Katrina was the most poignant example of how many Americans have been literally and figuratively left behind, and the Democrats would be wise to follow Edwards' lead in reminding the country of it. --Ben Adler
  • The Dollar is #2

    The Financial Times reports that the value of euro notes in circulation worldwide now exceeds the value of dollar notes. This should tell us two things. First, the dollar is not essential to world finance. People are happy to hold euros and other currencies, no one needs to hold dollars. Second, the euro passing the dollar is not some sort of cataclysmic event. As long as people still have faith in the basic soundness of the dollar, they will be happy to hold it, even if it slides to number 2 by some measures. Of course, if investors become convinced that the currency is on a downward path, then it could lead to a serious run. In short, the world does not need the dollar, but it is also not anxious to throw it in the toilet, or at least not yet. --Dean Baker
  • EDWARDS IS IN....

    EDWARDS IS IN. John Edwards reportedly chose the quiet week before the new year to formally announce his second run for the Democratic presidential nomination in hopes of having the political press all to himself, but things are not exactly going as planned. Gerald Ford 's death has created a major competing story, and a website goof today forced him to move up his announcement. Reports the A.P. : Former Democratic vice presidential nominee John Edwards jumped into the presidential race Wednesday a day earlier than he'd planned, prodded by an Internet glitch to launch a candidacy focused on health care, taxes and other domestic issues. The North Carolina Democrat's campaign accidentally went live with his election Web site a day before an announcement Thursday that was supposed to use Hurricane-ravaged New Orleans as a backdrop. The slip-up gave an unintended double-meaning to his campaign slogan on the John Edwards '08 Web site: "Tomorrow begins today." Aides quickly shut down the...
  • YOU'RE VOTING FOR...

    YOU'RE VOTING FOR WHO ? There must have been 10 or so of us, sitting around a table at the Commons dinner hall at Goddard College, all examining the absentee ballots we had received from our home states. The year was 1976, and this was the first time any of us would vote to elect a U.S. president. In residence at one of the most hippy-dippy schools ever conceived (though conceived before the existence of hippies), it was assumed by everyone at the table we would all vote for the Democrat, Jimmy Carter , governor of Georgia. Well, that would be, assumed by everyone but me. I knew I wasn't voting for Carter. I liked Jerry Ford ; he was doing an okay job. I was happy not to have to hear any more from or about Richard Nixon . Furthermore, I did not trust Southerners. But more than anything, I was crazy about First Lady Betty Ford , and thought it spoke well of the president that he had had the stones to marry an outright feminist, and to stick by her as she spoke her outrageous...

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