LIBERTARIANS AND DEMS. I rarely disagree with Ezra, but he�s just plain wrong about the libertarians and their significance to a potential future Democratic majority. I talk about their potential in my book, and would also recommend libertarian Ryan Sager�sElephant in the Room, in which he drills down further on the problem Republicans are now having with libertarians.
While the Bush administration is still touting the good news on the budget deficit, the Commerce Department released data showing that the trade deficit hit another all-time high in August. The current account deficit (the broadest measure of the trade deficit) is now projected to be close to $900 billion in 2006 or 6.6 percent of GDP.
In the land where big deficits are more important than smaller deficits, this record trade deficit would be getting serious attention. As it stands, it looks like coverage of the record trade deficit will be buried on the business pages.
CEPR has posted my short note showing that part of the reason that the strong productivity growth of the last six years has not translated into wage growth is due to a graowing share of depreciation in gross output and the difference between the output deflator and the consumer price index. After adjusting for these factors, "usuable" productivity in the current cycle has been 1.85 percent annually (soon to be revised down by 0.1percentage point, due to the benchmark revision showing considerably higher employment growth). This is about 0.7 percentage points below the rate of growth of usable productivity in the sixties.
"FEMINISTS" AGAINST WOMEN. Admittedly, when it comes to illogic on the part of supporters of criminalized abortion, the rape and incest exemptions are relatively small potatoes. What really gives away the show is their unwillingness to apply criminal sanctions against women who are allegedly committing something akin to murder. Hack politicians, of course, respond to questions about how the Republican Party platform can support a constitutional amendment that would make abortion first-degree murder in all 50 states but would entirely exempt women from punishment by babbling nonsense.
LIBERTARIAN SWINGERS.ViaAndrew Sullivan comes this bit from Cato's new report on the next big swing group: "Libertarians preferred George W. Bush over Al Gore by 72 percent to 20 percent, but Bush�s margin dropped in 2004 to 59-38 over John Kerry...The political party that comes to terms with than can win the next generation."
"I'M WITH FUZZY." Great things are happening in my onetime adopted home state of Wisconsin. First of all, there was Russ Feingold with the new Air America Morning Zoo crew this morning, talking about how the Democratic senatorial caucus talks big in public, and then folds in private, usually on the advice of consultants "with connections to the previous Democratic administration."
JUST POSTED ON TAP ONLINE: CENTER-LEFT FOREIGN POLICY RUMBLE. In the October print issue of the Prospect, James Lindsayreviewed two new books purporting to offer alternative foreign policy visions to both neoconservatism and "liberal hawk" interventionism -- Michael Lind's The American Way of Strategy and Anatol Lieven and John Hulsman's Ethical Realism. Today, the authors of those books respond -- vigorously -- to Lindsay.
EXPORTING AMERICAN VALUES. Today in Baghdad, according to the Associated Press, gunmen stormed a Sunni television station and killed 11 people. "It was the second attack on a television station in the capital in as many weeks," reports AP writer David Rising.
YOUTUBE THROUGH THE AGES. There's an interesting piece by Sam Howe Verhovek in today's L.A. Times about trackers, those (typically young) campaign staffers tasked with carrying audio or audio-visual equipment to their opponents' public events and taping their every utterance. Their goal is simple: Trail after opponents in hopes of catching them saying something contradictory, stupid or malicious -- or trifecta: all three! S.R. Sidarth stands as America's most famous tracker, at least for the moment. But he's certainly not alone.