Archive

  • JUST POSTED ON...

    JUST POSTED ON TAP: ANOTHER MISSILE CRISIS? Ted Sorensen and Adam Frankel discuss what the Bush administration could learn about Iran from JFK . --The Editors
  • WHO WOULD JESUS...

    WHO WOULD JESUS WHACK? Occasionally you hear about all those broadly supportable progressive issues on which rapprochement with the Christian right will be had. This worldview presupposes that the evangelical movement's partisan identification is the result of the right convincing them that they hold more areas of policy agreement. Which may, in part, be true. Of course, there's also the Mafioso-style intimidation tactics that are deployed against heretics... --Ezra Klein
  • THE END OF...

    THE END OF SUPPLY-SIDEISM . Chris Suellentrop notes that Republicans are beginning to abandon supply-side economics, one of the most overdue exoduses in economic history. Evidence comes from Bush 's former chief economic adviser Greg Mankiw , who writes that "some supply-siders like to claim that the distortionary effect of taxes is so large that increasing tax rates reduces tax revenue. Like most economists, I don't find that conclusion credible for most tax hikes, and I doubt Mr. Paulson does either." Elsewhere, Ben Stein -- yeah, that one -- has a full-throated takedown of the economic illusion known as the Laffer Curve. "Supply side is fun," he writes, "in the same way it's fun to rationalize spending as if it were saving, and in the same way any theory is fun when it says that the easier, softer way is better than the hard way. But it doesn't work, or at least it hasn't worked yet. " No, it hasn't. And what a comfort that it only took the economic Ph.D.'s in the Republican Party...
  • TAPPED BOUND. Many...

    TAPPED BOUND. Many TAPPED readers, I�m sure, will be happy to learn that Linda Hirshman will be guest-blogging with us for two weeks starting next Monday. Hirshman�s outstanding critique of �choice feminism,� which appeared in the Prospect �s December issue, helped spark a very heated debate about women, work, and the domestic glass ceiling. Hirshman has since extended her work for that piece into a book, Get to Work: A Manifesto for Women of the World , which will be released on June 8. So tune in next week for what will surely be an exciting discussion. --Alec Oveis
  • SOME PAULSON SKEPTICISM....

    SOME PAULSON SKEPTICISM. Reaction to Henry Paulson 's appointment as Treasury Secretary has, thus far, been boringly positive. Fortunately, Max Sawicky rides to the rescue with a strident critique. --Matthew Yglesias
  • MORE ON IRAN....

    MORE ON IRAN. In addition to Garance and Laura Rozen 's comments , it's worth heeding cautionary notes from both Kevin Drum and Ivo Daalder that Condoleezza Rice may be (whether in deliberate bad faith or not) putting too many demands for Iranian concessions on the table as preconditions for negotiation. That concern notwithstanding, as The Washington Post 's piece on her announcement notes, Rice has certainly appeared to serve as a force in the administration for moving in the direction of engagement since she became secretary of state, and today's news seems to bolster that view. The news serves as another pretext to plug this truly terrific article by Gareth Porter in the latest print issue of the Prospect which provides a thorough and insightful rundown of the complete history of the Bush administration's policy towards Iran. Repeatedly -- and most dramatically and explicitly in 2003 -- overtures from Tehran were extended to the administration, and the administration rejected them...
  • SOME PROGRESS, FINALLY....

    SOME PROGRESS, FINALLY. The United States, after much pushing, has finally acceded to engaging in direct talks with Iran, on the condition that it abandon its nuclear enrichment activities. This is the necessary next step in the diplomatic dance, but marks a dramatic departure from the Bush administration's approach toward Iran over the past six years. With the world looking to Iran for a counter-offer, Iran will now either have to chose the engagement with the United States it says it wants or else be perceived as the intransigent party in this conflict. Either way, the offer takes some of the pressure off the United States to resolve the impasse and puts it back where it rightly belongs, on Iran. Laura Rozen , who is a must-read on this as on so many other issues, has more from Chris Nelson over at War and Piece. --Garance Franke-Ruta
  • THE GOOD NEWS....

    THE GOOD NEWS. While I was on vacation yesterday, I don't think any of my colleagues noted the ongoing developments in the Haditha massacre story. This is one of those things that makes you appreciate the old-fashioned print news media which, for all its flaws, can bring things like this to light and leaves your humble blogger with relatively little to add. I will say, however, that I think that if you look at the historical record of counterinsurgency warfare, you'll see that this is the kind of thing that pretty consistently winds up happening. As we've been seeing for a while, insurgent campaigns are a very ugly business. More recently, it's become clear that the counterinsurgency being waged by the Shiite new regime in Iraq is a very ugly business as well. And now we see that the United States military is no exception to the trend, just as it wasn't in Vietnam and in the Philippines. The first-order solution, obviously, is to try and get people to not perpetrate massacres and...
  • Does Henry Paulson Advocate a Large Trade Deficit?

    According to press accounts, Mr. Paulson is an ardent believer in a strong dollar. Regardless of what you think of the budget deficit, the strong dollar IS the reason for the trade deficit. This is not really a contestable point. No one opts to buy imported goods rather than domestically produced goods because of the budget deficit. They buy imported goods because the strong dollar makes them cheaper. It really is that simple. Of course, the United States cannot continue to run large trade deficits indefinitely. And the trade deficit is more than twice as large as unified budget deficit (it's more than 50 percent larger than the on-budget deficit). It might be cause for concern that our new Treasury secretary is a big advocate for enlarging the country's most unsustainable deficit, but you wouldn't get this from any of the reporting. The high dollar policy is also redistributive since it puts downward pressure on prices and wages in the sectors of the economy exposed to international...
  • IN DEFENSE OF...

    IN DEFENSE OF INTERNSHIPS . I'm going to break with Garance here -- Anya Kamenetz 's op-ed didn't make much sense to me. Her basic point is simple: Internships are a $124 million subsidy to corporate America. Well, maybe. But first you have to figure out how many internships are actually in "corporate America." The American Prospect , The Nation , the AFL-CIO, the Center for American Progress, the ACLU, People for the American Way, and all the other usual suspects have robust intern programs which allow them to train and try out kids they can't necessarily hire. Are they who we're thinking of when we say "corporate America"? Indeed, corporate America doesn't really need the free labor. I'm sure they appreciate it, but they could hire their own grunts. Could the non-profits of the world? That's less clear. It was The Washington Monthly 's internship that channeled me into writing rather than law school (I am eternally grateful). Kamenetz also blames internships for the decline of...

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