• Smart Man

    Brad Plumer's got a modest proposal .
  • Non-Taxing, If Possible

    Could anyone recommend a good, readable book on the fundamentals of tax policy?
  • Greenspan Hackery Watch: Democratic Leadership Edition

    Harry Reid don't suffer no fools : "I'm not a big Greenspan fan -- Alan Greenspan fan," Reid said when asked about the Fed chairman's testimony this week urging Congress to deal quickly with the financial problems facing Social Security and Medicare. "I voted against him the last two times. I think he's one of the biggest political hacks we have in Washington." Reid said that when Bill Clinton was president, Democrats had confronted the deficit problem by enacting a tax increase in 1993, which helped bring about a balanced budget and strong economic growth later in the decade. "Why doesn't he respond to the Republicans and tell them the big problem here is the debt that this administration [has] created?" he said. "We had a $7 trillion-dollar surplus when Bush took office. Now we have a $3 or $4 trillion-dollar deficit. That's, in fact, what Greenspan should be telling people." Update: Don't underestimate the power of this move. It looks a bit intemperate, and it'll certainly be...
  • National Security Numbers

    Brad and Matt are arguing over what the poll numbers mean for Democratic chances to pull even on national security. As Brad notices, Americans disapprove of the president's foreign policy, 44%-48%. But that's basically the same result as the poll got before election day, which was 45%-49%. More importantly, these same voters are loving Bush on terrorism, 61%-33%. And while these numbers are a tad contradictory, but I wouldn't read too much into that. They don't really reflect how much voters like Bush's foreign policy. They're more about how capable voters judge Bush on foreign policy. It's a heuristics thing. The president has gone to great lengths to paint himself a rough, tough, brash, and simple cowboy. Foreign policy, which evokes images of subtle diplomatic maneuvering and sly manipulation of international bodies, is antithetical to the Bush image. So he gets bad marks on that because poll respondents, who really have no idea how well our foreign policy is working, or even how...
  • Silly Santorum -- Social Security is for Democrats!

    Poor Rick, he can't even hide on his own website. Screenshot below the jump, look at the poll:
  • Sick

    What the fuck has happened to our country? The man we stripped naked, beat the hell out of, and let freeze to death was "probably associated with people who were associated with al Qaeda"? Did we really build this city on a hill so we could throw innocents off the ramparts?
  • Loads O' Polling

    To say Bush's priorities aren't polling well would be to understate the remarkable reverse-Midas touch he's been demonstrating. I'm convinced that every time he utters the words "Social Security", Americans decide it's 2% less important than it was before they heard him. I't's the boomerang of his own tactics. By consciously making himself such a polarizing figure, everything he does or wants to do is viewed as partisan warfare. As such, voters aren't evaluating his case for Social Security privatization but instead categorizing it as another left-right battle and, all things considered, they'd rather not see their pension plan made into a political football. And so this is what we've come to -- Republican manipulation of objective reporting has managed to delegitimize any and every domestic priority as just another handful of mashed potatoes in the ongoing partisan foodfight, and the more politicians speak about crises, the less Americans believe there actually is one. Ranking their...
  • The Bugman Goeth

    You have to respect the karmic rightness of this : Tom DeLay's redistricting toughened his own district, so in 2004, having historically won 60+% with no effort, he only took 55% against an unfunded Democratic challenger. Now it;s back to Sugar Land for the Bug Man, as he tries to shore up support. That's a Good Thing for the country; every evening spent in a bad buffet line with the rest of the Lions Order is a night he's not raising cash for other candidates or plotting new and ever more devious ways to screw the country. And I love Rep. Emanuel's perspective: Rep. Rahm Emanuel (Ill.), chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said he is happy that DeLay is "meeting some real people instead of just K Street lobbyists." "Maybe he'll find out the people actually like Social Security," Emanuel said. Well played. Now caption this picture of the majority leader of the United States Congress:
  • "a little bit"

    At least he's honest : Santorum acknowledged that his [antipoverty] proposals were modest. "We're helping out, let me be honest, a little bit, not a lot," he said at one point. And even that "little bit" is in some jeopardy without more help from Bush. By their deeds, you shall know them. And along with his attempts to do "a little bit" on poverty, Santorum's efforts to privatize Social Security have been nothing short of herculean. Privatization, by the way, would do more than a "little bit" on the poverty issue, but not in the way Santorum wants you to think. On a lighter note, try google-searching Santorum .
  • Why Bayh?

    Not to argue with a sage like Rothenberg, but what exactly makes Bayh so nightmarish for Republicans? He's good looking, sure, but no more so than Edwards, and he's certainly not a better speaker. He's hawkish, sure, but no more so than was Lieberman, and look where that got him. He's not a general, like Clark, nor a superstar, like Hillary. Labor doesn't love him, nor does any other interest group. And, in this era of calcified partisanship, or Republicans really going to be marking his ballot box en masse? What if the right runs a Hagel, or McCain? And what makes Bayh, who's going to have to swing left in the primary in order to calm a nervous base, stronger than other popular Democratic Southerners (for our purposes, same as Midwesterners) like Warner or Bredesen? Bayh might be a fine candidate, but Rothenberg is hanging his hat entirely on perceived moderation, as if the simple air of centrism was enough to guarantee election. Call it Clinton-syndrome. But Clinton won with a hefty...