Ezra Klein

Ezra Klein is a staff reporter at The Washington Post. You can read his blogging here. His work has appeared in the LA Times, The Guardian, The Washington Monthly, The New Republic, Slate, and The Columbia Journalism Review. He's been a commentator on MSNBC, CNN, NPR, and more.

Recent Articles


Felix Salmon writes : When the government announced its stress tests on February 23, Bank of America stock closed at $3.91 a share. At that level, if the government converted $34 billion of preferred stock into common equity, it would have received 8.7 billion shares in Bank of America. There are 6.4 billion shares outstanding right now, which means the government would have ended up with a controlling 58% stake in the company. Today, BAC is trading at $14.64 per share. At that level, the conversion of $34 billion of preferred stock would mean the creation of 2.3 billion new shares, which would give the government ownership of “only” 27% of the company — a large stake, but very much a minority stake. It seems like Bank of America should engage in some short-term blustering and rumor-starting to hype its stock price and then beg Treasury to announce a conversion before the market has a chance to respond, no? In theory, of course, you'd say that Treasury doesn't want to buy high. But my...


Peter Orszag lists off a couple of the programs the administration is eliminating. Included among them is this winner of an expenditure: Educational attaché, Paris, France ($632,000). The Department of Education can use e-mail, video conferencing, and modest travel to replace a full-time representative to UNESCO in Paris, France. Some enterprising reporter should figure out who the last educational attache was and ask what was costing them $600,000. But snark aside, it's no real surprise that these cuts are minimal -- about one-half of one percent of the budget. The Obama administration has been in office less than four months. They've not had the time to rigorously evaluate every federal program, and probably haven't had time to rigorously evaluate the rigorous evaluations of every federal program. Moreover, we don't sufficiently fund the analysis arms of the government: We've got the Government Accountability Office, but it's not funded at the sort of levels that would allow for a...


"Not only is it going to be intrinsically difficult to ever find a viable revenue model for paying a reporter to cover the zoning board if people don’t want to read about the zoning board," writes Matt Yglesias, "[but] I’m not actually sure how much social value is created by unread articles about zoning boards. If an article about proposed modifications to the Purple Line falls in the wilderness and nobody’s there to read it, are we really making a difference?" He goes on to suggest that neighborhood bloggers and other forms of amateur local coverage are stepping ably into this gap and aren't confined by revenue models. But this is exactly where the deterioration of newspapers gets worrying. An unread article on the Purple Line in The Washington Post is still an article in The Washington Post . No one really knows how many people read it. There's always the chance that those readers might read it. And if the paper really wants to emphasize the point, they can throw the article on A1...


The Senate Finance Committee is holding hearings on cap and trade today. And Baucus starts it off with a nice point. "Action would not be without cost," he admits. "But the costs of inaction would be far greater." That's really the key insight. No one advocates a cap and trade program or a carbon tax because it seems like fun. No politician pushes these proposals because they're a surefire ticket to reelection. It's simply that if we don't do something, the consequences could prove disastrous. There are, of course, some opponents of action who simply deny the reality of global warming altogether. Asking for their cooperation is like asking a Christian Scientist to help reform the health care system. But then are those who admit the reality of global warming but spend their time talking up the downsides of all the policies that would actually reduce carbon emissions. Of all the positions on the table, that one's actually the most dishonest and nakedly opportunistic. Baucus's full...


That's how Obama's aides are signing their e-mails today. And why not? It's a big day! The full budget ! "Financial information on individual programs and appropriation accounts"! "The proposed text of appropriations language"! Extremely trivial cuts that the administration is nevertheless selling as a painful effort in belt-tightening. Join the fun!