J. Goodrich

J. Goodrich is a recovering economist and the sole proprietor of the political blog Echidne of the Snakes. She also blogs for TAPPED.

Recent Articles


TWO ANTI-CATHOLIC VULGAR TRASH-TALKING BIGOTS. That is how William Donohue of the Catholic League described Amanda Marcotte and Melissa McEwan , two bloggers who were hired by the John Edwards campaign. Donohue then demanded that they be fired . This did not happen, though both bloggers have recently resigned from the campaign. That the New York Times found Donohue worth quoting on this topic made me interested in learning more about what Mr. Donohue regards as anti-Catholic. What might he find so shocking that he would demand people to be fired? What is "anti-Catholic" in Mr. Donohue's faith-based reality? What is bigoted? And why is Mr. Donohue such a welcome guest in many political talk shows? Come and meet the anti-Catholics Mr. Donohue has accused by name. Some of them he has also called bigots:


HAVE FAITH . What is the role of religion in the public life? Should government marry religion? And if so, which one? And what do voters think about, say, Barack Obama 's religion ? Atrios points out that though the current right-wing framing tries to distinguish the religious ("people of faith") from the nonreligious ("the dregs of society?"), the truth is that few religions agree on what to believe and that there is no such voting bloc as the "people of faith." It is largely conservative Christians and Jews who argue that religion should play a larger role in the public sector, the government, and the judiciary, and when they say "religion" they mean "my religion." They also appear to desire this influence without any reciprocal opening of those religions to nonbelievers' criticisms. Just consider the recent brouhaha started by William Donohue of the Catholic League on whether the Catholics are denigrated or oppressed by having their dogmas and customs and their wider influence...


MINDBOGGLING . I am learning more than I ever wanted to know about government contracting in Iraq from the hearings headed by Congressman Henry Waxman , but I still have difficulty with the last sentence (in parentheses) of this quote from Melinda Henneberger at the Huffington Post : The committee chairman, Congressman Henry Waxman, a California Democrat, noted in his opening statement that the contractors' deaths in Fallujah opened America's eyes to the fact that civilian contractors -- some 50,000 of them -- were in effect also fighting in Iraq, and that many of them are doing work done by the military itself in previous wars. Government oversight has been so lax, he said, that, "It is now almost three years later, and we still don't know for sure the identity of the prime contractor under which the four Blackwater employees were working." (Blackwater was hired by a Kuwaiti company called Regency, which was a subcontractor for ESS Support Services, which was a subcontractor for both...

Falling Flat

Remember the flat tax proposals of the 1990s? Well, they're ba-a-a-ck! Both Kansas Senator Sam Brownback and Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee have adopted the federal flat tax as part of their 2008 presidential campaign platforms. Neither candidate has released details, but usually such plans consist of a fixed percentage tax levied on all incomes over a basic deductible which varies by the number of dependents a taxpayer has. All other deductibles would be discontinued and all "tax loopholes" closed. In such a plan the poorest will pay no income taxes. All income above the basic deduction is taxed at the same percentage rate. Many plans also want to tax income only once, at its source (though this does not apply to income from working, which would still be taxed twice: once in income taxes and once in payroll taxes). Under such a plan, those taxpayers who live solely on dividend and interest income would pay no taxes, because this income has already been taxed at the corporate level...


A WORLD OF PHDs . Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke seems to think that increasing education is the miracle wand which will keep rising income inequality in this country within "acceptable" bounds. Why? Because of this : But now for the bad news: inequality also continues to widen. In real terms, Bernanke pointed out, the earnings at the 50 th percentile of the distribution, referred to as the median wage, climbed about 11.5 percent between 1979 and 2006. Over the same period, the wage at the 10 th percentile, near the bottom of the wage distribution, Bernanke noted, rose just 4%, while the wage at the 90 th percentile, close to the top of the distribution, increased 34 percent. Average education levels rise as we move up the income distribution, true, and perhaps policies aimed at raising that average would work. Or so Bernanke argues. But note the very rapid rise of the earnings at the narrow top of the income pyramid, a top narrower than the share of the educated in the overall...