Matthew Yglesias

Matthew Yglesias is a senior editor at the Center for American Progress Action Fund, a former Prospect staff writer, and the author of Heads in the Sand: How the Republicans Screw Up Foreign Policy and Foreign Policy Screws Up the Democrats.

Recent Articles

Safe European Currency

The European Union has come up with a temporary solution to the Greek debt crisis. But ultimately the choices are integrate -- or bust.

Riot police walk at the Greek parliament during an anti-government demonstration against austerity in central Athens on May 12, 2010. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)
Last week, the United States got its first genuinely good jobs report since January 2008: The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported an increase of 290,000 jobs in April. By the weekend, however, the economic forecast was once again cloudy, this time due to renewed concern over Greek debts. On Sunday evening came news that key European politicians and central bankers had ended over a year of inadequate action and finally come up with a two-pronged solution to the crisis. Large loans would be granted to ailing countries at favorable interest rates, and central banks would take coordinated action to buy European government bonds. The announcement of this plan has succeeded in alleviating the crisis atmosphere, but the underlying structure of the European monetary union remains rickety. More crises are certain to come until the Eurozone either breaks up or undertakes a much deeper program of integration. The nature of the problem is multifaceted. The European plan most clearly deals with...

Squaring the Circle in Afghanistan

Is the next major offensive in Kandahar a misguided application of counterinsurgency?

Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
The war in Afghanistan isn't a major front in partisan political struggles, so it's substantially slipped off the radar. But the U.S. military is already in the early phases of what will soon (exactly how soon is secret, of course) be a major new offensive in the Taliban stronghold province of Kandahar, and most indications are that it's going to go badly. The problems with the planned operation are in some respects complicated, but they mostly boil down to the fact that the best evidence available -- like an Army-commissioned poll reported on by Wired 's Nathan Hodge on April 16 -- indicates that the local population wants nothing to do with it. The Taliban is more trusted than the local government: 85 percent of Kandaharis describe them as "our Afghan brothers," and 94 percent say it would make more sense to negotiate with the Taliban than to intensify fighting. Naturally, we're going in guns blazing. Or, to be fair, we probably won't be. Instead, all indications are that in keeping...

Collateral Damage Denialism

Why do we keep on acting like a kinder, gentler form of warfare is even possible?

(Wikileaks)
Early this week, downtown Washington, D.C., played host to a nuclear-security summit that occasioned a lot of frustrating road closures for those of us who live here. On the stretch of New York Avenue right by my office, National Guard vehicles would sporadically move in to block traffic from entering the street, the better to facilitate the passage of motorcades. And Monday evening, one such multi-ton truck hit and killed Constance Holden, a 68-year-old Science magazine correspondent, as she was riding her bicycle. In a bizarre response, the National Guard assured a local TV station reporter that "we will look at the video to make sure the pedestrian didn't run into the truck as it was moving." Separately on Monday came the news that American soldiers in Afghanistan shot at a civilian bus in an incident "which killed as many as five civilians and wounded 18." Disparate events, to be sure, but the former casts the latter in a different light, and both challenge the notion that the...

House of Pain

Hasty decision making, capricious sartorial choices, and far too many members -- the House of Representatives is everything wrong with American politics.

House Budget Committee member Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn. (AP Photo/Lawrence Jackson)
Confused? Check the publication date, and read this . Yesterday, thanks to the magic of Twitter, I was alerted to the existence of the Rosa DeLauro is a Fucking Hipster Tumblr, and all I could think was, “Thank God for the United States Senate.” Now there is a legislative body where everybody dresses in a staid manner, as the good lord intended legislators to dress. And they don’t only look boring; they actually are boring, barely ever passing any kind of legislation whatsoever. The Founding Fathers were, of course, worried about the problem of hasty legislation reflecting the popular passions of the moment—outlandish attire, mash-ups, reform of the energy sector—and thus in their wisdom bestowed the country with a number of devices designed to prevent such foolishness. In the initial setup, boringness was ensured by limiting the vote to older, wealthy white men. Ultimately, the claims of justice expanded the franchise substantially, which underscores the vital role the Senate plays...

Breaking Unhealthy Habits

Once Democrats stopped arguing about health and started getting real on passing reform, voters got behind them.

Like a specter, the unpopularity of Congress' reform proposals haunted the ultimate goal of universal health care all winter long. This issue weighed heavily on the minds of Democratic senators as they moved toward a final pre-Christmas vote on their version of reform; it became explosive after Scott Brown's unexpected win in the Massachusetts special election. Brown's victory needn't have been a devastating blow to reform—there's always been a clear legislative path forward—but the message it sent to Congress, rightly or wrongly, was that the bad poll numbers associated with health care could have real consequences on Election Day. And that's made a big difference ever since. But a funny, though little noticed, thing happened as the wounded cause of reform limped toward the finish line: The polling started to turn around. Take a look at the aggregates available on Pollster.com. Barack Obama's job approval rating on health care is still in negative territory but trending upward...

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