Patrick Caldwell

Patrick Caldwell is a writing fellow at The American Prospect.

Recent Articles

When Will Rick Perry Start Running for President?

The Wall Street Journal wrote yesterday afternoon that Rick Perry was ready to jump into running for president. The sourcing for the piece was incredibly unconvincing; I'm not sure how one "normally reliable Republican source" who is clearly not part of Perry's camp would know the Texas governor's intentions (and for what it is worth, Perry's official advisers have said a decision is still weeks away). But my major qualm lies with the timeline described for Perry's announcement. The Journal claims Perry will announce his candidacy around August 6, when he has scheduled a national prayer meeting in Houston. That timing would be the worst possible, as Perry would have both the disadvantages of entering the field late while gaining none of the benefits of a last-minute candidacy. If Perry truly does intend to run for the Republican nomination, he faces a dilemma on when exactly to begin his campaign. At the beginning of the year Perry truly appeared to have ruled out a presidential run,...

The Republicans' No-Plan Job Plan

Members of the House Republican leadership gathered yesterday to announce their new proposal for job growth. In the 2010 midterms, Republicans continually hammered Democrats for not focusing 100 percent of their time on job creation, though once elected, the GOP has spent the majority of their time gutting funding for liberals' favorite programs rather than restarting the economy. Republicans are likely shifting attention back to their pledge on jobs after Rep. Paul Ryan 's budget plan imploded, with the party losing a traditionally Republican House seat in New York when Democrats successfully campaigned against Ryan's proposal to destroy Medicare and turn it into a voucher program. The timing of the jobs plan might be a political stunt, but unemployment is still the most concerning economic problem for the country, so it's good for the Republicans to focus on the issue, right? Not exactly; their bold new plan is in fact just a slate of old ideas that lack specific details. The...

Dems Can't Just Rely on Millionaires for Tax Increases

Senate Democrats plan to introduce taxes on the extremely wealthy to combat Republicans' insistence that taxes must be off the table in a deficit-reduction deal. According to The Hill , they want to either cut the Bush tax cuts for people earning over $1 million a year or alternatively add a 3 to 5.4 percent surtax on millionaires and billionaires. This is a smart political move by Democrats. General increases to the tax rate aren't popular, but a poll last month found 72 percent of voters approve of a hike in taxes on the wealthy to reduce the deficit. Either of the Democratic proposals would put Republicans in a bind. But in the long term, only leveling new taxes on the wealthy is a bad policy. Obama pledged to leave tax rates as they were for the middle class during his campaign in 2008. When it came to debate the Bush tax rate extension last year, Obama proposed a rate increase only on couples making more than $250,000 a year. That would bring in an additional $700 billion in...

Tom Coburn Is Sad About the Mess He Created

As the Prospect 's Jamelle Bouie also notes , earlier this week Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn abandoned the Gang of Six, the bipartisan group of senators negotiating a deal for deficit reduction. Any compromise reached by the five remaining senators will likely go nowhere without Coburn's conservative cred . Coburn turned to The Washington Post 's editorial pages to explain his decision, though he devotes the bulk of the piece to lamenting gridlock in the Senate. The lack of leadership and initiative in the Senate is appalling. As of this week, the Senate has held just 72 roll call votes this year, about one per legislative day on mostly noncontroversial and inconsequential matters. By this time last year, we had taken more than twice that number of votes (152). By this time in 2009, we had taken 192 votes. If we continue to avoid tough choices, we will lose control of our economic destiny and go down in history as the Senate that lost America. Our epitaph will read: Never before in the...

Rick Perry Is Not Running for President

The docket of candidates for the Republican presidential field has almost finalized after a slow start earlier this year. It is increasingly clear that Michele Bachmann and Jon Huntsman are primed to enter the field, and both Mike Huckabee and Donald Trump removed themselves out of contention over the last several days. Mitch Daniels and Sarah Palin remain the only prominent possible candidates whose intentions are unclear. As possible candidates drop away and others falter at the starting line, unexpected GOP politicians may look at the winnowed field and see an opportunity to run their own campaigns. Yesterday Real Clear Politics raised the prospect of Texas Gov. Rick Perry as a potential candidate. Perry's name was bandied about frequently after he was re-elected last November, but he denied national ambitions at every step. Now RCP says that his "political associates" have begun putting out feelers on Perry's behalf. Greg Sargent at The Washington Post argued that the Perry rumors...

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