Paul Waldman

Paul Waldman is a contributing editor for the Prospect and the author of Being Right is Not Enough: What Progressives Must Learn From Conservative Success.

Recent Articles

Scapegoating Federal Workers

As conservative deficit hawks go looking for new targets, expect to hear a lot about outsized federal paychecks.

(AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

In late 2008, as the government began debating whether to save General Motors and Chrysler from bankruptcy, conservatives saw an opportunity to open a new front in their decades-long war on labor unions. So a new talking point emerged, repeated first by representatives of conservative think tanks, then by conservative talk-show hosts and columnists, then by Republican members of Congress. The Big Three auto companies had been crippled, they said, by greedy United Auto Workers members whose absurd union contracts had them making an astonishing $70 per hour on average.

On Not Creating Your Own Reality.

By now it seems pretty certain that President Obama and congressional Democrats will cave to Republicans and extend all the Bush tax cuts, even for billionaires. After all, as David Axelrod recently said, "We have to take the world as we find it." Compare that to the Bush aide who told Ron Suskind, "We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality -- judiciously, as you will -- we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors ... and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do."

Meet the New Congressmembers, Most of Whom You'll Never Hear From Again.

Today's New York Times takes up something I've been pointing out for a while, the fact that many of the newly elected Tea Partiers have no experience in elected office:

But his perseverance intersected with incumbent disenchantment and now Mr. Schilling, who owns a pizza restaurant, is among roughly 35 incoming members of the House — and four new senators — who have never been elected to anything. "I'm a story that never should have happened," said Mr. Schilling, 46, soon to represent a giant squiggle of west Illinois.

Proof of Nothing.

In a post titled "Proof That Obamacare Sunk the Democrats—Even Though It Saved Their Souls", William Galston attempts to show that health-care reform -- which he acknowledges was "morally correct" -- is what was behind the party's big loss. This isn't too surprising coming from Galston, a centrist to whom the media often turn for a reliable quote explaining how Democrats are being incredibly foolish by pursuing progressive policies. But his argument here is singularly unpersuasive:

Capitalists Are People.

What I mean by that headline is this: In Econ 101, you're taught that firms endeavor to maximize profits, coolly examining various options and always choosing what is best for the bottom line. But the truth is that companies, just like other organizations, are made up of people. And people often misunderstand things, ignore things, and act against their own interests when their personal beliefs and prejudices get in the way.

Which brings us to this rather amazing Bloomberg article (via Kevin Drum):