Paul Waldman

Paul Waldman is the Prospect's daily blogger, and a contributing editor. He also blogs for the Plum Line at the Washington Post, and is the author of Being Right is Not Enough: What Progressives Must Learn From Conservative Success.

Recent Articles

Three Cheers for Tax Day!

Around this time every year, people start making all kinds of ideologically motivated claims about taxes. So I thought it might be worthwhile to diffuse a few myths. Let's get right to it: We're taxed to death! Well, no. In fact, when you look at American tax rates compared to those of other countries, we have extremely low taxes. This graph, using data from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development , shows that among industrialized countries, we rank near the bottom in taxes paid. It's a little hard to see, but the U.S. is over there on the right, with only the Japanese, Turkish, and Mexicans paying less in taxes than us: But the hard-working rich are paying all the taxes! Again, no. The rich pay much more in federal income taxes , which are actually progressive. But federal income taxes are only one of the many taxes we pay. Add in payroll taxes, sales taxes, excise taxes, and property taxes, and you get a very different picture, one in which the poor pay a little...

Today's Installment of Obama Tyranny

In today's Washington Post , Dana Milbank devotes a column to complaining that at the Nuclear Security Summit, President Obama "put on a clinic for some of the world's greatest dictators in how to circumvent a free press." The problem, it seems was that there weren't enough sessions open to the media, so they could assemble quotes for their stories. In other words, Milbank (and he no doubt speaks for some other reporters as well) wants more theater. No one would claim that a session in which a number of the leaders talked with each other in front of the cameras would be anything else -- but it would make it a lot easier to write a story about the summit. You could go to the event, take down what everyone said, and write your story. Either way, the real work would be done when the cameras are off. But without that event, reporters are going to have to work harder -- and maybe spend more time on the substance of the issue. Not that you'll get that from Milbank in any case -- you're as...

Today's New Journalism Model.

In the last few years, it's become hard to be a print journalist, with some newspapers going out of business, others mercilessly slashing their newsroom staffs -- there's a general sense of dread around the profession. So what's a reporter to do. "Start a super-successful blog!" sounds great, but it's extraordinarily difficult to do. Everyone is looking for new models for journalists to make a living. There's an interesting site called Newstilt launching today, which aims to provide one such new model. It's sort of a journalist collective, which will not employ journalists, but will provide a forum for their work and share the profits from advertising. The difference between this and, say, True/Slant , which does something similar with bloggers, is that Newstilt will be focused on newsgathering -- with editing and everything. They took applications from journalists, and chose 30 who would make up the contributors to the site. Will it be successful? Who knows. But you have to give them...

TAPPED Leads, Politico Follows.

Two weeks ago, I wrote a post here on TAPPED noting that Republican politicians had taken to attacking congressional staff in public. House Minority Leader John Boehner was the most colorful, imploring bankers not to be intimidated by the "little punk staffers" who help write legislation. "It makes you wonder what the people who work for these members of Congress think," I wrote. "Not that members are, as a group, known for caring deeply about the feelings of their staff, but it must be awfully dispiriting to hear your boss talk about you that way." And yesterday, Internet political buzz machine Politico followed up with a story titled "'Little Punk Staffers' Fuming at GOP." "Hill staffers often feel overworked and underappreciated. Now, they’re feeling abused — and they say that a handful of outspoken Republicans are to blame." The story goes on to quote both staffers and members of Congress, Democrat and Republican, about their displeasure at the attacks. The lesson? You should keep...

Getting Blunt About Health Insurance.

Last week, I commented on some Republican senators who pretended that you could outlaw denials of health coverage for pre-existing conditions without having an individual mandate by suggesting that they just don't care enough about the policy dilemma to bother making sense. Not so Roy Blunt , a Missouri congressman running for Senate. This is a guy unconcerned with saying what's politically popular (via Think Progress ): BLUNT: Access for kids who have pre-existing conditions, who would be against that? But access for adults, who have done nothing to take care of themselves, who actually will have as I've just described every incentive not to get insurance until the day that you know that you're going to have medical expenses, that's, that's a very different kind of story. Right. Because why should we do any favors for people who are irresponsible enough to get cancer? Damn freeloaders, thinking they ought to be able to buy health insurance. Let's give Blunt some credit here. It would...

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