Tim Fernholz is a former staff writer for the Prospect. His work has been published by Newsweek, The New Republic, The Nation, The Guardian, and The Daily Beast. He is also a Research Fellow at the New America Foundation.
Ezra touches on it in this morning's Wonkbook, but I want to draw out a problem inherent in all of our discussions of the vacant National Economic Council directorship and the White House's continuing search for a new permanent Chief of Staff. Right now, we should be worried that President Obama is most concerned about short-term politics.
House Republicans have unveiled new rules that allow budget resolutions to pass with large deficits so long as they come from tax cuts:
Current House rules include a pay-as-you-go requirement that any tax cut or spending increase for a mandatory (i.e., entitlement) program must be offset by cuts in other mandatory spending or increases in other taxes, in order to avoid increasing the deficit. Current rules also bar the House from using budget “reconciliation” procedures — special rules that facilitate speedy action on specified budget legislation — to pass bills that would increase the deficit.
The typical -- and apparently compelling -- case against the Democrats promoted by Republicans during the mid-term elections was straightforward: Democrats didn't listen to the American people's concerns about jobs and the economy and instead launched an ideological crusade to reform the health-care system. Which makes it weird that the first thing that Republicans intend to do is vote on a sure-to-fail bill to repeal health-care reform. Isn't that ignoring the American people's concerns about jobs and the economy to go off on an ideological crusade to reform the health care system?
Soon-to-be House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa's savvy communications staff strikes again; Politico recently "obtained" a list of the Congressman's widely-anticipated investigations, set to kick off when he officially takes over his committee this week. While most of the agenda won't surprise -- subjects set for scrutiny include Wikileaks' release of documents and "how overregulation has hurt job creation" -- I wanted to draw attention to this:
Flipping through my colleagues' contributions to this series, it seems I'm not the only person having trouble choosing just one piece. We've been blessed with an abundance of talented writers and important stories to tell, and I could certainly point you toward plenty of great work, like Ann Friedmanon Sarah Palin or Gabe Arana'sprescient coverage of the legal challenge to Proposition 8. However, forced to choose, my favorite stories in the Prospect this year are from Adam Serwer's ongoing coverage of the clash of national security and civil liberties in the age of Obama.