Archive for the ‘wonkblog’ Tag

Quote of the Day   Leave a comment

Ezra Klein “Think back to July 2011. The problem was simple. Republicans wouldn’t agree to raise the debt ceiling without trillions of dollars in deficit reduction. Democrats wouldn’t agree to trillions of dollars in deficit reduction if it didn’t include significant tax increases. Republicans wouldn’t agree to significant tax increases. The political system was at an impasse, and in a few short days, that impasse would create a global financial crisis.

The sequester was a punt. The point was to give both sides a face-saving way to raise the debt ceiling even though the tax issue was stopping them from agreeing to a deficit deal. The hope was that sometime between the day the sequester was signed into law (Aug. 2, 2011) and the day it was set to go into effect (Jan. 1, 2013), something would…change.

There were two candidates to drive that change. The first and least likely was the supercommittee. If they came to a deal that both sides accepted, they could replace the sequester. They failed.

The second was the 2012 election. If Republicans won, then that would pretty much settle it: No tax increases. If President Obama won, then that, too, would pretty much settle it: The American people would’ve voted for the guy who wants to cut the deficit by increasing taxes.

The American people voted for the guy who wants to cut the deficit by increasing taxes.

In fact, they went even further than that. They also voted for a Senate that would cut the deficit by increasing taxes. And then they voted for a House that would cut the deficit by increasing taxes, though due to the quirks of congressional districts, they didn’t get one.

Here in DC, we can get a bit buried in Beltway minutia. The ongoing blame game over who concocted the sequester is an excellent example. But it’s worth remembering that the goalposts in American politics aren’t set in backroom deals between politicians. They’re set in elections. And in the 2012 election, the American people were very clear on where they wanted the goalposts moved to.”

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/02/23/on-the-sequester-the-american-people-moved-the-goalposts/

Quote of the Day   Leave a comment

Ezra Klein”The truth is, the most important piece of economic policy we pass — or don’t pass — in 2013 may be something we don’t think of as economic policy at all: immigration reform.

Congress certainly doesn’t consider it economic policy, at least not officially. Immigration laws go through the House and Senate judiciary committees. But consider a few facts about immigrants in the American economy: About a 10th of the U.S. population is foreign-born. More than a quarter of U.S. technology and engineering businesses started from 1995 to 2005 had a foreign-born owner. In Silicon Valley, half of all tech startups had a foreign-born founder. One-quarter of all U.S.-based Nobel laureates of the past 50 years were foreign born. Right now, about half of the PhDs working in science and technology are foreign born.

Immigrants begin businesses and file patents at a much higher rate than their native-born counterparts, and while there are disputes about the effect immigrants have on the wages of low-income Americans, there’s little dispute about their effect on wages overall: They lift them.

The economic case for immigration is best made by way of analogy. Everyone agrees that aging economies with low birth rates are in trouble; this, for example, is a thoroughly conventional view of Japan. It’s even conventional wisdom about the U.S. The retirement of the baby boomers is correctly understood as an economic challenge. The ratio of working Americans to retirees will fall from 5 to 1 today to  3 to 1 in 2050. Fewer workers and more retirees is tough on any economy.

There’s nothing controversial about that analysis. But if that’s not controversial, then immigration shouldn’t be, either. Immigration is essentially the importation of new workers. It’s akin to raising the birth rate, only easier, because most of the newcomers are old enough to work. And because living in the U.S. is considered such a blessing that even very skilled, very industrious workers are willing to leave their home countries and come to ours, the U.S. has an unusual amount to gain from immigration. When it comes to the global draft for talent, we almost always get the first-round picks — at least, if we want them, and if we make it relatively easy for them to come here.”

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/01/31/worried-about-the-economy-then-pass-immigration-reform/

Posted February 1, 2013 by tmusicfan in Politics, Quote of the Day

Tagged with , , ,

Quote of the Day   Leave a comment

Ezra Klein “In a letter co-signed by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, majority whip Dick Durbin, vice chairman of the Democratic Caucus Chuck Schumer, and budget committee chairwoman Patty Murray, the four Democrats, presumably on behalf of their caucus, ask President Obama to ignore the debt ceiling when the time comes:

‘It is hard to imagine that the Speaker and Leader McConnell would really follow through on their threat to let the nation default on its debts. They are responsible leaders who know better. Sadly, some of their Republican colleagues do not. There, we believe that you must make clear that you will never allow our nation’s economy and reputation to be held hostage. In the event that Republicans make good on their threat by failing to act, or by moving unilaterally to pass a debt-limit extension only as part of unbalanced or unreasonable legislation, we believe you must be willing to take any lawful steps to ensure that America does not break its promises and trigger a global crisis — without congressional approval, if necessary.’

They’re saying, for the record, that the majority party of the U.S. Senate will not consider it an executive power grab if the president takes unusual action to avoid default.”

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/01/11/senate-democrats-to-obama-ignore-the-debt-ceiling/

Quote of the Day   Leave a comment

Suzy Khimm “President Obama’s concessions to Republicans on taxes and Social Security have grabbed the headlines, but there’s another big area where the White House has shifted considerably in the GOP’s direction: direct stimulus to revive the short-term economy.

In his original offer, Obama asked for $425 billion in stimulus through jobs measures and tax extenders, according to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, including $50 billion in infrastructure spending and other stimulus measures; mass mortgage refinancing to boost the housing market; $30 billion in unemployment extension; a $115 billion extension of the payroll tax holiday; and the extension of a host of business tax breaks known as extenders.

The stimulus measures are intended to counteract the impact of a fiscal cliff that would put major austerity into effect immediately. But they’re also meant to counter the fiscal tightening in a fiscal cliff deal, which both Democrats and Republicans have agreed should  promote major austerity in the longer term through deficit reduction.

Republicans, however, have argued that more explicit stimulus right now isn’t the answer: House Speaker John Boehner included no explicit stimulus measures in his original offer and has only proposed to extend a handful of business tax breaks since then. It’s clearly been a point of contention in the negotiations as Obama’s stimulus proposal has progressively shrunk over time: In his third offer, reported Monday, Obama dropped his ask from $425 billion to $175 billion in stimulus, as my colleague Dylan’s chart shows below, keeping the federal extension of unemployment insurance, infrastructure spending and some business tax breaks, but abandoning the extension of the payroll tax holiday, among other major measures.”

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2012/12/21/the-incredible-shrinking-stimulus/

Posted December 22, 2012 by tmusicfan in Politics, Quote of the Day

Tagged with , , ,

Quote of the Day   Leave a comment

Ezra Klein “Has there been a House speaker in modern American history with less control over his members than John Boehner?

Over the past three days, Boehner has focused all attention on “Plan B”: an effort to strengthen his hand in negotiations with President Obama by passing backup legislation that would extend the Bush tax cuts for all income under $1 million.

Tonight, Boehner lost that vote. In a dramatic turn of events on the House floor, he pulled the legislation. In a statement released moments ago, he said, “The House did not take up the tax measure today because it did not have sufficient support from our members to pass.” Boehner lost.

Plan A, which was a deal with Obama, was put on ice, many believe, because Boehner couldn’t wrangle the votes to pass anything Obama would sign. Plan B failed because Boehner couldn’t wrangle the Republican votes to pass something Obama had sworn he wouldn’t sign.

The failure of Plan B proved something important: Boehner doesn’t have enough Republican support to pass any bill that increases taxes — even one meant to block a larger tax increase — without a significant number of Democrats. The House has now adjourned until after Christmas, but it’s clear now what Plan C is going to have to be: Boehner is going to need to accept the simple reality that if he’s to be a successful speaker, he’s going to need to begin passing legislation with Democratic votes.

There’s an asterisk there, though: It’s not entirely clear whether Boehner will be the speaker of the House a month from today. The vote to elect the next speaker is on Jan. 3. To win, you need an absolute majority of the House, not a plurality. Even a hopeless conservative challenge that attracts only a handful of Republican votes could deny Boehner the speakership until a consensus candidate emerged. Tonight’s vote makes that challenge more likely.”

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2012/12/20/will-boehners-speakership-survive-until-plan-c/

Quote of the Day   Leave a comment

From Ezra Klein

The latest offer: “Obama laid out a counteroffer that included significant concessions on taxes, reducing the amount of new revenue he is seeking to $1.2 trillion over the next decade and limiting the hike in tax rates to households earning more than $400,000 a year. Obama had previously sought $1.4 trillion in new revenue, with tax increases on income over $250,000. Obama also gave ground on a key Republican demand — applying a less-generous measure of inflation across the federal government. That change would save about $225 billion over the next decade, with more than half the savings coming from smaller cost-of-living increases for Social Security beneficiaries.”

“In addition, Obama increased his overall offer on spending cuts and dropped his demand for extending the payroll tax holiday, which has benefited virtually every worker for the past two years. But he is still seeking $80 billion in new spending on infrastructure and unemployment benefits and an increase in the federal government’s borrowing limit large enough to avert any new fight over the issue for two years. Boehner has offered a one-year debt-limit increase, and the fresh stimulus spending remains a sticking point, according to senior Republican aides, who also complained that the overall deal remains too tilted toward new taxes.” Paul Kane and Lori Montgomery in The Washington Post.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2012/12/18/wonkbook-obamas-latest-fiscal-cliff-offer/

 

Quote of the Day   Leave a comment

Ezra Klein talks about Sen Jim DeMint resigning from the Senate to head the Heritage Foundation:

“But DeMint doesn’t have even one foot in the policy world. He’s a politician who made his mark practicing a particularly hard-edged form of electoral politics: raising money to undermine insufficiently conservative Republicans. Heritage, which now has a direct political arm in the Heritage Action Foundation, isn’t just bringing in a politicized policy wonk. It’s bringing in an unusually politicized politician. That’s breaking new ground.

None of this is a criticism of DeMint, or evidence that he won’t be effective at making Heritage an even more significant voice on the right. He just isn’t the guy who’s going to make it a more intellectually honest and creative force on the right. Which is a shame, because the right could use more intellectually honest think tanks. Their problem in the last few years has been that they’ve had a dearth of ideas and an excess of extremely conservative politicians. A place like Heritage could, under the right leadership, help reverse that trend. Now it’s poised to accelerate it. And if DeMint is successful at raising money and becoming more influential on the right, other think tanks will likely try to replicate his model.

“At a moment when we have too much noise in politics and too few constructive ideas,” warned Troy, “these institutions may simply become part of the intellectual echo chamber of our politics, rather than providing alternative sources of policy analysis and intellectual innovation.”

Heritage, far from trying to break the echo chamber, is trying to become the first voice in the chorus.”

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2012/12/06/jim-demint-and-the-death-of-think-tanks/