The Great Debate

from Judgement Call:

The fiscal crisis nears – or not

March 12, 2013

Few economists preach spending cuts as a cure for high unemployment. Yet that’s exactly what Congress decided when it imposed, starting March 1, across-the-board spending cuts (the “sequester”). Despite Friday’s mildly upbeat jobs numbers, the economy remains limp, with 15 million or so unemployed individuals who want to work. Federal spending cuts won’t make their plight any better.

Obama’s political options

By Bill Schneider
March 11, 2013

Fiscal crisis? What fiscal crisis? The stock market is up, unemployment is down and the deficit is shrinking.

A sequestration solution for the Pentagon

By Benjamin Friedman
February 28, 2013

The sequestration drama in Washington is less severe and intractable than you have heard. A partial solution: Block the across-the-board cut of $42.5 billion in military funds this year — the Pentagon’s portion of $85 billion due March 1 — and spread the savings over several years by tweaking military spending caps already on the books.

Who controls Voting Rights?

By Richard L. Hasen
February 26, 2013

This is part of the Reuters series on the future of the Voting Rights Act’s Section 5, which the Supreme Court may strike down this year. You can read other pieces in the series here.

Obama’s Two Choices: Good and Better

By Keith Koffler
February 26, 2013

President Barack Obama must like the view from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue right now. Politically speaking, the sky is clear, and the few clouds on the horizon have silver linings.

When Republicans critique Obama, they critique their own policies

By Ben Adler
February 5, 2013

To all the vaunted traditions of the absurd partisan charade in Washington, we can now add another: Republicans attacking President Barack Obama for the results of their own policies. Most recently we saw it last Wednesday. No sooner did the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) announce Wednesday morning that our gross domestic product had shrunk by 0.1 percent in the last three months of last year than Republicans began disseminating misleading talking points.

Time for a serious deficit plan

By Mitch McConnell
February 5, 2013

 President Barack Obama pledged to cut the deficit in half by the end of his first term. But because he focused on political gimmicks, rather than real reform, we’ve seen trillion-dollar deficits and nearly $6 trillion added to the debt instead. Based on what we heard from the president at a news conference Tuesday, his unserious attitude is likely to continue.

A history (and future) of Congressional polarization

By Howard Rosenthal and Adam Bonica
February 4, 2013

As the 112th Congress came to a close last year, bipartisanship made a rare showing. The U.S. inched its way up to the fiscal cliff, but Congress voted to yank the country back, with 85 House Republicans voting not to reinstate the Bush tax cuts for individuals who earn more than $400,000. It was a rare moment of bipartisanship, however begrudging, for a Congress that has steadily become more polarized in the past 30 years.

Post fiscal cliff: The fix is in

By Bill Schneider
January 2, 2013

We’ve been trying to deal with the national debt in this country for 30 years now.  The fiscal cliff is just the latest failed gimmick.  We’ve had more failed gimmicks than professional wrestling.

Class war in the new Gilded Age

By Robert L. Borosage
December 21, 2012

2012 was the first class-warfare election of our new Gilded Age. The first since the middle class has come to understand, in the words of new Senator-elect Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), that the “rules are rigged against it.” Business-as-usual may no longer be acceptable.