The Great Debate

First Gilded Age yielded to Progessives, can today’s?

By Richard White
October 9, 2012

 

C.K.G. Billings, a Gilded Age plutocrat, rented the grand ballroom of the celebrated restaurant Sherry's for an elaborate dinner on March 28, 1903. He had the floor covered with turf so that he and his 36 guests could sit on their horses, which had been taken up to the fourth-floor ballroom by elevator.

Mark Twain labeled the late 19th century the Gilded Age – its glittering surface masking the rot within. This term applies today for the same reasons: The rich get richer; most everyone else gets poorer. And the public thinks corruption rules.

Who knew jobs data could be so exciting?

By Douglas Holtz-Eakin
October 8, 2012

The September jobs report ignited a firestorm when Jack Welch, former General Electric chief executive officer and Reuters contributor, asserted (or implied, or wondered if) the unemployment rate had been politically doctored to give President Barack Obama an electoral advantage. After all, how can the unemployment rate drop a full 0.3 percentage points to 7.8 percent when the economy is creating only 114,000 jobs?

It’s not the economy, stupid!

By Bill Schneider
October 3, 2012

Tonight’s debate could be the most negative presidential debate ever. That’s because the best thing each candidate has going for him is negative opinion of the other guy.

This economy could be as good as it gets

By Thomas Cooley and Peter Rupert
September 10, 2012

A familiar refrain that was popular in the early 1990s is making a comeback during the great recession of 2008-2009, which has rocked the economy and labor market for more than five years: Is it possible that the children of this generation will not be as well-off as their parents? The labor market has been hobbled. The duration of unemployment has reached unprecedented levels, and it is now the case that unemployed workers in certain age groups face the prospect of never being employed again. If all of this sounds grim (and it is), consider the possibility that this may be as good as it gets.

from Lawrence Summers:

Time nears for an American tax overhaul

By Lawrence Summers
February 26, 2012

However the U.S. presidential election turns out, the trifecta of the Bush tax cut expiration, the debt limit ceiling on the horizon once again, and the Congressionally mandated sequesters – cuts in domestic spending – will force the president and Congress to wrestle with fiscal issues either in a lame duck session after the election or in early 2013. The decisions they make will have profound impacts on America’s fiscal future.

from Africa News blog:

100 years and going strong; But has the ANC-led government done enough for its people?

January 9, 2012

By Isaac Esipisu

Although the role of political parties in Africa has changed dramatically since the sweeping reintroduction of multi-party politics in the early 1990s, Africa’s political parties remain deficient in many ways, particularly their organizational capacity, programmatic profiles and inner-party democracy.

The real cost of those Black Friday deals

By Caitlin Kelly
November 24, 2011

By Caitlin Kelly
The opinions expressed are her own.

Americans shop. It’s what we do. It’s who we are. We’re still an economy powered by consumer spending – 70 percent of it, in fact. It’s an article of faith, for some, that annual Thanksgiving celebrations not only include turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce, but lining up in the cold and dark at their favorite store to snag a Black Friday bargain.

The deludedly optimistic youth of America

By Chadwick Matlin
November 4, 2011

By Chadwick Matlin
The opinions expressed are his own.

Friday was a slightly-better bad day to be a young person in America. The morning’s unemployment said 14 percent of Americans 20-24 years old are now unemployed, down 0.7 points from September. Teenagers’ rate was similarly down, dropping 0.5 points to 24.1 overall.

Washington’s long con

By Maureen Tkacik
September 23, 2011

By Maureen Tkacik
The opinions expressed are her own.

There’s a scene in Ray Nagin’s Hurricane Katrina memoir from the Monday night after the storm in which twenty or thirty mysterious security guards, toting three guns apiece, suddenly descend upon the bombed out Hyatt city officials are using as a command center and commence measuring perimeters, laying down wires and barking orders. “We’re here to protect the mayor!” their apparent leader proclaims. “Everyone else leave!”

from Reuters Money:

Fury brewing at ratings agencies as markets gyrate

August 9, 2011

Carnival revellers are silhouetted as they carry a burning wooden wagon in Liestal, near Basel, February 21, 2010.  REUTERS/Michael BuholzerSo let me get this straight.

Ratings agencies helped spark the financial meltdown of 2008-9, when they deemed that steaming piles of mortgage junk were brimming with triple-A goodness. They were wrong – and epically so.