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Archive for July, 2010

  • if you spend time talking politics with people who identify as hard core progressives or movement conservatives, you'll find that a significant percentage believe their ideology would prevail more often if only their partisans were more angry, their attacks more pointed, their operatives more ruthless. This is most often expressed via the use of metaphors that draw on the language of war and fighting. Usually it doesn't make any sense. In war, the victor kills as many folks as possible on the opposing side. Political winners persuade more people to join their coalition.

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  • To understand modern Republican thinking on fiscal policy, we need to go back to perhaps the most politically brilliant (albeit economically unconvincing) idea in the history of fiscal policy: “supply-side economics”. Supply-side economics liberated conservatives from any need to insist on fiscal rectitude and balanced budgets. Supply-side economics said that one could cut taxes and balance budgets, because incentive effects would generate new activity and so higher revenue.

    The political genius of this idea is evident. Supply-side economics transformed Republicans from a minority party into a majority party. It allowed them to promise lower taxes, lower deficits and, in effect, unchanged spending. Why should people not like this combination? Who does not like a free lunch?

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  • "There were two ways the government could have proceeded in the aftermath of the financial crisis," he tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "One was to constrain the banking industry — to tell them that they could no longer engage in certain types of activities. … That's what we decided not to do. The bill leaves the financial industry substantially intact. It allows [the financial industry] to do almost everything that they were doing in the run-up to the crisis. The difference that this bill makes is that we're hiring more lifeguards, in essence. We're putting more federal regulators around the pool, we're giving them more money, more power, more resources and hoping that they'll produce better results."

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