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Archive of Articles in the "Economics" Category

Friday Talking Points -- The Calm After The Storm

[ Posted Friday, September 30th, 2022 – 17:00 UTC ]

We've long thought that America is at her best when disaster strikes. We've thought this since the massive 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, in fact, which we rode out in San Francisco. And we saw firsthand that when life is disrupted, it is disrupted equally. Everyone is affected, so everyone puts aside all their differences and just pitches in to help in the immediate aftermath. Maybe this is a rosy-tinted view, but it still holds mostly true.

Case in point is Hurricane Ian, which just devastated Florida and seems on its way to devastate the Carolinas next. Ian has been one of the biggest hurricanes in American history already (fifth-largest, from one news report) and we haven't even begun to comprehend the scope of the damage or how long it will take to recover from it. The damage isn't even over yet, and most of the East Coast will at least get some heavy rains before Ian disintegrates.

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Joe Manchin Gets His Comeuppance

[ Posted Wednesday, September 28th, 2022 – 15:37 UTC ]

A U.S. senator just got his comeuppance this week, and it really couldn't have happened to a more deserving guy. Senator Joe Manchin was forced to pull his pet bill (that would have greenlighted a pipeline in West Virginia), due to lack of bipartisan support. Because he backed down, the government now appears to be in no danger of shutting down this Friday. Both the Senate and the House appear to be on a glide path to passing a short-term budget deal that will kick the "government shutdown" can down the road to mid-December, at the end of the lame-duck Congress. So all around, it's good news: the government will continue to be funded, and Joe Manchin has now gotten a taste of his own medicine.

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Friday Talking Points -- Trump's "Secret Telepathic Unilateral Preemptive Irreversible Declassification" Defense

[ Posted Friday, September 23rd, 2022 – 17:26 UTC ]

We do try to avoid it in general, but this week it is impossible not to lead our news wrap-up with the ongoing Donald Trump Follies. Spoiler alert: it wasn't a very good week in Trumpland.

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Which Hunt?

[ Posted Wednesday, September 21st, 2022 – 15:44 UTC ]

Today Letitia James, the attorney general of New York, announced a civil case against Donald Trump, three of his children, and the Trump Organization. This stems from a long investigation into fraud committed by the company, mainly tax fraud and bank fraud. It is the first actual legal case against Trump that has been announced, and his reaction was entirely predictable -- calling the whole thing a "witch hunt." But this isn't the only legal problem Trump faces, even if it was the first out of the gate. Trump could soon be looking at criminal charges in more than one jurisdiction and for more than one crime. So the real question is which hunt has the best chance of succeeding?

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The Lame Duck Will Be Busy

[ Posted Monday, September 19th, 2022 – 14:34 UTC ]

The lame-duck Congress, which will take place from just after the midterm election to the end of the calendar year, is shaping up to be a rather busy one. This isn't too unusual, since punting things to the lame-duck period is always a tempting option for politicians worried about their re-election. But this year's lame duck might be more significant than most, because of what is being teed up for it. They'll only have two months to act on all of it, minus all the breaks they'll take for the November and December holidays. And it looks like they'll have a lot to get done.

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Friday Talking Points -- Ukraine, Trains, And Lindsey Graham

[ Posted Friday, September 16th, 2022 – 17:13 UTC ]

We fully admit that headline isn't really close enough to the original to trip off the tongue very well. But we're in an optimistically cheerful mood, so we're not going to change it.

These were really the three big political stories of the week. Last weekend saw the culmination of an incredible performance by the Ukrainian military. Within a week, they had retaken over 2,000 square miles of their country, as the Russian invading forces mostly just fled. That is beyond impressive, and may prove to be a real turning point in the whole war.

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Crisis Averted As Biden Shows Leadership

[ Posted Thursday, September 15th, 2022 – 15:00 UTC ]

President Joe Biden has averted a major crisis by getting the freight rail carriers to agree to a compromise with their Union workers. Details of the compromise are still slowly trickling out, but the big achievement was getting the railroad companies to allow workers to schedule doctors' visits without being penalized for taking time off (unpaid time, mind you). Biden was reported to have been angry that the rail companies hadn't budged an inch on the time-off policy, so this is a clear victory not just for the workers but also for Biden and his team.

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Making The Trains Run On Time

[ Posted Wednesday, September 14th, 2022 – 15:30 UTC ]

President Biden is facing a crisis. The nation's freight railways might shut down in the wee hours of Friday morning, due to a strike. This puts Biden in an incredible bind for a number of reasons, but the one most important politically will be one of optics. You can almost feel the headline-writers of America salivating as they test out their clever variations on: "He Couldn't Make The Trains Run On Time." This is a throwback to the old political joke that "Benito Mussolini may have been a fascist dictator and all of that, but at least he made the trains run on time." This claim was actually false -- it was little more than fascist propaganda -- but the saying lives on in the political lexicon. And Joe Biden loves trains. A railroad strike on his watch would be devastating for his image.

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Friday Talking Points -- Winning The Culture Wars

[ Posted Friday, September 9th, 2022 – 17:07 UTC ]

For decades now, Republicans have very effectively been using "culture war" issues to entice voters to vote against Democrats. Democrats are routinely pictured as being out of the mainstream and out of touch. This used to work wonders for them. But the shoe seems to be on the other foot this year. This shift is mostly due not to Democratic politicians switching tactics so much as the electorate itself changing its mind on a number of big culture war issues.

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Even A Big Midterm Loss Won't Matter To Trump

[ Posted Wednesday, September 7th, 2022 – 15:12 UTC ]

Will Donald Trump's influence over the Republican Party ever wane? That question has frustrated many who sincerely hope the answer might someday be "yes," because it just never seems to really happen. Which brings up the next possibility for such a partywide epiphany: if Republicans blow the midterm elections in a big and spectacular way, how much of the blame will attach to Trump? He will certainly deserve a whopping portion of the blame, but whether any of it actually sticks to him is an open question.

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