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Archive of Articles in the "Economics" Category

Friday Talking Points -- Crunch Time

[ Posted Friday, September 24th, 2021 – 16:58 UTC ]

It's one of those rare weeks in Washington, where Congress is actually forced into doing its job -- legislating, holding hearings... you know, the things the taxpayers actually pay them to do. As usual, they are facing multiple deadlines. They deserve zero pity, though, since they just returned from their annual month-long summer vacation. If they had stayed and worked instead of gone and played, then they wouldn't be facing all these time crunches simultaneously. Which is why we say: zero pity.

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Abolish The Debt Ceiling

[ Posted Thursday, September 23rd, 2021 – 15:23 UTC ]

Here we are again. The Washington Kabuki theater is raging while all the media cheerfully go along for the ride. Will the United States reach its debt ceiling without Congress acting, and will the country then default on its debts for the first time in over 200 years? What will that do to the world's economy? What will it do to the American economy? Red flags are waved, warning beacons go off, fire alarms sound, signal flares are launched. It's all merry fun until a way is figured out (at the last minute!) to save us all from the "fiscal cliff" of defaulting on our obligations. It's all as regular as clockwork, now. But it just doesn't have to be this way.

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Monday House Deadline Looking Shaky, At Best

[ Posted Tuesday, September 21st, 2021 – 16:22 UTC ]

In less than a week, congressional Democrats will face a deadline of their own making. Next Monday is the day Speaker Nancy Pelosi promised she would bring to the House floor the bipartisan infrastructure bill that the Senate has already passed. Because it has cleared the Senate, the next step for the bill (if the House passes it) is President Joe Biden's desk, for his signature. But unfortunately, it is increasingly looking like the companion budget reconciliation bill will not be ready for a vote -- perhaps not in either chamber. Since these two pieces of legislation are linked, this may mean neither one of them passes (at least, not next Monday). This would endanger the two bills which not only form the base of Biden's agenda, but also the basis for Democrats to run their campaigns on next year. Either both bills pass, Biden will be seen as a transformative president (on the order of L.B.J. or even F.D.R.), and the Democrats can run on a spectacular record of getting good things done in Washington -- or none of that will take place at all, which would pretty much doom the Democrats chances in the 2022 midterms. In other words, it's an important week -- one that may actually stretch into being an important month.

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Senate Parliamentarian Rejects Immigration Reform In Reconciliation Bill

[ Posted Monday, September 20th, 2021 – 16:17 UTC ]

Last night the Senate parliamentarian released the first in a series of opinions about the Democratic efforts to draft an enormous budget reconciliation bill. She said that, in her opinion, legalizing millions of undocumented immigrants should be seen as a policy proposal, not a budget proposal. If Democrats follow her advice, they'll have to remove the path to citizenship from the reconciliation bill. This would be a major blow to immigration reform, although not entirely unexpected.

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Some Recall Reflections

[ Posted Wednesday, September 15th, 2021 – 17:17 UTC ]

California Governor Gavin Newsom emerged victorious from his recall election last night, chalking up a rather stunning margin: with 71 percent of the vote counted, "No" on the recall was beating "Yes" by a whopping 28 points (64 percent to 36 percent). Not quite 2-to-1, but close. Since it was a special recall election held at an odd time, it garnered more than the normal amount of media and political interest nationwide -- especially after a poll a few months ago seemed to suggest that the race was somehow neck-and-neck. Obviously, it wasn't. Newsom may in fact beat the margin of victory he managed in his last election. Whatever the final numbers turn out to be, though, it's hard not to use the word "landslide" to describe the outcome.

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It's Not A Vaccine Mandate, It's A Testing Mandate

[ Posted Monday, September 13th, 2021 – 15:36 UTC ]

Republicans, as they are wont to do, have been falsely framing President Joe Biden's order to medium-to-large businesses last week as a "vaccine mandate" or "vaccination mandate." House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy even tweeted it out in all caps yesterday: "NO VACCINE MANDATES." On the Sunday morning political chat shows, this framing was presented by other Republicans with little or no pushback from either the hosts or even the Democratic guests. But it is false. It is highly misleading. What Biden ordered for the private sector was not a vaccine mandate. It was a testing mandate. Nobody's going to get fired for not getting vaccinated -- but people could get fired for refusing to submit to weekly testing. That's a big difference. Republicans are trying to obscure this reality by framing it as a "getting fired for refusing a vaccine" issue. And so far, at least on television, this seems to be working for them.

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Friday Talking Points -- Democrats Should Lean In To Biden's New Pandemic Mandates

[ Posted Friday, September 10th, 2021 – 17:04 UTC ]

This week, President Joe Biden picked a political fight. Or, more accurately, he got up off the sidelines and engaged in a political fight that had already begun, by strongly opposing Republican politicians fighting against basic public health safety measures under the fake guise of "freedom." Biden stood squarely for science and safety, while Republicans are left to fight for recklessness and death. That is precisely how the matter should be framed politically, and so far it looks like Biden is doing a fairly good job of presenting this dichotomy to the public. He's even taking the fight directly to all the GOP governors who are sounding increasingly unhinged about the basic concepts of public health and safety.

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Reconciliation Endgame About To Begin

[ Posted Tuesday, September 7th, 2021 – 15:43 UTC ]

The next month in Congress might be the most momentous period for the institution in a very long time. We are almost down to the wire on President Joe Biden's entire economic agenda. Success seems elusive, but at the same time still achievable. If everything falls perfectly into place, Congress could pass legislation that children will learn about in history class right along with L.B.J.'s Great Society and F.D.R.'s New Deal. That's how momentous the next few weeks might be.

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Friday Talking Points -- Supreme Court Shows Its True Colors

[ Posted Friday, September 3rd, 2021 – 16:47 UTC ]

This week began with conservatives and liberals upset because the women of Afghanistan will now lose their freedoms under a tyrannical extremist government. It ended with liberals upset that the women of Texas have now lost freedoms under a tyrannical extremist government. Conservatives were notably silent, which is understandable since they were the ones instituting this unconstitutional denial of rights from the women of the Lone Star State.

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Busy September Ahead For Congress

[ Posted Monday, August 30th, 2021 – 16:27 UTC ]

Next month could wind up being a very productive one for Congress, although since we are talking about Congress we have to include the standard disclaimer: "but of course there is no guarantee." But the fact that there are several deadlines looming may actually prod them into action. The big question is whether they can manage to walk and chew gum at the same time, since there is so much on their "to do" list and so little time to accomplish it all.

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