Monday , March 27 2017
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Jared Bernstein: On the economy

Wait…wuh? Reflections and links after a totally crazy week…

…with an unbelievable ending. First, links to stuff you may have missed. –A joint oped with Ben Spielberg on why work requirements for Medicaid are a really bad idea. House R’s tried to win over their hard right colleagues by adding this to their benighted health care bill, which by now you know failed anyway. But I fear it ain’t going away. –Speaking of Ben, here’s a link to our podcast episode #5, on health care, of all things, with an absolutely kickin’ musical interlude and a…um…long joke...

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Health care spending and health care costs: they’re not the same thing!

Health economist David Cutler offers sage thoughts on the R’s health care plan. I like where he starts. When Paul Ryan said that what his plan brings to the table is the “freedom” for healthy people not to have to subsidize the sick, many progressives pointed out that…um…that’s kinda how insurance works, Paul. But as Cutler points out: Critics were probably too quick to dismiss Ryan’s remarks as ignorant. What he said reflects a long-standing vision of many on the right about who should pay...

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ICYMI: 8 problems with Trump’s ‘budget’ (with a side of thoughts about defense spending)

Over at WaPo. One thought about point #7: 7) While analysis of this budget proposal has been extensive, there is one point on which I’ve seen too little analysis: Does the Defense Department really require an extra $54 billion to meet its mission? Lawrence Korb, who has street cred in this space, emphatically says no here. “Just as the sequester is a non-strategic and unwise way to limit a budget, increased funding that is not connected to a sound defensive strategy for the demands we face...

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My favorite remaining institutions: the justice system and the Fed

There are at least two American institutions that remain venerable, albeit vulnerable: the justice system and the Federal Reserve. On my way in this morning, I learned some details about the Hawaiian judge’s rejection of President Trump’s travel ban v2.0. While team Trump believed they’d removed the problematic language from their first run at this executive order, the judge disagreed, in part—and this is what really moved me—due to Trump’s unequivocal anti-Muslim rhetoric during the...

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Trump’s 2005 tax return: I’m more worried about his tax reform than his tax return

Just a quick note on the Trump tax return from 2005, the first few pages of which were released by the White House last night in advance of the much touted release on MSNBC. To me, the thing smells like the dangle-the-key move–“look over here, not over there!”–I’ve come to expect from the Trump admin when things aren’t going their way. The House Republican’s health plan, which Trump was aggressively backing, is looking like a real dud (a “trap,” according to some fellow R’s), and I can see...

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Hey, no fair! Governing is hard!

First, over at WaPo, check out my latest summary of the CBO score of the Republican’s just downright nasty, greedy “health care plan.” Next, I agreed with David Leonhardt’s useful bit of history here, wherein he deconstructs the corner into which Republicans have painted themselves: How did the party’s leaders put themselves in this position? The short answer is that they began believing their own hype and set out to solve a problem that doesn’t exist. I agree, but I also think there’s...

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Spinning out of control

Over at WaPo. One expects a certain amount of Sunday AM spin from politicians selling, in this case, the Republican health care plan. But this is a really bad plan–a hugely regressive tax cut attached to a bill that will leave millions uninsured. It is as if the problem they set out to solve is a) the rich need higher after-tax incomes, and b) the poor need less insurance coverage. Speaking of spin, while I’m happy to crack wise all day, I’m with Paulie Walnuts Krugman on this incident with...

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Jobs Report: Strong report shows we’re closing in on full employment but not quite there yet.

In the latest edition of a long series of solid job reports, payrolls posted a strong 235,000 job gain last month, as the unemployment rate ticked down slightly to 4.7 percent and wages accelerated a bit. Federal Reserve officials, many of whom had already been talking about getting back to their “normalization” campaign–raising the benchmark interest rate they control back up to more normal levels–sooner than later, will find very little in today’s report to wave them off a rate hike at...

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Trade, Trade Deficits, Secular Stagnation, and a Good Use for Excess Savings

Three recent articles caught my eye re international trade. First, there’s Neil Irwin reprising his theme, an important one, that the trade deficit isn’t a report card. Sometimes such imbalances are a problem, other times they’re not, so; as the balance of payments serenity prayer says: “Keynes, give us the wisdom to tell the difference.” Second, an oped by the Trump Administration’s trade guy Peter Navarro, who clearly does view the trade deficit as a report card that’s been bringing home...

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