Politics, Moderate



Trump left our allies at the altar. Now he's mad they're moving on.

What a jerk you were to let me dump you.

That's the message the Trump administration is sending to some of our closest allies and most important economic partners. The most recent target is Japan, whom our U.S. ambassador berated last week for not giving us a favorable deal that Japan actually did give us -- before we abruptly ripped it ...Read more

How long does outrage over a murder last? On Wall Street, six months.

WASHINGTON -- What's the expiration date on moral outrage over a gruesome murder?

On Wall Street, at least, the answer seems to be roughly six months.

Six-and-a-half months ago, Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was my colleague at The Washington Post, walked into the Saudi Consulate in Turkey to take care of some paperwork. Then he ...Read more

The Trump administration's census question degrades our data -- and our democracy

WASHINGTON -- It's not enough that President Trump and his advisers have been arguing for years that official government data is bad, untrustworthy, phony, manipulated for political gain. Now they are working to lend credence to these smears and conspiracy theories -- by making them true.

Unless, that is, the Supreme Court intervenes.

During ...Read more

The Democrats' new tax plan is their clearest, most efficient blueprint yet

WASHINGTON -- Just in time for Tax Day, we have new insight into the dueling partisan visions for the U.S. tax system.

We already knew that the GOP's 2017 tax law mostly benefited corporations and the wealthy; that's old news. But on Thursday, we got some illustrative examples, courtesy of the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy. The ...Read more

Herman Cain and Stephen Moore follow Trump's lazy conspiracy theorizing

WASHINGTON -- The problem with putting Stephen Moore and Herman Cain on the Federal Reserve Board -- as President Trump aims to do -- isn't merely that these lackeys have been wrong about nearly every economic claim they've ever made.

They're also rabid conspiracy theorists, at least when such theorizing has proved convenient to their partisan...Read more

Trump's next possible Fed nominee can't understand basic policy issues

WASHINGTON -- Nein, nein, nein.

That should be the Senate's response if President Trump actually nominates his friend Herman Cain, the former pizza magnate turned failed Republican presidential candidate, to the Federal Reserve Board, as Trump said he plans to do.

Cain would be Trump's second proposed addition to the Fed in as many weeks, the ...Read more

Friendly reminder: We still haven't seen Trump's tax returns

WASHINGTON -- With Tax Day approaching and a potentially Swiss-cheesed Mueller report due out soon, a friendly reminder: Yes, we still need to see President Trump's tax returns.

Because we still need to know whether Trump has been running the executive branch in America's interest or his own.

Jimmy Carter famously placed his peanut farm in a ...Read more

If the GOP built their ideal health-care system ... it'd be Obamacare

WASHINGTON -- Wanna know the reason Republicans have had so much trouble coming up with a "replacement" plan for Obamacare?

Because if Republicans actually tried to devise a health care system that fulfilled both conservative principles and their public promises, they'd probably propose something that looks too much like … Obamacare.

For ...Read more

Stephen Moore could inflict more long-term damage than any of Trump's other nominations

President Trump has made a lot of ill-advised nominations. But perhaps no single choice could inflict more long-term damage than the one he announced Friday: Stephen Moore, Trump's pick to join the Federal Reserve Board.

Moore's many economic claims over the years have revealed him to be, shall we say, easily confused.

A decade ago, as the Fed...Read more

Trump's 'socialist' rhetoric is lazy name-calling from a lazy thinker

President Trump has made fearmongering about "socialism" a key plank of his reelection campaign. It's more lazy name-calling from a lazy thinker, but this time the lazy name-calling may backfire.

For years, Trump has premised his political pitch on the idea that he alone can protect Americans from the many invaders who wish us harm -- chiefly ...Read more

Alan Krueger's minimum wage research was remarkable. So was his happiness work.

When I first learned of Princeton University economics professor Alan Krueger's tragic passing over the weekend, I thought about happiness.

Sure, most people would probably associate this intellectual giant and longtime public servant with his work on the minimum wage. In a paper looking at cross-state labor markets, he upturned decades of ...Read more

The Internet just turned 30. We're celebrating with anti-tech fervor.

Happy 30th birthday, World Wide Web. Who knew that we'd be celebrating this three-decade tech milestone with such a frenzy of anti-tech fervor?

Not so long ago, the tech sector was the jewel in the crown of the U.S. economy, a vibrant industry that non-tech companies envied and other countries were desperate to replicate. Tech was where America...Read more

Trump's budget is heartless and whackadoodle

Fair enough: President Trump's heartless and whackadoodle budget, released on Monday, will never actually become law. Even when his party had unified control of government, he couldn't get Capitol Hill to take major portions of his budget terribly seriously.

Still, a president's budget plan is a statement of his priorities. And based on this ...Read more

What's behind the ballooning trade deficit

For years President Trump has been obsessed with trade deficits, (incorrectly) viewing them as a good measure of which countries are "winning" and which are "losing." The United States has run a trade deficit for decades, thereby designating us a perennial loser in Trump's worldview. He promised to turn things around by picking a few easy-to-win...Read more

Republicans' deregulation is hurting consumers. A new bill from Democrats could help.

For markets to work, you need a system where either the government protects consumers or consumers can adequately defend themselves. Or both. But you can't have neither. The "neither" option lands you in a kleptocracy, which is basically where Republicans have been leading the country for the past few years.

Happily, a new bill -- introduced by...Read more

The biggest lesson from Michael Cohen's explosive testimony

There were lots of takeaways from Michael Cohen's explosive congressional testimony this week: about Russia, racism, redemption.

To me, the biggest lesson was that we desperately need to increase the Internal Revenue Service's budget.

Cohen, formerly President Trump's personal lawyer, repeatedly offered accounts of not only how comfortable ...Read more

Trump is treating our allies like his old contractors: Not well

PRINCETON, N.J. -- The president needs an economist. Not just any economist; he desperately needs a game theorist, someone who can impress upon him why the negotiating strategy that has (mostly) served him well in his private business utterly fails him now.

Specifically: He needs someone to explain "repeated play" -- and the idea that players ...Read more

President Tariff Man may be learning all the wrong lessons from his trade wars

President Tariff Man may be learning all the wrong lessons from his trade wars. Specifically: that higher tariffs work.

U.S. and Chinese officials are meeting in Washington this week for another round of trade negotiations. If recent reporting proves correct, the talks look likely to result in a commitment to … keep talking. Also possibly a ...Read more

What America really needs to do is abolish Congress

The far right wants to eliminate what it considers the vestigial organs of government, including the Education, Commerce and Energy departments. The far left wants to Abolish ICE.

They're both thinking too small. What America really needs to do -- and what might actually receive strong bipartisan support -- is to Abolish Congress.

Sure, you ...Read more

Paid family leave isn't just a women's issue. It's an economic one.

To borrow a famous construct from the then-first lady: Women's issues are economic issues, and economic issues are women's issues.

That's how we should be thinking about many of the "softer" policy areas that will be debated in the 2020 election -- and that have already found their way into legislative proposals, including the paid family leave...Read more


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