Archive for the ‘Punditry’ Category
As I outlined here, the historical precedents claimed as justification by Republican Senators refusing even to consider Merrick Garland’s nomination to the Supreme Court don’t actually support their position. The precedents actually support holding hearings and a vote. Highlights:
- The last time a vacancy opened on the court during in an election year was 1932. The Republican Senate confirmed Republican president Hoover’s nominee in 9 days.
- The last time a vacancy opened in an election year with adversaries controlling the Senate and White House was March of 1888. Grover Cleveland’s nominee was confirmed in 81 days by a Republican Senate.
Since Garland’s nomination, Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah has emerged as the leading voice on the Republican side, which seems to have settled on a statement by then-Judiciary Committee Chairman Joe Biden proffered on the Senate floor on June 25, 1992 while laying out a broad argument for changing the Supreme Court confirmation process. Twisting the blade of what they clearly consider to be an effective weapon, they have dubbed it “the Biden Rule.” Read the rest of this entry »
On this date (March 23) in 1888, Chief Justice of the United States Morrison Waite died unexpectedly of pneumonia.
This is relevant today because 1888 was the most recent time a Supreme Court vacancy opened with a Democrat in the White House and the GOP holding a Senate majority. It was also an election year, so it is the best comparison history provides for today’s situation.
Justice Waite died 228 days before that year’s election. Justice Scalia’s death happened 269 days before this year’s election day.
When we get to the debt limit, which I think we will, here’s what won’t happen. We won’t get a trillion dollar coin, and the Fed won’t issue premium bonds. In other words, no gimmicks. Obama will have a single choice: violate the debt limit or don’t. And he’ll choose to violate it, because the alternative is worse in every way.
Violating the debt limit means continuing to spend as directed by appropriations, and continuing to borrow as needed. It’s likely that the market would demand higher returns in these auctions, but if the auctions were really going badly, the Federal Reserve could buy a lot (or even all) of the issued securities.
From Twitter, I found this article by Cato senior fellow and Johns Hopkins econ professor Steve Hanke. Hanke conlcudes that since 1980, Bill Clinton has been the president who cut spending the most. Now, this is fairly familiar territory for me, and the piece caught my eye because of this chart: Read the rest of this entry »
In Pennsylvania, it would take 15 years for the state to pay for current bridge repair needs, $600 million per year. But if the federal government was the intermediary, selling Treasuries to fund all $8.7 billion of work in the next few years, all the work would be done in the near-term, employing tens of thousands of workers idled by the private sector. Paying off the debt could be accomplished by a combination of taxes collected on the construction projects, reduced unemployment benefits, and Pennsylvania’s annual bridge budget, which would pay off the debt in 15 years or less.
Here’s what’s changed since I wrote this: Read the rest of this entry »
Okay, there’s lots here, but I have to start somewhere.
Joe Scarborough’s been tilting against Paul Krugman, despite basically arguing the same things, for months now. Plainly Scarborough knows that conflict sells, so he blatantly and continually misrepresents what Krugman said on his show. But this short post isn’t about that. It’s about the obviously misleading critiques of the 2009 stimulus. Read the rest of this entry »
Princeton economist Paul Krugman was on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” for about 20 minutes on Monday, talking macro stuff. Later that day, host and former GOP congressman Joe Scarborough published this post mortem: Paul Krugman vs. The World. If you listen to the Krugman segment and then read Scarborough’s treatment of it, you’ll find that Joe consistently misrepresented what Krugman said. But I’m not going to go point-by-point on this. I just want to highlight the key point in Krugman’s argument that everybody else on the panel missed.
When pols talk about entitlement reform, they’re talking largely about Social Security and Medicare. And nobody, on either side, is willing to cut benefits that go to today’s seniors. The result of this political cowardice is that we’re not talking about cutting any spending today. We’re talking about making cuts to future benefits, to the spending of these programs 10+ years out. Read the rest of this entry »