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  • The Euro Loses a Big Supporter and Gains a New Neo-Con

    Definition of an American neo-conservative: A liberal mugged by reality. The new poster child for the budding European neo-conservative: Oskar Lafontaine? Lafontaine, German history majors will recall, is the Social Democrat and former German finance minister who helped launch the European Monetary Union (EMU). He is also the latest European-style … More

    Debt Limit and Tax Reform: Both Important, But On Their Own

      Press reports link the coming debt limit debate with the building effort for tax reform. The debt limit and tax reform are both important, but the connection ends there, as it should. Suggestions that some sort of fast-track procedure for tax reform might be the conservative “ask” in exchange … More

    Hunting for Surprises in the Obama Budget

    It is somehow fitting President Obama released his budget for Fiscal Year 2014 after Easter, a mere 65 days late—but who’s counting? Fitting because going through Obama’s budget is like an Easter egg hunt for which those in charge of hiding the eggs are masters of their craft. It takes … More

    Morning Bell: A Stark Choice for America's Budget

    For the first time in four years, the U.S. Congress is engaged in a full-throated budget debate. Take a moment for at least a quiet “Hurrah!” The federal government has at last embarked on its most basic responsibility. This was the price exacted by House Republicans from Senate Democrats for … More

    Bernanke’s Defense of Fed Policies Neither Comforting nor Convincing

    Do the risks from the Federal Reserve’s trillion-dollar annual stimulus program justify the rewards? That was the central question at Tuesday’s Senate Banking Committee hearing featuring Fed chairman Ben Bernanke. Bernanke worked hard to defend the Fed’s quantitative easing policy, but he appears to oversell the rewards by a mile … More

    Krugman Still Wrong on Federal Spending and the Economy

    A not-so-small cottage industry has grown up refuting liberal economist Paul Krugman’s public pronouncements. It’s not a hard industry to join, and there’s plenty of work, but it can be repetitive. Even so, Krugman’s recent writings opposing federal spending cuts for the sake of the economy are sufficiently troubling to … More

    The Curious World of Jack Lew, Treasury Secretary Designate

    President Obama has nominated White House Chief of Staff Jack Lew to succeed Timothy Geithner as Treasury Secretary. Lew could be in for some tough questioning. For better or for worse, the Secretary of the Treasury stands at the center of the U.S. financial system simply by virtue of the … More

    Obama's Press Conference: Debt Ceiling Spin

    President Obama referred repeatedly to the debt ceiling debate in today’s press conference in a textbook example of Washington “spin,” or the art of selectively ignoring certain facts while portraying others in a particular light. “You don’t go out to dinner and then, you know, eat all you want and … More

    Debt Ceiling: Default Not at Issue, Federal Spending Is

    President Obama is expected to make his case for a debt ceiling increase at a press conference this morning. The development comes as House Republicans are reportedly weighing “default” and “government shutdown.” While it’s encouraging that conservatives are gearing up for a fight, it’s important that policymakers and the public … More

    Fiscal Cliff Solutions: Soar Over the Cliff or Kick the Can

    Kicking the can is the least repugnant remaining resolution to the fiscal cliff. The only alternatives appear to be the Republicans’ unconditional surrender on income tax rates (and conceding their principles) or simply going over the cliff. The story is now a familiar one. Congress and the President conspire to … More