Chart of the day

About all that job-killing regulation (via Drum):

Umm, certainly does not appear that this is the cause of our economic woes.  There’s also this handy little factoid:

So how about that crushing regulatory burden that our business-hating president has imposed on the American economy? Well, not so much, actually:

During Obama’s first two years in office, 555 new “significant” regulations, or ones that have a cost or benefit of at least $100 million in a year, have been enacted, according to the Office of Management and Budget. Over the eight years that
former president George W. Bush was in office about 2,380 regulations were enacted, an average of 595 every two years.

Why does George W. Bush hate American business?!

The best reason to raise taxes on rich people

Bill O’Reilly (via Drum):

If you tax achievement, some of the achievers are going to pack it in. Let’s take me. My corporations employ scores of people. They depend on me to do what I do so they can make a nice salary. If Barack Obama begins taxing me more than 50 percent, which is very possible, I don’t know how much longer I’m going to do this. I like my job but there comes a point when taxation become oppressive.

Hmmm.  Getting O’Reilly to quit, now there’s an incentive!  But seriously, does anybody think he actually would quit were the top marginal rate to go to 51%?  O’Reilly loves what he’s doing and he loves the money he’s making.  Something tells me taking home a little less millions a year after taxation just isn’t going to make him– or any millionaire– stop.  Among other things, this totally ignores the psychic value of high earnings.  For very many at this income level (and plenty of ordinary earners as well)l, the amount of money they make is very much about status.  The key is to make more money than other people.  As long as that is motivating people (i.e., as long as basic human psychology stays in effect) they’ll keep earning their millions.  And if the government takes a marginally larger fraction than that, they can still say “my $1.5 million salary makes me a better person than his $1.3 million salary” and the rest of us can all benefit by having a few percent more of those earnings go to needed government programs.  And, if you think that makes me a socialist, you have no idea what that word actually means.

Why women don’t run


We’re talking women and political campaigns in class today.  Though there’s lots of good PS research on this, I think there’s still a fairly common conception that the lack of women political office-holders has at least something to do with voters being less willing to vote for women.  The truth is, when women run, women win.  At the same rates as men that is.  The big problem is getting enough women to run for office.  And a big part of that problem is that women– even controlling for many other factors– simply have less political ambition than men.  Jennifer Lawless and Richard Fox very nicely summarize their research on the matter:

We offer clear and compelling evidence that women, even in the highest tiers of professional accomplishment, are substantially less likely than men to demonstrate ambition to seek elected office . These results hold regardless of age, partisan affiliation, income, and profession . In addition, despite the historic events of the last seven years – such as the war in Iraq, frustration with the political process, and the emergence of a more diverse group of political candidates and leaders – overall levels of political ambition for women and men have remained fairly constant . In 2008, men continue to enjoy more comfort, confidence, and freedom than women when thinking about running for office.   We link this persistent gender gap in political ambition to several factors . Women are less likely than men to be willing to endure the rigors of a political campaign . They are less likely than men to be recruited to run for office . They are less likely than men to have the freedom to reconcile work and family obligations with a political career . They are less likely than men to think they are qualified to run for office . And they are less likely than men to perceive a fair political environment.


Goodbye to “the most reasonable man in the room”?

Wow– seems Obama is actually coming out in favor of some liberal positions.  Sure, they won’t pass Congress, but I still think it’s a good thing.  I like how Milbank puts it:

At last, the president hasn’t conceded the race before the starter’s gun, hasn’t opened the bidding with his bottom line, hasn’t begun a game of strip poker in his boxer shorts. Whichever metaphor you choose, it was refreshing to see the president in the Rose Garden on Monday morningdelivering a speech that, for once, appealed to the heart rather than the cerebrum.

Ezra, though, is the one with the really nice analysis of just what’s going on here.  Short version: Obama has finally figured out that he doesn’t get much credit for A) trying, but failing; or B) appearing more reasonable than everybody else.  ’bout time. Ezra:

Since the election, the Obama administration’s working theory has been that the first-best outcome is striking a deal with Speaker John Boehner and, if that fails, the second-best outcome is showing that they genuinely, honestly wanted to strike a deal with Speaker John Boehner.

That was the thinking that led the White House to reward the GOP’s debt-ceiling brinksmanship by offering Boehner a “grand bargain” that cut Social Security, raised the Medicare age, and included less new revenue than even the bipartisan Gang of Six had called for. It was also a theory that happened to fit Obama’s brand as a postpartisan uniter and his personal preferences for campaigning on achievements rather than against his opponents. But though it came close to happening, the “grand bargain” ultimately fell apart. Twice.

The collapse of that deal taught them two things: Boehner doesn’t have the internal support in his caucus to strike a grand bargain with them, and the American people don’t give points for effort…

The new theory goes something like this: The first-best outcome is still striking a grand bargain with the Republicans, and it’s more likely to happen if the Republicans worry that Democrats have found a clear, popular message that might win them the election. The better Obama looks in the polls, the more interested Republicans will become in a compromise that takes some of the Democrats’ most potent attacks off the table.

But the second-best outcome isn’t necessarily looking like the most reasonable guy in the room. It’s looking like the strongest leader in the room. That’s why Obama, somewhat unusually for him, attached a veto threat to his deficit plan…

That isn’t how the White House would prefer to govern. It’s not how they would prefer to campaign. It is, let’s admit it, politics-as-usual. It’s the triumph of the old way of doing things, an admission that Washington proved too hard to change. [emphasis mine] But it’s also the only option they have left.

Honestly, one of Obama’s largest flaws as a president has been his failure to see that he simply is not a transcendent political figure who can change how Washington does things.  Presumably, he believed his own hype.  I always thought this seemed to work great as a 2008 campaign strategy, but I assumed that deep down, he knew better.  Maybe there was the potential there to actually change things in Washington, but I don’t really think so due to the current institutional features and the polarized bases of the parties.  It’s been obvious to most political observers since the beginning of Obama’s term that the Republicans were intransigently dug in against him no matter what he proposed (it’s proven a damn effective political strategy).  At least Obama himself seems to have finally caught on.

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