Last year was the warmest year on record for the contiguous United States according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The average temperature in 2012 was 3.3°F above the average for the last century and was a full degree warmer than 1998, the previous record holder. Perhaps even more importantly it was the second most extreme year. It featured an unusually higher number of droughts, wildfires and severe storms.
|By: Peterr Saturday January 5, 2013 9:11 am|
Tim Huelskamp (FarRightR-Brownbackistan01) has been in the news lately for standing up to John Boehner (NotQuiteSoFarRightR). Last month, Boehner kicked Huelskamp off the House Agriculture committee, leaving Kansas without a member of that committee for the first time in 150 years. Note, please, that Huelskamp prides himself on being a farmer first, and Huelskamp’s most favorite map (his vast congressional district) is packed with farms, so this hurts him not just in his ego, but in his ability to deliver for his constituents.
Given another map that’s making the rounds these days, that ought to make his constituents, very nervous, if not very angry.
|By: Dean Baker Tuesday January 1, 2013 12:20 pm|
Some of us didn’t take the skills deficit seriously, but David Brooks shows us that it is a real problem. Apparently the New York Times cannot find a conservative columnist who can deal with basic issues of logic and arithmetic. Brooks is very upset because the budget deal apparently does not include any cuts in Medicare.
|By: wigwam Saturday December 22, 2012 6:00 pm|
It’s important to understand that “deficit” and “stimulus” mean the same thing: money pumped into the economy by government spending and not pulled back by taxation. So deficit reductions (tax hikes and spending cuts) destimulate the economy. FDR learned that the hard way in the first year of his second term; in a premature return to “fiscal responsibility,” he cut deficits, which destimulated the economy and induced the Recession of 1937.
In the Summer of 2011, Obama concocted the Grand Bargain of 2011, a deficit-reduction package not unlike that of FDR. But, it cut Social Security and Medicare (entitlements), which offended some progressive Democrats. And, because it also contained tax increases, which offended Tea Party Repubicans, it was eventually shot it down.
|By: Jon Walker Thursday December 13, 2012 7:15 pm|
When it comes to deficit reduction the American people strongly support increasing taxes on the rich, but they don’t support most of the common spending cuts currently being considered in Washington. According to a new Pew Research poll, raising taxes on those making over $250,000 a year is the most popular deficit reduction idea, while cutting eduction spending is the least popular.
|By: Jon Walker Friday December 7, 2012 2:05 pm|
One of the few justifications I’ve heard for focusing so much time on reducing the deficit at this moment, even though people are practically paying the federal government for the privilege of being able to loan it money, is that somehow we can “fix the problem forever.” The logic goes that if only we could get a grand bargain we would take all these issue off the table for over a generation. It could try to explain why, on a theoretical level, this logic is flawed; but fortunately I don’t need to. In just the past decade there have been two dramatic real world examples of why this idea is so silly. The problem is that a previously Congress can’t bind the decision of a future Congress, especially on the issue of deficit reduction.
|By: Attaturk Tuesday December 4, 2012 1:30 am|
Hey look it’s the Republican plan finally…
|By: Dean Baker Sunday December 2, 2012 6:15 pm|
The folks running around yelling about deficits are confident that their serious demeanor, powerful positions, and financial backing will prevent anyone from scrutinizing the substance of their claims. Thus far their confidence has been warranted, as nearly all the voices in major news outlets have accepted their assertions at face value.
However any careful look at their claims quickly reveals that they do not hold water. The basic story in their deficit story is that we have not been saving enough to afford the retirement of the baby boom cohort. The story is that by increasing saving, we would be able to make ourselves rich enough to afford the retirement of the baby boomers.
|By: Dean Baker Tuesday November 27, 2012 6:11 am|
Millions are no doubt wondering how we know that the government has to reduce deficits by $4 trillion over the next decade. This appears to be the magic number that underlies the budget discussions between President Obama and the Republicans in Congress, and it is widely accepted by Serious People everywhere, but where did this magic number come from?
|By: Peterr Saturday November 24, 2012 9:00 am|
Like little children scared about monsters under their beds, DC appears to be in thrall to fears of Invisible Bond Vigilantes. Krugman has been trying to slay these fears with logic and rational argument, but as any parent can tell you, fears like these are irrational and succumb to only one thing: mockery.
As the pressure for a Grand Bargain mounts and screaming about the Invisible Bond Vigilantes rises, let the mockery begin. It’s the only weapon that has a chance of success.