After Draghi (Wonkish)

Mario Draghi’s term as president of the European Central Bank ends in October. It has been a tumultuous tenure; among other things, he very clearly saved the euro from collapse in 2012-13, which arguably makes him the greatest central banker of modern times. But I come not to celebrate Draghi but to ask about the […]

Trump Tantrums the Dems Out of a Trap

I gotta say, it was very clever of Nancy Pelosi to steal Donald Trump’s strawberries, pushing him over the edge into self-evident lunacy. As everyone knows, Trump stormed out of a meeting on infrastructure, apparently out of uncontrollable rage over Pelosi’s remarks pointing out that the administration’s stonewalling on all fronts, including raw defiance of […]

Killing the Pax Americana

O.K., they weren’t supposed to start the trade war until I got back from vacation. And I really have too many kilometers to cover and hills to climb to weigh in on a regular basis or at great length. But since I’m currently sitting in an outdoor cafe with my coffee and croissant, I thought […]

Trump Is Terrible for Rural America

Economists, reports Politico, are fleeing the Agriculture Department’s Economic Research Service. Six of them resigned on a single day last month. The reason? They are feeling persecuted for publishing reports that shed an unflattering light on Trump policies. But these reports are just reflecting reality (which has a well-known anti-Trump bias). Rural America is a […]

The Economics of Donald J. Keynes

I made a bad economic call on election night 2016, predicting a Trump recession. But I quickly realized that political dismay had clouded my judgment, and retracted the call three days later. “It’s at least possible,” I wrote on Nov. 11, 2016, “that bigger budget deficits will, if anything, strengthen the economy briefly.” What I […]

The Sabotage Years

Do you remember the great inflation scare of 2010-2011? The U.S. economy remained deeply depressed from the aftereffects of the burst housing bubble and the 2008 financial crisis. Unemployment was still above 9 percent; wage growth had slowed to a crawl, and measures of underlying inflation were well below the Federal Reserve’s targets. So the […]

The Trouble With Joe and Bernie

It’s still very early, but Joe Biden has emerged as the clear front-runner for the Democratic nomination. Bernie Sanders is in second place, although he appears to be fairly far behind, and one poll shows him in a statistical tie with Elizabeth Warren. So what should we think about the men currently leading the field? […]

The Zombie Style in American Politics

Russia didn’t help Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. O.K., it did help him, but the campaign itself wasn’t involved. O.K., the campaign had a lot of Russian contacts and knowingly received information from the Russians, but that was perfectly fine. If you’ve been trying to follow the Republican response to revelations about what happened in 2016, […]

Armpits, White Ghettos and Contempt

“If you live in the Midwest, where else do you want to live besides Chicago? You don’t want to live in Cincinnati or Cleveland or, you know, these armpits of America.” So declared Stephen Moore, the man Donald Trump wants to install on the Federal Reserve’s Board of Governors, during a 2014 event held at […]

Survival of the Wrongest

Evidence has a well-known liberal bias. And that, presumably, is why conservatives prefer “experts” who not only consistently get things wrong, but refuse to admit or learn from their mistakes. There has been a lot of commentary about Stephen Moore, the man Donald Trump wants to put on the Fed’s Board of Governors. It turns […]

The Great Republican Abdication

So all the “fake news” was true. A hostile foreign power intervened in the presidential election, hoping to install Donald Trump in the White House. The Trump campaign was aware of this intervention and welcomed it. And once in power, Trump tried to block any inquiry into what happened. Never mind attempts to spin this […]

Bernie Sanders and the Myth of the 1 Percent

A peculiar chapter in the 2020 presidential race ended Monday, when Bernie Sanders, after months of foot-dragging, finally released his tax returns. The odd thing was that the returns appear to be perfectly innocuous. So what was all that about? The answer seems to be that Sanders got a lot of book royalties after the […]

Republicans Are the Real Extremists

All of Donald Trump’s major policies have failed substantively, politically, or both. His one big legislative achievement, the 2017 tax cut, remains unpopular. His attacks on Obamacare have only enhanced public approval of the program. His fearmongering has cemented majority opposition to his proposed border wall. But while today’s G.O.P. can’t do policy, it commands […]

Purity vs. Pragmatism, Environment vs. Health

Right now there are two big progressive ideas out there: the Green New Deal on climate change and “Medicare for all” on health reform. Both would move U.S. policy significantly to the left. Each is sponsored by a self-proclaimed socialist: the Green New Deal by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Medicare for all by Bernie Sanders. (Of […]

Why Does Trump Want to Debase the Fed?

As far as I know, the Federal Reserve — the world’s most important economic policy institution — doesn’t have an anthem. But if it were to adopt one now, the choice would be obvious: “Send In the Clowns.” You see, the Fed’s governing board currently has two vacancies, and Donald Trump has proposed filling those […]

Donald Trump Is Trying to Kill You

There’s a lot we don’t know about the legacy Donald Trump will leave behind. And it is, of course, hugely important what happens in the 2020 election. But one thing seems sure: Even if he’s a one-term president, Trump will have caused, directly or indirectly, the premature deaths of a large number of Americans. Some […]

Republican Health Care Lying Syndrome

There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and Republican claims about health care. O.K., it’s not news that politicians make misleading claims, some more than others. According to a running tally kept by Daniel Dale of The Toronto Star, as of Monday morning, Donald Trump had said 4,682 false things as president. But […]

The Incredible Shrinking Trump Boom

So far, Donald Trump has passed only one significant piece of legislation: the 2017 tax cut. It was, to be fair, a pretty big deal: corporations, the principal beneficiaries, have already saved more than $150 billion, and over the course of a decade the tax cut will probably increase the budget deficit by more than […]

G.O.P. Cruelty Is a Pre-existing Condition

It’s already clear how the 2020 election campaign will be waged. Republicans will claim, falsely, that Democrats want to take away your hamburgers. Democrats will assert, truthfully, that Republicans want to take away your health care. I guess we’ll see which argument wins. On Monday, the Trump administration adopted a new position on a lawsuit […]

Republicans Really Hate Health Care

Of all the political issues that divide us, health care is the one with the greatest impact on ordinary Americans’ lives. If Democrats hadn’t managed to pass the Affordable Care Act, around 20 million fewer Americans would have health insurance than currently do. If Republican-controlled states hadn’t refused to expand Medicaid and generally done as […]