iOS app Android app

Arthur Delaney
Arthur Delaney started working for HuffPost in 2009. He has written for the Washington City Paper, The Hill newspaper, Slate Magazine, and In 2008 he won the Street Sense David A. Pike Excellence in Journalism award for a City Paper story about a man living on the median strip of a freeway in Washington. He and HuffPost D.C. bureau chief Ryan Grim won a Sidney Award from the Hillman Foundation for their 2010 story "The Poorhouse: Aunt Winnie, Glenn Beck, and the Politics of the New Deal."

Entries by Arthur Delaney

Elizabeth Warren And Joe Biden Used To Battle Over Economic Inequality

(0) Comments | Posted August 27, 2015 | 5:31 PM

WASHINGTON -- Vice President Joe Biden thinks Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) can help him look good as a presidential contender, probably because he knows firsthand she can make him look bad. 

Biden met with Warren this week in an effort to boost his income inequality credentials as he explores a presidential bid. Warren is the Democratic Party's standard-bearer on economic policy issues, and like many in his party, Biden is concerned that current frontrunner Hillary Clinton isn't a credible messenger for middle-class economics. 

Warren hasn't endorsed any 2016 candidate. But 10 years ago, Biden was one of her most prominent adversaries on Capitol Hill. The pair clashed during the George W. Bush years over a Biden-backed bankruptcy bill, which Warren criticized as a naked effort to boost credit card company profits at the expense of struggling families. Biden ultimately won the legislative battle, but the consequences of the bill's passage have closely tracked to Warren's downbeat predictions. 

Credit card lobbyists and other proponents of the bankruptcy reform Congress passed in 2005 said debtors were abusing the bankruptcy process by deliberately piling on debt they knew they couldn't repay, then stiffing their creditors by filing for bankruptcy protection. By filing for bankruptcy, households can have their debts discharged if they turn over many of their assets to creditors. It gives borrowers a chance to start over without heavy credit card debts, albeit with ruined credit.

The fight over the bankruptcy bill transformed Warren from a respected Harvard academic into a political force in Washington. She became the bill's most prominent critic, publishing influential research showing that roughly half of bankruptcy filers had been pushed to the brink by medical bills.

"One million men and women each year are turning to bankruptcy in the aftermath of a serious medical problem, and three-quarters of them have health insurance," Warren said in testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee in February 2005. "A family with children is nearly three times more likely to file for bankruptcy than an individual or couple with no children." 

Biden accused Warren of making a "mildly demagogic argument," but acknowledged that he didn't disagree with the facts she presented. Instead, he seized on the medical bills, asking why creditors like gas stations, car dealers and lawn service companies should have to foot the bill for people's health care costs. Notably, Biden didn't mention the plight of credit card issuers, which have long been a major employer in his home state of Delaware.

Listen to Warren's standoff with Biden in the podcast above. The exchange begins during the 44th minute.

"We have a broken health care finance system in the United States," Warren replied. "Until we fix the broken health care finance system, those families have to turn somewhere. And that means now, they turn as a last-ditch effort to the bankruptcy court." 

"And that means that they turn to asking people that they borrowed money from to pay for their health care costs," Biden said. "Right? Isn't that literally correct?" 

Warren said Biden was right to point out the health care industry was saddling the broader economy with very high costs. But she countered that the credit card industry was essentially pre-compensating itself for bankruptcies with big fees and high interest rates.

After a little more back-and-forth, Biden smiled. "You're very good, professor," he said, drawing laughter from many in the room.

The 2005 law was designed to make it both more difficult and less desirable for people to file for bankruptcy. It succeeded on both counts.

The average attorney fee consumers had to pay for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy went from $712 in early 2005 to $1,078 two years later, according to a June 2008 audit by the Government Accountability Office, an investigative arm of Congress. The number of  bankruptcies, moreover, immediately declined dramatically. The law boosted profits for the credit industry, which didn't pass savings to consumers as the bill's proponents had promised. 

This decline in the number of bankruptcy cases, of course, didn't reflect any improvement in household finances. Many financial experts believe that the bill exacerbated the foreclosure crisis that began inundating the country in 2007. Although residential mortgage debt can't be eliminated in bankruptcy, the inability for struggling households to discharge other debts made it harder for families to meet their mortgage payments after a job loss during the recession. In 2009, Warren published another study concluding that the percentage of bankruptcy filings attributable to medical bills had increased in the years following the legislation's passage.

Though Republicans provided most of the bill's support, Biden wasn't the only Democrat who joined them. And his potential presidential rival Hillary Clinton took a multiple-choice approach to bankruptcy legislation over the years. As first lady, she was an influential opponent of the legislation. As a senator in 2001, she supported it. The 2001 version of the bill did not pass, and Clinton did not cast a vote on the 2005 bill...

Read Post

Math Trumps Trump

(0) Comments | Posted August 21, 2015 | 8:28 AM

 WASHINGTON -- With the political press calling him a "white-hot frontrunner" and "Teflon Don" you would be forgiven for thinking Donald Trump actually has a serious chance at winning the Republican presidential nomination. 

As discussed on "So That Happened," the HuffPost Politics podcast, Trump faces a significant...

Read Post

The Charges Against Ryan Reilly And Wesley Lowery Are So Dumb

(4) Comments | Posted August 17, 2015 | 12:39 PM

WASHINGTON -- After taking almost an entire year to think about it, prosecutors in St. Louis County, Missouri, decided it was a good idea to press charges against two journalists for allegedly not leaving a restaurant fast enough.

They may be the only ones to think so....

Read Post

Maine's Welfare Drug Tests Caught Just One Person, And That's Typical

(6) Comments | Posted August 14, 2015 | 12:46 PM

WASHINGTON -- Early results are in for a new welfare drug testing regime in Maine: They caught the guy.

From April through June, the state only attempted to screen 15 out of about 5,700 Temporary Assistance for...

Read Post

White Men Can't Trump

(0) Comments | Posted August 14, 2015 | 8:43 AM

WASHINGTON -- Republican campaigns have inured their white male supporters to the same old strategy: bounce passes, free throws, maybe an occasional three.

But Donald Trump has the GOP fanbase out of their seats by relentlessly dunking on his opponents. His windmill jams are tasteless; instead of...

Read Post

Suddenly Democrats Have To Worry About The Black Vote

(32) Comments | Posted August 13, 2015 | 4:41 PM

So that happened. Bernie Sanders had what might have been a dream week as a presidential candidate, drawing bigger crowds than anyone else in the race in either party and opening up a lead over Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire. But Sanders was also subjected to...

Read Post

More Americans Would Take A Pay Cut For A Day Off

(0) Comments | Posted July 31, 2015 | 2:29 PM


WASHINGTON -- One in five Americans would trade a day's pay for a day off, according to the latest edition of HuffPost/YouGov's annual poll on the issue.

The vast majority of Americans wouldn't mind spending less time at their jobs -- 76 percent say...

Read Post

Newt Still Owes His 2012 Campaign Vendors Millions

(0) Comments | Posted July 27, 2015 | 12:12 PM

WASHINGTON -- Much like Donald Trump today, at one point Newt Gingrich held the frontrunner position in the 2012 Republican primary election. His campaign plodded on using borrowed money for months after most people realized Gingrich didn't have a chance, and when Newt 2012 finally ended, it...

Read Post

Jeb Bush Says We Should Phase Out Medicare

(102) Comments | Posted July 23, 2015 | 1:02 PM

WASHINGTON -- Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush said Wednesday that we ought to phase out Medicare, the federal program that provides health insurance to Americans once they're 65.  

"We need to make sure we fulfill the commitment to people that have already received the benefits, that...

Read Post

Senate Decides Social Security Cuts For 'Fugitives' Are A Bad Idea

(2) Comments | Posted July 23, 2015 | 8:18 AM

WASHINGTON -- After mounting pressure from Democrats, Senate Republicans removed a controversial Social Security provision from an unrelated...

Read Post

Congress Can't Write A Highway Bill Without Punching Poor People In The Face

(19) Comments | Posted July 22, 2015 | 1:50 PM

WASHINGTON -- The Senate may have just unveiled a multiyear highway bill 10 days before construction on the nation’s transportation infrastructure is set to grind to a halt, but a congressional traffic jam is building over the bill's Social Security cut.

The bill may be a product...

Read Post

Ricardo Diaz Zeferino's Death Shows The Danger Of Owning A Waistband

(2) Comments | Posted July 16, 2015 | 2:21 PM

After police officers fatally shot Ricardo Diaz Zeferino in June 2013, the L.A. County Sheriff's Department said that Diaz Zeferino had been reaching for his waistband instead of holding his hands up, the Los Angeles Times reported at the time.

This week, a judge ordered police to...

Read Post

Tom Vilsack On Food Stamp Lawsuit: 'Gov. Walker Hasn't Read The Law'

(0) Comments | Posted July 15, 2015 | 12:32 PM


Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) is making a big mistake with his lawsuit against the federal government over drug testing food stamp recipients, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said Wednesday. 

"Gov. Walker hasn’t read the law," Vilsack told The Huffington Post in an interview. "It’s...

Read Post

Seniors On Food Stamps May Be Able To Get Groceries Delivered

(1) Comments | Posted July 15, 2015 | 11:49 AM

WASHINGTON -- Some American seniors will be able to use food stamp benefits to have groceries delivered to their homes under a new initiative the government announced this week. 

The U.S. Department of Agriculture, which oversees the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, is seeking as many as 20...

Read Post

Scott Walker Sues Feds Over Food Stamp Drug Testing

(3) Comments | Posted July 15, 2015 | 8:07 AM

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, one of many Republicans seeking their party's presidential nomination, is suing the federal government over his plan to make some food stamp recipients pee in cups to prove they're not on drugs. 

Federal law doesn't give states much room to impose new conditions...

Read Post

Why Do Conservatives Love The Grateful Dead? We Ask Tucker Carlson.

(106) Comments | Posted July 15, 2015 | 7:34 AM

The Grateful Dead were once the embodiment of all things hippie and anti-establishment: free love, plenty of drugs, and nobody cares about your career, man. So why do guys wearing bow ties and salmon pants like the Dead these days? We asked bow-tie and salmon-pants model Tucker Carlson, who also...

Read Post

Scott Walker Doesn't Care If Food Stamp Drug Testing Is Reasonable

(608) Comments | Posted July 14, 2015 | 3:44 PM

The Wisconsin legislature sent Gov. Scott Walker (R) a budget bill under which some food stamp applicants would be drug-tested if there's "reasonable suspicion" they're on drugs. Walker used his line-item veto power Sunday to delete the "reasonable suspicion" part.

"I object to limiting the department's ability to determine...

Read Post

Lindsey Graham Laments Trump 'Hijacking' GOP With Immigration Comments

(371) Comments | Posted July 12, 2015 | 11:35 AM

WASHINGTON -- Republican presidential hopeful Sen. Lindsey Graham (S.C.) complained Sunday that Donald Trump's presidential candidacy is hurting the Republican party.

Trump spent his Saturday continuing to trash Mexican immigrants, whom he has described as rapists and criminals.

"I think he's uninformed about the situation regarding...

Read Post

Jim Webb Stands Up For 'Southern White Cultures'

(911) Comments | Posted July 12, 2015 | 10:24 AM

WASHINGTON -- Democratic presidential candidate Jim Webb on Sunday suggested that recent efforts to remove Confederate symbols from public places were as "divisive" as Donald Trump's disparaging comments about Mexican immigrants.

Without prompting from "Fox News Sunday" host Bret Baier, who had been asking questions about national security, Webb asked...

Read Post

Confusing Congressional Food Stamp Cut Strikes In Michigan

(268) Comments | Posted July 10, 2015 | 2:14 PM

Nobody could tell Audrey Webster of Clinton Township, Michigan, why her monthly food stamps went down from more than $100 to just $16 in February. The letter she received didn't say much.

"It said they would be cut, that's all," Webster, 63, told HuffPost. She said she didn't get...

Read Post