Repealing laws by hollowing them out -- failing to fund their enforcement or implementation -- works because the public doesn't know it's happening. Enactment of a law attracts attention; de-funding it doesn't.
Now we've learned what it takes to get legislators to do something smart about at least a part of the sequester: make them wait for hours on the tarmac because air traffic controllers are on furlough caused by mindless budget cuts.
The controversy continues to simmer around the Reinhart-Rogoff paper. The re-examination should go a step deeper and ask why anyone ever took their argument seriously in the first place. It's not just the arithmetic on debt-to-GDP ratios that tripped up Reinhart and Rogoff.
This is the danger of revenue-neutral tax reform: having secured the achievable tax-expenditure savings and used them to fund other tax rate cuts, policymakers will have squandered the opportunity to raise the significant additional revenue needed for deficit reduction.
The sequester is going to be painful but the pain that we will suffer from the type of severe spending cuts that Republicans want will be much worse, and the long-term damage to our economy extreme.
The preposterous legislative sideshow taking place around sequestration gives a pretty clear picture of how little the people who were elected to run the government actually know about it.
Airlines for America CEO Nick Calio's recent lawsuit against the Federal Aviation Administration demonstrates that lobbyists today aren't as invested in the details as they used to be.
The Bush presidency was a disastrous presidency which caused a range catastrophies including the Iraq war, the budget deficit, and the financial crash.
A critical concern of our time is not simply our high levels of income inequality and their negative impact on opportunity and mobility. It's how inequality and immobility become entrenched in the system -- how they replicate.
Until we begin substantive discussions aimed at meaningful reform in these two key areas the country will be stalled in a perpetual state of fiscal unease, holding our collective breath every few months for the crisis du jour.
What the Chicago conservatives in 1932 said the government should do was spend aggressively on useful public works and infrastructure. There were then and are now plenty of liberal ideas that deserve harsh criticism.
Imagine that a substantial group of the most prominent astronomer insisted that the sun goes around the earth, as anyone can plainly see. There would likely be huge numbers of people who refused to accept that the earth goes around the sun. This is the state of modern economics.
Fear of debt is woven deeply into our culture. We associate debt with profligate spending, waste, gambling and overall sinfulness. As we learned during the housing bubble, it's easy to get in over our heads. So naturally we assume that the same must be true for our country -- government debt must be bad. But is it?
Public courage notwithstanding, it is also important to recognize that no tragedy like this could have been addressed or people's lives saved without a massive concerted effort by the first responders: the police, the paramedics, the firemen, the doctors, the nurses, and eventually, the national guard.
The 2008-09 global economic crisis pushed public debt ratios of advanced economies to levels never seen before during peacetime. These high debt levels expose countries to a loss of market confidence and, ultimately, damage long-term growth prospects.
Fiscal conservatives around Obama have sold the president on the idea that nipping and tucking Social Security and Medicare is an easy way to get a lot of money, and doing it by the backdoor will entail a lower political cost to him. So far, he seems to have been proven wrong on all three assumptions. The Republicans haven't given an inch, the $270 billion in cuts undertaken so far this year under the January budget deal and the March sequester have cut the growth rate in half, and he is alienating core Democratic constituencies. One unanticipated benefit of Obama's stance is new, explicit pressure on Democratic House and Senate members, as well as candidates considering running for president in 2016, to pledge not to cut Social Security and Medicare. It would be so much better if this Democratic president were behaving as a progressive leader right now.