What the American People Want

After securing a Republican majority in the House of Representatives, the top two House Republicans -- Speaker of the House-to-be John Boehner (R-OH) and Marjority Leader-to-be Eric Cantor (R-VA) -- offered their governing philosophy: Listen to the American people.

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Drilling Ban Lifted, Landrieu Wants More

Just before Congress split town for the campaign trail, Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) placed an absurd and irresponsible hold on the president's nominee for OMB Director, Jack Lew. Despite Lew's "[clear possession of] the expertise necessary to serve as one of the President's most important economic advisors," Landrieu declared that she would block the nomination "until the moratorium on deepwater oil and gas drilling is lifted or significantly modified." She also said that she will continue the hold until she "is convinced that the President and his Administration understand the detrimental impacts that the actual and de facto moratoria continue to have on the Gulf Coast." (Whatever that means)

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Setting Priorities at OMB

When Jack Lew responds to the Senate committees that share jurisdiction over his hearing, there's a possibility that he'll be asked about the federal budget, but we hope he'll get a chance to talk about government openness as well. OMB should continue to push the envelope on federal spending transparency. Under Orszag, OMB has implemented a number of policies that have significantly improved public access to federal spending information, including implementing Recovery Act recipient reporting and putting subrecipient reporting data on USAspending.gov. Lew should help make Obama's vision of an era of unprecedented federal transparency a reality.

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Putting a Better Face on Economic Stimulus

The latest economic data on the Recovery Act from the Congressional Budget Office indicate that, by at least two important metrics -- gross domestic product (GDP) and unemployment -- it is in fact working (see here, here, here, and here for more). Yet, only 33 percent of Americans think the Recovery Act "helped the jobs situation."

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News Media Badly Misreport Orszag

Former White House budget director Peter Orszag's debut New York Times column has drawn a lot of attention because of its reference to the acceptability of temporarily extending the upper-income '01-'03 tax cuts.

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Deficit Commission Chair Troubled by Vets, Retirees, "Lesser People"

National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform (AKA "Deficit Commission") co-chair former senator Alan Simpson's latest outburst has betrayed his ignoble sensibilities and misguided priorities.

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It's the Lack of Jobs that Causes Unemployment

Last week, in a post on the how dreadful the job market is, I mentioned that "some" argue that the 99-week limit on Unemployment Insurance is actually creating unemployment.

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Five Charts That Congress Clearly Has Not Seen

It has been -- and many would argue that it still is -- a deep, deep recession. The breadth of job losses is nothing short of staggering.

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Tax Cuts for the Rich will Make Rich People Richer

Letting the '01-'03 tax cuts for upper-income households expire may or may not adversely affect job creation*, but at the end of the day, it's important to keep in mind that these tax cuts for the rich are just another means to transfer large piles of cash to people who already make boatloads of it.

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Expiration of High-Income Tax Cuts Probably OK for the Economy

As the months slide by and the sun begins to set on the Bush Tax Cuts, a feisty debate in Congress is ensuing on which tax cuts should be kept and which should be left to expire. Although there seems to be universal support for maintaining the middle class tax cuts, there are proponents of retaining the tax cuts for those earning more than $250,000 (i.e. the 33% and 35% brackets). They allege that letting these cuts expire would stifle job creation.

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