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"Success" on health reform will hurt the Democrats. Matthew Dowd, Washington Post. I doubt it, but an interesting column.

Democrats head for the exits. Michael Barone, RCP.

Refounding Capitalism. Edmund Phelps. (via Arnold Kling at Econlog; see also Arnold's comments)

Obama Inherited the Deficit. Kathy Ruffing and James Horney, CBPP. A tiresomely familiar idea--but one which is true, nonetheless, up to a point. This is worth reading because it documents the claim very well. Why do I say, true only up to a point? Because Obama now owns the fiscal outlook: the war in Afghanistan, the share of the Bush tax cuts (ie, the larger part) that will not be unwound, and the persisting fiscal effects of the crash. The CBPP's note does acknowledge this:

While President Obama inherited a bad fiscal legacy, that does not diminish his responsibility to propose policies to address our fiscal imbalance and put the weight of his office behind them. Although policymakers should not tighten fiscal policy in the near term while the economy remains fragile, they and the nation at large must come to grips with the nation's deficit problem. But we should all recognize how we got where we are today.

Quite right. But at some stage--and I think we are well past it--whining that the fiscal mess was the other guy's fault not only fails to deal with the problem, it also gains you no political advantage.


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Clive Crook is a senior editor of The Atlantic and a columnist for Bloomberg View. He was the Washington columnist for the Financial Times, and before that worked at The Economist for more than 20 years, including 11 years as deputy editor. Crook writes about the intersection of politics and economics. More

Crook writes about the intersection of politics and economics.

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