Race to the Race-to-the-Top Metaphor

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Talk about your moderate columnist mind melds:

"The policy goal should be focused less on short-term stimulus than on closing the states' structural budget deficits. States that take credible steps to close the gap over the next few years ought to rewarded with federal money to help laid-off government workers or maintain vital services until the economy rebounds. States that don't should be allowed to fend for themselves. Think of it as the public finance version of the 'stress test' used to stabilize the banking sector, or the education department's successful 'race to the top.'"  - Steven Pearlstein, Washington Post, Friday, July 2

"You need to mitigate the pain caused by the state governments that are slashing spending. You need a program modeled on Race to the Top. You will provide federal money now to states that pass responsible long-term budget plans that will reduce spending and pension commitments. That would save public-sector jobs and ease contractionary pressures without throwing the country into a fiscal-debt spiral." - David Brooks, New York Times, Tuesday, July 6
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Derek Thompson is a senior editor at The Atlantic, where he writes about economics, labor markets, and the entertainment business.

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