Relevant and even prescient commentary on news, politics and the economy.

Democrats, let’s turn the debt ceiling standoff into a referendum on Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid

President Biden has so far insisted he will not negotiate over the debt ceiling.  This makes sense on one level.  The Republicans are threatening to blow up the economy to get the Democrats to agree to – and share the blame for – unpopular budget cuts.  It is easy to see why Democrats want to […]

Trump and the debt ceiling

According to Politico, Trump is against cutting Social Security and Medicare: Former President Donald Trump issued a warning to Republican lawmakers on Friday: Don’t lay a finger on entitlement programs as part of the debt ceiling showdown with the White House. “Under no circumstances should Republicans vote to cut a single penny from Medicare or […]

Democratic politics and the multiple audience problem:  the case of Ukraine

One reason politics is so hard is that our words are often heard by different audiences, and a message that is well-calibrated for one type of listener may work poorly for listeners with different roles, values, or interests. To illustrate:  Phillips O’Brien has a piece in the Atlantic with the headline “Time is on Ukraine’s […]

Ukraine updates

Ukraine is getting much more advanced offensive weapons . . . This seems to mark a major shift, a commitment to helping Ukraine go on offense and win.  Open questions . . . How far will Ukraine’s partners go?  Infantry fighting vehicles today, maybe tanks, ATACMs, planes, etc. tomorrow?  How big a threat is the […]

Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and hoping for a different result.  Apparently no one has mentioned this to Republican congressional “leadership”.

The Republicans have no good options as they cast around for a solution to their speakership problem.  McCarthy can try to make concessions to secure the support of the Freedom Caucus.  These concessions will empower the obstructionists in the FC and will make the House ungovernable.  The result will be interminable gridlock and recriminations at […]

Is our AI learning?

Tyler Cowen points us to YouChat, a new AI chatbot, that as far as I can see after studying this carefully for 15 seconds is supposed to be more up to date than the OpenAI bot and integrated with a search engine which naturally makes it the next new thing and presumably worth billions of […]