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Showing posts with the label Ezra Klein's WonkBook

Our last chance to save the housing market: The Washington Post | Wonkbook

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My colleagues Brady Dennis and Dina ElBoghdady got their hands on an early version of the settlement that the country's attorney generals and a few federal agencies are hammering out with the big banks. This is the endgame to the mortgage servicing mess that dominated the news some months ago: the banks, having repeatedly broken the law while handling mortgage paperwork and conducting foreclosures, need to strike some sort of deal with regulatory authorities so they're not nipped to death by thousands and thousands of lawsuits. That means the state AGs and regulators have some leverage: the banks need relief from them, and so the question is how much relief they can get for homeowners in turn. The hope is that they can get something capable of stabilizing the housing market. For all that the economy is improving, housing remains a huge drag, with legitimate estimates suggesting we've still got as many as 11 million foreclosures in the pipeline. "

The Washington Post: Wonkbook: Wisconsin heats up; Boehner risks shutdown; health care defunding begins

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By Dylan Matthews Matthews is writing Wonkbook while Ezra is traveling. Top Stories Obama is siding with state workers in Wisconsin's state budget brawl, report Brady Dennis and Peter Wallsten: "President Obama thrust himself and his political operation this week into Wisconsin's broiling budget battle, mobilizing opposition Thursday to a Republican bill that would curb public-worker benefits while planning similar action in other state capitals. Obama accused Scott Walker, the state's new Republican governor, of unleashing an 'assault' on unions in pushing emergency legislation that would nullify collective-bargaining agreements that affect most public employees, including teachers... By the end of the day, Democratic Party officials were working to organize additional demonstrations in Ohio and Indiana, where an effort is underway to trim benefits for public workers." John Boehner is threatening a government shutdown in the absence

White House throws states a lifeline -- but will the GOP let them catch it? | Wonkbook | The Washington Post

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Next week's budget will include a complicated, two-pronged proposal to forgive the states some debt and give them access to more tax revenues after 2014. It's evidence that the White House s pretty worried about both the long and short-term fiscal position of the states. Worried enough to propose a policy that'll be called a "job-destroying" tax hike on a Hill (actually, it's already been called that, as you'll see in a moment). But this won't necessarily be easy on the Republicans, either. Post-election, the GOP controls a lot of governor's mansions and statehouses. And they're looking at budget projection that frankly terrify them. A bit of help from the Feds may be ideologically unwelcome, but it also might be a lifesaver. Here's how it works: First, the federal government will free the states from $3.6 billion in interest payments to the federal government over the next two years. Second, the Feds the payroll tax that

Should Washington look to California? | Wonkbook | The Washingtonpost.com

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Here's the question: Do tax cuts cause deficits? If not, then there's no reason to worry about the Congressional Budget Office's revised estimate that the deficit will reach $1.5 trillion this year, not $1 trillion, as they'd predicted in 2010. The bulk of the difference, as you can see in this table , is due to the tax deal, which shaved expected revenue by about $400 billion. Republicans, however, are caught between a rock and a hard place: They don't like deficits, but they do like tax cuts. So they've emerged with a fairly creative answer: A balanced budget amendment that caps spending at 20 percent of GDP and requires a two-thirds vote for tax increases. It's hard to imagine looking at this revised CBO estimate -- or the last decade of fiscal policymaking more generally -- and concluding that one of our major problems is that it's been too easy to raise taxes. Quite the opposite, actually. But if the 21 Senate Republican behind this

Wonkbook: House GOP votes to repeal, but not to replace. | Ezra Kleins Wonkbook | The Washington Post

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The worst portent for health-care reform last night wasn't the repeal vote itself, but what didn't come with it: Any replacement bill that Republicans were committed to passing. The second half of the Republican strategy on health-care reform -- you remember "repeal and replace" right? -- was, in the GOP House's first major initiative, simply dropped. It shouldn't have been. At the moment, neither the Senate nor the White House has any interest in undoing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, and so it'll stay on the books. But going forward, as Republicans continue to try to attack the bill, they need a viable alternative solution for the health-care system that they're trying to push the Democrats to adopt and the country to support. They need something beyond "not this." After all, even Republicans agree that the status quo is untenable. It leaves too many people uninsured and has no hope of controlling costs. Tha