Greg Ip

Articles by The Economist’s U.S. Economics Editor

Archive for the ‘Democrats’ Category

Budgets and Congress: Opening bids

leave a comment »

Congress finally restarts the budget process but the gaps are daunting

Mar 16th 2013 | WASHINGTON, DC |From the print edition
[Greg Ip] WHEN Congress sought to claw back fiscal authority from Richard Nixon in the early 1970s, it came up with its own budget process. The House of Representatives and the Senate would draw up separate budget resolutions and, through negotiation, turn them into a single budget.

In recent years that process has, more often than not, broken down. In six of the past 11 years, the House and Senate could not agree on a budget, and in the last three, the Democratic-controlled Senate did not even pass its own resolution. Instead, Congress has resorted to stand-alone spending bills, temporary fixes and behind-the-scenes deals with the White House.
Read the rest of this entry »


Written by gregip

March 14, 2013 at 9:33 am

The deficit and health care: Falls the shadow

leave a comment »

The original article is linked here.

Jul 23rd 2009 | WASHINGTON, DC
From The Economist print edition

The enormous deficit is complicating the president’s ambitious plans

Illustration by Claudio Munoz

IT WAS a rare victory for fiscal rectitude. On July 21st the Senate stripped the funding for seven more F-22 fighter jets from a big spending bill, bowing to Barack Obama’s threat to veto the aircraft.

But it was overshadowed by the much bigger setback Mr Obama had suffered a few days earlier. Three committees in the House of Representatives had presented a plan to provide health cover for the uninsured with the help of hefty tax increases on the rich. On July 16th Douglas Elmendorf, Congress’s chief budget scorekeeper, stunned Washington when he said the bill would not only fail to tame health-care costs, but would permanently shift them higher. It would add $239 billion to the deficit in the next decade and far more thereafter. The next day conservative Democrats joined Republicans on two committees in voting against the bill, though it still passed.


That Mr Elmendorf’s comments made such an impact signifies the growing political potency of the deficit. By a big margin, Americans think Mr Obama is paying too little attention to it, according to one recent poll (see chart). The proportion who consider it the most important issue facing the country has risen from 12% last December to 24% in June, according to another poll by the Wall Street Journal and NBC News. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by gregip

July 23, 2009 at 12:37 pm

Government and business in America: Piling on

leave a comment »

The original story is available here.

May 28th 2009
From The Economist print edition

In his zeal to fix capitalism, Barack Obama must not stifle America’s dynamism

Illustration by KAL


DEFENDING American capitalism these days is a thankless job. Reckless lending by American financiers produced a crisis that has pushed the world into its worst recession since the 1930s. Tales of greed and fraud during the boom years abound.

Small wonder that although Americans still prefer their government neat and local, they are a little less hostile to federal activism these days (see article). Such sentiments, last November, helped propel Barack Obama into the White House and his Democratic Party to bigger majorities in both houses of Congress. As Rahm Emanuel, the president’s chief of staff, says, Mr Obama does not want to waste this crisis. He is using it to create a bigger role for government throughout the economy, from education and health care to banking and energy.

He, and Congress, risk overreaching. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by gregip

May 28, 2009 at 10:11 pm

Government v market in America: The visible hand

with one comment

The original article is available here.

From The Economist print edition

Americans have grown slightly more receptive to the idea of an activist government. Will they go along with Barack Obama’s aspirations?



THE demonstrators thronging the steps of the war memorial in central Indianapolis are a small but spirited bunch. Steps away from the head office of one of the country’s biggest health-insurance companies, they chant slogans calling for a single government-run health plan and wave signs with slogans like “One plan one nation” and “Patients not profits”. One cheekily advises: “Accept personal responsibility. Do your own colonoscopy”. After pursuing their cause for years, advocates of universal health care got a jolt of energy when Barack Obama took office. “Something happened in January that changed our cultural story for ever,” a folk singer tells the crowd before launching into a song, “If not now, tell me when.”

Across the street, an argument breaks out. Dennis Majewski, a public-defence lawyer, agrees with the protesters. “We’ll never rebound until we have national health-care insurance.” But should the government look after “a known druggie whose drug habit gets him to the point he is seriously ill?” queries his cousin, Tom Majewski, a retired executive. Well, yes, says Dennis: “That person has a serious illness.” Tom shoots back: “But it’s a choice!”

The debate in Indianapolis is a microcosm of a broader re-examination by Americans of government’s role in the economy. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by gregip

May 28, 2009 at 10:05 pm