19 April 2018

Econ 101 No Longer Explains the Job Market

Noah Smith

In all fairness, it probably never did. -ed.

Tired of winning yet? You're not alone.


Trump doesn’t define winning the way you and I do. It’s not about giving back or improving people’s lives; as I’ve written before, Trump has never done that anywhere, unless you count remodeling a skating rink.

Winning, in Trump’s mind, wasn’t about us. It was about him.

It’s about ratings and primacy. Trump wants more than anything to exist outside of himself, to occupy your screens and your emotions. He always has.

Losing, to Trump, is receding from center stage. Winning is finding one way after another to keep us riveted to the show.

So Trump is absolutely delivering on his promise. He’s winning and winning and winning. Every day, it seems, he taps some new well of audacity, willing himself to become the overarching story of our time.

But you can’t really blame the president. He told us right from the start that we’d get tired of the whole noisy routine.

We were just too busy gawking to listen.

Matt Bai


18 April 2018

Trump's Latest Domestic Spending Plot May Be To Ignore The Law

Stan Collender

Corruption, Not Russia, Is Trump’s Greatest Political Liability

It is hardly a coincidence that so many greedy people have filled the administration’s ranks. Trump’s ostentatious crudeness and misogyny are a kind of human-resources strategy. Radiating personal and professional sleaze lets him quickly and easily identify individuals who have any kind of public ethics and to sort them out. (James Comey’s accounts of his interactions with the president depict Trump probing for some vein of corruptibility in the FBI director; when he came up empty, he fired him.) Trump is legitimately excellent at cultivating an inner circle unburdened by legal or moral scruples. These are the only kind of people who want to work for Trump, and the only kind Trump wants to work for him.

Jonathan Chait

17 April 2018

It’s harder for Democrats to gerrymander effectively

Matthew Yglesias

Trump-era politics is a surreal nightmare and we can’t wake up

Reality has confounded both expectations, with Trump displaying no hidden depths whatsoever, even as life continues to be basically fine for most people. America has its share of problems to be sure: sky-high child poverty rate, unsustainable greenhouse gas emissions, infrastructure woes, childcare woes, prescription drug affordability woes, you name it.

But these are basically longstanding issues that our political system writ large has failed to address. They don’t hold a particularly close relationship to the fact that the president is a racist buffoon who is possibly being blackmailed by the FSB over some sex tapes.

On the other hand, the fact that the president of the United States has literally nothing to say about any of the country’s most urgent long-term problems is itself a fairly noteworthy situation.

Matthew Yglesias

16 April 2018

Employers are increasingly using their workers as lobbyists. Here’s why that’s a problem.

Alexander Hertel-Fernandez

It’s Time to Stop Yammering About Liberal Bias

The right has plenty of representation in the nation’s opinion pages.

This raises a few obvious questions that are, for whatever reason, rarely asked. If American institutions really were intolerably liberal in 1951 and in 1966, then what would a state of affairs that satisfied the conservative movement actually look like? If, as conservatives have insisted over decades of uninterrupted complaint, the American people really are being indoctrinated into liberalism in their formative years at our schools and colleges and in their adult years by an oppressively slanted press, how exactly does one explain the American political situation in 2018, with right-wing control of the presidency, the House, the Senate, the Supreme Court, 33 governorships, and 32 state legislatures? If America’s citizenry really has been spoon-fed leftist propaganda for nearly 70 straight years, isn’t the reorganization of the United States into semiautonomous workers’ republics long overdue?

Osita Nwanevu

13 April 2018

Why Would the Atlantic Hire Kevin Williamson?

Describing a 2014 visit to the impoverished city of East St. Louis, Illinois, Williamson compared a black child to a “primate” and a “three-fifths-scale Snoop Dogg” before likening his own trip through Illinois to Marlow’s journey up the Congo River in Heart of Darkness, all within the space of a single paragraph.

Jordan Weissmann


Who Made the Worst Decision of the Iraq War?

On May 15, 2003, one day after he arrived in Baghdad to head the Coalition Provisional Authority, Bremer issued CPA Order No. 1, which barred members of Saddam Hussein’s Baath Party from all but the lowliest government posts. The next day, he issued CPA Order No. 2, which disbanded the Iraqi army.

With those two orders, the future of Iraq was doomed, the already-likely failure of the American mission was sealed, and the prospect of a sectarian civil war—enveloping not only Iraq but the entire Middle East—became nearly inevitable. Not only did the orders remove the country’s two main indigenous institutions of authority, they also put 50,000 civil servants and a quarter-million soldiers out of a job, many of them with access to weapons. In other words, Bremer’s orders amounted to a recipe for resentment, anarchy, and violence.

Fred Kaplan