The Trouble With Hitler Analogies

It is often said that those who forget history are doomed to repeat it. But identifying the history that we might be foolishly repeating is no easy task. The past is littered with people drawing superficial or incomplete parallels and making bad decisions as a result. Trying to prevent something that isn’t really happening can lead down a rabbit hole of misunderstandings and mistakes.

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The Fed’s Playbook Says Raise Rates. What if That’s an Obsolete Game Plan?

 

As congressional Republicans prepare to pass their tax bill , the Federal Reserve is about to say goodbye to Janet Yellen as chair. She’s had a good run: The United States and the world recovered from the financial crisis; steady, if unspectacular, growth resumed. Yet now the Fed is in an unusual spot as Jerome Powell takes over.

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The Debt Ceiling Distraction

Much to the surprise of the Republican Party and the press, President Trump and Democratic leaders have been coming to agreements lately, including an alleged deal on DACA legislation this week and an agreement last week to put the debt ceiling debate off until December, as Democrats wanted. There were even whispers that they might do away with the ceiling altogether.

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Will Politics in 2015 Catch Up with the Economy?

In the waning moments of 2014, something happened that had been a long-time coming but seemed it might never arrive: the public mood in America shifted, ever so slightly yet significantly, from negativity and pessimism about the arc of the economy to something approximately hope about the future. If that holds, 2015 is going to look and feel rather different, and rather better, than things have in years.

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The Upside of a 'De-Americanized' World

This current bout of Washington absurdity has reached its denouement, for now. Though resolved for the next few weeks, these debates seem certain to continue, especially with the debt compromise only good until February. Overall, the result has been to accelerate a trend that has been gathering steam for at least the last five years: the move away from a Washington-centric world and towards a new, undefined, but decidedly less American global system.

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Debt: The Third Rail of Journalism

Last week, I published an essay in Time magazine about debt, arguing that our current preoccupation with the federal deficit and with debt in general is a dangerous distraction from the real issue (namely, our inability to invest and spend wisely to create the economy of the future). The problem isn’t debt per se - after all, the U.S. government took on much more debt during and after World War II, and few would argue that was bad policy or led to disaster. The problem is that we aren’t spending our debt productively; instead, we’re frittering it away on consumption, tax rebates, military budgets to pay for Cold War-era weapons systems, pork projects, or other forms of spending that will not yield returns in the future.

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