Always hate to disagree with Paul, but I'm not using Larry Summers as a stand-in for all economists here!

Economists in *this* administration tell me there's a difference between the weight Biden puts on their advice and the way Obama and Clinton engaged, and I believe them.
As I say in the piece, some of them think that's bad, others think it's good — a proper rebalancing of roles.

A lot of the advice economists gave in past administration was political advice masquerading as economics advice. That political advice was often very, very wrong.
And I'm not saying Biden ignores economists outright. Yellen, in particular, carries a lot of weight with him.

But in a relative sense, Biden is more skeptical of the way economists view the world — always has been — and more proudly political than some of his predecessors.
And his administration is taking place at a moment when there's a lot of reckoning going on among economists.

I'm less certain of this point, but my sense is the economists in Biden's administration aren't trying to take up as much space has been true in the past.
I get at this in my section on political risks: There's a recognition that there are worse things that can happen than wasting some money on poorly targeted policies. Some of the most immediate risks are inherently political, and they realize they don't understand them.
Downweighting economic risks for political risks can, of course, make economic risks more salient, as @mattyglesias writes.

I'm not passing judgment on how all this will play out. It's too early to know.
The centrality of climate, both as a failure of markets and as an overriding political goal, is also central here.

Anyway — people should read the whole piece!…

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More from @ezraklein

8 Apr
There are (at least!) four big reasons why Biden's presidency has been so much bigger, so much more ambitious, than the rest of his career:…
1. The collapse of the GOP as a negotiating partner, which has unleashed Democrats to legislate the way they actually want to.

I don't think this can be overstated. It has transformed policy design. Bills are no longer pre-compromised, and Senate Dems accept that.
2. A new generation of Democratic staffers, both in the White House and in Congress, has grown up amidst skyrocketing inequality, financial crises, and climate emergency.

They see the world very differently, and they have the power now to do something about it.
Read 8 tweets
7 Apr
About a week ago I thought it would be interesting to do a quick piece on how the word “infrastructure” is changing, but when I asked some folks, the answers were boring and seemed like a distraction from more interesting questions about what the Jobs Plan does.

I stand by that.
Imagine I could prove to you, absolutely prove it, that care work isn’t infrastructure. (I cannot prove that, btw, and nor can anyone else. Categories are contested!)

Would that in any way change whether the care work provisions are good or bad?

No. No it wouldn’t.
This bill is *vast*. It’s more like an agenda than an idea. I’m having trouble covering it because there’s just so much to cover. But it demands a lot of analysis. I hope we don’t waste too much time in a semantics debate that doesn’t help us understand the bill or evaluate it.
Read 6 tweets
1 Apr
My column today is all about how resistant public officials have been to say things, or do things, that we are pretty sure will help, and are pretty sure are true, until a very high level of data is reached. And this is another example:…
That the vaccines were going to reduce transmission is something that every expert I've spoken to has been basically sure of, but very few would say because the studies weren't in. But that meant months of playing down the benefits of vaccines.
But now:

“Vaccinated people do not carry the virus — they don’t get sick,” Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the CDC, told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow on Tuesday. That’s “not just in the clinical trials, but it’s also in real-world data.”
Read 5 tweets
1 Apr
"Following the science" and "following the existing evidence" are not the same things, but politicians and regulators talk like they are.

Science can’t tell you what it does not yet know, and the virus spreads faster than our knowledge.…
It’s the job of politicians to weigh the information we have, and the possible benefits of experimentation, against society’s broader goals.

One thing I came to believe while reporting this piece is that politicians have been hiding behind regulators on a lot of these issues.
Regulators will tell you what the evidence that has been submitted to them says. They don't go beyond that. If there are places where society has a good reason, or a pressing need, to take more risk in order to save more lives, that's for politicians to decide, and explain.
Read 6 tweets
31 Mar
I keep thinking about the end of Justice League where Superman asks Bruce Wayne how he saved his mom's foreclosed farmhouse, and Wayne says, "I bought the bank."

Why buy the bank? Why not just buy the house from the bank?
Did the bank president know the farm was owned by Superman's mom, and Batman really needed to repair his relationship with Superman, and so the bank had total leverage over one of the world's richest men?

Because if so, that's awesome. I'd watch that spinoff.
Or is Wayne just a terrible negotiator, or totally wanton with his money?

Even if so, it would take longer to buy a bank than to just buy a house from a bank.

And Alfred seems pretty savvy. He seems like he'd have brought up this "just buy the damn house" option.
Read 7 tweets
29 Mar
I'm interested in the Schumer gambit to squeeze an extra annual reconciliation bill out of the existing rules and I hope it works. But it really underscores what I wrote here. This is such a nuts way for an institution to run.…
Context on the Schumer gambit:…
Hear me out: What if, instead of two budget reconciliation bills a year, you limited debate on all bills, so you could pass as many bills as you wanted, and they could be written in whatever way you thought best, with 51 votes?
Read 4 tweets

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