Conservatives hilariously exclude Reagan from the pattern of presidents who accepted a government role in the economy. Conservative mythology insists that Reagan must always be correct, so he is lauded for rejecting the twentieth century model of government, even though Reagan very much accepted the broad contours of the post New Deal state. Indeed, Reagan liked to boast that he voted for Franklin Roosevelt, and that the Democratic Party only went wrong sometime after FDR passed from the scene. Reagan trimmed government but he never even attempted to fundamentally challenge the basic role of government in regulating market failure or providing medical care to the poor and elderly.

If the size of a nation’s government has any effect on the size of its people, it may be that bigger really is better.

Jonathan Cohn, “Bigger Government, Smaller People? Not Really, Mr. Speaker”

If Boehner needs to go to Cantor to approve any agreement, why is Obama dealing with Boehner at all? Boehner right now is Junior Soprano, permitted to keep his title while Tony actually runs the family. If I’m Obama in the next round of negotiations, I’m looking at Boehner and thiking, “Why are you in this room?”

The blue line is the interest rate on ten-year bonds. The red line is the unemployment rate. The higher the blue line, the more we should worry about the federal deficit. The higher the red line, the more we should worry about jobs. And yet the debate in Washington right now is almost exclusively about how to reduce deficits, primarily by reducing government spending.