Hey, Donald: Washington Is Working!

The view of Washington as a dysfunctional system is deeply entrenched—and of course it’s the most popular meme on the GOP campaign trail. “Nothing works in our country,” Donald Trump said again at Tuesday night’s debate, repeating his favorite (and seemingly most effective) appeal to a base that’s disgusted with politics as usual. Yet the past week has been a blow to cynics everywhere, because lo and behold, Congress, the White House, and the Federal Reserve all acted on vital economic policy and did so with minimal drama.

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Why Washington's growing irrelevance is good for the country

After three years of sclerosis, Congress is poised to at last pass an actual budget. We’ve been so consumed with the dysfunction of the parties on Capitol Hill that this feat appears significant. In fact, it should be routine. Yet in the context of the past few years, it is anything but.

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The Lady Gaga Fix: How the U.S. Is Rethinking GDP for the 21st Century

This week the government released yet another revision of first-quarter economic growth showing that the U.S. economy grew a tad less than initially reported ‑- 2.4 percent rather than 2.5 percent. This revision was hardly consequential, but over the summer the Bureau of Economic Analysis will unveil a new way to calculate the overall output of the United States. And that revision will be dramatic.

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Government Bailouts: What’s it All About?

Global stock markets are in summer free-fall; the stocks and bonds of financial institutions are sinking more quickly than the Titanic; and sentiment is veering into panic territory. We have, of course, been here before, not necessarily exactly here, but close enough. In 1990-1991, banks also went into a tailspin, and before that there was the S&L crisis, and before that, the massive failures of the early 1930s, and then back into the regular bank panics and financial collapses that were endemic to the U.S. financial system for much of our history.

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Two Agents, Two Paths: How the CIA Became a Vital Operation

The Bush administration asked Congress to expand the powers of the Central Intelligence Agency to have the authority to issue "national security letters" demanding access to a wide range of personal records held in the United States, including those kept by banks and on-line service providers.

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