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Sean Thornton

Sean Thornton has written 20 posts for Welcome to the Third Rail

An Economy that works- Job creation and America’s future

Now that the immediate crisis regarding the debt ceiling has passed, politicians are focused on one thing: Jobs.  As expected, there is legitimate disagreement on what can be done to improve the nation’s unemployment rate.  Reducing burdensome regulation, offering tax incentives to job creators, creating an infrastructure bank, and simplifying the corporate tax code have … Continue reading

Can the Middle Class Be Saved?

The Atlantic has a great article from its latest edition titled “Can the Middle Class be Saved?”. This was a great read and really presents a comprehensive picture of what has happened to the middle class in post-war America.  I think it’s largely non-partisan, save for a call to return to some previously higher levels … Continue reading

The S&P Downgrade – The Actual Report

You could listen to the talking heads explain why America’s debt was downgraded, or you could just read the report yourself. The report is mainly an indictment of the current political climate in Washington.  It takes no position on methods to improve our fiscal situation (tax increases, spending cuts), nor does it imply endorsement of … Continue reading

The United States – no longer AAA

There’s no shortage of commentary on the S&P Downgrade.  Here’s a few analyses that I found interesting. Jeff Macke lays out the case for why United States deserved the downgrade. Our GDP is under 2%, our unemployment rate is over 9% and both numbers are likely much worse than advertised. Our nation turned our desperate … Continue reading

The Debt Ceiling

Suffice it to say I think the GOP’s insistence on balancing the budget through spending cuts alone (in the midst of a huge recession) is not the proper course nor mathematically sound.  If ultimately this negotiation leads to a substantive deal to handle the spending problem of our federal government, well fine.   Ross Douthat does … Continue reading

Beyond Red vs. Blue: The Political Typology

A new study was released from the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press.  This study uses statistical techniques (cluster analysis) to break down the American electorate into 9 Political Typologies.  Studies like this really crystallize for me why I’d like more than 2 options when I go to the polls. Our 2 … Continue reading

Pakistan and Osama

The Banyan blog from the Economist takes a look at what Pakistan and the painful reality that its leadership and military were either grossly incompetent with respect to the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden or (more likely) complicit with his taking shelter in their country.  Pakistan’s president Asif Ali Zardari has argued in the pages … Continue reading

More on the student loan bubble

There’s an interesting article found on N+1 referenced on the Economist’s Schumpeter Blog. The article is full of fascinating information about the current state of higher education and the resulting student debt.  Suffice it to say the author has an extremely pessimistic view of the current state of higher education and the impending student loan … Continue reading

NY Times Editorial: Bad Housing Numbers

The New York Times has an editorial commenting on the continued troubles with the housing market.  The Times seems to believe that the market has or will over-correct – more so than the market warrants: It would be comforting to believe that housing-market distress represents a normal, if painful, correction after a period of excess. … Continue reading

Reducing the Deficit: Spending and Revenue Options

The CBO has put together an epic 240 page document outlining 105 potential ways to reduce the national debt over the next decade.  No option is endorsed.  The document plainly lays out the current situation, how we got here, and the many politically dangerous ways that we can reduce our annual deficits. If current laws … Continue reading