Post - Timothy Noah (@timothynoah)

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Timothy Noah


Washington-based journalist.

Staff writer, the New Republic (third tour). Previously Slate, the Wall Street Journal, Politico, the Washington Monthly, and U.S. News & World Report. Author, "The Great Divergence: America's Growing Inequality Crisis And What We Can Do About It" (Bloomsbury, 2012). Read my newsletter, Backbencher, here:

32 Posts

  1. In Backbencher, my history of Bob Menendez in 10 objects.
  2. A Short History of Red-Blue Tribalism

    I am looking at a book review I wrote for the New York Times about red and blue America. “By now,” I wrote, “the country is divided not so much by competing ideologies as by competing realities.” The quote itself is horribly banal, but let me say in my defense that I penned it tw
  3. This Political Moment, In Two Economic Charts

    Behold a chart from my new favorite website, Realtime Inequality , which allows you to slice and dice inequality data in a zillion different ways. Above we have an illustration of what I called, in a 2012 book, The Great Divergence . This chart tracks labor income only. Note that i
  4. Robert Noah (05/18/1926 - 06/25/2023)

    He grew up on University Avenue in the Bronx, graduating from the then-brand new Bronx High School of Science in 1942, where he was valedictorian, or anyway speaker at graduation; he later insisted on making clear he did not have the highest grade-point average. In 1948 he gradua
  5. Lemon Capitalism

    Back in 2003, President George W. Bush was only barely able to get through Congress the legislation that created a prescription drug benefit under Medicare. The vote in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, at 220-215 , was especially tight. Twenty-five Republicans o
  6. Why You Should Be Glad That Workers Are Less Productive Than In 2021

    During the Covid pandemic, when office workers stopped coming to the office, productivity (that is, worker output per hour) boomed. Since the Great Recession, productivity had been rising on average a miserly 1.2 percent annually, but during the first quarter of 2021 productivity
  7. My son Will Noah reviews "Tomás Nevinson" by Javier Marías (translated by Margaret Jull Costa):
  8. Man Is Born Free But Everywhere He Is In Debt-Limit Negotiations

    When Mike Kinsley was editor of Harper's it carried a hilarious cartoon illustration of a crazed-looking Joyce Carol Oates, the terrifyingly prolific novelist, at her typewriter, captioned, "My fingers! My fingers! They dance to their own mad rhythms." My own fingers have lately
  9. The Secret Rich-People Pension Nobody Told You About

    Have you ever seen the 1982 movie Diner ? It’s about a close-knit group of recent high school graduates, all middle-class white guys, in the Baltimore of the late 1950s. The film depicts, with humor and compassion, the futility of resisting, as young men often do, adulthood’s encr
  10. How Kevin McCarthy's Debt-Limit Austerity Wastes Taxpayer Dollars

    “I still think we’re far apart,” House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said on Monday about the debt limit. Which is to say that the White House wants to raise the debt limit so Congress can pay its bills, and Congress doesn’t want to unless it can attach enormous spending cuts that not e
  11. What Richard Nixon, Donald Trump, and Joe Biden Have In Common In This Stupid Debt-Ceiling Mess

    One of the better pieces ever published on my Substack site, Backbencher ( which you should subscribe to if only because it's free) was Thomas Geoghegan’s “ That Time I Ran For Congress .” The piece was an excerpt from his book The History of Democracy Has Yet To Be Written . Tom and
  12. What Biden Should Do About the Debt Limit

    Did you know that until 1982 every increase to the federal debt limit was an amendment to the Second Liberty Bond Act of 1917 ? Before the United States entered World War I, there was never any such thing as a debt limit. When Congress had to borrow money it issued bonds. But afte
  13. This is probably the most important thing you'll read today.
  14. Here's my after-action report on Julie Su's confirmation hearing (for labor secretary).
  15. Will Democrats sink Joe Biden's nominee for labor secretary?

    Julie Su is President Joe Biden’s nominee for labor secretary. She is a strong nominee, which makes her unacceptable to Republicans. It also makes her potentially unacceptable to four Democrats and one independent. That’s the subject of my latest New Republic piece , which you can
  16. The End of Failure or, Why CEOs Get Paid More Even When Their Stock Price Goes Down

    I miss failure. Not my own, of course. Nobody wishes to repeat his own failures. I mean the idea of failure. Sometime over the past 20-odd years the language of failure got bright-sided , to borrow a term from my late friend Barbara Ehrenreich . Humans stopped experiencing problems
  17. How Republicans Became the Party of Child Labor and Child Marriage

    Seven years ago a guy walked into a pizza joint in my neighborhood with a loaded assault rifle because alt-right conspiracy theorists had told him Democratic Party leaders were running a pedophile ring in its basement. I’m obliged to inform you that this wasn’t true; the pizza pa
  18. Sara Nelson for Labor Secretary

    I was not a great fan of Labor Secretary Marty Walsh, who announced yesterday that he will leave in mid-March to become executive director of the NHL Players Association. Walsh was disengaged from the regulatory agenda and often unavailable for the sort of face-to-face negotiatio
  19. Larry Kramer on Why He Put Up $500,000 Bail For Sam Bankman-Fried

    At a Washington, DC conference by the Open Market Institute, I can't focus my attention as Larry Kramer of the Hewlett Foundation discusses the search for a post-neoliberal economic paradigm. And it isn't because the definition of the word "neoliberal" has been stretched and stre
  20. I Watch Sarah Sanders' SOTU Reply So You Don't Have To

    After last year’s State of the Union address, I turned to my wife and said, “I don’t see how this guy can run again for president in 2024.” Not because of anything he said, but because of President Joe Biden’s weary affect. After this year’s State of the Union address, though, I

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