US President Barack Obama appointed a special, bipartisan commission to propose solutions to the alleged crisis, and spent much of his first term trying to negotiate a Grand Bargain on the budget with Republicans. Photograph: Bloomberg

It’s hard to escape the feeling that debt panic served a political purpose

“The Affordable Care Act has faced nonstop attacks from partisans and right-wing media, with mainstream news also tending to harp on the act’s troubles.” Photograph: EPA/Jim Lo Scalzo

Opinion: predictions continue to be doom-laden despite the evidence

On the eve of the Great Recession, many conservative pundits and commentators had a world view that combined faith in free markets with disdain for government. Photograph: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Conservative delusions about inflation hint at a much larger rejection of fact-based thinking

Ronald Reagan was told by a group of economic advisers that a cut in income tax rates would raise tax revenue

The experience of Kansas is just the latest evidence that Reagan’s trickle-down economics is a fantasy

Former US treasury secretary Henry Paulson called for a national tax on carbon emissions to encourage conservation. Photograph: Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP Photo

In policy terms, climate action would probably look like health reform

US president Barack Obama. “In terms of policy substance Obama is having a seriously good year. In fact, there’s a very good chance that 2014 will go down in the record books as one of those years when America took a major turn in the right direction.” Photograph: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque

Opinion: the US president should be judged by his achievements, not his press

The real war on coal, or at least on coal workers, took place a generation ago, waged not by liberal environmentalists but by the coal industry itself. And coal workers lost. Photograph: Michaela Rehle/Reuters

Toxic mix of ideology and anti-intellectualism makes rational action on climate so hard

French economist and academic Thomas Piketty’s best-selling Capital in the Twenty-First Century has attracted praise and invective alike. Photograph: Reuters

Critics of consensus need to ask whether they’re seeking intellectual honesty, or are acting as concern trolls

Paul Ryan likes to warn that Europe’s social safety net became  a “hammock” that undermined initiative and encouraged dependency. Photograph: Rick Wilking/Reuters

US conservatives don’t like to admit that European-style welfare states have proven more successful at job creation

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