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(New York Times) — For the sake of argument, let’s say that the Senate refuses to take the most obvious steps to help the economy. These steps — like preventing layoffs of teachers, police officers and other government workers — are especially important now that the recovery haslost some steam. But we’re going to imagine a world in which the Senate is incapable of distinguishing between the long-run budget deficit (a big problem) and the near-term deficit (quite manageable, according to financial markets). So even modest, short-term spending bills can’t pass.

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