KLEIN ON THE LAWN: Who is Ezra Klein!

MONDAY, MARCH 18, 2013

Part 1—A familiar blizzard: Senate Democrats released a budget resolution last Wednesday. It was their first such presentation since 2009.

In response, Ezra Klein produced a familiar yet peculiar blizzard at his Washington Post web site.

This Wonkblog blizzard arrived in three parts. The chronology went like this:

Wednesday afternoon, 5:09 PM: Just after 5 PM on Wednesday: Klein produced a full-scale post which bore this peculiar headline: “The Senate Democrats’ vague, conservative budget.”

Really? Had Senate Democrats really produced a conservative budget? As it turns out, Ezra’s reasoning here was silly and sad. But let’s leave that for later.

Just like that, Ezra had posted a full-length reaction to this “vague, conservative budget.” Soon, though, there would be more:

Thursday morning, 8:02 AM: After a brief, presumably fitful sleep, Ezra returned on Thursday morning with a second post on this topic. Co-written with Evan Soltas, the new post appeared beneath this self-effacing headline:

“Wonkbook: Everything you need to know about the Senate Democrats’ budget.”

Late on Wednesday, then early on Thursday, Ezra had produced two full-length posts about the new budget plan. By now, these posts had told you everything you needed to know about this conservative budget.

But in a familiar manifestation, Klein still wasn’t done! A little more than two hours later, as the manifest nonsense continued, Klein returned to Wonkblog, floundering for the third time:

Thursday morning, 10:28 AM: Two hours earlier, Ezra had told us everything we needed to know about this Democratic budget. Now he posted for the third time—and his headline made an admission.

We’ll also include his first paragraph:
What I got wrong about the Senate Democrats’ budget

A conversation with a Senate Democratic aide Thursday persuaded me that I shortchanged Sen. Patty Murray’s budget in an important way.
Question: Would it perhaps have made more sense to speak to Democratic aides before firing off those first two posts—two full-length posts which told us everything we needed to know about this topic? Would it perhaps have made more sense to wait, then get it right?

Everybody makes mistakes—and when you post and appear as often as Ezra, you give yourself the chance to make a lot of mistakes. But in this, his response to the new budget plan, Klein produced a familiar, ridiculous blizzard.

Klein produced three full-length posts on the subject in a 17-hour overnight span. And good God!

In slightly more than two hours between the second post and the third, he somehow found time to speak to a Democratic aide; to consider what the aide had said; and to compose a third complete post about the way he, Klein, had gone wrong in the first two posts. According to Ezra’s latest emission, he had gone wrong “in an important way,” even as he told us everything we needed to know on the subject!

Everybody makes mistakes, but this familiar, ridiculous blizzard had been wrong from the start. In fact, Ezra’s first post about that “conservative” budget had been silly, absurd, infantile, inane; it was the type of report college sophomores create when they have nothing to say. Meanwhile, with whom had the brilliant young liberal blogger composed that second post—the post which told us everything we needed to know about the Dem budget?

Ezra had composed that post with Evan Soltas. Incredibly, this is who Even Soltas is, courtesy of his own blog:
About Me

Evan Soltas is the writer of Wonkbook, the morning email newsletter of Ezra Klein's Wonkblog at The Washington Post, and for Bloomberg View's "The Ticker" blog. A student at Princeton University, where he intends to major in economics, Evan blogs daily on economic news, policy, and research findings—and a variety of other topics, approaching the subject as a student and not as an expert.
Why does Soltas only intend to major in economics? Because, at present, he’s only a freshman in college! To see him in his prep school glory, just click this post from last year. And please note:

When he writes about economics on his own blog, Soltas does so “as a student and not as an expert.” Our question:

In which form does he appear each day when he writes “Wonkbook, the morning email newsletter of Ezra Klein's Wonkblog at The Washington Post?”

The madness of the Klein tulip craze is slowly becoming apparent. Whatever explains the manifest foolishness of the various suits at the Post, the liberal world is being buried beneath the unskilled scribblings of a modern-day children’s crusade.

Klein is only one of the children, some of whom are over 30. Young, inexperienced, grasping, unwise, he and the other youngsters are running loose on the land.

Our world is a joke in many ways. As other people are starting to notice, the tulip crazy surrounding Klein is looking like one of the largest.

Tomorrow: Are you smarter than an (unprepared) college sophomore?


  1. I blog often anԁ I гeally aρρreciаte your information.
    This great article has truly peaked my interest.
    I'm going to bookmark your blog and keep checking for new details about once per week. I subscribed to your RSS feed as well.

    Also visit my web-site; instant cash loans

  2. It's hard to reconcile these TDH rants with any reasonable reading of Klein's posts that cited here. That he allows a Senator's aide to add some spin doesn't mean that his first post wasn't a fair and valuable response.

    But we know TDH reads Dean Baker's blog and according to that reliable source Klein's coverage of budget issues has been first rate:
    "This is what reporters/columnists are supposed to do. His column is not an endorsement, it just lays out the benefits and downsides of a serious budget. What a novel idea."

    So TDH disappears this aspect of Klein's work to advance the new "young mandarin" narrative? TDH appears to be taking the express lane to irrelevance.

    1. Anon 10:59:
      "TDH to be taking the express lane to irrelevance."


  3. Maybe qualified writers (e.g., people with actual training in economics and experience with past budget processes or US history) are too busy doing other things to supply the content for the gaping maw of the internet?

    Posts on blogs, newsletters, etc. are so transient that someone with substance may not have the time or interest in contributing to them.

    Maybe newspapers have now become equally transient. Maybe they are viewed as entertainment and money-making content instead of public record and thus not something anyone doing real things in the real world would want to participate in?

  4. Good God, isn't there an adult unemployed economist or adult unemployed economics writer somewhere who could be given this job?? Really, the mind boggles. Absolutely boggles.

  5. I just can't take seriously anyone who tells me they're about to teach me everything I need to know regarding any topic. Comes off as self promotion if not a ruse. Reminds me just a bit of Rush Limbaugh's blowhard schtick.