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Category Archives: Politics

Terrorized

The failed attempt to blow up an airplane on Christmas is rekindling a fear of terrorism in the U.S., at least if you believe a lot of the media coverage of the reaction to the incident.  This is, I think, unfortunate.  Our fear of terrorism has been excessive, unreasonable, and irrational since 9-11, and it [...]

Healthcare reform: a return to social democracy?

As someone who has always been deeply hostile to “Reaganomics,” that blend of deregulation and privatization that has reigned supreme in the West for the past thirty years (including under Clinton), I enjoyed this essay by Tony Judt. The left, to be quite blunt about it, has something to conserve. It is the right that [...]

Hamsher and Norquist call for Rahm’s head

What does it mean that liberal blogger Jane Hamsher is teaming up with anti-tax right-winger Grover Norquist to demand that Rahm Emanuel resign? We both come from differing political ideologies. One of us is the conservative head of a transparency foundation, and the other is the publisher of a liberal political blog. But we make [...]

Partisan vitriol, bipartisan corporate ass-kissing

From the NYT, reporting on the Senate’s health care deliberations: The votes also marked something else: the culmination of more than a generation of partisan polarization of the American political system, and a precipitous decline in collegiality and collaboration in governing that seemed to move in inverse proportion to a rising influence of lobbying, money, [...]

What’s wrong with more interventional cardiologists in Miami?

An opinion piece in today’s NYT: FOR anyone who has had to wait a long time to schedule a medical appointment, it might seem as if the world needs more doctors, and that training more of them would be a good idea. An amendment that teaching hospitals are pushing to include in the health care [...]

Hospital building boom, and the scramble for paying patients

Here’s one game that I hope the new health care bill will help to stop — hospitals cherry-picking insured patients to improve their “payer mix.” If there’s one easy-to-understand feature of our current health care industry, it’s that everyone is always complaining that they don’t have any money.  But that can’t possibly be right, can [...]

Walking away from your mortgage: Waldman vs. McArdle

Megan McArdle and Steve Waldman have been going back and forth about the morality of walking away from underwater mortgages (via Kevin Drum).  McArdle thinks people should keep paying, and Waldman thinks they should walk away. Between the two of them, they’ve cataloged many of the likely consequences of our descent into a mutual ethos [...]

The health care bill

Here’s where I’m at with the health care bill, Joe Lieberman, etc. First, Ezra Klein has persuaded me that the Senate should pass it.  The bill is enormous and complicated, so along with most other people I’m looking for proxy indicators of the bill’s worth.  Klein is a credible proxy for me, because he reads [...]

The dying middle class

In which I deploy vivid metaphors involving wild dogs, before speculating about whether we should string up Lloyd Blankfein by his toenails. The American middle class is dying as we watch.  It has been since the 1970s at least, when the post-WWII manufacturing base started to disappear because of cheap transportation and cheaper overseas labor.   [...]

State and Religion

Sadly, separating the state from religion continues to pose difficulties. In Switzerland, the state overreaches by banning minarets by referendum.  Fortunately, they may also have overreached the limits of their own constitution.  Perhaps this ban won’t survive legal challenges. And in the U.S., christians are still trying to get the state to enforce their own [...]