Deborah Stone

Deborah Stone is a fellow at the Open Society Institute and holds an investigator award in health policy from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Recent Articles

The Good in Good Politics

The Moral Center by David Callahan (Harcourt, 260 pages, $24.00) Ever since the 2004 exit polls, progressives have been puzzling over how to reclaim so-called values voters. Or, to put the problem another way, how can Democrats satisfy Americans' interests (the economy, stupid, and bring those troops home alive) while also appealing to their desires for moral direction? In The Moral Center , David Callahan tackles this conundrum with some fresh and provocative insights in the hope of advancing, as he says in the preface, "a different way of thinking about values." Callahan accepts that most people worry about morality when they think about politics. Conservatives have distorted moral discussion, however, and reduced moral concerns to a narrow set of fleshy hot-button issues while ignoring justice and equality and giving little but lip service to compassion. But liberals, Callahan argues, have failed to recognize, understand, and speak to the "moral anxiety" citizens feel. Ordinary...

Die-Hards

Taking Care: Ethical Caregiving in Our Aging Society by President's Council on Bioethics ( 309 pages, free at www.bioethics.gov ) When George W. Bush appointed the President's Council on Bioethics in 2001, he stacked it with conservatives who had already taken stands against abortion, embryonic stem-cell research, euthanasia, and assisted suicide. Nonetheless, I approached the council's sixth report, Taking Care , with an open mind after reading a column in The New York Times by David Brooks, who described the report as “a rebuke to the economic individualism of the right and to the moral individualism of the left,” and an assertion of “mutual obligation.” For once, I thought, conservatives and liberals might find common ground. The report opens with a rich account of the “caregiving crisis” in America, and it was in these passages that Brooks found what he called a “declaration of dependence.” A healthy old age filled with tennis and travel, the council warns, is more likely to occur...

Importing Government

As Congress diddles with a Medicare prescription-drug plan, citizens are busing and clicking their way to Canadian pharmacies, where drugs are affordable. U.S. politicians, refusing to control drug prices, are also flocking to Canada for help by endorsing what's euphemistically called "reimportation." But make no mistake: What we are really importing from Canada is effective government regulation. Spurred on by tax breaks, patent protections and deregulation, the pharmaceutical industry keeps inventing a bounteous pharmacopoeia that ever fewer Americans can afford. Caught between popular pressure to lower drug prices and industry pressure to preserve profits and free markets, the Bush administration came up with voluntary drug discount cards for senior citizens. But the cards have bewildering eligibility rules and offer only modest savings. As a recent General Accounting Office report found, the cards reflect and perpetuate the massive price discrimination in the drug business...

State of the Debate: Work and the Moral Woman

Women today are buffeted by the demands of family, career, and feminism. Are these demands sometimes morally incompatible?

WORKS DISCUSSED IN THIS ESSAY Kathryn Edin and Laura Lein, Making Ends Meet: How Single Mothers Survive Welfare and Low-Wage Work (Russell Sage Foundation, 1997). Diane E. Eyer, Motherguilt: How Our Culture Blames Mothers for What's Wrong with Society (Times Books, 1996). Sharon Hays, The Cultural Contradictions of Motherhood (Yale University Press, 1996). Arlie Russell Hochschild, The Time Bind: When Work Becomes Home and Home Becomes Work (Henry Holt and Company, 1997). Tera W. Hunter, To 'Joy My Freedom: Southern Black Women's Lives and Labors After the Civil War (Harvard University Press, 1997). Elizabeth Perle McKenna, When Work Doesn't Work Anymore: Women, Work and Identity (Delacorte Press, 1997). Jennifer Scanlon, Inarticulate Longings: The Ladies' Home Journal , Gender, and the Promises of Consumer Culture (Routledge, 1995). You can buy any linked book through our associate program with Amazon.com A good woman is hard to find. Either she's threatening a lawsuit because she...

How Do I Vote For Thee? Let Me Count The Ways.

A close election, goes the old cliché, proves that every vote counts. Election 2000 proved just the opposite: When the election is close and every vote counts, or is supposed to, that's when the voter is the least powerful. Come to find out, even the most fundamental particle of democracy is loaded with opportunities for partisan manipulation. Never mind outright fraud, like dead people voting. Leave aside campaign spending, advertising, and the way that money buys elections. Forget about the Electoral College and the way it undercounts voters in heavily populated states. And ignore the ordinary human error entailed in counting anything. Just stick to the normal machinery of democracy -- printing ballots, distributing them to voters, marking them, reading them, tallying them, and declaring a result. Every stage of the process calls for human decisions by someone other than the voter. Just because you vote doesn't mean your vote counts. How does your vote become a...

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