THE TURTLEDOVE STYLE IN AMERICAN POLITICS.Jon Chait has a new entry in the popular progressive genre of "If Only We'd Lost." In it, he argues that beating Gerald Ford in 1976 was a grievous blow to liberalism. Jimmy Carter, after all, was a disaster for the Democratic Party, if only because he presided over a period of economic duress (stagflation) and national diminishment (Iranian hostage crisis). That Carter handled both with relative good sense -- the Iranian hostages, in particular, benefitted from his unwillingness to enter a deadly and disastrous war -- did nothing for his national standing or the party he hailed from.
INVEST IN COPPERTONE. Happy new year to Tapped readers; I hope 2006 went well and 2007 will be even more joyful and prosperous.
Not to be a downer, but one thing 2007 promises to be, if the year gone by is any indication, is hot. According to the United Nations' World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the U.S. Department of Commerce's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), 2006 is expected to be judged the sixth hottest year on record. (Based on preliminary analyses; final data analyses and reports won't come out until March.)
Well, it's still New Year's Day and I see that someone is already breaking my resolutions (#10) for economic reporting. A New York Times article tells readers that the battle in Congress over the Medicare drug bill, "highlights the profound differences between Democrats and Republicans over the future of the nation�s health care system, the proper role of government and the role of private markets in securing the best value for the huge sums spent on health care."
The New York Times had a column Sunday that pointed out that other wealthy countries have better health care outcomes than the United States, at a much lower per person cost. While the column included much useful information, it concluded that the main obstacle to reform in the United States is that the public does not have confidence in a government managed health care system.
WE CAN"T AFFORD NOT TO HAVE UNIVERSAL HEATHCARE: To follow up on Atrios and Ezra, let me carry the stats in this Times article one step further. Let's use their figures to extrapolate government health care spending per capita:
The Washington Post again committed the cardinal sin of not putting budget numbers in context. It ran an article today touting the doubling of aid to Africa during the Bush administration. While this is mostly good news for the people of the region (restrictons on funding for items like condoms and the usual cronyism make the aid less useful than it might otherwise be), it would be helpful to readers if the article put the money involved in some perspective.
The New York Times editorial page has moved far on Social Security, leaving the chorus of crisis mongers to be an important voice of reason in last year's debate. However, it now appears to be regressing.
Today's lead editorial notes the plans of Chile's government to overhaul the privatized Social Security system that had served as a model for proponents of privatization in the United States. The basic story is that the system did not deliver -- it was not providing Chile's workers with a secure retirement.
The NYT has a good article today on the surge in primary school enrollment in sub-Saharan Africa. It points out that after stagnating for nearly two decades, primary school enrollment rates have begun to soar across sub-Saharan Africa.
BUT CAN HE RAISE TAXES?Mark Schmittreminds, correctly, that the country will need more than an acceptance of moderate deficits over the next few years: It'll need revenue increases. Whatever enthusiasm John Edwards generates for rejecting fiscal conservatism should be tempered by the knowledge that, without tax increases, he'll have very little room for social spending. Relevant here is a question asked at the press conference following his announcement speech. The reporter asked whether tax increases would be necessary to fund Edwards' social spending. Edwards replied:
In the interest of providing the public with better reporting on economic issues the association of economic reporters approved the following list of resolutions for 2007:
(Okay, no such association exists and this list is completely invented, but I can dream.)