UNFINISHED BUSINESS. My dad always said being an adult means admitting your errors and apologizing when those mistakes have harmed others. Well, I�ve been wrong about a couple of things on Tapped, so it�s time to come clean.
In a report on a congressional race this morning, NPR mentioned the candidates views on the estate tax. It noted that Republican incumbant was opposed to "taxation without respiration [good line]." It then reported that the Democratic candidate claims that the estate tax did not harm small farms and businesses because it has exemptions of $3-$4 million.
Well, this was not just a claim by the Democratic candidate, it also happens to be an accurate description of the law. There is a large exemption (I'll have to check the latest number -- it rises through time under the current law), with special provisions to allow any tax owed on a family farm or business to paid out over 10 years without penalty.
WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN. As this wide-ranging interview with Bob Woodward illustrates, John Kerry would have made a very, very good president. Much better than he seemed during the campaign, possibly even finer than his performance suggested at the debates. It's a trite truth and a crying shame that our system encourages the qualities that make a very good campaigner rather than a fine leader. It's into that chasm that Kerry falls.
HEALTH CARE ATTITUDES. Kaiser, ABC, and USA Todayjust released a pretty expansive poll documenting the country's opinions on health care. The nickel version is that your countrymen are mostly liberal, deeply confused, and more likely to loathe the status quo than clearly conceptualize potential alternatives. Respondents said it was the third most important issue in the country, behind Iraq and the economy, but before immigration, gas prices, or terrorism. That's probably because opinions towards the system are so overwhelmingly negative: 80 percent are dissatisfied with the cost of health care in the country, and 54 percent are dissatisfied with the quality.
WHAT THEY REPORT: WHO DECIDES? The Associated Press is reporting that a McClatchy newspaper in Kentucky, the Lexington Herald-Leader, is returning to the Center for Pubic Integrity Center for Investigative Reporting* a $37,500 grant the foundation made to the paper to finance a series of stories on the fundraising operation of Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell, who famously opposed the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform legislation.
WHO CARES WHAT ANTHONY WOULD DO?Amanda Marcotte calls our attention to this excellent piece by Stacy Schiff, who debunks claims that Susan B. Anthony was a supporter of abortion bans. I find it particularly interesting because Anthony was able to ask questions about whether abortion bans actually accomplish anything even if you agree with the end of inhibiting abortions, a distinction which eludes most contemporary opponents of abortion rights.
USA Today had an article this morning on rising U.S. health care costs. It never mentions the fact that the United States pays more than twice as much per person as the average among other wealthy countries, yet has shorter life expectancies. I guess we can attribute this to protectionism. There are enormous potential gains from trade in the health care sector (if we can't do it right here, why not let people go elsewhere), but the media is so protectionist, it won't even allow the possibility to be discussed.
Today's NYT has a column reporting on the redistribution from wages to profits that has taken place in most wealthy countries over the last quarter century. While the piece is useful in calling attention to an important trend, it is somewhat sloppy because it fails to adjust for cyclical effects.
Can you find the words �Social Security� in this text?
So what�s our exit strategy from Iraq?
Why do our soldiers have to keep dying?
What about affordable health care?
Can�t we support stem cell research?
Why did we let down Katrina victims?
Why won�t Congress do anything?
Pass a decent minimum wage?
Why are we losing so many jobs to overseas?
O.K., it�s kind of ridiculous to think you�re ever going to get an answer from this (pause) bush.
But it�s also kind of ridiculous to think you�re going to get an answer (cue a picture of President Bush) from this one.
Text: Demand Answers. Vote for Change.
FREE SPEECH. I have to say I don't quite share Pierce's level of incredulity at Rohrbaugh's notions and the fact that CBS would air them. I certainly agree that those notions are wacky. But creationism is no fringe outlook, even if the causal connections Rohrbaugh draws obviously constitute more of one. Lotsa people believe all sorts of crazy stuff -- it's this problem with the CBS segment that seems more compelling to me.