Archive

  • THE AMERICAN CONSUMER...

    THE AMERICAN CONSUMER IS NOT A GENIUS. Given the sheer variety and innovation Andrew Sullivan exhibits in an average day's adjective choices, there's little doubt that he's a bright guy. But his understanding of health economics could use a little work. Today, he's been purring with pleasure over Mitt Romney 's bill, and doing so for all the wrong reasons : One reason we have a healthcare cost crisis is that the genius of American consumers is kept at arm's length in the healthcare universe. If you establish a base minimum of insurance, subsidize individuals who need financial help, and mandate a universal requirement, you then force everyone to pick and choose from a variety of insurance plans in an insurance "exchange". Inevitably, in such an exchange, you're going to have intermediaries trying to sell various policies, market them, and provide clear consumer advice about what's in them. You get a real market, in other words, where consumers can see trade-offs and make sane...
  • A MORAL IMPERATIVE,...

    A MORAL IMPERATIVE, INDEED. To add to Matt 's point about John Kerry 's op-ed today, I expected that there would be far more interest throughout the liberal blogosphere in the current Los Angeles Times series on wounded soldiers. The series has been extraordinary, a powerful and graphic illustration of Kerry's insistence that keeping the soldiers there without a serious effort to resolve the politics is "immoral." The series is reminiscent of the televised images of Vietnam that eventually eroded public support for that war -- a type of imagery that the Bush administration has largely been successful in suppressing, with its efforts to bar photographs of returning coffins and so on. The liberal web rightly jumped all over Bush and company for those efforts, and so now that more horrifying and unvarnished imagery of the war is getting through -- now that the truth is getting through, in other words -- you'd think more liberal commentators would be all over it. After all, this was a...
  • BETTER THAN KIDDY...

    BETTER THAN KIDDY PORN! This wouldn't be much of a liberal blog if we didn't note the arrest of DHS press secretary Brian Doyle on various child sex and kiddy porn charges. Obviously, if you're looking to stay out of hot water with the law you won't want to be subscribing to any kiddie porn publications -- there's apparently a new crackdown in effect. Save your $19.95 and spend it on an American Prospect subscription instead. --Matthew Yglesias
  • GOOD FOR HIM....

    GOOD FOR HIM. No doubt this is far too late to save his 2008 presidential campaign, but today's op-ed on Iraq from John Kerry is very good. Read it yourself if you want to know the policy details. I especially like that he's tapped into the old-school Kerry and brought a little outrage: "Half of the service members listed on the Vietnam Memorial Wall died after America's leaders knew our strategy would not work. It was immoral then and it would be immoral now to engage in the same delusion." This is true, and most of the establishment pundits and policy types left-of-center in this town don't seem to me to be grappling with it: There's a real moral imperative here. If, as most liberals now believe, the odds of meaningful success in Iraq are tiny, then it's wrong -- seriously, deeply wrong -- to keep our troops their indefinitely and it's wrong -- seriously wrong -- to be nonchalant about the issue. --Matthew Yglesias
  • WHERE'S THE OUTRAGE?...

    WHERE'S THE OUTRAGE? Iraq, health care -- I'll let Matt and Ezra address the "important" issues. Meanwhile, what's with the smear job The New Republic 's latest cover illustration pulls on Anna Nicole Smith ? Noam Scheiber �s actual article is about a go-getter lawyer named Tommy Goldstein and the democratization of Supreme Court litigation in the last few years, but the cover's all about Anna. Not only does she seem to be experiencing a minor wardrobe malfunction, but, in a gratuitous touch, the illustrator has given her the physique she had several years ago during her pre- TRIMSPA days. I understand the homage TNR is aiming for, but still. TAP subscribers rest easy knowing that this publication's periodic Anna Nicole Smith covers are both tasteful and accurate. Unlike fair Smith, alas, we lack the luxury of 90-year-old billionaire sugar daddies and instead must rely on reader generosity for support . --Sam Rosenfeld
  • UHC COMES TO...

    UHC COMES TO MA. We've got a meeting in a few minutes, so I've got to make this quick: Yesterday, Mitt Romney signed a bill bringing universal health care to Massachusetts. The state will now have an individual mandate, subsidization for low-income workers, and a minor penalty against employers who don't offer health benefits. In order to pass the program -- and make no mistake, "solving" a state's health care crisis is an achievement massive enough to anchor his 2008 presidential campaign -- Romney had to negotiate with a Democratic legislature and a powerful, long-standing statewide lobby for universal health coverage. And so he did. This was a compromise bill, not a Republican one. What emerged, while not glorious, is a distinct improvement on the status quo. Single adults making less than $9,500 will receive free care with no deductible, those netting up to 300 percent of the poverty line ($48,000 for a family of three) will be subsidized on a sliding scale, and individuals with...
  • DECK CHAIRS, SHUFFLING,...

    DECK CHAIRS, SHUFFLING, SINKING SHIPS. The latest Iraq policy gambit has the US and UK getting behind efforts to remove Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jafari from office and replace him with someone presumably more congenial to Kurdish and Sunni Arab opinion. As Jim Henley observes this seems to reflect "as much as anything the American obsession with personality over structure. See Hussein, Saddam; Uday-n-Qusay; Baby Sadr; Zarqawi, Abu-Musab al-Zarqawi." I agree. In strictly personal terms, the Iyad Allawi era already was an effort at installing an America-friendly, Sunni-friendly, Kurd-friendly Shiite as leader of Iraq, and as you'll recall it didn't work. The only plausible alternatives to Jafari at this point are members of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, and nothing about SCIRI control of the government will even resolve any of the things that are said to be problematic about Jafari's administration. The West seems to be banking on SCIRI man Adel Abdul Mehdi ,...
  • JUST POSTED ON...

    JUST POSTED ON TAP: �Viva Aplacamiento! Remember when the Spanish �appeased� Islamic terrorists by withdrawing from Iraq? Two years later, they seem to be doing okay, explains Matt . On a completely different subject, subscriptions are still available. It's a sweet deal for a sweet magazine. --The Editors
  • BUT WITHOUT DST...

    BUT WITHOUT DST IT'S ACTUALLY ONLY 12:02. Someone's been smoking something over at the AP, and now treats us to this funky little story about a slightly jerry-rigged number set: Call it a coincidental sign of our digital times or a reason to stay up late and stare at the clock. Either way, early Wednesday morning the time and date will be 01-02-03-04-05-06. At 1:02 a.m. and three seconds on Wednesday, April 5, 2006, it will be the first hour of the day, the second minute of the hour, the third second of that precious minute in the fourth month and the fifth day of ... uh oh. It's not really the sixth year. It's actually 2006 � only in our shorthand is it '06. "It just happens to be a chronological oddity," said Geoff Chester, spokesman for the U.S. Naval Observatory, an official world atomic clock timekeeper. You know what's not a chronological oddity? A subscription to The American Prospect Online. It's just $14.95 for a year -- and you don't have to stay up late to check it out. --...
  • HOW A PRINCIPLE...

    HOW A PRINCIPLE BECOMES INCONVENIENT. Interesting : Supporters of a guest worker program that would let illegal immigrants stay in the United States said Tuesday they don't have enough Senate votes to overcome objections from conservatives who oppose the measure on grounds it amounts to amnesty. As negotiators worked on a compromise to let those who have been here longest remain, Sen. John McCain (news, bio, voting record), R-Ariz., said a majority in the 100-member Senate support his and Massachusetts Democratic Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (news, bio, voting record)'s proposal to provide green cards to illegal immigrants after they've worked in the U.S. for six years. But it takes 60 senators to overcome opponents' parliamentary tactics, and McCain said he doesn't have that many. So you think Bill Frist will stick to his guns and demand that his caucus give McCain's bill an up-or-down vote? Yeah, me neither. But I do think all you good progressives out there will stick to your guns, reach...

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