HEY ARNOLD! This article on Schwarzenegger's halting, halfhearted attempts to bring universal coverage to California neatly encapsulates the central hurdle facing Republican reformers: Taxes. You simply cannot cover a new segment of the population without the addition of some revenues. And since Schwarzenegger's advisors are already ruling out funding streams as minors as cigarette taxes, you've got just about no place to turn.
GO NOWHERE. Thanks to Tom Ricks, we learn that the Pentagon's Iraq review promises more of the same -- an infusion of an unspecified number of forces for an unspecified period of time to fight the insurgents, and an eventual but unspecific shift in emphasis to the training of Iraqi troops and police. This is called "Go Long," but in reality it's "Go Nowhere." This is exactly what we've been doing for at least a year, plus or minus an Army division.
PARTY OF ONE. May I just say that this Orman character is now my favorite person in all of American politics? We're stuck with Weepin' Joe Lieberman for another six years. In their infinite wisdom, the voters in America's File Cabinet pried their fingers off the handles of the slot-machines in Ledyard long enough to send this human hairshirt back to the Senate, where he will maintain his seniority, assume the chairmanship of a committee, and enable public idiocy for the next six years because the majority's too thin for any other course to have been viable.
AND I THOUGHT DISPLAYING RESOLVE WAS IMPORTANT.Apparently not. Henry Kissinger:
�If you mean, by �military victory,� an Iraqi government that can be established and whose writ runs across the whole country, that gets the civil war under control and sectarian violence under control in a time period that the political processes of the democracies will support, I don�t believe that is possible,� Mr. Kissinger told BBC News.
SOUTHERN DISCOMFORT. I�ve learned a lot of lessons from the 2006 elections, including this: The argument for a non-southern strategy simply drives some people batty. They lose any mathematical facilities they once had. Or worse: They blithely cherry-pick election results and poll data. They reach inaccurate conclusions built upon the soft foundation of non-quantifiable statements riddled with terms like "some" or "many" or "a whole lot." Again, I'm not sure what the root causes of this phenomenon are. But I suspect that these behaviors have, um, "a whole lot" to do with the rather inconvenient truths that were revealed on November 7.
STRAIGHT TALK. That new cable fun show, John McCain Will Say Almost Any Damn Thing, rolled into George Stephanopoulos' joint this weekend, where the Straight Talker flipped, flopped, and flew. Gaze in awe. I swear, if I walked up to the man, and whispered that I could deliver a precinct in Manchester, he'd give me his car on the spot. That he plainly doesn't know what he's talking straight about, however, is a more alarming problem.
I feel so old. Back when I learned economics, they taught you that in free markets prices adjusted to bring supply and demand into line. But, these days we keep hearing about how there are labor shortages that can only be addressed by finding lower paid workers in other countries to take the jobs. According to the NYT, the latest case is Poland, where apparently all the construction workers have gone to work in Western Europe.
I am a bit slow commenting on the passing of Milton Friedman because I was travelling and having connectivity problems (in Montainview, CA, the homeland of Google), but I will now chime in with my two cents.
First, I would take issue with claims about him being proven right on macroeconomic questions. Milton Friedman was the author and main promulgator of the money growth rule. His gospel was that we did not need the Fed, we just needed a computer that would increase the money supply by 3 percent annually. While central banks did experiment with this approach (including the Volcker Fed), I don't think that anyone in the world (not even Milton Freidman at the time of his death) still believes that this is a good way to manage monetary policy.