Archive

  • THE HEALTHY AMERICANS...

    THE HEALTHY AMERICANS ACT. It's been some time since I've run across a genuinely new health care proposal, but the comprehensive reform legislation Ron Wyden 's unveiled today is just such a beast. Wyden, a gangly goofball of a Senator who last turned heads for his tax reform ideas, must have decided fully restructuring the tax code was thinking too small, so this morning, he took over the Senate Finance Committee's hearing room, brought in an array of union leaders, CEOs, and health wonks, and argued to totally scrap the employer-based health system. Here's how it would work: The Healthy Americans Act of 2007 would begin by dissolving all employer-based insurance. Instead, it would mandate that every employer who had covered his employees in 2006 convert the total they spent on insurance into salary increases creating, in one day, the single largest pay raise America has ever seen. Now, why would employers go along with that? Well, legislatively they'd have to, but, as Len Nichols...
  • PINOCHET'S NON-LEGACY.

    PINOCHET'S NON-LEGACY. Reacting to the "communist dictatorships (Cuba!) versus right-wing dictatorships (Chile!)" discussions kicked up by Augusto Pinochet 's death, Matt offers a unified theory of the terrible right-wing foreign policy approach to both countries. Meanwhile, via MaxSpeak comes this very interesting 2004 Washington Post piece pushing back on the conventional wisdom about the glorious legacy of Pinochet's free-market liberalization. Chile's modern economic success, Jon Jeter argues, owes much to state interventions that occurred after (and as a corrective to) Pinochet's reforms. The difference between Chile and the rest of the continent can be stark. When Bolivian demonstrators in October forced their president to flee the country in violent protests against globalization's unevenness, the first Starbucks was opening in Chile. Nearly half of all Brazilian workers do not have a job contract; for Chile the figure is 1 in 5. The number of Argentines living in poverty has...
  • JUST POSTED ON...

    JUST POSTED ON TAP ONLINE: CAGING THE INFLATION HAWKS. EPI's Jared Bernstein says the Fed was right not to raise interest rates yesterday, and ought to lower them the next time around. --The Editors
  • WHY THE "PARTIAL BIRTH" CASE MATTERS: AN ANTI-REPRODUCTIVE FREEDOM PERSPECTIVE.

    WHY THE "PARTIAL BIRTH" CASE MATTERS: AN ANTI-REPRODUCTIVE FREEDOM PERSPECTIVE. Hadley Arkes , one of the pro-life movement's most prominent intellectuals, has an article in First Things about the upcoming "partial birth" abortion decision. It starts off strangely, with the claim that "people on both sides seriously expect the Court will use its decision to overturn Roe v. Wade ." My question -- such as who? I read as much as I can on the subject, and I certainly haven't encountered anyone saying this. The "people" adduced here would seem to be comparable to the extensive list of Castro lovers in academia and the media that Tailgunner Glenn Reynolds claims to have . What many pro-choicers have argued is that the partial-birth case can be used to water Casey 's "undue burden" standard down to pretty much nothing. And where Arkes's essay is useful (in addition to previewing the highly unconvincing ad hoc justifications that will be trotted out if Clarence Thomas makes the unprincipled...
  • CARVILLE SAYS HILLARY CAN WIN FLORIDA.

    CARVILLE SAYS HILLARY CAN WIN FLORIDA. A week ago I wondered aloud what southern states, if any, Hillary Clinton -backer James Carville thinks she could win, if nominated, in the 2008 general election. Yesterday, at an event at Northern Virginia Community College co-sponsored by Carville and Charlie Cook , I got to ask him myself. Carville puts Arkansas, Florida, and Virginia in Tier 1, with Louisiana and Tennessee in Tier 2. That makes sense in terms of ranking, but I pressed him to pick the one state he thought Hillary was most likely to flip, if she were to win only one. He picked Florida. Though I'd agree with his ordinal rankings, I'm not sure she can win any of them. But yes, Florida is the most likely. Asked to scratch out a list of Bush -won seats from 2004 that he thinks Hillary can win, regardless of region, Carville listed Ohio, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, and Iowa -- the last two, of course, being states John Kerry lost that Al Gore won. He didn't mention Missouri, West...
  • STUPID NAMES.

    STUPID NAMES. Like Atrios , I wish that people would stop naming foreign policies after fantastic interpretations of what one president or another was supposed to have thought. Bill Kristol and Bob Kagan set the stage for this kind of nonsense with their 1996 article "Towards a Neo-Reaganite Foreign Policy", a set of recommendations so "neo" that they bore no recognizable resemblance to the actual foreign policy of the Reagan administration. As a general rule, I'd prefer that progressives not try to emulate Kristol or Kagan. More to the point, the project of trying to derive specific recommendations from the invariably complex foreign policy of a presidential administration that operated in a completely different context will never yield good results. All that these efforts amount to is an attempt to associate the author's pet policy recommendations with the warm fuzzies supplied by the word " Truman " or "Reagan" or " Roosevelt ". All right, enough of that. Now time to get back to my...
  • THE FIGHT KUCINICH CAN PICK.

    THE FIGHT KUCINICH CAN PICK. Over at The Nation , John Nichols drops a dime for Dennis Kucinich , who is attempting to build on the 70 delegates he managed to pick off in 2004 and take another shot at the White House. The Cleveland congressman's announcement would have invited potshots regardless, but his timing is especially awkward, stuck as it is on the high-rising heels of Barack Obama's weekend blitz on New Hampshire. Indeed, Kucinich's anti-war appeal in 2004, though sincere, was in large part overshadowed by the extra-Beltway rhetoric and populist fire of Howard Dean . This time around the challenge is much the same: Obama, like both Kucinich and Dean, opposed the Iraq war from the get-go, and his star is burning bright enough at the moment to have kept Russ Feingold bolted to his committee seats. To the extent Kucinich is going to distinguish himself and his candidacy on this issue, it will be, as Nichols points out, by forcing a debate on the question of funding for the war...
  • HISTORY VS. AMERICA....

    HISTORY VS. AMERICA. While Tom makes some good points about meta-historical attitudes towards women, I think the question at hand is really much smaller and more specific: In America, in recent history, in the political arena, what are the precedents? Nagourney wrote : Many analysts suggested that changing voter attitudes can best be measured in choices for governors, since they, like presidents, are judged as chief executives, rather than legislators. There will be one black governor next year -- Deval L. Patrick in Massachusetts, the second in the nation since Reconstruction. By contrast, women will be governors of nine states, including Washington, Arizona and Michigan, all potential battleground states in 2008, a fact that is no doubt viewed favorably by advisers to Mrs. Clinton. In the past 85 years, 27 women have been elected or appointed governor -- 24 of them since 1975 -- compared to just two African-Americans. And, also in the past 85 years, 35 women have served in the U.S...
  • EXPLAINING OBAMA. ...

    EXPLAINING OBAMA. So the Obama hype has been a bit puzzling to many. Myself, at times, included. But watch this video of the speech he gave in New Hampshire. Just watch five minutes of it. It's one of the most remarkable addresses I've ever seen, and, in its soft and irresistible way, it explains the whole of the buzz. In possibly the most telling section, he gives a great riff on health care, which manages to totally inspire while not actually saying anything sweeping or controversial. Watching it, you'd swear he just promised the stars, the sky, and universal insurance, when he really just committed to electronic records. And yet, you scarcely mind, if you even noticed. That's some powerful political mojo. --Ezra Klein
  • GOOD NEWS!

    GOOD NEWS! The president's decision to delay his big policy speech on Iraq until the new year ( via The Plank ) means that he'll be able to extend his current, public listenin'-consultin'-contemplatin'-ruminatin' process for a while longer. And that means that he'll have more time to incorporate the prescriptions of the imminent neocon ISG answer record into whatever plan for a "way forward" he eventually comes up with. --Sam Rosenfeld

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