GETTING OUT OF IRAQ. Nearly everyone except Billy Kristol and John McCain agrees that the U.S. needs to reduce its presence in Iraq. Even George Bush has made "as the Iraqis stand up, the U.S. will stand down" as the centerpiece of his "strategy." Often, the debate is portrayed as "stay the course" (or the hilarious "adapt to win" spin of RNC hack Ken Mehlman) versus "cut and run" in partisan circles, but the reality is more complex.
WHAT WAS THE VOTE COUNT ON THE FEDERAL MARRIAGE AMENDMENT AGAIN?Ed Morrisseyclaims that attempts to out GOP Senator Larry Craig shows that "Left hates gays." First of all, "a poster at Daily Kos and a gay activist" does not equal "the Left." (I mean, what do Ward Churchill and the immortal Some Guy With A Sign Somewhere have to say?) But more importantly, whether it's right or wrong the idea that outing someone reflects "hatred" for gay people
ISLAMISTS ON THE MARCH?Marc Lynch has a new post up about the 2007 Jordanian parliamentary elections on his excellent new group blog, Qahwa Sada ("black coffee" in Arabic). The fear in the Hashemite Kingdom and in Washington, following the success of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and Hamas in Palestine, is that Jordanian Islamists will make big gains. They are represented primarily by the Islamic Action Front, the political arm of the Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood, which is legal in Jordan but not in Egypt.
The Washington Post reports on France's pro-family policies which it tells us are proving effective in combatting the "threat of zero population growth." While I am big fan of policies that lessen the burden on families raising young children, no one is ever going to scare me with the threat of zero or even negative population growth.
Economists know about the concept of productivity growth. Respectable rates of productivity growth easily offset the impact that a rising ratio of elderly dependents can have on living standards, as simple arithmetic shows.
I am not a deficit hawk, but the Bush deficits are larger than can be sustained. I will not explain this further, because I trust that BTP readers know arithmetic. The tax cuts contributed to this deficit. There is no serious economic model that shows tax cuts paying for themselves. The Congressional Budget Office (under the direction of a Bush administration economist) did an analysis of Bush's tax cuts using a wide range of economic models, and none showed them to do anything other than increase the deficit. In a best case scenario, increased economic growth can offset 15-20 percent of the cost of the tax cut in the short-term.
JUST POSTED ON TAP ONLINE: CURT'S NEW HURT.Laura Rozen, who's been on the Curt Weldonbeat for a while now, brings us up to date on the current FBI investigation into Weldon and his daughter, and ruminates on possible explanations for the Justice Department's recent interest in the relationship. Guess who comes up?
�Y TU, MEXICO? Over the last few years, Mexico has been rolling out a universal health care system focused on access to preventative care and free enrollment for the bottom income quintile. The results?
BELIEVABILITY. Folks may have vaguely noticed the sordid story of United Health Group CEO William McGuire trickling out over the past couple of days. In an age of obscene CEO pay, McGuire put every other executive to shame: At the end of 2005, his stock options were worth 1.8 billion dollars. Unfortunately, those options were backdated -- the dates were forged to begin at the lowest point for the stock, so the holdings would be worth more. And now everyone hates the guy. Eat your heart out, Shakespeare.
ONE-TWO PUNCH. See, not all political campaign staffers are the somber, well-bearded, and amber-lit sages that "The West Wing" folks threw out there for our entertainment during the Santos-Vinick campaign. (Well-bearded, of course, except for Donna Moss, Valkyrie Wonk Queen Of the Great Lakes.) Sometimes, they're just, well, dopes.