Archive

  • More Corruption in the Health Care Industry: If Only Economists Knew Economics

    The NYT has yet another story detailing the problems of patent monopolies in the health care industry. This time the problem is a diagnostic device of questionable accuracy. Economists know that the monopoly profits created by patents give drug and medical equipment companies enormous incentives to lie about the merits of their products. But, economists almost never talk about this implication of their theory. As long as an auto worker is getting more than $20 an hour or a textile worker is getting more than $10 an hour, economists won't have time to waste worrying about drug and medical supply companies ripping the country off for billions at the same time that they jeopordize public health. --Dean Baker
  • SCAPEGOAT? MORE LIKE A GOOD START.

    SCAPEGOAT? MORE LIKE A GOOD START. The Washington Post's Sally Quinn seems strangely confident that Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld will recognize that he is hurting America and step down following the midterm elections. I'm not holding my breath, but I would certainly welcome this long-overdue development -- Rumsfeld holds great responsibility for the disaster in Iraq and for the growing problems in Afghanistan. The ongoing revelations in the press and in Cobra II , Fiasco , and now Bob Woodward's State of Denial have made that clear. Needless to say, I also believe that his bosses George Bush and Dick Cheney are equally if not more culpable. Awful decisions like the disbanding of the Iraqi Army should have been recognized as such and vetoed at the highest levels. But, alas, you go to war with the president and vice-president you have, not the president and vice-president you wish to have. -- Blake Hounshell
  • POSTED ON TAP ONLINE: UNTRUTH IN ADVERTISING.

    POSTED ON TAP ONLINE: UNTRUTH IN ADVERTISING. Folks may have noticed (and plenty of readers have made clear they've noticed) the Feminists for Life ad that's been running, on and off, here on the TAP website the last couple of weeks. As policy TAP Online doesn't apply ideological criteria in accepting or rejecting advertisers, and it should go without saying that advertising doesn't affect the editorial content of the site. Just in case that didn't go without saying, it happens that Tapped 's own Addie Stan has offered her take on the outfit today . Take a look. --The Editors
  • SELF-HATING FUNDERS. ...

    SELF-HATING FUNDERS. So that Soros post from earlier today? Ignore it. Folks who know better have written in and convinced me that, contrary to what he told me and various blind sources are saying, he's pumping truly significant amounts into very significant things. Among them, according to my source, are the "Center on Budget, EPI, Center for Economic Policy Research, ACLU, a massive fellowship program for several years, the Brennan Center for Justice, Demos, a bunch of state-level progressive think tanks, the Institute for America's Future (c3 arm of Campaign for America's Future), US Action, Center for Community Change, [and] Public Campaign...He does all the things in the world of ideas that Olin did (though not as much in academia), as well as a lot to support on the ground organizing." Alrighty then. Mea culpa. This is all on my mind today as I went to a lunch on the different funding structures on the left and the right. I need to take some time and organize my thoughts on this...
  • CIVIL RIGHTS SOLDIERS....

    CIVIL RIGHTS SOLDIERS. Via LGM , Erik Loomis 's remembrance of Diane Nash 's service to the civil rights movement is an important historical corrective. In retrospect, these things are always made out to be Great Man conflicts. Either Martin Luther King Jr. did it all on his own, or it was his productive tension with Malcolm X, or Lyndon Johnson . That it was, in fact, countless footsoldiers putting themselves in harm's way every day and giving King's rhetoric force and numbers is rarely mentioned. Similarly unexamined is the amount of sexism in the civil rights movement and how it's remembered. In John Lewis 's memoir, Walking With The Wind , Nash is often referenced, but mainly for how sexy she was. Which may have well been true, but shouldn't quite be the point. -- Ezra Klein
  • OUTREACH.

    OUTREACH. Rep J.D. Hayworth (R-AZ) thought he might feel just a tad unwelcome at Shul recently after he expressed support for notorious anti-Semite Henry Ford 's "americanization" program, and refused to apologize after protests from the Jewish community in his district. So on Tuesday he backed out of a scheduled campaign appearance at a local synagogue and instead sent a surrogate. Some might say that was already a sign of disrespect and not a step in the right direction. But things really got ugly when Jonathan Tratt , a spokesman for the Hayworth campaign, reportedly told the audience that Hayworth "is a more observant Jew" (Hayworth is not Jewish) than those in the audience. That went over real well. Another Hayworth surrogate, Irit Tratt , replied to the audience's unenthusiastic response by saying "No wonder there are anti-Semites." It sounds like Hayworth may need to mend some fences, which at least makes it a good thing he's close with Jack Abramoff . --Ben Adler
  • OBAMA BUBBLE.

    OBAMA BUBBLE. I think Malcolm Gladwell 's next book should explain the phenomenon of political speculation bubbles. Iit happens every couple months: a spectrum of the major middle- to high-brow magazines and newspapers run major features on the same topic all at once. There was the June 2005 "how do we deal with the emergence of China?" bandwagon, which featured covers from The Atlantic , The Economist , and Time . Earlier this year there was the "why are boys falling behind in school?" hand-wringing session ( Esquire , The New York Times , The New Republic , Newsweek , National Review , and a column in US News claiming the media wasn't covering this urgent issue enough.) And now it's time for the Barack Obubble. Everyone is using the release of his new book (much to his shock and dismay, I'm sure) as an excuse to play the "Is he running? Should he run?" game. In the cover story in Time , Joe Klein does his meaningless characterological shtick, while pundits across the ideological...
  • SOROS SEZ. ...

    SOROS SEZ. I previously linked to this Reihan Salam post wondering why megawealthy Democratic donors like Soros are retaining their post-2004 pique and not pumping money into this election cycle, what with its possible 40 or 50 seats in play. Instead, we're getting news stories reporting that "A top official who often speaks with Soros and other major benefactors said they remain upset by the Democratic failure to win the White House and Congress in 2004 and have turned their attention to long-term efforts to build a network of think tanks and advocacy organizations to support liberal causes." During the 2004 election, I had a conference call with Soros, where I asked him why he was donating such a paltry amount, and whether he'd be sticking around to create a serious infrastructure on the left. He replied that he didn't see that as his role, that he thought this regime was dangerous but it wasn't for him to singlehandedly refashion American politics. That clashed with his "open...
  • INFLAMMATORY WRIT: ...

    INFLAMMATORY WRIT: An interesting article by David Savage about the military commissions bill signed by the President this week. I have been highly pessimistic about whether the Supreme Court will rule significant parts of the bill unconstitutional . But at least some scholars believe that the Court will not run (to their undying credit): Many legal scholars predict the law's partial repeal of habeas corpus will be struck down as unconstitutional. "This is an outright slap at the Supreme Court, and it is heading for invalidation," said Eric M. Freedman, a law professor at Hofstra University and an expert on habeas corpus. "This is a core principle of law that was established by the prisoners who were tossed into the Tower of London by the king, and it was preserved in the Constitution. Now, Congress is saying it doesn't apply to this disfavored group of prisoners." Another thing to add, which I didn't consider sufficiently in my first post, is the increased power of federal courts...
  • NAFTA. I've...

    NAFTA. I've always found the NAFTA debate a vastly complicated and hard to navigate discussion, full of competing -- and occasionally contradictory -- evidence that's violently spun by partisans of both ends. So I'm interested to see Berkeley economist Brad DeLong , a neoliberal and once-staunch NAFTA supporter, doing some soul-searching on why the agreement didn't unlock the magical market forces folks expected and catapult the country out of poverty. "Having witnessed Mexico�s slow growth over the past 15 years," he writes, "we can no longer repeat the old mantra that the neo-liberal road of NAFTA and associated reforms is clearly and obviously the right one." -- Ezra Klein

Pages