Archive

  • Do Mexican Voters Care About the Economy?

    The New York Times apparently doesn't think so. In an article assessing the Mexican presidential campaign in its final days, there is no mention of the economic performance of the current administration. Since one of the two leading candidates is from the same party as the incumbent president, and pledges to continue the same policies if elected, the recent economic record would appear to be relevant. For those who care about such mundane things as economic growth, the cumulative per capita GDP growth in the first five years of the current president has been approximately 2.0 percent . By contrast, Mexico's per capita GDP grew 4.0 percent annually over the years from 1960-80. In other words, in 5 years under the current president, Mexico's economy grew as much as it typically did in 6 months over the period from 1960-80. As a general rule, weak economic growth will mean weak job creation and few gains in reducing poverty, and this appears to have been the case in Mexico. This weak...
  • WHEN THE LEFT...

    WHEN THE LEFT HAND DOESN'T KNOW WHAT THE FAR RIGHT HAND IS DOING . A couple days ago, TAPPED contributor Ben Adler noticed the contrast of a Marty Peretz post proclaiming his paper's strong, if occasionally heterodox, liberalism sitting atop a Lawrence Kaplan post sighing over "how deeply unserious" Democrats are about Iraq. As Adler noted, this is what liberals bristle against in TNR : not their willingness to "grapple" with conservative ideas, but their penchant for publishing ideological conservatives and other travelers -- Kaplan is some species of neo-conny quasi-liberal who voted for Bush and blasted liberals for, literally, hating America -- who evince a robust contempt of the left. Today, Kaplan struck back at Ben with a contemptuous* post asserting his dislike for Bill Frist . Fair enough. Unfortunately, it sits atop another Kaplan post explaining that Kerry -- and those who support his withdrawal resolution -- are even less moderate on Iraq than, yes, the Iraqi insurgency...
  • REPUBLICANS FAIL TO...

    REPUBLICANS FAIL TO VALUE REPUBLICAN VALUES. This is kind of funny, until you realize that it�s more convenient, politically speaking, for the GOP to have their values agenda keep failing, so that they can keep running on it and against Democrats who allegedly oppose it: House Republicans failed Wednesday to advance a bill protecting the words ''under God'' in the Pledge of Allegiance. Only a day earlier, the GOP had placed the measure on its ''American Values Agenda'' in hopes of bolster the party's prospects in the fall election. But Republicans could not muster a simple majority on the issue in a committee where they outnumber Democrats by six.... Ten of the committee's 23 Republicans did not show up for the vote. The committee will try again tomorrow. --Garance Franke-Ruta
  • THE LOGIC OF...

    THE LOGIC OF WAR. It's hard to know even what to say in response to this : Israel turned up the pressure on Palestinian militants to release a captive soldier Wednesday, sending its warplanes to bomb a Hamas training camp after knocking out electricity and water supplies for most of the 1.3 million residents of the Gaza Strip. What is the end goal here? All I can see is the logic of war. To make people suffer until they give up. Obviously, the stated motivation is the rescue of Cpl. Gilad Shalit and retaliation for his capture. But the bigger goal of what Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert called "extreme action" is clearly to make the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip suffer mightily, breaking the back of their support for Hamas or terrorism by creating extreme desperation and fear of further attack. An editorial in The Jerusalem Post today makes that plain : if necessary, Israel must be prepared singlehandedly to raise the price of attacking us to prohibitive levels.... Israeli...
  • WAL-MART RECONSIDERED. ...

    WAL-MART RECONSIDERED. This week, Slate hosted an interesting debate between progressive economist Jason Furman and labor-liberal champion Barbara Ehrenreich . The topic was Wal-Mart, namely, Furman's contention that Wal-Mart is, in fact, a progressive success story, having driven down prices more than they've depressed wages. Attentive readers will know I've a certain amount of sympathy for Furman's argument, which I believe brought a level of empirical rigor and complexity to a debate that had grown contradictory and problematic for liberals. I�m most taken with his willingness to leave the corporate welfare state for dead and champion the usage and expansion of programs like Medicaid. But enough history. While Furman's take was daring and important when it first emerged, he's ridden it to a level of dogmatism that appears unwise. To read these debating points, he seems to allow no chance that Wal-Mart could do more than it currently does to help their workers, and comes off almost...
  • MORE MALARIA. What...

    MORE MALARIA. What do you know, Josh Kurlantzick turns out to have one of those "not online" Washington Monthly articles you can actually read just fine online and it's all about malaria. --Matthew Yglesias
  • JUST POSTED ON...

    JUST POSTED ON TAP ONLINE: BURN, BABY, BURN. Last night, the Senate narrowly defeated a constitutional amendment banning flag desecration. Free beers all around at the Flag Burners Club! Kirsten Powers reflects on the lunacy and stubborn durablity of the GOP's favorite non-issue issue. --The Editors
  • WHEN INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY...

    WHEN INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY KILLS. As DAS noted in comments below if you wanted to really do something difficult and dramatic to help Africa (mosquito nets being quick and easy) what you'd want to do is revisit the pharmaceutical patent issue. The Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights , TRIPS, is the devil's own policy initiative and its entrenchment into the WTO multilateral process is one of the least-heralded, most pernicious things done policywise in my lifetime. But don't take my word for it. Listen to hard-core free trader Jagdish Baghwati . --Matthew Yglesias
  • IDEALISM IN ACTION....

    IDEALISM IN ACTION. This is arguably a blogofascist position, but one thing I think would be a good idea would be for the United States government to find ways of helping suffering Africans that don't entail starting wars and killing people. For example, you've got all these people dying of malaria even though "there are medicines that cure for 55 cents a dose, mosquito nets that shield a child for $1 a year and indoor insecticide spraying that costs about $10 annually for a household." Since this is an issue that does involve Africa and doesn't involve sex, a lot of the meager political leadership that's existed in the United States has come from your religious right types like Sam Brownback , and good for them. --Matthew Yglesias
  • WMD WATCH. ...

    WMD WATCH . Pete Hoekstra and Rick Santorum have solved the mystery of the missing WMDs. And believe me kids, it's a doozy: On Wednesday, at our request, the director of national intelligence declassified six "key points" from a National Ground Intelligence Center (NGIC) report on the recovery of chemical munitions in Iraq. The summary was only a small snapshot of the entire report, but even so, it brings new information to the American people. "Since 2003," the summary states, "Coalition forces have recovered approximately 500 weapons munitions which contain degraded mustard or sarin nerve agent," which remains "hazardous and potentially lethal." So there are WMDs in Iraq, and they could kill Americans there or all over the world. So all along, the WMDs have been hidden by -- drum roll please -- the Bush administration, who refused to let on that they went to war to discover moderate stockpiles of degraded mustard gas. How weird. If the American people aren't going to support...

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