Paul Starr

Paul Starr is co-editor of the The American Prospect. His most recent book is Remedy and Reaction: The Peculiar American Struggle over Health Care ReformClick here to read more about Starr.

Recent Articles

Deadline Dilemmas

The strange thing about the debate in Congress over a deadline for pulling U.S. troops out of Iraq is that the objective political interests of the two parties are the reverse of their stated positions.

Republicans are facing a disaster in the 2008 election if the Iraq War continues unabated. But if the Democratic Congress ties the president's hands and forces a pullout, the Republicans would have an excuse for the war's failure, and their party could move on to focus the 2008 election on other issues. If GOP leaders could act on pure political self-interest, they would be secretly encouraging just enough defections by their own members of Congress to pass legislation requiring a pullout.

Congressional Battleground

Can the public make its will felt through Congress and start the difficult process of bringing closure to the Iraq War? Although the voters spoke last November, the administration has seen no need to listen. But the prospect of another defeat in 2008 may motivate enough Republicans in Congress to break with the administration on the war -- and by acting strategically the war's opponents and the Democratic leadership can help make that happen.

Congressional Battleground

Can the public make its will felt through Congress and start the difficult process of bringing closure to the Iraq War? Although the voters spoke last November, the administration has seen no need to listen. But the prospect of another defeat in 2008 may motivate enough Republicans in Congress to break with the administration on the war -- and by acting strategically the war's opponents and the Democratic leadership can help make that happen.

Bad Plan, Necessary Step

It's dead on arrival in Congress. It penalizes workers and families with good health benefits. It won't significantly reduce the number of uninsured. And it will do little, if anything, to slow down rising health care costs.

So should we just bury Bush's proposal, unveiled in last night's State of the Union address, to convert the tax exclusion of employer payments for health insurance into a flat, $15,000 deduction? No. Anyone with a long view of the struggle for universal health insurance ought to be in favor of it.

Before I bring down a chorus of disapproval, let me explain.

The Way Out

Would leaving Iraq mean "surrendering" to the enemy and "losing" the war? That is how the war's supporters have cast the alternative of a phased American withdrawal. But at a time when the Taliban are gaining strength in Afghanistan and have seized control over a substantial area in northern Pakistan, it is important to remember what the United States legitimately sought to accomplish after September 11 and why the Iraq War needs to be brought to a prompt conclusion based on realistic and limited aims.

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