Paul Waldman

Paul Waldman is the Prospect's daily blogger and senior writer. He also blogs for the Plum Line at the Washington Post, and is the author of Being Right is Not Enough: What Progressives Must Learn From Conservative Success.

Recent Articles

I For One Welcome Our New Robot Overlords.

When you look over the history of invention, it's clear that the pace of change has increased steadily over time. Three thousand years or so passed between the invention of the alphabet, for instance, and the invention of the printing press. But the microchip was invented in 1958, and the World Wide Web went on line a mere 35 years later, depending on when you date the beginning. If you lived in the Bronze Age, the world when you died was probably exactly like it was when you were born. But not only is our world changing constantly, we've been lucky enough to witness the arrival of one of the dozen or so most transformative innovations in human history. And given that accelerating pace of innovation, it's a good bet that the next world-transforming technology will come along in our lives as well. Which brings us to some fancy predictions about the coming "Internet of Things," courtesy of the New York Times ' Bits blog : The day when we have communicative socks might not be too far off...

Political Malpractice

Contrary to Republican arguments, tort reform is no health-care cure-all. So why are Democrats seriously considering it?

(Flickr/Lloyd Gallman)
When it became clear that Republicans were going to have to offer their own ideas on health care, if for no other reason than to show they are more than the Party of No, they put on their thinking caps and came up with four . One -- "Give states the tools to create their own innovative reforms that lower health care costs" -- is essentially meaningless. Another -- "Allow individuals, small businesses, and trade associations to pool together and acquire health insurance at lower prices" -- sounds like the exchanges established by the Democrats' plan, just in less effective form. And a third -- "Let families and businesses buy health insurance across state lines" -- is a spectacularly dumb idea that would bring all the humanity of the credit-card industry to health care. But the GOP's final health-care proposal might actually end up happening. The Republican Party wants to limit people's ability to sue over medical malpractice, a cause known as "tort reform." President Barack Obama has...

How the Internet Is Different, Vol. 46972.

Let's say you're a subscriber to Newsweek , or you get the New York Times Magazine with your Sunday paper. Within the last few months, you probably noticed that each of these magazines went through a redesign -- new fonts, new layouts, new look. But let's say in that first redesigned issue, or maybe the second, the magazine contained multiple articles from its regular writers with titles like, "Our New Redesign: Why I Think It Sucks." That would be a shocker: One of the principles of publishing is that, generally speaking, you want to convince people that the publication in their hand is actually really great, and they should keep buying it. Yet that's just what happened with The Atlantic 's Web site . They unveiled a site redesign last week, and their writers promptly went to town on it. "It is no secret within our organization that I think the new design creates problems for the magazine's 'personal' sites, like the one I have been running here these past few years," said James...

Investment Advice From Those Who Know.

The latest New Yorker has an interesting profile of Paul Krugman , and it contains this fascinating nugget: Krugman and [wife Robin ] Wells pulled out of the stock market ten years ago and never went back. "It just takes a lot of work to think about it," Krugman says, "and at no point—except maybe early 2009, if I'd been really feeling daring, stocks really did look cheap—" "We bought a couple of things," Wells says. "We bought muni bonds and some Ford Motor bonds. The thing is, if you look at it on a historical basis, even back in the two-thousands, stocks are not cheap." "They were a good deal when the average price-earnings ratio for stocks was thirteen or fourteen, but now, except at the very bottoms of recent swings, it's been over twenty, which means that historical rules probably don't apply anymore. Stocks used to be undervalued." "I made some money and lost some in the Internet bubble," Wells says. "You told me to sell and I didn't sell, and I should have sold, and I never...

Phony Process Objections.

Seemingly spent on all their absurd arguments about the substance of health-care reform (death panels! socialism!), Republicans have now moved on to making absurd arguments about the process of health-care reform, namely that circumventing the filibuster is like spitting on James Madison 's grave (just to clarify, the filibuster is not in the Constitution). But when you listen to them talk, you quickly notice that they never make a real, substantive argument in favor of the filibuster. Indeed, the word "filibuster" doesn't pass their lips too often. They'll disingenuously characterize the use of reconciliation as some kind of extraordinary, unusual, unconscionable power play in which legislation is "rammed through" (after only a year of debate!), but they won't say exactly why filibusters are good. A 60-vote supermajority is just presented as the norm, and departing from the norm is said to be a problem. Yes, the hypocrisy here is impossible to ignore. And of course it's true that you...

Pages