WHO'S DODGING THE ISSUE?Robert Samuelson is furious at the country's think tanks for dodging the great question of the era: How the aging of the Boomers is going to require drastic and painful transformations in the American welfare state. He not only pulls the old trick of grouping "Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid" together when the programs actually face very different respective budget outlooks -- he explicitly complains that Social Security and Medicare "are usually treated separately" in think tank analyses, while "the larger questions of adjusting to an aging society are mostly evaded."
WANKERY'S POWER. The Times's campaign blog provides a nice illustration of just what kind of a political impact an op-ed like Michael O'Hanlon and Ken Pollack's can have, regardless of whether or not headlines just keep coming of continuous carnage in Iraq and ever-worsening news regarding the very political dynamic the surge was intended to improve. WritesMarc Santora:
MOVIE PLUG. I'll second what Mattsaid about Charles Ferguson's new documentary about the first year of the American occupation of Iraq, No End in Sight. I think the very structure of the film -- focusing on and portraying the initial missteps in the first phase of the occupation as avoidable but decisive turning points that doomed any future efforts -- along with the implication of various points emphasized throughout basically make the film an incompetence narrative of the war, which I resist.
SCOTUS PUTS THE FIX IN ON PRICES (JARED BERNSTEIN). Yesterday, the free-marketeers on the Supreme Court signed off on a plan to fix prices. It's a strange thing when those who usually argue for an unfettered invisible hand reach for the handcuffs, so let's spend a few minutes unpacking this one.
AFTER CHENEY. Don't miss, over at LGM, Rob's thoughts on Dick Cheney's power and bureaucratic effectiveness as documented so amply this week in The Washington Post's justly-praised series. "He's a bastard, but within the narrow confines of negotiating and navigating government bureaucracy, he's a magnificent bastard," writes Rob. "Perhaps inevitably, it occurs to me to wonder 'what if he were our bastard?'"