Sam Rosenfeld

Sam Rosenfeld is a Ph.D. candidate in history at Harvard University and a former web editor at the Prospect.

Recent Articles

WHO'S DODGING THE ISSUE?

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." Dean Baker helpfully explains to Samuelson that the major cause of the projected increase in these programs' costs is the rapidly rising cost of health care rather than the aging of the population as such; and thus the intensive discussions we've been seeing in the country regarding health care reform actually do address the country's central budget problem. Maybe Samuelson won't be so...

WANKERY'S POWER.

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. Writes Marc Santora : For months, Rudolph W. Giuliani mainly chose to speak about the Iraq war only in passing, or when asked to comment on a specific event or issue like President Bush’s troop buildup. (He has yet to agree to repeated requests from the Times to sit down for at least an hour to discuss the war and its complexities in depth. Senator John McCain and Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton have already done so.) He has said that there is too much focus on Iraq, preferring instead to talk about the threats of terrorism in general. Not so on a swing through New Hampshire this week. After the publication of an Op-Ed article in The...

MOVIE PLUG.

MOVIE PLUG. I'll second what Matt said 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 . But it's nevertheless an amazingly effective, absorbing, and intelligent film, and the mendacity and incompetence that it documents are of course real enough, and endlessly nauseating. Most importantly, I think, the film avoids the everything-but-the-kitchen-sink quality of many political documentaries (including many good ones) that have proliferated during the Bush years, where various critiques of the administration can get piled on in not-quite-coherent fashion. No End in Sight , by...

SCOTUS PUTS THE...

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.

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?'" Rob ends up answering his own question with a "no," and does a good job distilling the basic unavoidable problems a Cheneyesque approach to governance and policy-making entails regardless of the person's substantive and ideological beliefs. From a slightly different angle -- not so much regarding Cheney's specific bureaucratic approach as regarding his unprecedentedly outsized and ideologically hard-edged role as a partner-in-power of the president -- Alex Rossmiller recently argued on our site that liberals should in fact want a Dick Cheney of their own as vice president...

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