Tim Fernholz

Tim Fernholz is a former staff writer for the Prospect. His work has been published by Newsweek, The New Republic, The Nation, The Guardian, and The Daily Beast. He is also a Research Fellow at the New America Foundation.

Recent Articles

SPENDING MONEY ABROAD IS ONLY GOOD WHEN IT HURTS PEOPLE.

Jon Cohn flags a fundraising e-mail from the McCain campaign that portrays Obama as someone who will spend taxpayer dollars ... on foreign aid! Check it: It seems the Democrats’ would-be president of the United States of America really believes that the rest of the world’s problems, and approval, trump the interests of Americans when it comes to how we live our lives and where our money is spent. A bill he has sponsored in the U.S. Senate, the so-called Global Poverty Act (S. 2433), would raise the amount of American tax dollars allocated to United Nations’ redistribution efforts to $845 billion. That’s $2,500 from every American taxpayer, when many in our country already are struggling to make ends meet. Jon factchecks the mailer and, no surprise, finds out that the Global Poverty Act referenced would spend something on the order of $1 million a year. But looking at those numbers, and thinking about a would-be president who believes we should spend money on programs that aren't in...

THINK TANK ROUNDUP: BIG EASY EDITION.

Late in the day but never last in your heart, it's time for the latest from the research front on issues from parole to China trade. Eye on Katrina, Three Years Later. As of this month, the city of New Orleans has recovered 73 percent of its pre-Katrina households and an astonishing 90 percent of its sales tax revenues, according to the Brooking Institute's Third Annual New Orleans Index. The greater region now houses 87 percent of its pre-storm population and has recovered 86 percent of its jobs and 76 percent of its public and private school students. - RS Impacts of Parole. In 2006, there were some 800,000 people on parole from prison. A new report by the Urban Institute investigates the effects of parole on former prisoners and offers some interesting findings. Combining national stats with the testimonies of 740 male parolees, the report shows that though parole can lead to increased employment and less substance abuse, it has almost no effect on re-arrest rates. - AR Drink it,...

THE IRAQ WAITING GAME.

O'Hanlon, Pollack and Biddle unveil their latest on Iraq in The New York Times today. They are wise enough to recognize the difference between the presidential candidates' Iraq policies, but their own proposal depends on the problematic idea that the U.S. needs to have troops in place to outwait various militant groups who otherwise would be creating conflicts. Having troops in place until 2010 (the Obama/Maliki timetable) isn't long enough for them. Instead, they suggest that half of the troops can be withdrawn by 2011, and the rest dribbled out after that. But look: The Iraqis want us out, and have made clear that they want to establish a timetable for withdrawal, even during their negotiations with the Bush administration before Maliki's big statement. Any strategy contingent on outwaiting insurgents will be undermined by that fact. The various reasons for the Iraqi security increase are still playing out, and will continue to do so. But these theorists need to recognize that this...

WANT TO LISTEN NOW? TOO BAD.

Via Spencer , this Post article on the Pentagon's new program to fund social science research makes academics opposing it look foolish. Look, a huge complaint about the Department of Defense and our foreign policy apparatus in the last few years has been that they've ignored expert information, much to the country's detriment. And now that Robert Gates has the good sense to decide to try and improve that situation, some academics are criticizing the program, suggesting that those who work for the DoD will be liable to bias or have their research misused. One of the program's critics, David Fine , said he will be applying for a grant to study "how [U.S. overseas military bases have] damaged our international reputation and how they've damaged the lives of people around the world." Lord knows that overseas military bases have their problems, but for a guy who'se concerned about bias he seems pretty, well, biased. I understand that there is some reason to be leery, but it's also clear...

IS AFGHANISTAN POLICY JUST POSTURING?

Separate from the issue of whether the U.S. should send more troops to Afghanistan, Adam raises the question of whether domestic political priorities are the real drivers behind both presidential candidates' support of doing so. I'll give you John McCain , whose decision to support Afghanistan troop increases seemed more an attempt to prevent Obama from outflanking him to the right than anything else (unless he withdraws from Iraq he won't even have the troops to do it). But I do think its unfair to suggest that Obama is pulling a 2004-era Democrat move and trying to show he can be hawkish when he wants to be for some political gain. One, I think it's fair to say that Obama and his advisers honestly believe that their policy is the right one. Two, most people are ambivalent about the Afghanistan conflict; it wouldn't be hard a sell to make the argument that more troops are not the answer -- especially when there is majority in favor of pulling out of Iraq. Obama could have likely made...

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