Saturday September 05, 2015
April 8th, 2015
It's a good thing Americans have no serious problems, because the time and energy we expend fighting over symbolic issues could become a problem. Sure, symbols can be important. The swastika is a symbol, also the U.S. flag. But this week's farcical casus belli involves a couple of spectacularly ill-conceived "religious freedom" statutes in Indiana and Arkansas.
With President Barack Obama's strong support, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has launched a regulatory crackdown on payday lending, the short-term, high-cost loans that lower-income people use to cope with cash crunches - at the risk, critics say, of trapping themselves in a cycle of unpayable debt.
Last year Indiana chose "Honest to Goodness Indiana" as its new tourism slogan. Not everyone was charmed. Some critics said they'd have preferred something more cosmopolitan. Although it doesn't seem likely they'd have been happier with the runners-up, one of which was "Seasoned Just Right."
Now, however, the slogan makes a kind of sense, especially if you throw in a little punctuation:
We are all obsessed with our brands these days, and no one more so than states competing fiercely for jobs and businesses. Some of them are quickly learning that being seen as anti-gay is dangerous to their images.
Like a savvy bargainer on a used car lot, big multinational corporations have mastered the art of feigning indifference and walking away.
What they walk away with is their profits, stockpiling them abroad where they legally remain untaxed until returned to the United States. Then these corporations threaten to keep the cash offshore permanently unless Uncle Sam gives them a deep discount on their tax rates.
If you looked in my Washington Post personnel file, you would find an ancient evaluation that describes me as having "sharp elbows." More precisely, being perceived as having "sharp elbows."
Former Baltimore mayor and Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley made the case Sunday for a challenge to Hillary Clinton, from himself or some other Democrat.