Wednesday September 17, 2014
April 2nd, 2014
Finding a way out of our current political impasse requires some agreement on what problems we need to solve. If anything should unite left, center and right, it is the value of work and the idea, in Bill Clinton's signature phrase, that those who "work hard and play by the rules" ought to be rewarded for their efforts.
It’s hard to get your mind wrapped around Russia’s annexation of Crimea and seizure of Ukrainian military bases there. It was — and many Ukrainians say still is — part of a neighboring sovereign country until mid-March.
And it seemed like Europe had transcended that kind of old-school warmongering.
Most political reporters have already written the script for 2016: Hillary Clinton announces she will run for president shortly after the mid-term elections of November 2014, Democrats clear the field for her, she romps unscathed through the primaries, crushes her hapless Republican opponent, and skates triumphantly into the White House, with former president, now America's first "First Gentleman," in tow.
As inequality has become an increasingly prominent issue in American discourse, there has been furious pushback from the right. Some conservatives argue that focusing on inequality is unwise, that taxing high incomes will cripple economic growth. Some argue that it's unfair, that people should be allowed to keep what they earn. And some argue that it's un-American - that we've always celebrated those who achieve wealth, and that it violates our national tradition to suggest that some people control too large a share of the wealth.
Tyrone Keels is exactly what the doctor ordered for the troubled rollout of Obamacare. He's 27 - making him a much coveted demographic among the uninsured - and eager to sign up for health coverage through the Maryland health insurance exchange.
There's just one thing standing in his way: the total incompetence of state officials.
In the debate over economic inequality, most of the discussion is about new things the federal government should do to make the distribution of our society's resources more even: raise the minimum wage, say, or impose higher tax rates on the rich.
But what about getting Washington to stop some policies that skew after-tax income distribution upward?
Of all people to talk, former Secretary of War Donald Rumsfield is probably the most inappropriate regarding the current state of affairs with Putin's seizure of Crimea. Yes, I know the department name has morphed into Defense but in the case of Mr. Rumsfield, War is obviously the correct title.
As a general rule, more Americans work than do the citizens of other advanced economies. Since the late 1970s, when the number of women in the workforce ballooned, the share of Americans who either had jobs or were trying to get one was greater than the share of comparable Europeans. For reasons good and bad - the higher availability of jobs, the need to bolster stagnating incomes, the linkage of jobs to health insurance - Americans worked like the dickens.
President Obama's first salary as a community organizer was paid by a Catholic group and his earliest social justice work was rooted in Catholic social doctrine. He identified with Cardinal Joseph Bernardin, then Chicago's archbishop, whose consistent ethic of life encompassed a dedication to the poor, a concern over the human costs of war, and opposition to the death penalty.
The first shocking headlines after Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 disappeared revealed that two men had boarded with stolen passports. "Stark evidence of security gap," blared The Christian Science Monitor.
It appears that illegal immigration, not terrorism, was the two Iranians' intention. But media and governments across the globe shook their heads wildly that an airport security system had failed to check an international database for stolen passports.