Archive

Date

April 2nd, 2014

The Plane

    I admit it. I have been obsessed with the plane. Most of the stories I've read offered no new information, but I read them anyway.

    In a way, I suppose, it is a relief to know that the 777, long considered to be an extremely safe plane, was not brought down by some as yet unknown engineering defect.

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The Power Politics behind a Long, Gilded Life

    Let us pause now to pay our respects to Bunny Mellon. She died in mid-March on her Virginia horse-country estate. But no tears, please. Bunny — nobody called her by her given name Rachel — lived a long and rich life.

    Very long. Very rich.

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The Season of the Twitch

    Some of you appear to be very, very worried about which party is going to win control of the Senate in November. Really, you should stop for a while. Take a break. No fretting about undecided voters until there's at least a minimal chance that the undecided voters know who's running.

    Right now, we're in the season where center stage goes to whoever screws up the most. Relax and enjoy.

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Wall Street’s Bonus Inflation

    Not too many years ago, any news story about bonus money would’ve been about some 20-year-old baseball player — an up-and-coming superstar getting $100,000 or so on top of his salary as an extra incentive to join the Yankees, Giants, or whatever team.

    Sportswriters dubbed them “Bonus Babies.” How quaint.

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Who cares about the value of work?

    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.

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Washington Gives Peace a Chance

    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.

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A challenge from the left for Hillary?

    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.

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America's Taxation Tradition

    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.

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In Maryland, official incompetence stands in the way of health coverage

    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.

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Inequality close to home

    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?

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