Thursday October 30, 2014
August 7th, 2014
Forty years after he slunk out of office, Richard M. Nixon retains the capacity to astonish and disgust.
Just when you thought you could no longer be shocked by Nixon's willingness to abuse power, his seething resentments and paranoia, and his florid anti-Semitism, another round of tapes emerges.
Although the enemies of health reform will never admit it, the Affordable Care Act is looking more and more like a big success. Costs are coming in below predictions, while the number of uninsured Americans is dropping fast, especially in states that haven't tried to sabotage the program. Obamacare is working.
Congress is a joke. But the joke isn't funny - unless, of course, you're into dark humor.
The entire legislative body has been consumed by kvetching, at the expense of actual legislating. And the numbers that highlight this reality are simply atrocious.
According to a Pew Research Center report issued Thursday:
There's a hidden side to today's poverty debate that traditional politicians on the left and right too often overlook or undervalue: the decline in neighborliness.
Perhaps the word strikes your ear as too quaint, simplistic or old-fashioned for an era as sophisticated and raucous as this one.
Thoughtful debates tend to prefer more high-toned terms such as "social capital," "community cohesion" or "civil virtue."
Rep. Paul Ryan's discussion paper on "Expanding Opportunity in America" has much to admire. It puts attention where it belongs - on poverty and upward mobility for those at the bottom of the income distribution. It argues for an expanded earned income tax credit, the best way to reduce poverty in work. And it correctly explains what's wrong with existing federal programs. When it comes to reforming those programs, though, Ryan's proposal leaves a lot of questions unanswered.
Retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens captured our ideal when he wrote of the judge as "an impartial guardian of the rule of law."
The only way to stop the current attacks by the Republicans on women's rights is to use the vote to make a difference. For me the hypocrisy makes it all the worse. It is politics of the worse sort.
President John F. Kennedy was fond of quoting the philosopher George Santayana: "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." Indeed, Santayana's advice makes so much sense you'd think nobody could ever ignore it. Yet that's exactly what Speaker John Boehner's (R-Ohio) doing today by refusing to allow a vote on immigration reform.
The states, Justice Louis Brandeis famously pointed out, are the laboratories of democracy. And it's still true. For example, one reason we knew or should have known that Obamacare was workable was the post-2006 success of Romneycare in Massachusetts. More recently, Kansas went all-in on supply-side economics, slashing taxes on the affluent in the belief that this would spark a huge boom; the boom didn't happen, but the budget deficit exploded, offering an object lesson to those willing to learn from experience.
President Obama's plan to transform the U.S. health-care market is once again in trouble. This time, two Republican-appointed judges on a federal appeals court have invalidated a key portion of the program.
In other words, the U.S. constitutional system is functioning normally.