Politics, Moderate



Paid family leave isn't just a women's issue. It's an economic one.

To borrow a famous construct from the then-first lady: Women's issues are economic issues, and economic issues are women's issues.

That's how we should be thinking about many of the "softer" policy areas that will be debated in the 2020 election -- and that have already found their way into legislative proposals, including the paid family leave...Read more

Democrats in 2020 are at risk of turning into Republicans in 2016

Democrats in 2020 are at risk of turning into Republicans in 2016, minus the racism.

By which I mean: emphasizing empty slogans instead of evidence-based policy, rejecting experts in favor of cranks, handwaving away questions about implementation and promising that an expensive policy will magically "pay for itself" through economic growth.

It...Read more

Americans have healthier hearts. We have a healthier budget, too.

Thanks to preventive medicine, older Americans have healthier hearts. Which also means, incidentally, that federal budgets are healthier, too.

At the turn of the millennium, health-spending growth was spiraling out of control. Economists projected that the already ginormous health care sector would soon gobble up monster portions of the federal...Read more

Don't make Medicare-for-all a litmus test

Hear that crunching sound?

It's the eggshells that 2020 Democratic presidential hopefuls are stomping through, backing up and stomping upon all over again, as they attempt to satisfy the base's delicate demands for Medicare-for-all.

The left-wing die-hards sometimes argue that supporting Medicare-for-all should be a litmus test for anyone ...Read more

Elizabeth Warren wasn't the first candidate to propose a wealth tax. Trump was.

A brash political candidate forms a presidential exploratory committee. Almost immediately, the candidate announces a controversial policy: a wealth tax on the ultrarich.

Just 1 1/2 pages long, the proposal is met with some cheers but lots of jeers -- about its constitutionality, feasibility, fairness. Right-wing pundits bemoan the appeal to ...Read more

The Trump administration learns that fighting gravity is hard

Fighting the law of gravity is hard.

The Trump administration is learning that, as new data show that the industries it has worked hardest to prop up -- through bailouts, tariffs and other favors -- continue their descent.

Maybe it's the perceived machismo of old, male-dominated, blue-collar industries; maybe it's that their heyday (at least ...Read more

Colleges have been under pressure to admit needier kids. It's backfiring.

Pressure has been building on colleges to stop chasing the same small subset of privileged, highly test-prepped applicants and start admitting needier kids. But new research suggests that the particular form this pressure has taken -- including popular rankings based on Pell enrollment -- has been at least partly backfiring.

In fact, at some of...Read more

The GOP has become the Soviet party

Once upon a time, Ayn Rand-reading, red-baiting Republicans denounced Soviet Russia as an evil superpower intent on destroying the American way of life.

My, how things have changed.

The Grand Old Party has quietly become the pro-Russia party -- and not only because the party's standard-bearer seems peculiarly enamored of Russian President ...Read more

Turns out Republicans don't care about the dignity of a paycheck after all

WASHINGTON -- One useful development has come out of this pointless shutdown: It has revealed how little Republican politicians actually care about many of the principles they claim to champion.

Eliminating "waste, fraud and abuse"? You'd never know this mattered, given their insistence that Democrats agree to spend "only" $5 billion on a wall ...Read more

The risks of a recession are rising -- and Trump might be to blame

WASHINGTON -- Presidents get too much credit when the economy is good, too much blame when the economy is bad.

That has been my mantra for months and months whenever people ask about unemployment, stock markets or any other economic or financial measure, and how President Trump stacks up to his predecessors. Presidents can't power-steer ...Read more

Team Trump should be careful what it wishes for on China

ATLANTA -- For months, President Trump's economic advisers have cheered Chinese economic suffering, celebrating every sign of weakness -- in stock markets, manufacturing, retail sales, investment -- since it surely means China is on the verge of a humiliating capitulation to Trump's demands.

Now might be a good time to put the schadenfreude to ...Read more

If we're going to waste billions on a wall, let those billions be Trump's

President Trump wants a wall. Democratic lawmakers don't want to pay for it.

Here's an elegant compromise: If Trump truly thinks building a wall is such a brilliant idea, he should pay for it himself.

I'm actually not the first to propose this. Last week, Rep. Walter B. Jones (R-N.C.) suggested that our builder in chief pledge "some of his own...Read more

The demographic time bomb that could hit America

In 2017, the United States saw the fewest babies born in 30 years, a stat that produced a lot of hand-wringing.

But it turns out things could be worse -- a lot worse. We could be Japan, whose unfolding demographic crisis provides some lessons for where America might be headed.

According to a new report from the Japanese government, Japanese ...Read more

Trump did what he always does and changed his mind. Why was Congress surprised?

The only way to deal with Donald Trump is to not do deals with Donald Trump. The private sector has learned this; when will Congress?

For his entire career, our dealmaker in chief has relied on a not-so-secret technique for extracting supposedly good deals: He agrees to a given set of terms and then, at the last minute, reneges on them.

He has...Read more

Keystone Cops capture U.S. economy

The Keystone Cops are officially in charge of our economy.

Markets have been plunging, with the S&P 500 down 20 percent from its September peak. A lot of factors have driven the correction, including President Trump's trade wars, his government shutdown and a surprise court ruling declaring Obamacare unconstitutional.

Trump needs a villain, ...Read more

Has the GOP tax cut delivered? Yes -- and the tooth fairy was here just last night!

Happy first birthday, GOP tax cuts.

Normally we don't expect much of 1-year-olds. This kiddo's parents, however, had high hopes -- promises, you might say -- for the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act: It would reduce deficits, supercharge the economy (and stocks and wages), and draw droves of grateful voters to the Republican Party.

So where do those ...Read more

Republicans' relentless attempts to undermine Obamacare escalate American anxiety

"How many times do we have to go through this?"

That's what Kathy Tomasic wants to know. Painstakingly, she has planned her life -- and that of her teenage son, who has a rare genetic disorder -- around access to health care. She did so based on a specific set of assumptions about what kinds of insurance would be available to her family, under ...Read more

One of America's most successful exports is in trouble

WASHINGTON -- One of America's most successful exports is in trouble.

For decades, the U.S. higher-education system has been the envy of the world. We "sell" much more education to other countries than we "buy" from them; nearly three times as many foreign students are currently studying here as we have abroad.

In trade terms, this means we ...Read more

Is the GOP the law and order party? Not so much.

WASHINGTON -- For a party that claims to be "tough on crime," Republicans have seemed pretty confused by what it means to hold criminals to account.

Particularly when it comes to white-collar crimes, or really any crimes committed by rich people.

On Friday, for instance, Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., argued that President Trump should pardon his ...Read more

Millennials aren't breaking traditions. They're just broke.

Millennials are a murderous bunch, a generation of homicidal maniacs.

At least that's the impression you get from reading news stories about my generation.

According to the headlines, we've wreaked carnage across the economy with our fickle, selfish tastes. So far we have "killed" or are "killing" dinner dates, hotels, credit cards, grocery ...Read more


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