Politics, Moderate





Tax cuts were supposed to save the GOP from Trump. Oops.

Tax cuts were supposed to save the Republican Party from President Trump.

Voters would ignore the president's Twitter outbursts; his Cabinet's private-jet and redecoration scandals; the Russia investigation; porn star and playmate payoffs; and many other miscellaneous embarrassments.

Voters were supposed to be so very grateful to have a...Read more

Global boom or bust?

WASHINGTON -- The global economy is on the mend -- but will the recovery be quashed by too much worldwide debt?

Just last week, the International Monetary Fund raised its forecast for world economic growth to 3.9 percent for both 2018 and 2019. Most advanced societies -- the United States, Japan, Europe -- grew faster in 2017 than expected, and...Read more

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CHICAGO -- With teachers, graduate students and political campaigners all organizing for humane working conditions these days, unions are having a moment.

And that moment has now spread to another group of stalwart workers who got into their field because of a commitment to public service: journalists.

The movement to unionize digital ...Read more

The United States is mortgaging its future

American exceptionalism has meant many things over the years, often referring to our spirit and commitment to individual liberty.

Today it could refer to our exceptional fiscal recklessness.

In its newly released April 2018 Fiscal Monitor, the International Monetary Fund projected that the United States is the only -- yes, only -- ...Read more

Space: the new frontier of warfare

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- Sitting at the controls of a Boeing space-flight simulator, "docking" the company's planned "Starliner" craft with an imaginary space station, you begin to understand why the Pentagon is so focused on such advanced systems.

Space is the new frontier of warfare. That was the theme of a "Space Symposium" here this week ...Read more

Politics polarize; community unites

News outlets are routinely filled with commentary and analysis suggesting that 21st-century America is a deeply polarized nation. Countless stories are presented as a battle between conservatives and liberals, Republicans and Democrats, private sector and public.

Political activists fan the flames with talking points "proving" that they hold ...Read more

Immigrants should feel protected by local police, not threatened

CHICAGO -- Most immigration policies impact all Americans, not just the ones who moved here from another country. This is especially so when it comes to matters of public safety.

Last week, a federal district court judge ruled that the U.S. Justice Department cannot require local police departments to help immigration agents in exchange for ...Read more

Deficit addiction -- a bipartisan norm

WASHINGTON -- History is what we make of it -- and sometimes we make a real hash. I take as my text for the sermon that follows an op-ed essay in The New York Times this week by Times' columnist David Leonhardt. The headline tells it all: "Democrats, the Real Fiscal Conservatives." Are you kidding?

It is certainly true, as Leonhardt argues, ...Read more

Time to update the Statue of Liberty

Politics, Moderate / Rex Huppke /

Our recent missile attack on Syria has led me to believe it's time to revamp the Statue of Liberty.

The two things might seem unrelated, but hear me out.

So far this year, the United States has allowed 11 Syrian refugees into the country. That is roughly one-sixth the number of Tomahawk cruise missiles we fired into Syria last week in a ...Read more

The GOP just can't escape the '80s

Ever since he unveiled it on the campaign trail, President Trump's slogan "Make America Great Again" has prompted an obvious question: When exactly was this mythical period when America was last great?

At last we know the answer: the 1980s.

When it comes to aesthetics or general world outlook, the Greed Is Good decade was clearly Trump'...Read more

Avoiding a debt crisis

WASHINGTON -- The Congressional Budget Office last week released its annual budget and economic outlook report, and although the news was gruesome, the report was greeted in Washington with a giant yawn. The assumption among Republicans and Democrats is that the political rewards for curbing runaway budget deficits are too meager to justify the ...Read more

The dogs of war are howling

WASHINGTON -- As sabers rattle ever louder across fields, plains, oceans and deserts, President Trump's words from earlier this year haunt the stable mind:

"I would love to be able to bring back our country into a great form of unity," he said. "Without a major event where people pull together, that's hard to do. But I would like to do it ...Read more

'The Pale King' is the 'Moby-Dick' of taxes

CHICAGO -- This year, we get two extra days to file our taxes. Due to a combination of April 15 landing on a Sunday and Emancipation Day in the nation's capital on Monday, the deadline is the 17th.

It's the end of a long slog for those whose tax season starts in the middle of January, when the tedium of receipt-sorting, document scanning and ...Read more

A balanced-budget amendment is always stupid. Right now, it's a joke.

A balanced-budget amendment is pretty much always a stupid idea. But you know when it's stupidest?

When you've just blown a multitrillion-dollar hole in the deficit, and also, umm, don't even really plan to pass a budget.

House Republicans voted Thursday to make deficits unconstitutional. There is no universe in which this would be good policy...Read more

The consequences of a Syrian strike

WASHINGTON -- After fulminating about retaliation for the latest Syrian chemical weapons attack, the Trump administration cooled off long enough to consider the dangers of such a strike. That's to the credit of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, who favored a measured response, and also of President Trump, who tempered his initial bellicose language ...Read more

An epic power struggle: Government fights tech industry

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg's testimony on Capitol Hill is merely the latest round in an ongoing power struggle between official Washington and the tech industry.

It's a struggle that stems from a core reality identified years ago by Harvard's Nicco Mele. "The devices and connectivity so essential to modern life put unprecedented power in the ...Read more

We can all be guardian angels to vulnerable neighbors

CHICAGO -- There's an elderly gentleman in my community who is known by most of the gas station attendants, baristas and store managers as "Ray."

If you drive along any of the streets within about a three-mile radius of my house, you'd know Ray if you saw him: He's a tall, gray-haired man who walks up and down the road -- rain or shine, ...Read more

It's Sputnik all over again

WASHINGTON -- Call it the Sputnik Syndrome.

Ever since the launching of Sputnik in October 1957, Americans have feared that their economy, which at the end of World War II dominated the globe, would be overtaken by some other country. First was the Soviet Union. Remember (or maybe you don't) that the-then Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev ...Read more

The internet has a bigger problem than the Facebook fiasco

WASHINGTON -- A word of advice for Congress as it ponders new schemes for internet regulation after the "perp walk" this week of Facebook tycoon Mark Zuckerberg: Don't do it.

Zuckerberg is a very tempting target. His serial apologies show how Facebook became so entangled in its corporate mission to "bring the world closer together" that it ...Read more

The downing of a president

WASHINGTON -- We've seen this movie before.

It would seem but a matter of time before the president of the United States is asked a question under oath and gives a false answer. A lie, in other words. In the prequel, starring Bill Clinton, impeachment followed.

When the FBI, after a referral from special counsel Robert Mueller, raided the ...Read more