Archive for the ‘Domestic Policy’ Category

  • Obama and the myth of job creation

    on Jan 28, 10 • in All Columns, Business, Community, Domestic Policy, Politics, Social Policy • with Comments Off

    Obama and the myth of job creation

    A president’s speechwriter, desperate to relieve the rhetorical ramble of a State of the Union, will often stage a special guest in the gallery, or a line or two from a letter – anything to generate something like intimacy. Wednesday night, President Obama described the letters that he reads “each night. The toughest to read,” he said, “are those written by children, asking … when their mom or dad will be able to go back to work.” Does official Washington really believe that we’re waiting for government to generate jobs, somehow? What is the effect

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  • Both sides of the debate should want government out of the abortion issue

    on Dec 1, 09 • in All Columns, Domestic Policy, Politics, Social Policy • with Comments Off

    Both sides of the debate should want government out of the abortion issue

    There is no issue more divisive or distressing – or more manipulated in service to bloc-headed politics – than abortion. As the Senate debates healthcare reform this week, abortion confronts us like an unwanted pregnancy itself. Most of us wish it would just go away. But there is a solution, if we focus on the right question: how to get government out of the issue entirely. The first step is to create space for an honest national conversation about abortion – something we haven’t had since Roe v. Wade. That 1973 Supreme Court ruling made

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  • Calling Obama a socialist hides the real debate

    on Nov 5, 09 • in All Columns, Domestic Policy, Politics, Social Policy • with Comments Off

    Calling Obama a socialist hides the real debate

    San Francisco Approaching a year in office, President Obama is not only waging two wars overseas, he’s fighting a serious perception battle at home. It’s more serious than an uncivil war of words and far-right rants about socialism and government-run healthcare. It challenges every dimension of the change and reform he promised this country. The heart of the problem is that his far-reaching agenda hasn’t appealed to the better judgment of the broad political center, not to mention the right. He still can – if he enlists individual choice more effectively. The power of personal

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  • Cap and trade is still the right call

    on Sep 4, 09 • in All Columns, Domestic Policy, Environment, Politics • with Comments Off

    The great debate over how – and how much – to reduce the greenhouse gasses we emit while consuming energy is heating up. And in what passes for sport in Washington, wise policy is getting whomped by trivial tax politics. The Obama administration and House Democrats just lofted energy and climate legislation to create a “cap and trade” system for carbon dioxide. But then, stunningly, they ran the right play in the wrong direction – contending that cap and trade is somehow more politically plausible because it won’t look as bad as a direct tax

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  • What can America learn from Switzerland and France about healthcare reform?

    on Sep 1, 09 • in All Columns, Business, Domestic Policy, Health Care, Social Policy • with Comments Off

    What can America learn from Switzerland and France about healthcare reform?

    San Francisco Anyone put off by the poster that paints President Obama as a “socialist joker” might take a look at the typical American in the mirror. We already combine the worst features of both socialism and market forces in healthcare, because we can’t seem to learn from the best examples in other countries. It’s time we did – because that’s where the real choices are. And eventually, we’ll have to choose. On the (fully) socialized side, US Medicare and Medicaid consume 8 percent of our national income – about the same share as socialist

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  • Forget tea parties. Bring a pitchfork to a shareholder meeting.

    on Sep 1, 09 • in All Columns, Business, Domestic Policy, Politics • with Comments Off

    President Obama is taking on unaccountable corporate elites this month. Why aren’t you? You probably own shares in these companies; your government doesn’t (at least not yet). Those Tea Party people are right to rage. But they’re reenacting the wrong revolution. When Louis XV’s war debts drove France into bankruptcy, people chafed at taxation, yes – but also railed at an impaired financial system, high unemployment, scarce services for war veterans, conspicuous consumption, and public detachment on the part of an entitled elite. Sound familiar? In 1789, heads rolled. Today, you’re getting rolled. Anyone with

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  • Redeem the Prison Generation

    on Jun 3, 09 • in All Columns, Community, Domestic Policy, Featured, Social Policy • with Comments Off

    Redeem the Prison Generation

    They’re the least popular constituency in America. People we’d rather forget. Last year, a record 1 in every 100 American adults was in prison. One in every 30 men aged 20 to 34. And among black males in that age group? One in 9. Why? Because America’s crime and punishment policies reflect an incoherent mix of motives: justice, retribution, vengeance, the illusion of expedience, the cruel bigotry of nonexistent expectations. And absent decent job training, counseling, and re-entry programs, the system only incites violence and invites recidivism. It’s past time to reconsider our approach to

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  • What if women ran the world?

    on Mar 26, 09 • in All Columns, Business, Domestic Policy, Politics • with Comments Off

    It is getting harder to escape the sense that most of the trouble in the world – whether it’s coming out of the Senate, a mortgage lender, or a tank turret – can be traced to one overriding problem: too many men steering. Had our economic, domestic, and foreign policy been more informed by women, we might be enjoying a safer ride. Doubt it? Here’s a test. Would any of the women you admire have set up a healthcare system as byzantine, costly, and underperforming as America’s? Or a financial system where mortgage lenders don’t

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  • A Tumor at the Heart of Medicare

    on Mar 1, 09 • in All Columns, Business, Domestic Policy, Health Care • with Comments Off

    GENERATING efficiency in the health-care market will be one of President Obama’s greatest challenges. To do this, he will have to create meaningful competition between drug companies, and between public and private plans. Congress’s attempt at market-driven health care offers good instruction in what not to do. Medicare Part D, the prescription benefit that went into effect three years ago, was supposed to let the elderly get their medicines more cheaply by creating competition between private insurers. Yes, the program has undeniably improved access to prescriptions. But the cost to taxpayers has been 3.5 times

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  • An Environmental Blueprint for the Obama Administration

    on Dec 14, 08 • in All Columns, Business, Domestic Policy, Environment • with Comments Off

    Instead of placing sketchy bets with public money, the next administration might consider a few suggestions: First, Subsidies: To start leveling the field, phase out and eliminate subsidies and tax breaks for oil companies (begin there; coal comes later). The subsidies were established – and meant to be temporary – in an era when that industry needed help. Oil now gets larger tax incentives relative to its size than any other U.S. industry. It’s time to roll them back, not escalate subsidies for alternative fuels in a multi-front bidding war. Don’t shift subsidies from fossil fuels to

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