Today's New York Times op-ed page carries two separate citations from last week's Aspen Ideas Festival, which probably means the thing has already paid for itself. The ideas cited are good ones, but the increasing dominance of corporate-sponsored idea-disseminators like the Aspen festival and the TED conferences (gently lampooned by my friend Nathan Heller in a recent New Yorker takeout) makes me wonder whether ideas upsetting to the moneyed classes will become harder to shoehorn into the national conversation.
Here’s what I don’t get. Everybody on the right is screaming and yelling about how the Supreme Court has labelled President Obama a tax-raiser for imposing a financial penalty on people who don’t purchase health insurance. So, okay, it’s a tax, but it will only be leveled against a small group of taxpayers who can’t be induced by new government subsidies to purchase health insurance. If you accept that it’s a tax, as Romney belatedly is doing, then you also have to accept that the Supreme Court was right not to strike down Obamacare.
Here's what I don't get. Everybody on the right is screaming and yelling about how the Supreme Court has labelled President Obama a tax-raiser for imposing a financial penalty on people who don't purchase health insurance. So, okay, it's a tax, but it will only be leveled against a small group of taxpayers who can't be induced by new government subsidies to purchase health insurance. If you accept that it's a tax, as Romney belatedly is doing, then you also have to accept that the Supreme Court was right not to strike down Obamacare.
My latest TRB column is about Mitt Romney's second-best idea.
I LONG AGO GAVE UP trying to figure out who the “real” Mitt Romney is, but among the various claimants to that title is a guy who would like to index the minimum wage to inflation.
I'm on vacation. You'll have to muddle through without me until July 6. TNR's "The Plank" is already doing considerably better than that. See also TNR's reprint of Ron Rosenbaum's peerless 10th anniversary Watergate Wallow from 1982.
The Washington Post’s Ezra Klein has a fascinating post on the relationship between taxation and spending. It’s an article of faith among some conservatives that if you “starve the beast” that is federal spending by cutting taxes then spending will eventually have to come down. It’s been pointed out more than once that this hasn’t worked very well in the past. Cutting taxes without also cutting spending mainly has the long-term effect of increasing the deficit.
Be glad you aren’t Sentinel HC, the wingnut subsidiary of Penguin. Today it’s publishing Marco Rubio’s new memoir, An American Son. That makes it just about the worst possible time for Romney aides to confirm that Rubio is not being vetted (and therefore is unlikely to be considered) for the vice-presidential slot. A whole lot of copies of Rubio’s book are thereby consigned to the remainder bin.
Jonathan Cohn is right that Obama’s much-touted June 14 economic speech presented a devastating but truthful and fair critique of Mitt Romney’s economic plan. Noam Scheiber is right that political commentators who fault the speech for lacking poetry or novelty are missing the point: This speech was intended to delineate, in simple, direct terms, the differences between Obama’s approach to the economy and Romney’s.
Yesterday I explained why the Fed's new report on family finances from 2007-2010 shouldn't prompt us to stop thinking about income distribution and start thinking about wealth distribution. Today I'm going to focus on something the Fed report has got me thinking about: the Republican-ness of the 2007-2009 recession and the weak recovery that's followed. By this I do not mean that Republican politicians are to blame for the recession. As it happens, they are--the recession began on President George W.