Reform With No Mandate? Ask New Jersey About That
March 21, 2012
My latest article for Kaiser Health News: On Monday, when the Supreme Court hears arguments about whether the Affordable Care Act is constitutional, the justices will also contemplate a policy issue: Is it possible to reform the private insurance market, making affordable coverage available to all, without an individual mandate? The Obama administration has told the court that if it invalidates the mandate it should also invalidate two key insurance reforms that would prevent discrimination because of preexisting conditions.
Why 2012 May Mark the End of an Era of Political Anger
March 17, 2012
When progressives consider the future, two basic storylines emerge.
The Hitch in the New Obama Documentary
March 16, 2012
It’s very hard to watch “The Road We’ve Traveled,” 17-minute documentary the Obama campaign released Thursday night, and not be impressed by its underlying premise, which is that the president inherited a terrible set of crises, and that we’re in far better shape thanks to his efforts. The video succeeds in recreating the clammy terror of the financial crisis, and in calling up the sense of relief you felt when this obviously serious and composed young president spoke so fluently about how we’d get out of it.
March 14, 2012
There are two Democrats running at the top of the ticket this year, and only one of them is President Barack Obama. When Joe Biden’s name first came up, in 2008, as a possible running mate, I told everyone I knew that it would never happen. When Obama did choose Biden, I braced myself for disaster. But Biden turned out to be the right guy for the job. People don’t appreciate what a surprising outcome this is. My reasoning back in 2008 was grounded in observable fact.
Obama’s a Liberal—He Should Talk Like One
March 09, 2012
When Bill Clinton suggested last week that Mitt Romney’s position on the auto bailout must have caused his father, former Michigan Governor George Romney, to be “turning over in his grave,” he was being deliberately provocative. But he was also being too kind. After all, it’s not just Mitt’s stance on auto manufacturing that would have caused his father grief.
Why Nobody Will Help the Syrian People
February 27, 2012
When interests meet ideals in the arena of states, ideals lose out. How shall we count the ways? In recent times, there were Somalia, Rwanda and Darfur—the massacres and the ethnic cleansing dwarfing anything happening in Syria or, last summer, in Libya. In more ancient history, the world allowed Japan to grab Manchuria and wipe out Nanking. Mussolini used poison gas to conquer Abyssinia while the League of Nations postured and then fell apart. The U.S. wouldn't even bomb the train tracks to Auschwitz, the reasons put forward being: We need the ordinance for the war against the Germans.
Form and Fortune
February 22, 2012
Steve Jobs By Walter Isaacson (Simon & Schuster, 627 pp., $35) I. In 2010, Der Spiegel published a glowing profile of Steve Jobs, then at the helm of Apple. Jobs’s products are venerated in Germany, especially by young bohemian types. Recently, the Museum of Arts and Crafts in Hamburg presented an exhibition of Apple’s products, with the grandiloquent subtitle “On Electro-Design that Makes History”—a good indication of the country’s infatuation with the company.
Why Mitt Romney’s Presidential Prospects May Not Be Salvageable
February 20, 2012
Business School Case Study: Company R has the financial resources, the professional staff, the marketing know-how, and the business expertise to dominate its competition. But despite the near-universal familiarity of its signature product, Company R has been dramatically losing market share to upstart challenger Company S, which until recently was little-noticed outside of rural Iowa. Company R is obviously due for a major re-branding.
Romney Is Attacking Santorum for Being Pro-Union. How Absurd.
February 17, 2012
In the run-up to the Michigan primary, Mitt Romney has been on an anti-union tear. Partly this has consisted of broad (and curiously anachronistic) castigations of “stooges” and “bosses.” But Romney has also trained his anti-labor ire on Rick Santorum, the current frontrunner in the state primary. On Wednesday, his campaign released a fact-sheet titled “Big Labor’s Favorite Senator” seeking to blunt Santorum’s self-proclaimed appeal to working class voters. But if Santorum is Big Labor’s favorite anything, Big Labor has a strange way of showing it.