Business

New Evidence of Pharma's Sweetheart Deal
November 10, 2009

Critics have complained that a drug industry got a sweetheart deal when it struck a bargain with the White House and Senate Finance Committee over health care reform. There’s new reason to think those critics were right. It comes from an October forecast by IMS Health, a respected global research and consulting firm. The report, which IMS distributed to clients and which a source provided, projects that the drug industry will see average annual growth of 3.5 percent between 2008 and 2013. Back in March, IMS had projected no growth at all during that same five-year stretch.

Board to Death
November 10, 2009

To the frustration of many a cabinet secretary, the Obama administration is a little behind on its appointments. At this point—with only five weeks to go before the Senate breaks for recess—a little over half of the 514 positions that need filling have been filled. Some jobs are really important: The nominee for the Office of Legal Counsel has been held up for months. Obama’s choice for a USAID director came down just today. U.S. attorney nominations have slowed to a crawl. Other jobs?

Ok, Nidal Malik Hasan Is Not A Terrorist. He's A Banana ... Or A Monkey Wrench. So What!
November 10, 2009

By the way, I don't think I've written that Nidal Malik Hasan is a terrorist. But, believe me, it's not because I pondered the aptness of the word. It's enough for me that, having killed 13 people (and wounded 28 others) because of his religious beliefs--yes, his religious beliefs--and surely also his deranged mind, he is a mass murderer. And, please, none of this crap about "innocent until proven guilty." On the other hand, John Judis is very perturbed about the terrorist nomenclature. Jason Zengerle is less perturbed, and may even be ready to concede the point.

Abortion, Catholics, and the Health Care Bill
November 10, 2009

Alan Wolfe is a TNR contributing editor and director of the Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life at Boston College. Just before the House of Representatives voted on the Stupak Amendment, designed to stop any public funding of insurance plans that cover abortion, the U. S. Conference on Catholic Bishops (USCCB) weighed in with its endorsement.

Should Obama Boost Jobs More Directly?
November 09, 2009

Via Matt Yglesias, I see that Alec MacGillis had an interesting piece on this question in yesterday's Washington Post. There are a variety of ways the administration could target employment directly, of course, from a WPA-style federal jobs program to tax credits that subsidize hiring. Zubin and Kevin Drum have pointed out some problems with proposals near the WPA end of the spectrum. A more feasible approach might be a policy the Germans put in place, which apparently happens on a smaller scale in a few U.S.

What To Do About Juvenile Sentencing
November 09, 2009

In August, I wrote about efforts to reform California's sentencing laws, which allow courts to condemn minors to life without parole. According to the Fair Sentencing For Youth Project, the United States has 2,503 juveniles--in California and a handful of other states--serving life sentences without the chance for rehabilitation, while the rest of the world has none. Today, the Supreme Court is hearing arguments in two juvenile sentencing cases out of Florida, both involving mentally impaired minors who were convicted of non-homicidal crimes and still given life without parole.

Calling Out Joe Lieberman
November 09, 2009

Via Think Progress, Joe Liebeman was on Fox News Sunday this weekend, making filibuster threats again. LIEBERMAN: A public option plan is unnecessary. It has been put forward, I’m convinced, by people who really want the government to take over all of health insurance.

America’s Stealth Industrial Policy
November 09, 2009

Economists continue to debate whether the U.S. can rebalance its trade deficit and lead itself into recovery through exports, with skeptics’ doubts prompted anew by the fact that U.S. consumer spending explained the bulk of last week’s announced 3.5 percent third-quarter GDP rise. Given that, it’s worth asking: Does the U.S. have a national export strategy? Though it may come as a surprise, the answer is yes.

Moments of Truth for Obama
November 09, 2009

I agree with Jason, it simply looks as though we're not getting anywhere with Tehran. This means Obama will have to make two momentous choices in the coming weeks. First, how many troops will he send to Afghanistan? Second, how long will he indulge Iranian stalling tactics before moving to a push for strict sanctions. On the Afghanistan decision, it appear that Obama is headed towards something on the order of 30,000+ troops. On Saturday the New York Times called this a "middle option." That's based on reports that Stanley McChrystal's request included an option for 80,000 more troops.

The House Bill Is "Worse Than Nothing"? Really?
November 09, 2009

Marcia Angell, M.D., is one of the nation's most well-respected experts on health care issues. And with good reason. A board-certified pathologist who also trained in internal medicine, she's a former editor of the New England Journal of Medicine and senior lecturer at Harvard Medical School. Her writing credits include The Truth About Drug Companies and an award-winning article at TNR on the same subject.

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