Why Liberians Are so Unimpressed by Their President’s Nobel Prize
October 11, 2011

Monrovia, Liberia—The sirens usually sound on Monrovia’s Tubman Boulevard in the early evening. In the Sinkor district of the Liberian capital SUVs belonging to NGOs, motorbikes, and local jalopies pull over to either side of the road to make way for the absurdly over-sized motorcade that follows. There are men with guns in pickups, cars and four-wheel drive vehicles, perhaps an ambulance, and U.N. personnel in bulky Nissan Patrols.

The Health Care Regulatory Race To the Bottom
May 26, 2011

The one health care proposal Republicans can agree on is to allow insurers to sell health insurance across state lines. Liberals object that this would create a regulatory race to the bottom.

Does Peter Orszag Expose The Flaw In Liberalism?
December 16, 2010

Will Wilkinson sees Peter Orszag taking a job with Citibank as evidence of deep flaws within the liberal idea: In my opinion, the seeming inevitability of Orszag-like migrations points to a potentially fatal tension within the progressive strand of liberal thought. Progressives laudably seek to oppose injustice by deploying government power as a countervailing force against the imagined opressive and exploitative tendencies of market institutions.

The Opportunist
October 20, 2010

Leo and His Circle: The Life of Leo Castelli By Annie Cohen-Solal (Alfred A. Knopf, 540 pp., $35) I. Annie Cohen-Solal’s new biography of Leo Castelli, the art dealer who will forever be associated with the meteoric rise of Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg in the years around 1960, has set me to thinking about the interest that men and women who run galleries inspire among a fairly wide public.

Elizabeth Warren's Enemies List
August 01, 2010

If President Obama appoints Elizabeth Warren to run the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection, at least some parts of the financial industry are likely to fight her nomination. But which ones? One way to answer that question is to go through the 2005 book, All Your Worth, she co-wrote with her daughter. It’s a financial advice book, but it also singles out three groups for particular scorn. And it’s not hard to imagine those groups would be among those most opposed to her nomination. Here they are: 1. Credit Card Companies: Warren advised her readers to stay away from credit cards.

The New Vulnerability
June 07, 2010

Cyber War: The Next Threat to National Security and What to Do About It By Richard A. Clarke and Robert K.

Return of the Bush-McCain "Reform" Agenda
February 17, 2010

Allowing individuals to purchase health insurance policies sold in other states is a key feature of every Republican health care proposal It's also a horrible idea, as Jonathan Chait and Ezra Klein have both explained today. You should read both of their critiques. If they don't convince you, I'd recommend an article Robert Gordon wrote for Slate, back when John McCain embraced the proposal in his presidential campaign. As Gordon put it: Today, insurance companies need to follow the laws of the states where they sell individual insurance plans, just as credit-card companies did before 1978.

THE PICTURE: Recession Proof
February 02, 2010

This is the opening shot of The Picture--my new, biweekly column. I’m not planning to restrict myself to the visual arts here, although they will certainly be a central concern. I want to range more widely than I have in the past, writing about the interlocking worlds of books and pictures and culture that are my lifeblood, my passion. I may describe a forgotten novel that I picked up in a secondhand bookstore. Or salute the life and work of a friend who’s not around anymore. From time to time, I'll dedicate a column to a painting that's excited me in a museum in Milwaukee or San Francisco.

Gordon Brown's Financial Shock and Awe
November 10, 2009

There are two broad views on our newly resurgent global bubbles--the increase in asset prices in emerging markets, fuelled by capital inflows, with all the associated bells and whistles (including dollar depreciation). These run-ups in stock market values and real estate prices are either benign or the beginnings of a major new malignancy. The benign view, implicit in Secretary Geithner’s position at the G20 meeting last weekend, is most clearly articulated by Frederic (Ric) Mishkin, former member of the Fed’s Board of Governors and author of "The Next Great Globalization: How Disadvantaged N

The Geithner Disaster
March 20, 2009

Being Treasury secretary is usually not a job that calls for great political skills. But with a banking crisis crippling the economy and threatening to turn a recession into a depression, Tim Geithner has been plunged into the center of politics--as both the person responsible for what the administration should do, and as the main exponent of that policy. But he has faltered in crafting an effective policy and failed miserably in putting it forward.