The Identities Of Wall Streeters Can Be Changed By Their Patterns Of Pay
March 01, 2010

An interesting op-ed, “It is time to treat Wall Street like Main Street,” appeared in Thursday’s Financial Times. Written by George Akerlof, a professor of economics at Berkeley and a Nobelist in 2001, and Rachel Kranton, a professor of economics at Duke, this little (but challenging) piece follows from their recent book Identity Economics, which I have not read and probably could not understand. The book itself follows from an essay, “Economics and Identity,” published by the Quarterly Journal of Economics in 2000. I think I understand it. In any case, A. and K. are literate and funny.

The Dubai Cops Are So Terrific. So Why Is The Monaco Of The Middle East A Center For Smuggling, Killing, And All Kinds Of International Mayhem (Including The Evasion Of Sanctions)?
February 26, 2010

The local police have a pretty comprehensive surveillance capability. So don’t think that, if you’re crazy enough to retire to this economically troubled mini-state--still with large and now cheap villas (and even cheaper Asian labor)--you will have real privacy of any sort. Privacy in Dubai is reserved for Hamas and the vast network of Iranian arms traders, money launderers, and more ordinary gangsters. When the Dubai cops really want to, they can find out what they want—as you’ve seen with the otherwise highly successful Mossad operation.

Yes, The Mossad Did It.
February 24, 2010

The Mossad did it. And, as Carly Simon sang about James Bond, “nobody does it better.” This is not my line. But I wish I'd thought of it. Actually, like my friend who did, I believe that the Mossad is very pleased that every bloody Palestinian terrorist will now worry whether he will wake up from his nightly sleep or instead meet the virgins in the morning. Keep up with TNR on Facebook and Twitter.

What the Republicans Don't Tell You
February 23, 2010

Who says the Republicans don’t have a health care plan? Appearing on ABC’s “Good Morning America” on Tuesday, House Minority Whip Eric Cantor reminded viewers that he and his colleagues introduced a proposal in July. Even better, he said, it would bring down insurance premiums. We have a better way... it's a plan that is focused very squarely on bringing down costs and health care costs for the American people.

Obama’s First Triumph In Syria: Ahmadinejad Will Make An Official Visit To Damascus
February 23, 2010

The news is reported by the Associated Press. It was announced by the Syrian state-run news agency. And confirmed by “Palestinian officials.” A’jad will meet with Bashar Assad, the object of President Obama’s courtship. The man whom Hillary last week basically called the military dictator of Iran will also confer with top guns from Hezbollah and Hamas. I’m sure that their topic will be the road to peace. Keep up with TNR on Facebook and Twitter.

Bodacious? Xtremely!
February 21, 2010

On night one of the Conservative Political Action Conference, as George Will entertained GOP mucketymucks in the Marriott Wardman’s cavernous banquet hall, the next generation of Republicans was downstairs, in the basement, enjoying something more hip. Or, at least, Stephen Baldwin’s idea of hip.   “I know you don’t hear the word gnarly too much in conservative circles, but you’re gonna start hearing it in the future!” the 44-year-old ex-actor told a crowd of about 200 assembled youths.

The Magic Debt Reduction Commission
February 19, 2010

Advocates of the debt reduction commission seem to be engaged in a lot of magical thinking over just how this report is going to get enacted into law. I've been eager to see one of them actually spell out how this could happen.

The Adults Aren’t Alright
February 16, 2010

Adults love to obsess about how the perils of modernity are ruining the younger generations. (They can’t help themselves. It’s how they keep their minds off all the gray hair, crows feet, and erectile dysfunction that stalk the land of the middle aged.) Nowadays, a favorite fixation is whether youth can be taught to responsibly navigate our wired world. Can immature minds grasp the privacy issues that become more complicated with each new networking tool?

I Read the CEA Report so You Don't Have to (But You Should Look at it Anyway)
February 11, 2010

One of the few benefits of being snowed in is the chance to read long documents more carefully than the normal pace of work allows. The 462-page economic report that the Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) released today is worth the time it takes.  On one level, it paints a clear and cogent picture of the path that economic recovery and growth over the next decade will have to take. The principal drivers of growth in the decade prior to 2007—construction and personal consumption—will both lag between now and 2020. Savings and investment will rise, as will net exports.

Nice Guys Finish Last
February 11, 2010

Everyone remembers that George W. Bush’s first tax cut was contentious when Congress considered it back in 2001. So contentious, in fact, that the Bushies didn’t even try passing it under normal Senate procedures. The GOP leadership, worried that it couldn’t collect 60 votes to overcome a Democratic filibuster, relied on reconciliation, the Senate rule that allows budget-related measures to pass with a simple majority. What fewer people remember is the margin by which Bush’s tax cut finally passed the Senate. As it happens, the number of yeas was 62—including 12 Democrats.