Putting Manufacturing in Its Place(s)
May 10, 2012
American manufacturing is basically the same everywhere. It’s an albatross around the necks of places that depend on it, preventing them from attracting the “creative class,” which drives economic development today. Except in a few very high tech industries, such as pharmaceuticals, manufacturers are looking for lower costs above all else. That’s why, if they’re staying in the United States at all, they’re moving to low-wage locations. Metropolitan areas, with their higher costs, offer manufacturers no special advantages. These beliefs about the geography of manufacturing in the United States
Who Ever Said Dick Lugar Was a Moderate?
May 10, 2012
In 2010, John Danforth, a former Republican Senator from Missouri, was asked about the possibility of a GOP primary challenge to Indiana Senator Richard Lugar. Danforth pointed out that Lugar was a six-term Senator, one of the Senate’s most respected members, and its leading authority on foreign policy. He warned that “If Dick Lugar … is seriously challenged by anybody in the Republican Party, we have gone so far overboard that we are beyond redemption.” Many commentators will draw precisely that message from Lugar’s defeat Tuesday night by his Tea Party-aligned challenger Richard Mourdock.
The Man Who Beat Lugar Is—Gasp!—Right
May 09, 2012
If you were trying to get a handle on what the Senate will look like over the next decade or so, you could have done worse than watch Richard Mourdock and Joe Donnelly make the rounds on television Wednesday morning. Mourdock is, of course, the man who just ousted Indiana’s longtime eminence, Dick Lugar, from the Senate. Donnelly is the Democratic congressman he’ll be facing in November. Mourdock fulminated against everything Lugar stood for—namely bipartisanship and civility in politics, but also the auto bailouts that saved tens of thousands of Indiana jobs.
When Governor Jan Brewer signed S.B. 1070—Arizona’s notorious immigration law—in 2010, she didn’t just enact what was, at the time, the harshest immigration regime in the United States; she also inspired copycat bills in a number of other states. But with the Supreme Court set to consider the constitutionality of Arizona’s law—oral arguments for Arizona v. United States will be heard on Wednesday, and the Court’s decision is expected by the end of June—there’s a lot more at stake than the fate of S.B. 1070 and its imitators.
Barack Obama, Heir To The Confederacy
April 11, 2012
Florida Rep. Allen West, the Tea Partier notable for being one of two African-American Republicans in the House freshman class, is making headlines today for his dead-serious assertion that “about 78 to 81” House Democrats “are members of the Communist Party.” But I’m surprised that there hasn’t been more said about another recent comment with a historical tinge—the declaration by Richard Mourdock, the conservative challenging Sen. Richard Lugar in the Indiana Republican primary, that Barack Obama and today’s Democrats are the true heirs to the Confederacy.
March 30, 2012
Paul Krugman has a nice shoutout to my "Crankocracy" TRB on his blog and points out that crankocrats long ago seized control of conservative think tanks. This is an important point I wish I'd included. "[W]hat the money of rich cranks does," Krugman observes, "is ensure that bad ideas never go away—indeed, they can gain strength even as they fail in practice again and again." Quite so. Krugman writes that even the cranks themselves end up suffering from the bad ideas they promote, but that they're too cussedly ideological to recognize this. That's true.
If X, Then Why?
March 29, 2012
Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention By Manning Marable (Viking Press, 594 pp., $30) I. When Malcolm X died in a hail of assassin’s gunfire at the Audubon Ballroom in February 1965, the mainstream media in the United States was quick to suggest that he reaped the harvest of bloodshed he had brazenly sown.
Did the Senate Kill Private Finance in Infrastructure?
March 27, 2012
The federal transportation reauthorization passed by the U.S. Senate earlier this month is notable for its (relative) bi-partisanship and for putting in place several key reforms. The bill’s new dedicated freight program, more efficient project delivery mechanisms, and increased in funding for innovative finance programs are all important and laudable, setting the stage for a truly transformative six-year bill in 2013.
My Love Is Bigger Than A Honda
February 24, 2012
In case you missed it, Mitt Romney today decided that the way to endear himself with the state he grew up in was to brag that he buys a lot of the cars it makes. This included uttering a line that will resonate far beyond the all-but-empty football stadium in which it was spoken: “Ann drives a couple of Cadillacs.” Not surprisingly, Michigander Jon Chait has the best theory on what the heck Romney was thinking with this riff, which will take its place as number, what, 27 on the clueless list: It does make sense, in an extremely narrow way.
The Mobility Myth
February 08, 2012
When Americans express indifference about the problem of unequal incomes, it’s usually because they see the United States as a land of boundless opportunity. Sure, you’ll hear it said, our country has pretty big income disparities compared with Western Europe. And sure, those disparities have been widening in recent decades. But stark economic inequality is the price we pay for living in a dynamic economy with avenues to advancement that the class-bound Old World can only dream about.