Public Distrust Of Government Will Not Shrink Government
April 19, 2010
Tyler Cowan makes an interesting point -- countries have had success in cutting spending when the public trusts the government: The received wisdom in the United States is that deep spending cuts are politically impossible. But a number of economically advanced countries, including Sweden, Finland, Canada and, most recently, Ireland, have cut their government budgets when needed. Most relevant, perhaps, is Canada, which cut federal government spending by about 20 percent from 1992 to 1997.
Why Is Obama Opening Up New Areas For Offshore Drilling?
March 31, 2010
The big news today is that Obama's reportedly planning to open up a bunch of new offshore areas to oil and gas exploration for the first time: Under the plan, the coastline from New Jersey northward would remain closed to all oil and gas activity. So would the Pacific Coast, from Mexico to the Canadian border. The environmentally sensitive Bristol Bay in southwestern Alaska would be protected and no drilling would be allowed under the plan, officials said.
March 31, 2010
For the better part of an hour, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has been kicked back in the front cabin of Coast Guard One, the small but handsomely appointed plane on which she travels, chatting easily about the challenges of running the third-largest Cabinet department. En route back to Washington after three days of nonstop meetings in Mexico City--a whirlwind visit made more challenging by the fact that Napolitano broke her right ankle playing tennis last month and is still hobbling around on crutches--the secretary is in wind-down mode.
A Few Kinks In China's Rush To Go Green
March 26, 2010
There was a Pew report released yesterday noting that China is now spending nearly double what the United States does on clean energy projects. (In fact, as a percentage of GDP, the United States is spending less on alternative energy than countries like Italy and Mexico.) That's certainly a striking sign that the United States could be doing a lot more on this front. But, as a caveat, those raw dollar figures don't mean that all of China's energy investments are going smoothly.
Liberals And Illegal Immigration
March 11, 2010
Matthew Yglesias scorns the notion of building a double wall on the Mexican border to reduce illegal immigration: My colleague Andrea Nill notes that this is a fairly costly endeavor: U.S.
The Social Pathology of Dubai
January 19, 2010
Everybody is aware of the drama now being played out in Dubai. And, frankly, the relief given by Abu Dhabi, its abutting oil-rich emirate in the confederation of self-indulgent and non-productive Arabs, will only buy time for Dubai, which will have to turn over to its cousins whatever assets remain under its robes. The New York Times published a Sunday editorial which seems to counsel aid to Dubai, as if any structural disaster would follow if there weren’t any.
The End of Hunger?
January 02, 2010
Famine: A Short History By Cormac Ó Gráda (Princeton University Press, 327 pp., $27.95) The earliest recorded famines, according to Cormac Ó Gráda in his brief but masterful book, are mentioned on Egyptian stelae from the third millennium B.C.E. In that time--and to an extent, even today, above the Aswan dam in Sudan--farmers along the Nile were dependent on the river flooding to irrigate their fields. But one flood out of five, Ó Gráda tells us, was either too high or too low. The result was often starvation.
Adios, Monroe Doctrine
December 28, 2009
The ouster of Honduran President Manuel Zelaya has provided Latin America with a revelatory moment. Beginning with the Monroe Doctrine--and extending through countless invasions, occupations, and covert operations--Washington has considered the region its backyard. So where was this superpower these past few months, as Honduras hung in the balance? More or less sitting on its hands. The fact is that the United States is no longer willing, or perhaps even able, to select who governs from Tegucigalpa, or anywhere else in the region for that matter.
I don't mean to seem hardhearted. But I am frankly completely jaded--and made disbelieving--with the on-schedule, almost once-a-week story about the crisis in Gaza. Around Christmas, they are simply de rigeur. Here's a predictable one in the viciously anti-Israel, truly viciously anti-Israel, Financial Times. It is by Tobias Buck, who, while he can write these in his sleep, wrote this one just for Christmas.
Geithner on the Populist Backlash
December 24, 2009
There's an interesting back-and-forth between Dan Gross and Tim Geithner in Newsweek's year-end interview issue: GROSS: There have been, and continue to be, calls for you to go. How do you deal with those? GEITHNER: I spent most of my professional life in this building. Watching the politics of the things we did in the past financial crises in Mexico and Asia had a powerful effect on me. The surveys were 9-to-1 against almost everything that helped contain the damage.