March 14, 2012
As international outcry grows alongside the body count in Syria, one news network has taken a decidedly unconventional approach to covering the crisis.
Republicans and their allies reject the suggestion that they are waging a war on women. Fine. How about we call it a war on women's health? During a local television interview in Missouri on Tuesday, GOP presidential front-runner Mitt Romney said “Planned Parenthood, we’re going to get rid of that.” As Steve Benen notes, Romney was reiterating a previous promise to “Eliminate Title X family planning programs benefiting abortion groups like Planned Parenthood.” Romney isn't alone: His presidential rivals have pledged to the same thing.
The Romney campaign, as well as the Last of the Mohican Moderates like David Frum, are doing their best to downplay Rick Santorum’s wins in Alabama and Mississippi by casting those states as deeply unrepresentative of the national electorate (less representative than American Samoa?).
Last week Nate Silver wondered how much better Rick Santorum would be doing in the GOP primaries if Newt Gingrich had been on the sidelines the whole time. Using data from the polling firm PPP, Silver assumed Santorum would have received about 57 percent of Gingrich’s votes, Mitt Romney 27 percent, and Ron Paul 16. The punchline: It would undoubtedly still help Mr. Santorum if Mr. Gingrich dropped out--especially if Mr. Gingrich endorsed Mr. Santorum and asked his delegates to vote for him.
The conventional wisdom as polls opened in Alabama and Mississippi was that Santorum would likely be the big loser by failing to beat Romney or snuff Gingrich. That scenario made sense: Santorum was not only flagging in the polls, but had a decided financial disadvantage in these two states. (His super PAC trailed Team Romney in media buys by a seven-to-one ratio in Alabama and a five-to-one margin in Mississippi; it also had fewer ads than Gingrich ‘s super PAC). But now Gingrich is toast, whether he immediately accepts it or not, and Romney has failed to seal the deal.
Given that Mitt Romney is ostensibly the “establishment candidate” of his party, it’s surprising to see just how much of the Republican establishment has refrained from endorsing him. And that reticence is now starting to take its toll: There’s little doubt that if Republican elites more consistently rallied around Mitt, he could probably be spared an even longer, more dragged-out primary.
Since launching his second campaign for the White House, Mitt Romney has resolutely insisted he favored a health care requirement only for Massachusetts residents, not as a matter of national policy.
Fix the Tax Code!
March 13, 2012
In the last years of the nineteenth century, Charles Dow created an index of 12 leading industrial companies. Almost none of them exist today. While General Electric remains an industrial giant, the U.S. Leather Company, American Cotton Oil, and others have long since disappeared into bankruptcy or consolidation. Today, the Dow Jones includes giant corporations that hadn’t even been created when Ronald Reagan first sat in the Oval Office.
On March 9, Carnegie Mellon economist Allan Meltzer argued in the Wall Street Journal ("A Look At The Global One Percent") that income inequality is a global phenomenon and therefore not a problem that can be solved through changes in U.S. domestic policy. He's right about the first proposition and wrong about the second. Actually, he isn't even entirely right about the first. Yes, income inequality is occurring globally. But it isn't happening uniformly. Until recently it was declining in France, Ireland, and Spain. Now it's declining in Turkey and Greece, and it's basically flat in France.