April 20, 2012
When Dallas First Baptist Church pastor Robert Jeffress endorsed Mitt Romney this week, it raised some eyebrows. Jeffress, after all, was the evangelical leader who roiled last year’s Value Voters Summit by casually telling reporters that Mitt Romney was “not a Christian,” but instead a member of the Mormon “cult.” His endorsement should serve as a warning to any Democrats who expect that evangelical distaste for Mormonism will cost Mitt Romney a significant number of votes.
The Affordable Care Act is the most important law enacted in at least a generation—the culmination of a reform effort, nearly a century in the making, to establish health care as a universal right. Now nine Supreme Court justices have the power to strike it down. Their decision, of course, will have major implications for the future of our country’s health care system.
From Hope to Hardball
Though it was obvious to almost no one at the time, Thursday, April 5, may have certified a momentous change in contemporary politics. It was that day when Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairman Reince Priebus was quoted saying that the Republican “war on women,” a favorite liberal talking point, was a creation of Democrats and the media—no more reality-based than a Republican “war on caterpillars.” It probably wasn’t the most outlandish comment a GOP operative uttered that hour.
April 19, 2012
It’s bad enough that five justices of the Supreme Court, in their deliberations over health care reform, seem to be contemplating legal arguments that jurists haven’t taken seriously for nearly a hundred years. Will they also base their decision on fundamental misconceptions about the Affordable Care Act? The answer may be yes, thanks to some apparent confusion over the availability of “catastrophic” health plans. Several other writers* have pointed out this error.
In case you weren’t convinced that we’ve reached the campaign’s silly season, the War on Dogs has arrived to erase all doubt. It started with Democrats poking fun at Mitt Romney’s dog-on-car incident. The Daily Caller retaliated earlier this week with a post “uncovering” the “shocking” “news” that Barack Obama once ate dog meat as a child (an event he had mentioned in his memoir). The battle moved to a new front when Romney advisor Eric Fehrnstrom alluded on Twitter to Obama’s dog-eating. And thus began the War on Dogs, just the latest of the innumerable wars waged this election cycle.
Republicans in Congress belatedly closed ranks behind Mitt Romney this past week, with House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell abandoning their neutrality in favor of the clear nominee. The goal is a happy political marriage until Election Day in November—and, ideally, beyond. Arranged marriages of this sort—between presidential candidates and their parties’ members in Congress—are practically mandated by the election cycle.
Democrats and Republicans agree that the federal income tax must be reformed. They even agree on some common goals.
Two topics have dominated economic discussion in recent months—income inequality and tax fairness. The Piketty-Saez chart demonstrating the dramatic rise in the income share of top earners since 1980 is this decade’s Laffer Curve, and the super-rich who pay taxes at lower rates than their secretaries are liberals’ riposte to the Reagan-era welfare queens. It’s natural to assume that these two tropes are connected: Surely changes in the tax code since Ronald Reagan took office have contributed substantially to post-tax income gaps between the top and the rest of us.
Last week, I wrote an article describing several purchase mandates adopted by the framers in early Congresses, including two medical insurance mandates imposed on shipowners and seamen. These examples rebut the claim by challengers to Obamacare that purchase mandates are wholly unprecedented in a way that allows us to infer they are unconstitutional, a claim on which they rely heavily because there is no text, history, or case law that affirmatively supports a ban on purchase mandates. Not everyone agrees with me.
April 18, 2012
How the Obama Administration’s Suit Against Book Publishers Proves the Bankruptcy of Our Antitrust Laws
The first thing to be said about the lawsuit filed last week by the Justice Department against Apple and five book publishers is that the defendants very well may be guilty. There does seem to have been collusion among them to fix the price of e-books. But even if the book publishers’ actions were illegal, that’s not to suggest what they did wasn’t understandable. Indeed, there’s a plausible case to be made that the actions of the publishers actually amounted to combating an abusive monopoly—namely, Amazon.