Politics

February 23, 2009

Don't Forget The Rest Of The Budget
12:00 AM

  Ezra Klein, in his article on the White House fiscal responsibility summit that Jon linked to earlier, posts the above chart and says: Government spending and Social Security, it says, will hold relatively constant in coming years. It's Medicare and Medicaid that chew up federal spending. Isn't that second sentence sort of an odd interpretation of this chart? Clearly, the projected growth rate of health care costs is unsustainable, and finding ways to change that ought to be, far and away, the country's top fiscal priority.

$900 Million From U.s. To Gaza: Is The Administration Nuts?
12:00 AM

I saw the news on Reuters right after I noticed in Ha'aretz that Qatar, one of the world's wealthiest countries, was contributing the handsome sum of $40 million to its suffering brothers and sisters in Gaza. That won't break Qatar's bank. It's tip money for them. But America's bank is already broken. Or at least that's what the president is telling us. And no one can say that he's lying. Hillary Clinton is going to Egypt to meet with our Quartet partners in cohort with a conference especially convened to plan assistance for the Strip and its people.

Last Word (today) On Fiscal Responsibility
12:00 AM

Just now at the fiscal responsibility summit, budget director Peter Orszag reiterated President Obama's commitment to reforming health care this year. America faces as an entitlements problem, but, Orszag reminded everybody, "Health care reform is entitlement reform." This was after an introduction by Bob Greenstein, longtime director of the Center for Budget and Policy and Priorities, who made the same essential point. And, yes, Senator John McCain was among the many conservatives in attendance.

Liberals Vs. Centrists
12:00 AM

This is a pretty long, meta blog post. You've been warned. But try to stay with me here.

One More Time: The Budget Crisis Is A Health Care Crisis
12:00 AM

Still worried today's fiscal responsibility summit means there's a secret plan to cut Social Security? Then pay attention to Peter Orszag, Obama's budget director and bona fide fiscal conservative, who said this on CNN this morning: "Health care is clearly the key to our fiscal future, so we need to get health care costs under control and we want to do that this year." It's all about health care. And this administration knows it.  Update: Paul Krugman has a wonderfully simple explanation of why this is the case.  --Jonathan Cohn 

February 22, 2009

Obama's Truly Courageous Budget Move
12:00 AM

On Friday I argued that, while the president's push to make his budget honest and transparent was great public policy, it wasn't quite as courageous as the White House suggested. But there is one element of Obama's first budget that strikes me as genuinely courageous.

The Elusiveness Of Compromises
12:00 AM

Sunday's op-ed page in the New York Times includes two essays about how to end the culture wars. In one, Slate's William Saletan argues that liberals should seek to lower the number of abortions by strongly advocating the use of birth control. This is a splendid idea, and not only because it might lead to fewer abortions. It would also divide the religious right, pitting ultramontaine Catholics against (comparatively moderate) Protestant evangelicals who don't oppose the use of birth control.

Obama's Truly Courageous Budget Move
12:00 AM

On Friday I argued that, while the president's push to make his budget honest and transparent was great public policy, it wasn't quite as courageous as the White House suggested. But there is one element of Obama's first budget that strikes me as genuinely courageous.

American Delegation Silent As Durban Ii Embarks On Another Anti-democratic, Anti-liberal, Anti-semitic, Anti-israel, Holocaust-denying Witches' Sabbath
12:00 AM

Anne Bayefsky, who oversees EYE on the UN, a truly liberal NGO in Geneva, has been writing about the Durban II outrage for many months. This analysis appeared in Forbes today. I attach it here. The main reason I do this is that I gave the benefit of the doubt to the administration's motives in sending a delegation to the preparatory sessions in Geneva where some interventions proved just how weak we are and where also on other matters on which we should have intervened we skulked into the woodwork.

The Foush And The Furious
12:00 AM

Last week, Valleywag broke down Obama's team of web gurus, trying to ascertain what slice of the big win each is responsible for. From Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes to Jascha Franklin-Hodge, co-founder and CTO of Blue State Digital, it seems a lot of new media heavyweights played a big part in putting Obama in the White House.  But Valleywag seems to have forgotten Rahaf Harfoush--author, journalist, blogger, poet, lecturer, and "new media evangelist" at large. Who is Rahaf Harfoush, you ask? Exactly.

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