Robin Hood

Keeping Promises
July 28, 2010

One truism of counterinsurgency is that securing and winning over the population are the keys to success. So, what do the people of Afghanistan want? In December, ABC and the BBC conducted nationwide polling and discovered that one-third of Afghans said that poverty and unemployment were the biggest challenges confronting them. Another third named rising insecurity and violence. Meanwhile, relatively few Afghans were preoccupied by those issues that many Americans deem to be Afghanistan’s greatest problems.

The Right-Wing Robin Hood
May 17, 2010

I have not seen the latest Robin Hood. But it's interesting that, among the other familiar aspects of the legend that are missing or altered, this version presents the hero as a kind of anti-egalitarian activist. A.O. Scott: You may have heard that Robin Hood stole from the rich and gave to the poor, but that was just liberal media propaganda. This Robin is no socialist bandit practicing freelance wealth redistribution, but rather a manly libertarian rebel striking out against high taxes and a big government scheme to trample the ancient liberties of property owners and provincial nobles.

Bringing the Heat
April 05, 2010

This is a tale of two bills—a tale that illuminates how policy-making may unfold under the most progressive administration, and the most Democratic Congress, in a generation. And it’s not a tale with an especially happy ending. The target of both bills is carbon. From early on, President Obama has indicated that climate and energy legislation would come second in his administrative batting order, only after health care reform. (Originally, he thought that would mean last fall, but health care was like a hitter who fouled off pitch after pitch.

Return of the Bush-McCain "Reform" Agenda
February 17, 2010

Allowing individuals to purchase health insurance policies sold in other states is a key feature of every Republican health care proposal It's also a horrible idea, as Jonathan Chait and Ezra Klein have both explained today. You should read both of their critiques. If they don't convince you, I'd recommend an article Robert Gordon wrote for Slate, back when John McCain embraced the proposal in his presidential campaign. As Gordon put it: Today, insurance companies need to follow the laws of the states where they sell individual insurance plans, just as credit-card companies did before 1978.