Stop Blaming the Tax Code For America’s Inequality Problem
April 19, 2012
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.
No, the Election Isn't Just a Referendum on Obama
April 15, 2012
In his TNR column last week, my esteemed colleague and mentor William Galston expressed one of the more regularly repeated convictions about presidential politics: Reelection campaigns are a referendum on the incumbent. As he wrote: One of the best established findings of contemporary political science is that in presidential contests involving an incumbent, the incumbent’s record is central to the public’s judgment.
April 11, 2012
Sen. Barry Goldwater used to claim that whenever Ronald Reagan's CIA director, Bill Casey, lied while testifying before the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, his deputy, Bobby Inman, would lean forward and pull up his socks to signal to the interrogators that Casey was not telling the truth. Apparently Robert McNamara, defense secretary under Presidents Kennedy and Johnson, used the same method on himself.
The Republican Party’s alleged “war” against women is fast emerging as a major trope of the 2012 elections. And the charge is largely true: As the GOP has become increasingly conservative, so too has it become increasingly hostile to feminism and insensitive to women’s issues. But Democrats have not merely been horrified bystanders wringing their hands as this “war” has unfolded. The Democratic Party has actively encouraged the GOP’s descent into antifeminism.
Back To 1956
April 06, 2012
Please take a look at the following two charts, from an April 2 report by the nonprofit Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, because I want you to note an alarming trend. The average federal income tax rate for a median-income family of four—a reasonable indicator of how heavily America taxes its citizens—has been rising since President Obama took office. This year the average family of four at the median income can expect to pay 5.6 percent of its income in federal income taxes.
Double Down on Bipartisanship!
March 15, 2012
The Higher Education Monopoly is Crumbling As We Speak
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.
The 2012 GOP nominating contest has witnessed the final triumph of an unlikely figure. I say “unlikely” because his name hasn’t been invoked much (if at all) by any of the candidates, nor has he been mentioned frequently by the press in its campaign coverage. What’s more, he died in 2007.
No Enemies to the Right: The Defining Element of the GOP Primary
February 25, 2012
There was, last week, a brief but thrilling moment in the GOP presidential contest: It seemed like, for the first time, a candidate would be attacked for being, not too liberal, but too far right. Back in the day, that wouldn’t have been too unusual, as when George H.W.
Karl Rove Wants His Message Back
February 07, 2012
As a friend of mine* once said, quotes from Karl Rove aren’t important for what they say. They are important for what they reveal. Rove’s statements about Sunday’s Super Bowl ad from Chrysler are a case in point. By now, you’ve probably seen or heard about the ad, which Chrysler calls “Halftime in America.” It stars Clint Eastwood, narrating the story of Detroit's comeback and turning it into a metaphor for America.