Wall Street Journal
Charles Murray: Here's Why I Ignore Economics--UPDATED
March 18, 2012
The universe has been badly out of balance since March 7, when Charles Murray published an op-ed in the New York Times that I mostly agreed with. Now Murray has published a second op-ed in the Wall Street Journal that I mostly disagree with. God's in his heaven, and all's right with the world. Both op-eds responded to criticisms of his book Coming Apart, which I reviewed here. The latest one addresses the criticism (raised by nearly every reviewer) that Murray attributed the white working class's current troubles entirely to cultural factors and not at all to economic ones.
What Obama Should and Shouldn’t Do About High Gas Prices
March 16, 2012
During his press conference on March 6, Barack Obama remarked that there’s “no silver bullet” to stem rising gas prices in the short term—and in the view of most energy experts, he’s right. The problem, though, is that the American people don’t agree. In the most recent NBC/Wall Street Journal survey, made public the day before the president spoke, 55 percent said that the government has a “great deal” or “quite a bit” of control over gas prices.
Can Domestic Policy Affect Income Distribution?
March 13, 2012
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.
Why Is Romney Copying From Obama's Tax Plan?
February 22, 2012
Mitt Romney barely had a chance to talk up his new tax reform plan in Wednesday night's debate, what with all the scintillating talk of earmarks and Arlen Specter. But he wasn't exactly looking for an opening to promote it either. And this is surely because Romney is in a tough spot when it comes to taxes. On the one hand, he's got people on his right—the Wall Street Journal editorial page, for one —urging him to make an aggressive "pro-growth" tax reform plan the animating cause of a campaign that sorely needs one.
The GOP Conundrum, In Two Great Quotes
February 21, 2012
Gallup’s latest national poll shows Rick Santorum ahead of Mitt Romney nationally by 10 points, even as Romney has regained the edge in terms of which candidate Republicans think is most electable. Which is how you get a quote like this, which is enough to make any Beltway Republican bang his head against his granite counter-top: “You cannot be so black and white that you turn off a lot of people,” said Patricia Schwarber, a consultant in Akron, Ohio, who nonetheless plans to support Mr.
What Is ‘Political Intelligence’?
February 09, 2012
When I read this morning that a provision in the House ethics bill had been dropped that would have required members of the political intelligence industry to register with the federal government, I had one question. What’s the political intelligence industry? The bill in question, a version of which cleared the Senate last week 96-3 with the political intelligence requirement—sponsored by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa)—intact, would outlaw insider trading by members of Congress. Grassley wasn’t pleased.
Warning To Democrats: Romney Is a Stronger Candidate Than You Think
January 30, 2012
Mitt Romney’s strong performance in the second Florida debate deprived Newt Gingrich of his last chance to maintain the boost he got from his South Carolina victory. Unless something significant happens before January 31, Romney will beat Gingrich in the Sunshine State by a double-digit margin and regain his standing as the front-runner for the Republican nomination. After a quiet February, he’ll deploy his edge in money, organization, and preparation to defeat Gingrich the way Grant defeated Lee—by inexorably grinding him down.
A Horrible Production of 'Porgy and Bess'
January 28, 2012
The fashionable take on Diane Paulus’ new production of Porgy and Bess on Broadway is that it is a triumph by Audra McDonald, as Bess, surrounded by an underpowered but respectable production. Unsurprisingly, the Times’ Ben Brantley, with his eternal weakness for grande dames, has led in this vein. Terry Teachout at the Wall Street Journal has been less polite, deeming the thing “emotionally null” and warning that anyone who has seen the piece before will be appalled. Teachout is closer to the mark.
WSJ Editorial: Mitt Romney's Taxes Too High!
January 23, 2012
Don't miss today's Wall Street Journal editorial explaining why Mitt Romney is actually getting soaked by the Internal Revenue Service. "The White House and its media allies figure they've now got their stereotype of the Monopoly man," the Journal moans, "albeit without his cane and top hat, who they can crush in their planned class-warfare campaign." Well, yeah. He did say his effective tax rate is about 15 percent, thanks to preferential treatment for capital gains and carried interest.
Romney's 15-Percent Problem
January 17, 2012
Would it be possible for Mitt Romney to handle the problem of his tax returns any worse than he has? By withholding them as he has, he has built up anticipation among political reporters who could generally care less about such matters. Romney's equivocating answer in the debate last night about whether he would release the returns sent Fox News' audience-response "hedge-ometer" machine literally off the charts. Then this morning he went ahead and confirmed the most salient fact in the returns: that he pays a rate of only about 15 percent.