Sometimes, looking at the political discourse in this country, I wonder if we really understand the ratchet effect of increasing government programs and power over time: unlike in business, unlike in nature, unlike in, well, real life, failure is not punished, but at best ignored, at worst rewarded. Once a program is in place, it is almost never repealed, even when Republicans obtain political power because voters become dependent on it.
It's often good fun and sometimes revealing to divide American history into distinct periods of uniform length.
Who wants a fantastic job? Unemployment is high, so there ought to be many candidates. The job is leader of the Republican Party.
America is now in a time that in some ways resembles the 1850s, when freedom-loving people, attentive to political and cultural trends, saw a great crisis coming.
Listening to progressive media pundits, I'd think the most evil man in the universe is Grover Norquist, head of Americans for Tax Reform. His crime? He heads a movement that asks political candidates to pledge not to raise taxes.
Democrats in Washington declare that they will absolutely, positively allow no changes whatever in the nation's unsustainable entitlement programs -- Social Security and Medicare.
While the U.S. unemployment rate "dropped" to 7.7 percent last month -- a figure even The Washington Post acknowledged was due "...in large part because the labor force fell by 350,000..." -- here in this modern and prosperous city-state of slightly more than 5 million people, unemployment is practically nonexistent.
Throughout the presidential campaign, Republican candidates pointed to the number of food stamp recipients -- increasing from 33 million people in 2009 to 43 million in 2012 -- as a sign that poverty had skyrocketed under President Obama. But a new study suggests that the reason there has been such an increase in food stamp recipients during the last four years is even more pernicious.
The fiscal cliff negotiations seem to be foundering on Barack Obama's insistence on higher tax rates on high earners and House Republican leaders' insistence on opposing them. The president believes he has a mandate from voters for his position, and House Republicans believe they have a mandate from voters for theirs.
Since Republicans are pushing entitlement reform and Democrats like taking money from rich people, you might think they could agree on means-testing Medicare and Social Security as part of a deficit reduction deal.
In the original "Star Wars", Jedi Obi Wan Kenobi (Alec Guinness) and Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) have to smuggle two droids into the criminal-infested, Empire-guarded city of Mos Eisley. The Empire has been looking for the droids, which contain secret information. But Obi Wan has a solution: when our heroes are confronted by emissaries of the Empire, he simply waves his hand. "These aren't the droids you're looking for." The weak-minded Stormtrooper promptly waves the group through. Obi Wan was using an old Jedi mind trick. Welcome to America, 2012.
DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz described the Medicare reforms proposed by GOP Vice-Presidential nominee and House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) as "literally a death trap for seniors." White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters that Ryan's reforms would "change Medicare as we know it."
In 2008, voters under 30 preferred Barack Obama over John McCain by a 66 to 32 percent margin. Among older voters, Obama led McCain by 50 to 49 percent.
"There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what," Mitt Romney told donors in a $50,000-a-plate Florida fundraiser that was secretly recorded in May and released by Mother Jones this week.
The Democratic Party is supposed to be the party of government. That idea was reinforced at the Democratic convention this week in a video that had this memorable line: "The government is the only thing we all belong to." But there is another saying worth remembering: "Actions speak louder than words."
The Democratic National Convention is an elaborate effort to sanitize a failed record that cannot be rehabilitated, even by the glib sophistry of former President Bill Clinton.
In 1992 presidential candidate Bill Clinton assured ordinary Americans that he understood the problems we face. His philosophy was summed up in the soundbite: “I feel your pain.” Or as The Onion joked, “New President Feels Nation’s Pain, Breasts.” During a campaign event in 2010, President Obama reprised the line, explaining that he understood the pain of standing in the hot sun.
For those of us who like to believe that human beings are rational, trying to explain what happens in politics can be a real challenge.
The Obama Administration’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has requested all federal agencies to cut their FY2014 budgets by 5%. Not too surprisingly, these “cuts” are being heralded as an example of new, fiscal prudence by every Democrat seeking office. If only.
Every so often, an article crosses your desk that makes you feel like you’ve been hit between the eyes with a sledgehammer. Even if you have a solid understanding of the topic, and you notice that the facts at hand match your previous suspicions, somehow you still have to keep a grip on yourself because it is so staggering.
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