Ten Miles Square

February 2012 Archives

February 29, 2012 1:00 PM How Much Could Medicare Save in Drug Costs?

Oh, oh, call on me! Call on me!!! In her first question at her first budget committee hearing on Tuesday, Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D-Ore.) asked the Medicare actuary how much...

By Austin Frakt

February 29, 2012 12:39 PM Romney's Skills and the General Election

Over at PostPartisan, I'm arguing today that Romney is underrated, and actually has important political skills. I don't think it's just luck that he's emerged as the almost-certain nominee. Projecting...

By Jonathan Bernstein

February 29, 2012 12:30 PM The Climate Conspiracy Explained in One Graphic

“Climate conspiracy, meet Occam’s razor.” In a tweeted graphic with that headline, Brooke Jarvis pretty much renders further words on the former, and further illustrations of the latter, irrelevant: Via...

By Andrew Sabl

February 29, 2012 12:00 PM The Olympia Snowe Retirement

…should there be a two-way race for the Senate seat (and that’s by no means a sure thing), Republicans will need a candidate who can run as a Snowe Republican....

By John Sides

February 29, 2012 11:24 AM David Brooks on the Republican Party

The most important fact about contemporary American politics is that the Republican party has become an extremist organization, in which what used to be the fringe is now the base.The...

By Mark Kleiman

February 29, 2012 11:19 AM Dark Horses And Other Extinct Species

Matt Glassman has a really good point that there's a real difference between talking about a "dark horse" candidate and talking about a potential deadlocked convention. He's right: these two...

By Jonathan Bernstein

February 29, 2012 11:14 AM Keeping Developmental Disabilities Out of the Culture War

I had an online op-ed in the New York Times yesterday, lamenting Rick Santorum’s efforts to make intellectual and developmental disabilities yet another front in the culture wars. My wife...

By Harold Pollack

February 29, 2012 11:04 AM Pre-Election Report: 2012 Russian Presidential Elections

Given my research interests in Russian politics, I will offer my own pre-election report on the March 4, 2012 first round of the Russian presidential elections. I will, however, do...

By Joshua Tucker

February 29, 2012 8:00 AM What To Think About the New York City Teacher Value-Added Scores

The highly-controversial New York City teacher value-added scores released last week are being presented by the New York Times with substantial margins of error. And in the end, understanding and...

By Kevin Carey

February 29, 2012 7:10 AM Why Santorum Should Learn to Love the Netherlands

It seems like the Netherlands has emerged as the exemplar of all that is wrong with modern secular liberalism. First there was Fox News’ campaign against the free love,...

By Erik Voeten

February 28, 2012 11:21 PM Mitt Romney and the GOP War on Budgeting

I very much like Jonathan Chait's piece yesterday about Mitt Romney's new tax plan, which as Chait says makes it clear that Republicans will once again ignore -- and explode...

By Jonathan Bernstein

February 28, 2012 10:57 PM Does Romney’s Wealth Pay Dividends for Santorum?

That’s the title of Lynn Vavreck’s and my latest post at Model Politics.  We compare Obama, Romney and Santorum in terms of how voters perceive their personal wealth and their...

By John Sides

February 28, 2012 9:19 PM Romney Wins Two

Over at Plum Line I have a quick reaction to Romney's nice night in Michigan and Arizona. Just to add a bit to what I said over there... I think...

By Jonathan Bernstein

February 28, 2012 11:17 AM Even If It's Deadlocked, It Probably Wouldn't Be Deadlocked

I wrote about this a while ago, but a tweet just now reminded me: InTrade's current market for "brokered convention" is absolutely insane. It's now at 20%, which is approximately...

By Jonathan Bernstein

February 28, 2012 10:00 AM Barack Obama: Cold Fish or Warm Fuzzy Teddy Bear?

In James Fallows’s interesting take on the Obama presidency, he discusses the notion that Obama is “cold.”  He refers to this as one of “Barack Obama’s particular versions of the...

By John Sides

February 28, 2012 8:55 AM Why, You Just Want to Redistribute Income

From time to time I run into a charge that I or someone supporting some seemingly non-market policy or other “just want to redistribute income (or wealth).” Something like that...

By Austin Frakt

February 27, 2012 4:01 PM Why Michigan Trees Are the Right Height

The blogosphere is unnecessarily puzzled by Mitt Romney’s repeated claims, to audiences of Michigan Republicans, that The trees are the right height. I explained all this a fortnight ago. The...

By James Wimberley

February 27, 2012 3:00 PM Future Rick Santorum Issues

Rick Santorum’s latest effort to prove he’s in the mainstream is an accusation that Barack Obama wants kids to go to college because…American colleges are “indoctrination mills” and they’ll all...

By Jonathan Bernstein

February 27, 2012 11:43 AM Romney Makes a Key Refinement to his Medicare Plan

According to Mitt Romney’s website, his plan for Medicare hasn’t changed much since I reacted to it last year. I refer you to these two posts. But it has changed...

By Austin Frakt

February 27, 2012 11:21 AM Preaching to the Wrong Choir

I’m one month in another three-month commitment I’ve made with myself to do Weight Watchers (more on that later). One of the things the program always seems to reinforce with...

By Aaron Carroll

February 27, 2012 11:12 AM Chance Encounters, Human Connection, Real Books and Kindle

Waiting for a flight at an airport can be a dull and lonely thing. Sitting at a half-empty terminal last week, these costs evaporated when I noticed that the guy...

By Keith Humphreys

February 27, 2012 11:04 AM The Virginia Ultrasound Bill

Driving to Charlottesville recently for a talk at U. Va., I got to listen to a local radio show focused on the ultrasound bill. Turns out that Jon Stewart wasn’t...

By Mark Kleiman

February 27, 2012 10:24 AM Banks Need Simpler, Tougher Capital Standards

When JPMorgan Chase & Co. Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon appeared before the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, he testified that he told his daughter a financial crisis is something that...

By Phil Angelides

February 27, 2012 9:47 AM There’s No Fool Like an Old Fool

As we go through life, we sometimes have the fortune to encounter people who are similar to ourselves in some respects, but older than we are at the present moment....

By Keith Humphreys

February 27, 2012 8:55 AM Mitt Romney and the Birth Control Conspiracy Theory

Have you heard the one about the wild White House conspiracy with the press to trip up Republicans on birth control? If you were watching the debate Wednesday night, you...

By Jonathan Bernstein

February 24, 2012 12:53 PM Why It Would Actually Be Hard to Cut Medicaid

Given the discussions recently on the need to cut entitlements, and the inability to recognize so much spending as entitlements, it’s inevitable that eventually we will get back to discussing...

By Aaron Carroll

February 24, 2012 12:48 PM The Limits of Campaigns

Nate Silver made the case this past Sunday in the NYT Magazine that Barack Obama will run a populist campaign because, all else equal, it works best for him in...

By Jonathan Bernstein

February 24, 2012 12:31 PM Sleeping Eight Hours Does Not Come Naturally

Stephanie Hegarty writes that requiring eight, unbroken hours of sleep is a myth. In the early 1990s, psychiatrist Thomas Wehr conducted an experiment in which a group of people were...

By Austin Frakt

February 24, 2012 11:36 AM No Bailouts for Romney’s Intellectual Bankruptcy

By all accounts, Mitt Romney is a smart businessman with a sophisticated understanding of how economies work. So why is he so tied up in knots over basic questions of...

By Jonathan Alter

February 23, 2012 1:34 PM Perot Myths

I have an item up at PostPartisan talking about third party candidates, but it also gives me an excuse to try again to debunk the myth that Ross Perot was...

By Jonathan Bernstein

February 23, 2012 1:18 PM Why Voters Shouldn’t Trust Their Own Political Party

Perhaps my biggest frustration with the U.S. news media (and yes, I am a card-carrying member) is that we permit the two parties to decide what is “left” and what...

By Ezra Klein

February 23, 2012 12:27 PM Veterans and the Affordable Care Act

Ken Kizer’s recent Journal of the American Medical Association piece is a quick way to get up to speed on what the Affordable Care Act could mean for the Veterans...

By Austin Frakt

February 23, 2012 11:00 AM Penance

Any chance Rick Santorum will give up bigotry for Lent? [Cross-posted at The Reality-Based Community]...

By Mark Kleiman

February 23, 2012 10:23 AM Simple Debate Question

After reading a transcript of the Republican debate last night, I think the media should ask a very simple question:“Leaving aside questions of government policy and abortion, do you personally...

By Andrew Sabl

February 23, 2012 9:52 AM Tax Reform is (Almost) Impossible

Ezra Klein yesterday had a terrific overview of why corporate -- and individual -- tax reform is so difficult. Part of this is a classic collective action problem. The advantage...

By Jonathan Bernstein

February 23, 2012 9:49 AM The “Four Cornerstones” of Value-Driven Health Care

The First Cornerstone of value-driven healthcare is widespread adoption of interoperable HIT [health information technology] to facilitate, among other things, reducing medical errors, enhancing the provision of evidence-based healthcare, and...

By Austin Frakt

February 23, 2012 9:39 AM The World Economy is Not a Tribute System

In a blogpost in July of last year, David Graeber talked about why he wrote Debt: The First 5,000 Years. The aim of the book was, indeed, to write the...

By Henry Farrell

February 23, 2012 8:58 AM Santorum’s Consistency Shines in Oddball Race

Maybe anyone who voluntarily runs the gantlet we call our presidential election process must be mentally imbalanced in some respect, but this year’s crop of Republican candidates has been especially...

By Michael Kinsley

February 22, 2012 11:45 AM Yeah, This Isn't Going To Work

Jeffrey Goldberg makes a reasonable point concerning Republican presidential candidates who believe that Iran is a weakness for Barack Obama -- that Obama has been "tougher" on Iran than George W....

By Jonathan Bernstein

February 22, 2012 10:08 AM Pop Quiz

Listen up, class! In the last 48 hours: 1) Rick Santorum has compared Barack Obama to Hitler while comparing prenatal testing to eugenics; 2) Mitt Romney has warned that cutting...

By Jonathan Zasloff

February 22, 2012 9:00 AM More People Now Die in the US from Hepatitis C than from HIV

First the bad news: In summary, even if one cannot easily assign a cause of death among persons with HBV, HCV, or HIV infection, approximately 16 000 deaths among HCV-...

By Aaron Carroll

February 22, 2012 8:48 AM Laundering Santorum

Matt Drudge has now picked up the Right Wing Watch story about Rick Santorum’s speech at Ave Maria University. That has brought the speech to the intention of Red bloggers...

By Mark Kleiman

February 22, 2012 7:02 AM The Terrible Power of Negative Advertising

Continuing the series, here’s another zombie idea: negative advertising “works.”  Either by hurting the candidate who is attacked or by turning off voters from the campaign altogether.  The sheer volume...

By John Sides

February 22, 2012 6:59 AM The GOP Trouble on Taxes

New polling research out late last week shows exactly the mess that Republicans have made for themselves on taxes. A YouGov study by political scientists Gregory Huber, Conor Dowling, and...

By Jonathan Bernstein

February 21, 2012 11:45 AM Is Rick Santorum a Pagan?

All the press coverage over Rick Santorum’s idiotic suggestions that mainline Protestants aren’t Christians, or that President Obama isn’t a Christian, or that prenatal care increases abortion rates, or that...

By Jonathan Zasloff

February 21, 2012 11:39 AM So Much for “Everyone Can Get Care in an Emergency Room”

We’ve long argued this meme isn’t true. But now it’s explicitly false: Last year, about 80,000 emergency-room patients at hospitals owned by HCA, the nation’s largest for-profit hospital chain, left...

By Aaron Carroll

February 21, 2012 11:10 AM How to Talk About the Economy When You Don't Really Know Anything

By Zack Weiner via @pckilgore. [Cross-posted at The Incidental Economist]...

By Austin Frakt

February 21, 2012 10:14 AM Will a Legal Challenge to the Contraception Mandate Succeed?

The Obama Administration hasn’t even promulgated its new compromise contraception rule, and already plaintiffs are rushing in to challenge it. Since the regulation isn’t even out yet, these challenges will...

By Jonathan Zasloff

February 21, 2012 9:00 AM Why Tuesday Elections?

A reader points me to the group, Why Tuesday, that wants to move Election Day to a more convenient time.  They write: Today, we are an urban society, and we...

By John Sides

February 21, 2012 8:30 AM Will Romney Be the Next Dwight Eisenhower?

In 1932, Herbert Hoover suffered a humiliating defeat in his race for reelection. Winning 59 electoral votes and carrying six states, his loss was one of the worst for a...

By Mark Jarmuth

February 20, 2012 1:35 PM Conscience Clauses

Question for those who believe that requiring coverage of reproductive health services in employer-paid health insurance plans is a violation of religious freedom if it applies to employers such as...

By Mark Kleiman

February 20, 2012 12:59 PM The Status Quo Bias in Health Care Reform

From What We Talk about When We Talk about Health Care Costs, by Peter J. Neumann: The problem is that no one in charge seems willing to acknowledge that getting...

By Austin Frakt

February 20, 2012 12:52 PM Fresh Air Interview with Josh Putnam

Political Scientist Josh Putnam, who blogs at Frontloading Headquarters and who may know more about delegate selection than anyone, was interviewed on Fresh Air.  Here’s one quote from him: The...

By John Sides

February 20, 2012 10:34 AM Demographics and the Future of the GOP

A commenter writes: A lot of people think that the Republican Party is heading towards irrelevancy demographically because of its increasing trend to the right unless there's some kind of...

By Jonathan Bernstein

February 20, 2012 9:27 AM The “Mormon Issue”

The Washington Post has a long piece by Jason Horowitz about Helen Radkey, an extraordinarily unpleasant woman who, having been excommunicated from Mormonism, spends her life trying to embarrass the...

By Mark Kleiman

February 20, 2012 8:41 AM Against Presidents Day

Presidents Day is a terrible idea for a holiday.  Just an awful idea.  In this republic, there's absolutely no good reason to take a day to honor our presidents. On...

By Jonathan Bernstein

February 20, 2012 8:21 AM Rick Santorum: He’s not funny any more

I admit that I’ve found Mr. Santorum’s unlikely rise rather amusing. He would self-immolate in the general election. I’ve never expected him to do more than make mischief for Romney....

By Harold Pollack

February 17, 2012 2:33 PM A Gasoline Conspiracy to Set Fire to the Obama Administration?

I've never been much of a conspiracy theorist as it is not my inclination to see evil lurking behind every bush (no pun intended.) More times than not, things are—for...

By Rick Ungar

February 17, 2012 2:00 PM Truly [L]insane Republicans

Here’s a truly odd observation from the usually-excellent Marc Ambinder. Writing about Jeremy Lin, Asian-Americans, and the Republican Party, Ambinder argues: If Republicans were to rid themselves of their anti-immigrant...

By Jonathan Zasloff

February 17, 2012 1:00 PM A Virtuous Reading Note to Coming Apart

Charles Murray, author of Loosing Ground, a declaration against welfare, and Bell Curve, a book that invoked racial controversies, is back. In his new book, Coming Apart, he proposes that...

By Siyu Hu

February 17, 2012 12:30 PM Republicans Are Unprotected on Contraception

During the 1928 presidential campaign, nutty right-wing Protestants claimed that Al Smith, the first Catholic nominated for president by a major party, was planning to extend New York’s Holland Tunnel...

By Jonathan Alter

February 17, 2012 12:00 PM The Political Economy of Skills

Matthew Yglesias proposes that employers should tackle problems of skill shortages themselves. On a firm level obviously one solution here is to just pay higher wages and hire away someone...

By Henry Farrell

February 17, 2012 11:57 AM Obama, Birth Control, and Catholic Voters

Did the the contraception contretemps hurt Obama’s standing among Catholic voters?  Despite endless speculation about this, evidence has been in short supply. With some newly released data from YouGov, I...

By John Sides

February 17, 2012 10:51 AM Understanding the Confusion About Class and Voting

John Sides and Larry Bartels have recently spent some space explaining the “political science” view of social class and voting in American politics, in contrast to the claims of journalists...

By Andrew Gelman

February 17, 2012 9:46 AM Running for President? No Experience Necessary

During a presidential debate in 1984, Ronald Reagan, who was then 73, famously said of his opponent, Walter Mondale, who was then 56 and trying to make an issue of...

By Michael Kinsley

February 17, 2012 9:03 AM The Seniors’ Choice Act

Senators Richard Burr (R-NC) and Tom Coburn (R-OK) have introduced The Seniors’ Choice Act. It includes a variant of premium support and a whole lot more. As with all these...

By Austin Frakt

February 17, 2012 8:39 AM Republicans Ignore Religious Liberty

House Republicans looked pretty bad yesterday when their morning panel about the Affordable Care Act’s contraception regulations failed to include a single woman. But then Republicans argued that it really...

By Jonathan Zasloff

February 16, 2012 12:27 PM Do We Really Need 30,000 More Primary Care Doctors?

Sarah Kliff thinks so, reporting in the Washington Post that the health care expansion envisioned in the Affordable Care Act will require an expansion of doctor supply as well. She...

By Jonathan Zasloff

February 16, 2012 9:51 AM More on Military Partisanship: Officers and Enlisted Soldiers

I am thrilled to see the number of posts that have been generated by my original question regarding whether or not Romney is likely to have a military problem (see...

By Joshua Tucker

February 16, 2012 9:00 AM Harvard’s Liberal-Arts Failure Is Wall Street’s Gain

In recent years, many top universities have tried to guide their students into careers other than finance. In 2008, Drew Gilpin Faust, the president of Harvard University, went so far...

By Ezra Klein

February 16, 2012 8:40 AM Deadlocked Fantasies

Sean Trende tries to find a way to make a deadlocked* convention pan out by looking at the past for examples, but I think I see where he goes wrong,...

By Jonathan Bernstein

February 16, 2012 8:38 AM Morphing Zombies

One of the commenters on John Sides’s “Zombie Politics” post notes that Jonathan Chait has a new piece applauding George Packer, doubting Sides (and Bartels), then transitioning to a discussion of...

By Larry Bartels

February 16, 2012 8:32 AM Actually, Election Day is Not “The Only Poll That Matters”

Tim Mak artfully skewers bad political writing at Politico. He nails 7 clich├ęs and makes a sly joke by putting an eighth in his title (“very tired cliches”… are there...

By Keith Humphreys

February 16, 2012 8:30 AM Are the Majority of Americans Conservative?

Catch of the day goes to Rachel Maddow. The liberal talk show host went off on a diatribe against Politifact after it rated "Mostly True" a claim by Marco Rubio...

By Jonathan Bernstein

February 16, 2012 8:00 AM Enough with the Politeness: China’s “innovation mercantilism” threatens the world economy, and Washington needs to speak up

Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping is in the United States this week for a courtesy call and, sure enough, there has been plenty of courtesy on display. The obligatory rhetorical...

By Rob Atkinson

February 15, 2012 12:44 PM Future Mitt Romney Attacks

With a tip of the hat to Paul Krugman, and leaving out the fairly obvious one of praising Romneycare while bashing the Affordable Care Act... March: Barack Obama’s budget wastes...

By Jonathan Bernstein

February 15, 2012 12:39 PM Will Mid-Level Practitioners Steal Our Business?

I’ve often written on the shortage of physicians in the US. Recently, Sarah Kliff posted on the upcoming debacle that might result if we don’t soon increase the numbers of...

By Aaron Carroll

February 15, 2012 12:30 PM “The Narcotic of Government Dependency”

That’s Rick Santorum talking about the American welfare state. But who, really, is hooked—and how does that matter politically? Yesterday’s New York Times featured a long, meaty article on the...

By Larry Bartels

February 15, 2012 12:19 PM Is the Sky Falling?

Kevin Drum notes that David Brooks fears the sky is falling ("Social trust has plummeted. Society has segmented. The share of Americans born out of wedlock is now at...

By Aaron Carroll

February 15, 2012 12:11 PM Shorter Republican Health Care Policy

Death panels are fine, as long as employers control them. [Cross-posted at The Reality-Based Community]...

By Jonathan Zasloff

February 15, 2012 9:27 AM Santorum Puzzler

There's a bunch of new, good stuff out there speculating about Rick Santorum, Mitt Romney, and exactly where the GOP race is now. I recommend Steve Kornacki, Ed Kilgore, and...

By Jonathan Bernstein

February 15, 2012 8:00 AM Zombie Politics: The Voting Behavior of White Working Class

Zombie politics—a play on Zombie Economics—refers to ideas about politics that have become so cemented in conventional wisdom that it is virtually impossible to dislodge them.  It doesn’t matter what...

By John Sides

February 14, 2012 12:36 PM The Pharisees Take the Bishops to School

At the end of a superb take-down of the Catholic bishops’ hypocrisy on social and economic issues, Andrew Sullivan notes, They have become the Pharisees. And we need Jesus. Foul!...

By Jonathan Zasloff

February 14, 2012 12:14 PM Polisci Valentines Contest

A reader has suggested some reply to the economics-themed valentines that Justin Wolfers summarizes here.  I made a half-hearted stab and then realized, “Hey, let’s make this a contest!”  Leave...

By John Sides

February 14, 2012 12:09 PM Happy Arizona Statehood Day!

And it's not just any version of Arizona Statehood Day -- it's the centennial. Arizona, b. 1912. Still younger than Ronald Reagan. As I've said, I've always been proud of...

By Jonathan Bernstein

February 14, 2012 9:28 AM Sen. Robert Byrd: Happy Valentine’s Day

Via USA Today. [Cross-posted at The Incidental Economist]...

By Austin Frakt

February 14, 2012 8:18 AM Swing State Economies: Do They Even Matter?

Last week, Ryan Avent noted that the economies of swing states were growing more rapidly than other states.  He suggests that this may help negate the fact that many swing...

By John Sides

February 13, 2012 8:38 PM You Wanted the President to Get Angry…

[Cross-posted at The Reality-Based Community]...

By Keith Humphreys

February 13, 2012 8:32 PM GOP War On Budgeting

The big budget news today (other than the president's submitted FY 2013 budget) is that Republicans have apparently surrendered on the big extenders bill. They'll apparently (yes, I said it...

By Jonathan Bernstein

February 13, 2012 8:12 PM Equality of Opportunity in an Unequal World

This NYT story shows that, even as the racial gap in educational attainment has been shrinking, the income-class gap has been growing. Note how huge the gap is: “one unit”...

By Mark Kleiman

February 13, 2012 8:00 PM I Do Not Think That Word Means What the WaPo Thinks it Does

Romney won the Maine caucuses and the CPAC straw poll, and the Washington Post tells us: Coupled with his victory in Saturday’s straw poll at the Conservative Political Action Conference...

By Michael O'Hare

February 13, 2012 7:46 PM Overstatement of the Decade

From Andrew Sullivan: The untimely death of the great Whitney Houston cannot but provoke intense sadness. No.The deaths of more than 25,000 children in the Somalian famine and brutality cannot...

By Jonathan Zasloff

February 13, 2012 10:23 AM Familiarity Breeds Contempt for Romney, Liking for Paul

I noted here that Romney garnered a lower proportion of all votes cast in the 2012 Iowa caucus than he did in 2008 (though only 0.5% fewer votes in absolute...

By Keith Humphreys

February 10, 2012 7:54 PM Sarah Palin Confronts the Space Nazi Menace--No, Really

Via Wonkette, I'm not sure what to make of this: We've got Space Nazis, always a winning presence, and Sarah Palin can only improve things. It looks to be aiming...

By Ryan Cooper

February 10, 2012 2:09 PM Birth Control Compromise

As far as I can tell, the Obama Administration is offering the perfect phony solution to the phony problem of employers whose “consciences” require them to deprive their female employees...

By Mark Kleiman

February 10, 2012 2:05 PM Weekend Film Recommendation: A Perfect Candidate

As we are in the thick of election season, it’s a great time to recommend R.J. Cutler and David Van Taylor’s revealing 1996 documentary “A Perfect Candidate“. The scene is...

By Keith Humphreys

February 10, 2012 2:00 PM On the Web No One Cares If You Write Like a Dog

It’s been going on for too long, right before our eyes. Inevitably, someone was going to blow the whistle, and wouldn’t you know it would be Felix Salmon, the famous...

By Michael Kinsley

February 10, 2012 1:02 PM Romney’s Swiss Bank Account: Did he Take Amnesty?

When the Romney slime, and the Romney Super-Pac slime, start to hit Rick Santorum, he’s going to need some responses. And the best defense is a good offense. So here,...

By Mark Kleiman

February 10, 2012 12:00 PM Caucus/Primary and Other Reform Questions

National Journal's Reid Wilson says that after the vote-counting flubs in Nevada and Iowa, caucuses are and should be on their way out. Josh Putnam demolishes the "are" part of...

By Jonathan Bernstein

February 10, 2012 10:13 AM Mega PACs? No Thanks

Chris Blattman has an idea to effectively cap the amount of money going into presidential campaigns, which is hard to do now under Court findings from Buckley to Citizens United:...

By Jonathan Bernstein

February 10, 2012 9:37 AM Will People Eat Less if You Ask Them To?

There are times I wish I had a macro for the beginning of a post on obesity. Some way to say obesity is bad, obesity is prevalent, and nothing seems...

By Aaron Carroll

February 10, 2012 8:43 AM Stop Super-PACs With a Fair Elections Amendment

The 2010 Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission case is fast becoming as explosive as Plessy v. Ferguson (1896) or Roe v. Wade (1973). It took nearly 60 years before...

By Jonathan Alter

February 09, 2012 5:00 PM Yes, It's Still Romney, Probably Easily

Mitt Romney enters today...in excellent shape. To be sure, he's already lost out on the goal of sweeping to an easy nomination in January and he's been forced to fight...

By Jonathan Bernstein

February 09, 2012 4:36 PM A Ticker-Tape Parade for Iraq?

Should returning soldiers from the war in Iraq get a ticker-tape parade in New York City? Some people apparently think this is appropriate. According to an article by Kate Taylor...

By Daniel Luzer

February 09, 2012 12:44 PM Are Physicians Honest with Patients?

Not as often as you’d hope. There’s a new study in Health Affairs on the subject: The Charter on Medical Professionalism, endorsed by more than 100 professional groups worldwide and...

By Aaron Carroll

February 09, 2012 12:39 PM The US News College Rankings Scam

Stephen Budiansky, via Cosma Shalizi’s Pinboard feed. Back in ancient times when I worked at esteemed weekly newsmagazine U.S. News & World Report, I always loathed the annual college rankings...

By Henry Farrell

February 09, 2012 12:30 PM Floundering Swing State Economies Could Doom Obama

The 2012 election is looking better for President Barack Obama. In the latest Washington Post-ABC News poll, he opened a six-point lead against Mitt Romney -- a finding confirmed in...

By Ezra Klein

February 09, 2012 12:00 PM Standoff Weaponry

Kevin Drum notes that 65% of people in a WaPo poll approve of drone attacks on “suspected terrorists”, even on American citizens. The question mixes up some important issues, and...

By Michael O'Hare

February 09, 2012 10:50 AM Contraception

Via Doctors for America [Cross-posted at The Reality-Based Community]...

By Harold Pollack

February 08, 2012 1:00 PM Romney’s Very Bad Night: Boo Farking Hoo

Some of the wingier wingnuts have convinced themselves – or hope to convince the marks – that the Obama campaign, the liberal commentariat, and the mainstream media all think that...

By Mark Kleiman

February 08, 2012 12:55 PM Unions: The Jedi Master Fallacy

As a follow-up to my last post, and the comments thread thereon, I thought it would be useful to provide a kind of summary of the various arguments that otherwise-leftwing-academics...

By Henry Farrell

February 08, 2012 12:48 PM China Is Catching Up

I appreciate Michael Beckley’s response to a piece I wrote recently about China. I think Beckley's International Security article offers a useful corrective to an alarmist declinist perspective and has...

By Erik Voeten

February 08, 2012 12:45 PM Vladimir Putin and Mitt Romney: How they May Have Surprisingly Similar Problems

It is not shaping up to be a great week for either Vladimir Putin or Mitt Romney. Putin had to deal with the spectrum of yet another mass protest against...

By Joshua Tucker

February 08, 2012 10:11 AM Hypocrisy and Campaign Finance

I want to agree with Jonathan Chait, who argues there's nothing at all hypocritical about playing by the current campaign finance rules even as one attempts to change those rules in the...

By Jonathan Bernstein

February 08, 2012 8:56 AM Does Romney Have a Military Problem?

Reader Michael Moschella writes in with the following interesting observation in light of last night’s bad night for Mitt Romney: El Paso County is home to Colorado Springs and a...

By Joshua Tucker

February 08, 2012 7:02 AM Charles Murray [perhaps] Does a Tucker Carlson, Provoking Me to Unleash the Usual Torrent of Graphs

Charles Murray wrote a much-discussed new book, “Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960-2010.” David Frum quotes Murray as writing, in an echo of now-forgotten TV personality Tucker Carlson,...

By Andrew Gelman

February 07, 2012 4:30 PM Actual Press Bias? Bob Kerrey

The twitters are all worked up this morning about the announcement that Bob Kerrey will not, after all, be returning to Nebraska to run for the open Senate seat there....

By Jonathan Bernstein

February 07, 2012 3:11 PM The Numbers Don’t Lye: Our Kids Reely Have Goodness Righting Skills

This morning’s New York Times contains an essential, shocking article by Michael Winerip on the level of writing needed to earn a passing grade on New York State’s high school...

By Andrew Sabl

February 07, 2012 3:04 PM Is It Dangerous that We Give so Many More Vaccines To Kids Today? No.

A couple of people on Twitter picked up on my vaccine post from last week, leading to the usual emails questioning vaccine use. A larger than usual number of them...

By Aaron Carroll

February 07, 2012 3:00 PM Too Good to be True?

You have to believe this was staged. Update Or Photoshopped. [Cross-posted at The Reality-Based Community]...

By Mark Kleiman

February 07, 2012 2:57 PM More on Romney's Debate Coach

I'm going to lead with the caveat. It's always really hard to extrapolate from campaigning to governing. The skills are overlapping but not identical, for one thing; for another, any...

By Jonathan Bernstein

February 07, 2012 2:51 PM The 2012 Democratic Platform

In the GOP, there is, or was, a horse-race for the Presidential nomination: strike that as unfair to horses, and the race has been won by the Vulcan ahead of...

By James Wimberley

February 07, 2012 10:11 AM Defining Decline

I am delighted to welcome Michael Beckley’s response to a piece I wrote recently about China and the United States. I may write a brief response later this week. *************************...

By Erik Voeten

February 07, 2012 9:05 AM How Libya Did and Did Not Affect the Security Council Vote on Syria

The chorus of commentators who argue that Libya set a precedent that doomed UN Security Council action on Syria appears to be growing. Here is Steve Walt in Foreign Policy,...

By Erik Voeten

February 06, 2012 1:09 PM Media Bias, Abortion, and the other 80%

Ross Douthat: In the most recent Gallup poll on abortion, as many Americans described themselves as pro-life as called themselves pro-choice. A combined 58 percent of Americans stated that abortion...

By John Sides

February 06, 2012 12:06 PM Why Did Russia and China Veto?

Last weekend Russia and China vetoed a UN Security Council resolution that sought to address the violence in Syria. The vote was 13-2. The resolution did not authorize the use...

By Erik Voeten

February 06, 2012 11:13 AM The Paranoid Pivot in Political “Thought”

Doug Mataconis analyzes how paranoid Tea Party movement members are now battling efforts to build bike lanes and put smart meters on appliances. Why? Because such policies are part of...

By Keith Humphreys

February 06, 2012 10:16 AM Cold Medicine Sales Tracking to Reduce Meth Labs: Worthless and Effective

Methamphetamine cooks cannot operate their labs without easy access to the cold medicines that contain pseudoephedrine (PSE). This has resulted in a long-running political battle across the U.S. Many state...

By Keith Humphreys

February 06, 2012 9:09 AM Romney's Next State Challenges: Why the Midwest is a myth

If I were stranded on a desert island and allowed access to only a single source of U.S. political analysis, I’d request Nate Silver’s Five-Thirty-Eight blog at NYTimes.com. Timely and...

By Colin Woodard

February 06, 2012 8:21 AM Mitt Romney Cares Deeply About The Very Poor

Really. I’m quite surprised to see that people are going so soft on the Mittster, saying that Romney inadvertently stated what he really believes. Mitt, like all Republicans nowadays, cares...

By Jonathan Zasloff

February 03, 2012 5:19 PM Is Climate Change Likely to Increase Conflict?

Likely not, according to Nils Petter Gledditsch, in the introduction to a special issue of the Journal of Peace Research on this topic. Research to date shows little evidence for...

By Henry Farrell

February 03, 2012 5:11 PM To What Extent is Health Care Responsible for Our Longer Lives?

I pointed out in one of my “It’s been a great century” posts that not all of the reduction in cardiovascular disease specific mortality is due to medical interventions. My...

By Austin Frakt

February 03, 2012 5:09 PM The Problem the Buffett Rule Won’t Fix

As everybody knows by now, Warren Buffett -- class traitor -- pays a smaller share of his income in taxes than does his secretary, Debbie Bosanek. In his State of...

By Michael Kinsley

February 03, 2012 4:22 PM Jennifer Dibbern and Michigan Student Unionization

Via a reader, this story about a grad student organization effort in Michigan, and a possible retaliation against a student, Jennifer Dibbern, who has lost her position as a researcher...

By Henry Farrell

February 03, 2012 8:55 AM Gingrich Attacks Help Romney and Hurt Obama

Newt Gingrich was so bitter after his Florida loss that he neither called Mitt Romney to concede nor congratulated him in his primary-night speech. Now he’s hell- bent on chasing...

By Jonathan Alter

February 03, 2012 8:00 AM Health Care Was Never Going to Save the GOP

Following this morning’s excellent jobs numbers, conservative Philip Klein tweeted: With economics improving, good thing GOP will nominate a candidate who can run a credible campaign against unpopular Obamacare. Oh,...

By Jonathan Bernstein

February 02, 2012 1:00 PM Romney's Debate Coach Story

The most overrated element in Mitt Romney's big Florida win? Has to be his new debate coach. Sure, you can make an interesting story of the fact that Romney had...

By Jonathan Bernstein

February 02, 2012 12:55 PM About that Discretionary Spending

Whenever my friends and family get riled up about the deficit (and many of them do), they like to rail against things they see in the news. Welfare being spent...

By Aaron Carroll

February 02, 2012 12:05 PM Improving Vaccination Rates in Children

p>Having trained and practiced in various areas across the country, I’ve seen wide variation in the ways parents choose to care for their children. For instance, when I was in...

By Aaron Carroll

February 02, 2012 8:15 AM Economy Needs Goldilocks Plan, Growth Then Restraint

A grim surprise was tucked inside the Congressional Budget Office’s latest budget outlook. Economic growth, it said, would be only 2 percent in 2012, falling to 1.1 percent in 2013....

By Ezra Klein

February 01, 2012 3:44 PM Worst Excuse Ever For Opposing Buffett Rule

Is the Buffett Rule -- that rich folks should pay at least as much in taxes as the middle class -- a good idea? I'm sure there are reasonable arguments...

By Jonathan Bernstein

February 01, 2012 1:53 PM Random Reflection

Four candidates left on the Republican side, and only one actual Protestant. I suppose that represents progress, of a sort. Paul, whatever his theology, is certainly a WASP. But the...

By Mark Kleiman

February 01, 2012 1:49 PM Documenting the Fall of the GOP Establishment

The GOP... has not always been a bastion of reflexive hostility to elites or to government. Quite the contrary. It was none other than George Romney—governor of Michigan, father of...

By Keith Humphreys

February 01, 2012 1:42 PM The Inescapable Boob Tube

I do not myself watch television, but I respect the choice of those who do. There are many good things on TV; I just find other things in life interest...

By Keith Humphreys

February 01, 2012 1:00 PM A Tax on Inequality, or a Tax to Keep Inequality at the Current Level?

My sometime coauthor Aaron Edlin cowrote (with Ian Ayres) an op-ed recommending a clever approach to taxing the rich.In their article they employ a charming bit of economics jargon, using...

By Andrew Gelman

February 01, 2012 8:03 AM What Will Newt Do?

Will Newt fight on to the convention? Will he continue attacking Romney, or will he back off? What are the incentives at play here? As Ed Kilgore notes, party leaders...

By Jonathan Bernstein

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