Ten Miles Square

February 2013 Archives

February 28, 2013 11:20 AM Department of Phony Reagan/Real Reagan Examples

Oy, Bob Woodward: The Washington Post’s Bob Woodward attacked President Barack Obama on Wednesday, saying the commander-in-chief’s decision not to deploy an aircraft carrier because of budget cuts is “a...

By Jonathan Bernstein

February 28, 2013 11:11 AM The American Bar Association Prefers White Men

Maya Sen (University of Rochester) shows in a working paper (pdf, ungated) that the American Bar Association (ABA) has systematically assigned lower judicial qualification ratings to minority and female nominees...

By Erik Voeten

February 28, 2013 11:06 AM Vote for Pope!

University of Montreal political scientist Andre Blais sends along the following: A team of scientists has launched the website voteforpope.net. The website has two objectives: inform the public about the various...

By Joshua Tucker

February 28, 2013 10:55 AM 15 Budget Ideas That Are Better Than Sequester Plan

Let’s get something straight: Sequestration doesn’t prove that the government is broken or that it can’t get anything done. If anything, it proves the opposite. This is the American government...

By Ezra Klein

February 28, 2013 9:16 AM Racial Polarization and the Challenge to the Voting Rights Act

There can be no doubt that the covered jurisdictions differ, as a group, from the noncovered jurisdictions in their rates of  racially polarized voting. There can also be no doubt...

By John Sides

February 28, 2013 8:24 AM Raising the Medicare Age Induces a Cost Shift

Adrianna McIntyre sounds a familiar theme, but in a new context. [Moving] 65-70 year olds from Medicare into private insurance populations will make those [private insurance] populations, in the aggregate,...

By Austin Frakt

February 27, 2013 12:00 PM How About Limiting Presidential Nomination Debates?

Josh Putnam has an interesting item up about talk within the GOP of finding a way to limit debates during the next nomination cycle. I agree with him that it's...

By Jonathan Bernstein

February 27, 2013 11:00 AM The True Cost of Obamacare

Time to “catch the vapors” again: The Senate Budget Committee’s top Republican said a new government report shows that President Obama’s healthcare law will add $6.2 trillion to the deficit...

By Aaron Carroll

February 27, 2013 10:41 AM The Trouble with Sequestration: It Doesn't Hurt Enough

With sequestration’s March 1st start date in sight, Adler and Wilkerson make a good point about why the two parties seem to be treating the imposition of $85 billion...

By Sarah Binder

February 27, 2013 9:57 AM The Prince Backstory

Having spent all that (mostly enjoyable) time in graduate school reading The Prince, I was delighted to see that Professor Stephen J. Milner of the University of Manchester has discovered...

By Jonathan Bernstein

February 27, 2013 8:00 AM White Smoke and a Black Pope: Is Turkson the Church’s Future?

According to the smart money, the odds favor the election of Ghana’s Cardinal Peter Turkson as the next Pope, the first from Africa since Pope Gelasius I over fifteen hundred years ago. In...

By Joshua Tucker

February 26, 2013 12:27 PM Politics and Laughter in the U.S. and U.K.

Musings about laughter and politics from the fireside on a London evening just parky enough to keep me indoors.A vivid political memory: I am listening to an erudite speech by...

By Keith Humphreys

February 26, 2013 12:20 PM Now We’re All Going Mediterranean?

I’m getting a lot of emails about this study: BACKGROUND: Observational cohort studies and a secondary prevention trial have shown an inverse association between adherence to the Mediterranean diet and...

By Aaron Carroll

February 26, 2013 12:18 PM You Mean It’s the Health Care Prices, Stupid?

So I finally got around to reading Steven Brill’s piece in Time this weekend. Yeah it took me a while, but man – why so long? I have a number...

By Aaron Carroll

February 26, 2013 12:07 PM Why Is the Obama Administration Trying to Make Medicaid More Popular?

If the quotes in this NYT piece are accurate, the administration is doing itself no favors in trying to make Medicaid more popular: The Obama administration said Monday that states...

By Aaron Carroll

February 26, 2013 12:03 PM 2012 and GOP Candidates

Dave Weigel on Friday argued that there's been too much emphasis on disastrous GOP Senate candidates, especially the Tea Party ones; Ramesh Ponnuru follows up on that today by pointing...

By Jonathan Bernstein

February 26, 2013 9:23 AM Jack Lew’s Bonus

Pay for senior jobs in big financial services firms consists of salary plus bonus, with the bonus being a large part of the total. If the employee stays at the...

By Mark Kleiman

February 25, 2013 12:30 PM Why the Hagel Filibuster Is Difficult to Explain

The Senate is taking up cloture on the Chuck Hagel nomination today, and this time it's expected to pass, most likely easily -- I haven't seen any estimates, but I'm...

By Jonathan Bernstein

February 25, 2013 10:48 AM Political Parties Are More Boring Than You Think

I'm sympathetic to films and TV shows that seek to dramatize politics. There's real drama in politics, of course, but not all of it makes for good public theater, which...

By Seth Masket

February 25, 2013 10:15 AM Would Congress care if the Federal Reserve lost money? A lesson from history

On the heels of a prominent monetary policy conference last week, Friday saw a flurry of news stories (for starters, here and here) noting the political fallout that could ensue...

By Sarah Binder

February 25, 2013 10:05 AM Why the Next Pope Will Be Very Conservative (and Also Very Liberal)

My Georgetown colleague Fr. Thomas Reese in the Washington Post: Benedict has appointed 57 percent of the cardinal electors (John Paul II named the rest), so they will most likely...

By Erik Voeten

February 25, 2013 9:59 AM Safe Seats Do Not Mean Gerrymandering

I guess we're not explaining this well enough. Dave Weigel: I enjoy the new, #slatepitchy argument that gerrymandering is overrated as an issue, and that it doesn't influence whether members...

By Jonathan Bernstein

February 25, 2013 9:35 AM The Health Consequences of Job Loss: Evidence from Norway

Keynesians, this new National Bureau of Economic Research paper will resonate.Losing Heart? The Effect of Job Displacement on HealthSandra Black, Paul Devereux and Kjell Salvanes NBER Working Paper No. 18660...

By Matthew Kahn

February 25, 2013 9:16 AM Xenophobia and Citizenship in Switzerland

Jens Hainmueller and Dominik Hangartner have a new article in the American Political Science Review (ungated version here) that takes advantage of Switzerland’s high level of direct democracy to measure...

By Henry Farrell

February 25, 2013 8:40 AM How Not to Write About Chicago’s Crime Problem

If you have to write a story about Chicago’s crime problem, you couldn’t do much worse than Kevin Williamson’s “Gangsterville: How Chicago reclaimed the projects but lost the city,” on...

By Harold Pollack

February 25, 2013 8:29 AM If you read one thing today, read “the Plague Years, in Film and Memory”

How to Survive a Plague was up for an Academy Award last night. It’s gripping, one of the best films on HIV/AIDS ever made. Those who have seen it know...

By Harold Pollack

February 25, 2013 8:23 AM Why Are Hospital Bills So High?

There’s already been a lot of reaction to Steven Brill’s way-too-long Time cover story on the variation of health care prices across payers and what it means for the uninsured....

By Austin Frakt

February 22, 2013 10:50 AM What Will Dems Fight About in 2016?

I have a piece up at the American Propsect trying to predict the issues that might divide Democratic candidates in 2016; yes, it's early, but as I say over there,...

By Jonathan Bernstein

February 22, 2013 10:46 AM What's the Swiss Health Care System Really Like?

Matt Yglesias praises Douglas Holtz-Eakin and Avik Roy, and notes that their continued call for a more-Swiss like health care system is a “surrender” to Obamacare. I’ll leave that political...

By Aaron Carroll

February 22, 2013 10:42 AM The International Relations Problem with Cybersecurity

The recent Mandiant report has spurred a lot of debate over whether the US and China are moving towards more confrontational relations over cybersecurity. In a recent paper, Erik Gartzke...

By Henry Farrell

February 22, 2013 9:48 AM What We Can Learn From Toll Lanes

We know that there is a lot that we don’t know. This suggests that we should run more field experiments to pilot potentially good policy ideas. Today’s UCLA Daily Bruin...

By Matthew Kahn

February 21, 2013 11:00 AM The Possible Sequester Deal, A Win for Democrats?

Kevin Drum thinks that "There is No Possible Sequester Deal to be Made" and goes through the various possibilities, showing that every permutation but one -- kicking the can down...

By Jonathan Bernstein

February 21, 2013 10:39 AM The Problem with Statistics

I was thinking more about David Brooks’s anti-data column from earlier in the week, and I realized what is really bothering me.Brooks expresses skepticism about numbers, about the limitations of...

By Andrew Gelman

February 21, 2013 10:30 AM Why States Can't Turn Down the Medicaid Expansion

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. It will be hard for states to turn down the Medicaid expansion: This is a pretty good deal for states. They’re...

By Aaron Carroll

February 21, 2013 10:20 AM Simpson-Bowles 2.0 Trades Credibility for Influence

For years, Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson pulled off a very unusual and very difficult trick: They managed to position themselves firmly in the political center even as their budget...

By Ezra Klein

February 21, 2013 10:16 AM The Wage-Earner’s Case for the Minimum Wage

Even a conservative who ordinarily doesn’t care much for government regulation of business ought to find the case for a government-mandated minimum wage pretty compelling. In brief: As a conservative,...

By Michael Kinsley

February 21, 2013 8:33 AM Behind Incoherent GOP Spin on the Sequester

Conservative Byron York today blasts the Republicans, and Speaker Boehner in particular, for incoherent spin on the sequester. I basically agree with him...the GOP message is that the sequester is...

By Jonathan Bernstein

February 20, 2013 11:03 AM Substance, Style, and Knowing the Difference

I finally got to the NYT Style section from Sunday, and spotted this gem: The fabric of politics has always been gossip and jokes and crazy personality stuff and memes,”...

By Jonathan Bernstein

February 20, 2013 10:49 AM Republican Brain Smash Risk

Republicans and Democrats don't just think differently, they actually use their brains differently: We explore differences in brain function in liberals and conservatives by matching publicly-available voter records to 82...

By Seth Masket

February 20, 2013 10:35 AM Who Wants to Extend the Debt Ceiling? Members Who Stand to Lose Money in the Market

Does exposure to the stock market in legislators’ personal investment portfolios affect their vote choices? Do personal financial interests matter as much or more than the typical predictors of legislative...

By John Sides

February 20, 2013 9:30 AM A Whole Lot About Parties, Third Parties, and Change

Recall that Ron Fournier wrote a recent column about how the Republicans and Democrats are in danger of cracking up, and that Brendan Nyhan and I wrote responses bashing him...

By Jonathan Bernstein

February 20, 2013 8:44 AM Chart of the Day: Health Spending and Job Growth

Jared Bernstein shared the chart below, sourcing it to “National Health Expenditures data, BEA, BLS.” You can click over to read his take on it. Mine is much simpler. Perhaps...

By Austin Frakt

February 20, 2013 7:39 AM Insurers’ Federal Antitrust Exemption: A Refresher

Sam Baker reports, House Democrats reintroduced a bill Tuesday that would revoke the health insurance industry’s exemption from antitrust laws — a liberal priority that failed to make the cut...

By Austin Frakt

February 19, 2013 12:15 PM Oscar Pistorius and the Safety of Guns

South African Olympic and Paralympic athlete Oscar Pistorius, who became famous after competing in the London Olympics on carbon-fiber blades, has been charged with the murder of his girlfriend Reeva...

By Rhiannon M. Kirkland

February 19, 2013 11:31 AM Sequestration: History of an Obscurantist Bit of Beltway Jargoneering

The latest in Washington’s self-induced crises is called the “sequester.” It is a product of the 2011 Budget Control Act bringing us to the current crisis. It began in the...

By Rhiannon M. Kirkland

February 19, 2013 10:11 AM Dad’s Army for Freedom

Barack Obama took a nice dig at Second Amendment absolutists in his second inaugural speech: For the American people can no more meet the demands of today’s world by acting...

By James Wimberley

February 19, 2013 9:30 AM Progress and Prosperity

George Orwell, writing in 1944: No less than 20,000 English girls … married American soldiers and sailors … . Some of these girls are being educated for their life in...

By Mark Kleiman

February 19, 2013 9:01 AM Medicare’s Administrative Costs, Explained

In the Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law, Kip Sullivan of the Minnesota chapter of Physicians for a National Health Program thinks almost everyone doesn’t understand Medicare’s administrative costs....

By Austin Frakt

February 18, 2013 10:36 PM LBJ: "It's Like Riding a Wire Fence"

Observe the golden tongue of the chief magistrate of the republic. President Lyndon Johnson orders pants, 1964: His directions to the Haggar clothing company are very, ah, anatomically specific. How...

By Daniel Luzer

February 18, 2013 12:10 PM Senate Puzzler

Three cheers to Wonkblog for starting the day with a little Senate parliamentary puzzle.  Dylan Matthews gets us going by noting Majority Leader Harry Reid’s procedural move this past Thursday. ...

By Sarah Binder

February 18, 2013 12:04 PM Drones Against Prison Rape

Too many prisons are terrible places. Inmates stab and rape one another, mostly with impunity, to the point where gang membership becomes a survival strategy. Gang leaders maintain the capacity...

By Mark Kleiman

February 18, 2013 11:53 AM Getting the Knowledge on Health Reform from the New Republic’s Jonathan Cohn

During the health reform fight, a handful of people emerged with distinctive voices, who had a huge impact. The best of them combined the policy expertise, empathy, and graceful writing...

By Harold Pollack

February 18, 2013 11:47 AM Income Inequality Associated with Higher Risk of Hospital Readmission

A new article in the British Medical Journal by Peter Lindenauer (first author), Harlan Krumholz (last author), and colleagues finds that 30-day hospital readmissions for 65+ year old Medicare beneficiaries...

By Austin Frakt

February 18, 2013 11:43 AM Robert Cottrell on the Value of Academic Blogging

Robert Cottrell has a very nice long piece in the Financial Times on (inter alia) academic blogging. To read the blog of a political scientist, or an anthropologist, or a...

By Henry Farrell

February 18, 2013 10:14 AM Raising Barriers to Voting, with Predictable Consequences

What happens to the electorate when you tighten up rules for voting? Does everyone have a harder time voting, or are some groups of voters affected more than others? We...

By Seth Masket

February 18, 2013 10:10 AM The Simple Economics of “Promise Zones”

In this recent speech, President Obama announced that he will soon implement incentives for promoting “Promise Zones”. These are intended to improve quality of life in distressed communities. “Here he...

By Matthew Kahn

February 18, 2013 9:20 AM Against P 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 15, 2013 10:53 AM If It Looks Like a Duck, Swims Like a Duck, and Quacks Like a Duck….Thoughts on the Hagel Filibuster

I’m late to the conversation about whether Republican efforts to insist on sixty votes for cloture on Chuck Hagel’s nomination as Secretary of Defense constitute a filibuster.  Bernstein’s earlier...

By Sarah Binder

February 15, 2013 10:03 AM Cost-effectiveness Is the Beginning of the Trail to Wasteful Overuse

Matt Yglesias makes some good points. Of course the ability to cure the blind could also lead to “higher health care costs” (cue threatening music). Most likely it won’t actually...

By Austin Frakt

February 15, 2013 10:00 AM Obama's Unconvincing Bromides on Transparency

The last week or so has been quite revealing about Obama’s drone policy. First, there was the leak of a white paper obtained by NBC. Then Obama agreed to release...

By Rhiannon M. Kirkland

February 15, 2013 9:47 AM ’They Deserve a Vote’ Can Be More Than Rhetoric

State of the Union addresses are traditionally laundry lists of policy proposals. U.S. President Barack Obama’s this week started that way, but it ended as the most emotional speech before...

By Jonathan Alter

February 15, 2013 7:07 AM If Campaign Effects Are so Minimal, Why Even Try?

Today marks the beginning of my gig as a regular blogger for Pacific Standard. I'll be doing a weekly column there on, you know, politics 'n stuff. (Thanks to Marc...

By Seth Masket

February 14, 2013 3:38 PM Urbanization and Republican Cheating a Political Problem for Democrats

Leaders in some republican dominated states have discussed making changes to the way their Electoral College votes are distributed. These changes if enacted would largely be favourable to republican presidential...

By Rhiannon M. Kirkland

February 14, 2013 11:40 AM A Disappointing Voting Initiative

For those who would like to see voting become easier, the State of the Union riff and the planned presidential commission have to be disappointing. Here's what Obama said: We...

By Jonathan Bernstein

February 14, 2013 11:30 AM Enough with the Wretched Middle Class Already

Requesting anonymity, officials in the White House told reporters last week that President Barack Obama would talk about the middle class in his State of the Union address. They added...

By Max Ehrenfreund

February 14, 2013 11:20 AM Simpson-Bowles on Medicare

The President mentioned being open to Medicare reforms of similar cost magnitude to those proposed by the Simpson-Bowles report in the State of the Union.Here is a post from April,...

By Don Taylor

February 14, 2013 11:00 AM Clint Eastwood and Barney Frank Attack the Pentagon

In November 2011, Representative Barney Frank, the mouthy Massachusetts Democrat, announced that he would retire from Congress in January 2013. A few short weeks after his retirement last month, he...

By Ezra Klein

February 14, 2013 10:00 AM Dept. of Not Ready for Prime Time

Okay, the water thing was fun but rapidly hit overkill; the fact that Sen. Marco Rubio was just repeating standard GOP rhetoric was true but unsurprising; and I figured there...

By Jonathan Bernstein

February 14, 2013 8:36 AM Testimony on the Medicaid Expansion

I recently testified before the Indiana State Government in support of the Medicaid expansion. My wife even brought my daughter, so she could see how government works. I thought I’d...

By Aaron Carroll

February 13, 2013 9:54 AM The State of the Union Response is the Lucy Van Pelt Football of Politics

Politicians crave being the one who “gets to” respond to the state of the union address. Yet Rubio is one of a series of people who came out minimized (see...

By Keith Humphreys

February 13, 2013 9:34 AM Reforming the American Welfare State

Kimberly Morgan (GWU) has a new Foreign Affairs article that draws on the comparative welfare state literature to present two novel propositions to American policy makers – that the modern American welfare state...

By Henry Farrell

February 13, 2013 8:00 AM A Bigger Drones Club?

Former Office of Legal Counsel head and Harvard Law professor Jack Goldsmith adds a useful wrinkle to the drone debate in his discussion of House Intelligence chair Mike Rogers’s appearance...

By Andrew Rudalevige

February 13, 2013 7:01 AM The Social Mobility Fairy Tale

Much of the discussion in political circles with regard to the state of the American economy, and the benefits of reform, has to do with social mobility. The great goal...

By Daniel Luzer

February 12, 2013 11:40 AM For Budget Clarity, Think Sequester

For the last week, all I've heard about is that the new plan for the Republicans is to let the sequester take effect. But thinking about the sequester ($85B in...

By Jonathan Bernstein

February 12, 2013 11:37 AM Chris Christie’s Got “It”

Clara Bow was Hollywood’s original starlet with “It”, that undefinable quality that made people immediately like her. Politicians who lack “it” (e.g., Mitt Romney) have a hard time getting elected,...

By Keith Humphreys

February 12, 2013 11:32 AM Health Spending Growth Slows. But Is it More Efficient?

Annie Lowrey talks to some smart people and gets some good news: One sign that the slowdown might be lasting is that it seems to have started before the recession...

By Austin Frakt

February 12, 2013 11:27 AM A Different Theory for why the Pope Resigned

I am teaching causal inference today and was reminded of this article from the British Medical Journal. Below is the abstract: Objective To explore the perceived wisdom that papal mortality is related...

By Erik Voeten

February 12, 2013 11:22 AM Senate Reform and Blame for Nullification

Scott Lemieux blasts Democratic Senators today because they left the filibuster in place, thus allowing GOP nullification to continue in the case of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. I have mixed...

By Jonathan Bernstein

February 12, 2013 11:13 AM Come Clean on Drones

The rule of law is the moral underpinning of U.S. foreign policy. President Barack Obama must now reaffirm that principle. This task became all the more urgent with the disclosure...

By Jonathan Alter

February 11, 2013 11:33 PM On Climate Change, Obama Should Steal a Page from Walmart

What a difference a few months can make. Last fall, during the presidential and vice-presidential debates, the issue of climate change didn’t even come up. But last month, in his...

By Sanjay Kapoor

February 11, 2013 11:41 AM How We Get the Next Pope

The pope has resigned. That’s it.  Don’t really have anything more to add at this point, just figured it might be a while before I ever get to write that...

By Joshua Tucker

February 11, 2013 11:31 AM The Press Should Grow Up About Aging Politicians

At one of those Washington parties where unimportant people mix with important ones and ask them annoying questions, I decided to ask Senator John Warner why he had recently decided...

By Keith Humphreys

February 11, 2013 11:27 AM The Government Whiffs, Again, on Mortgage Servicer Abuse

Since the foreclosure crisis began six years ago, homeowner advocates advanced two priorities: accountability for the fraud and abuse that took place, and safeguards to ensure it never happens again....

By David Dayen

February 11, 2013 11:23 AM Does Nuclear Superiority Matter?

The New York Times reports this morning that President Obama wants to renew his efforts to cut the U.S. nuclear arms arsenal. He is not proposing unilateral cuts. Yet, any...

By Erik Voeten

February 11, 2013 11:19 AM Post-Democracy

Charlie Stross argues that we’re living in a post-democratic system. Institutional survival pressure within organizations — namely political parties — causes them to systematically ignore or repel candidates for political...

By Henry Farrell

February 11, 2013 11:14 AM Remembering Aaron Swartz Again

There was a memorial service for Aaron in DC last week. Like Rick Perlstein, I wasn’t able to go. Unlike Aaron’s funeral, it was a specifically political event, intended to...

By Henry Farrell

February 11, 2013 10:36 AM Medicare’s ‘Improve or You’re Out’ Rehab Policy

I have been meaning to write about the important court order overturning Medicare’s longstanding ‘improve or you’re out’ (of Medicare financed SNF and/or home health) policy for rehabilitation services. Basically,...

By Don Taylor

February 11, 2013 9:27 AM Thomas Hobbes Would Be Spinning in his Grave

A few years ago I watched a bunch of Speed Racer cartoons with Phil in a movie theater in the early 90s. These were low-budget Japanese cartoons from the 60s...

By Andrew Gelman

February 08, 2013 11:27 AM GOP Recovery vs. Ted Cruz

I have a new column up at the Prospect arguing that Karl Rove's group isn't likely to make much difference, and that for sane conservatives to really do something about...

By Jonathan Bernstein

February 08, 2013 8:36 AM The GOP’s Conservative Christian Conundrum

We welcome a guest post by Daniel Cox.  He is the Co-founder and Research Director of the Public Religion Research Institute and a Ph.D. candidate in American Government at Georgetown...

By Dan Hopkins

February 07, 2013 11:32 AM Drone Links

John Brennan’s confirmation hearing started, complete with early protesters being ejected from the hearing room, this afternoon. The protesters, of course, are a physical manifestation of the explosion in the...

By Andrew Rudalevige

February 07, 2013 11:02 AM Obama’s Confrontation with Conservative Whites

Ron Brownstein: With his suddenly aggressive second-term agenda, President Obama is recasting the Democratic Party around the priorities of the growing coalition that reelected him—and, in the process, reshaping the...

By John Sides

February 07, 2013 11:00 AM Wasting the State of the Union Response

I put something over at PostPartisan yesterday afternoon saying that Marco Rubio is nuts to give the State of Union  response, which he'll apparently be doing this year. It's a...

By Jonathan Bernstein

February 07, 2013 10:58 AM Where Does the Corporation Fit in a Democracy?

[There is] a gross mismatch between the corporate world we inhabit and the liberal individualist frames we use to interpret and address this world. It is commonplace, for example, to...

By Seth Masket

February 07, 2013 10:54 AM The Anglican Puzzle and the Burying-place of Richard III

Andrew Sullivan is annoyed that Richard III is to be buried in an Anglican church. After all, living before the Reformation, he must have been a Catholic; why bury him...

By Mark Kleiman

February 07, 2013 10:47 AM Why (Some) Governors Propose the Medicaid Expansion

There’s a new Perspectives piece over at New England Journal of Medicine that analyzes statements by governors wo support or oppose the Medicaid expansion. Here are rationales behind opposition: Among...

By Aaron Carroll

February 07, 2013 10:27 AM Ditching Palin, Talking Nice Won’t Revive Republicans

Something very interesting is happening in the Republican Party. It’s just not entirely clear what it is, or how far it can go. Dick Morris and Sarah Palin are out...

By Ezra Klein

February 07, 2013 8:07 AM Is Your 401(k) Obsolete?

New research by the firm HelloWallet finds that more than a quarter of Americans who have an employer-sponsored retirement plan are raiding these accounts for other uses. According to HelloWallet’s...

By Anne Kim

February 06, 2013 12:24 PM Not Much New in the Drone Strike White Paper

A leaked Justice Department white paper published Monday night by NBC News gave some hints as to the legal rationale behind the Obama administration’s killing of American citizens who are...

By Rhiannon M. Kirkland

February 06, 2013 10:34 AM Western Jihadists and their Motivations

One would think that the main value of Western jihadists to terrorist organizations would be their passports and thus their ability to take the struggle directly to Western countries. Thomas Heghammer looks...

By Erik Voeten

February 06, 2013 10:08 AM How He Did: Ed Koch

Ed Koch died last Friday at the age of 88. In retirement, he became a beloved figure, a loud, opinionated uncle, unhip in his easy gracelessness, comfortable in his blotchy...

By Jamie Malanowski

February 06, 2013 10:00 AM Why the Drone Strike Legal Memo Is Secret

The big news in civil liberties circles today is the leak of a white paper laying out some of the legal reasoning behind the administration's drone strike program. It's not...

By Ryan Cooper

February 06, 2013 9:39 AM Why Study Social Science

Kindred Winecoff, himself a political scientist, writes in reaction to an earlier post: This is an opportunity for the social sciences to demonstrate their value by making a clear, coherent...

By John Sides

February 05, 2013 12:19 PM What Could Washington Learn from Hollywood?

In a recent interview, director Steven Soderbergh suggests that Washington could learn a thing or two from Hollywood: One thing I do know from making art is that ideology is...

By Seth Masket

February 05, 2013 12:15 PM The Exaggeration of Political Polarization in America

For a few years I’ve been fascinated by the idea that, in American politics, the perception of polarization is larger than polarization itself.I’ve been interested this ever since reading Fiorina’s...

By Andrew Gelman

February 05, 2013 12:06 PM Crookback Dick

So the body of Richard III has been found, buried under a parking lot. (Jimmy Hoffa is still missing.) There’s no evidence of the withered arm portrayed by Shakespeare. Oddly,...

By Mark Kleiman

February 05, 2013 12:00 PM Chart of the Day: The Health of Baby Boomers

According to new work by Dana King and colleagues, baby boomers are less healthy than their parents. Despite their longer life expectancy over previous generations, US baby boomers have higher...

By Austin Frakt

February 05, 2013 11:55 AM The Zombie Infant Mortality Explanation

There is it, in the lead of an editorial in the WSJ: Those Misleading World Health Rankings The numbers are distorted because, for instance, U.S. doctors try so hard to...

By Aaron Carroll

February 05, 2013 11:48 AM What We’ve Got Here Is Failure to Communicate

One of the central goals of our blog is to improve communication between political journalists and political scientists. From one direction, we want to make journalists aware of important and...

By Andrew Gelman

February 05, 2013 10:11 AM The Cost of Contraception

I think Kevin Drum – about the smartest blogger, or journalist of any description, now working – makes a mistake from time to time just to keep the rest of...

By Mark Kleiman

February 05, 2013 9:15 AM Joseph Steals the Land of Egypt

The Sunday-school version of the story of Joseph and the famine is reasonably well-known: Pharaoh had two dreams, seven lean cows devouring seven fat cows and seven withered ears of...

By Mark Kleiman

February 03, 2013 11:51 AM The Ground Game in 2012

Last fall, I wrote about Barack Obama's field office advantage in the swing states. The final tally shows that, across all the states, Obama had 786 field offices; Romney had...

By Seth Masket

February 03, 2013 10:50 AM The Truth About Putinism

h/t Wayne Curtis via Andrew SullivanOrwell wrote: One rapid but fairly sure guide to the social atmosphere of a country is the parade-step of its army. A military parade...

By Mark Kleiman

February 03, 2013 9:00 AM Tom Harkin

I forgot to write a post about Tom Harkin's decision, announced over the weekend, not to seek re-election next year. I've never been a big Harkin fan, but make no...

By Jonathan Bernstein

February 01, 2013 3:52 PM Optimal Income Inequality?

The NY Times has published an impressive piece by Thomas Edsall about consumption and income inequality. If you read this long piece, I have the feeling that most of the...

By Matthew Kahn

February 01, 2013 3:37 PM If you’re havin’ electoral problems I feel bad for you son, I got 538 problems but partisan bias ain’t one

As Andrew Thomas, Gary King, Jonathan Katz, and I discussed in our recently published article (see also discussion here), the electoral college has had little partisan bias in recent decades....

By Andrew Gelman

February 01, 2013 3:28 PM The Filibuster and Hagel

This is getting interesting. The reporters on the scene -- Dave Weigel today, Josh Rogin yesterday, and others -- believe a filibuster is unlikely in the Chuck Hagel nomination; they...

By Jonathan Bernstein

February 01, 2013 3:17 PM Obama Replants Goal Posts in Political Midfield

In the summer of 2011, when the “Grand Bargain” on deficit reduction failed, U.S. House Speaker John Boehner accused President Barack Obama of “moving the goal posts” -- shifting his...

By Jonathan Alter

February 01, 2013 10:45 AM Mountains, Molehills, and the Individual Mandate Penalty

Tom Miller makes some worthwhile points about generalizing the Massachusetts experience with an individual mandate to the nation. And then he says some other things. I’m not going to repeat...

By Austin Frakt

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