Ten Miles Square

July 2013 Archives

July 31, 2013 3:05 PM What Does Obama See in Larry Summers?

As DC-reporting supercouple Ezra Klein and Annie Lowrey informed the world last week, Larry Summers, the former Clinton treasury secretary, Obama economic advisor, Harvard president, and Aaron Sorkin character, has...

By Ben Florsheim

July 31, 2013 11:50 AM Pardon Dick Cheney, and Pardon Bradley Manning

Since it's timely, I’m republishing my modest proposal from last year, one half of which is meant in all seriousness: It’s not at all surprising that most US media have...

By Henry Farrell

July 31, 2013 11:33 AM Too Much Human Rights Work?

Over at Foreign Affairs, Jacob Mchangama and Guglielmo Verdirame argue that international human rights institutions have proliferated to the extent that they have become counter-productive: If human rights were a currency, its value would...

By Erik Voeten

July 31, 2013 11:15 AM Same-sex Marriage: Did Jewish Senators Lead the Way?

For support for same-sex marriage to gain such momentum in the Senate in a matter of just a few years, there had to be a critical mass of senators who...

By Seth Masket

July 31, 2013 11:15 AM The True Roots of Innovation - A Response to Michael Mandel

Dear Michael, It’s bad form to falsify someone’s argument, in the hope that doing so will make it easier to refute. I did not write that our society suffers from...

By Barry C. Lynn

July 31, 2013 11:10 AM Critics Are Wrong About the Medicare Payment Board

For Medicare, this has been a summer of good and bad news. On one hand, the program’s costs continue to rise remarkably slowly. So far this fiscal year, they have...

By Peter Orszag

July 31, 2013 10:24 AM How GOP Politicians Spend Their Summer Vacations

The House of Representatives’ Republican Conference has released instructions to its members on how to spend their summer vacations. It doesn’t involve much frivolity, unless one’s idea of holiday heaven...

By Andrew Rudalevige

July 30, 2013 12:09 PM If Politics Is So Easy, Why Can't Journalists Do It?

Chrystia Freeland, a columnist and senior editor at Thomson Reuters, said last week that she’s quitting her job to run for political office in Canada, where she was born. Freeland...

By Christopher Flavelle

July 30, 2013 12:04 PM Don’t Get Snookered by Statistics with Arbitrary Ranges

I was watching a baseball game with a mathematician friend, during which the announcer said of a batter “He’s been on a hot streak, with 6 hits in his last...

By Keith Humphreys

July 30, 2013 11:50 AM Is Cancer Overdiagnosed and Overtreated?

There’s a simply fantastic Viewpoint in this week’s JAMA that addresses that issue. The basic premise is that over the last 30 years there’s been a real emphasis on “awareness”...

By Aaron Carroll

July 30, 2013 11:43 AM Off to the Races: The Contest to Lead the Fed

After Congress revamped the Federal Reserve Act in 1935, construction began on a new home for the Fed—liberating the Fed from sharing quarters with Treasury. This 1937 photo of...

By Sarah Binder

July 30, 2013 11:11 AM How Goes the House GOP's War on Political Science?

There are a number of moving legislative targets that relate to federal funding of social science research. In this post, I summarize these legislative targets and the latest happenings related...

By Jennifer Nicoll Victor

July 29, 2013 4:32 PM Obama on the Economy

Our friend Blue Girl blogs about Missouri politics at Show Me Progress. You can also follow her on Twitter and at the Washington Monthly Facebook page. On Wednesday I “climbed...

By Tammy Booth

July 29, 2013 1:57 PM Why the Pentagon Hates Reality TV

"Stars Earn Stripes" might seem perfect for a Defense Department subsidy. Turns out it isn't.

By Samuel Knight

July 29, 2013 10:30 AM Doctors Don't Think They're Responsible for Controlling Health Care Costs

Who’s responsible for controlling health care costs? That’s the question that a recent study in JAMA asked doctors. “Views of US Physicians About Controlling Health Care Costs“: Importance Physicians’ views...

By Aaron Carroll

July 29, 2013 10:13 AM Do Solar Power Subsidies Mainly Benefit Rich People?

The NY Times tells a story about a “green death spiral” for the subset of electric utilities who pay solar households retail rates per unit of power the solar households...

By Matthew Kahn

July 29, 2013 10:08 AM Philanthropy's Inequality Problem

Warren Buffett’s son has figured out that the proud towers of philanthropy are built on the rotten foundations of inequality and excessive wealth accumulation. I give him credit for being...

By Kelly Kleiman

July 29, 2013 10:03 AM Recessions Do Not Reduce The Prison Population

Every time the economy stalls, journalists start predicting that crime will soar as a result, even though the historical record completely disconfirms such an equation (as Mark Kleiman has pointed...

By Keith Humphreys

July 29, 2013 9:53 AM Inequality of Opportunity Begins at Birth

Equality of opportunity means that we are not a caste society. Who we will become is not fixed by the circumstances of our births. Some children will do better than...

By Bill Gardner

July 29, 2013 9:39 AM Think Messaging Will Change Health Care Attitudes? Think Again.

Might the efforts of Oprah Winfrey and others encourage Americans to sign up for health insurance?  Sure—and a separate vein of research in political science provides evidence that Americans’ actual...

By Dan Hopkins

July 29, 2013 9:26 AM You're a Democrat, so why would you Write about Abraham Lincoln?

This FoxNews.com interview with Zealot author Reza Aslan has been making the rounds over the past few days. The entire interview is fascinating, both for the content of Aslan's book (basically, the historical...

By Seth Masket

July 29, 2013 7:18 AM Nullification, Secession and Now Obstructionism. Some Things Never Change.

One of the pitfalls in writing about the Civil War is the tendency to see things through a Civil War lens. As a result, one sometimes sees connections between phenomena...

By Jamie Malanowski

July 26, 2013 10:53 AM How North Carolina Is Making it Harder to Vote

The North Carolina General Assembly is set to enact a sweeping series of changes to the voting laws. The most high profile change has been the requirement to show an...

By Don Taylor

July 26, 2013 10:41 AM How to Prevent Marijuana from Becoming Like Big Tobacco

In many industries, including tobacco, a small number of companies control most of the business and in doing so attain sufficient economic power to shape regulatory decisions in their favor....

By Keith Humphreys

July 26, 2013 10:24 AM An American General Warns the Israeli Right

Last weekend, Marine Corps General James Mattis, the recently retired leader of U.S. Central Command and a man known inside the White House for his sharp opinions (which is one...

By Jeffrey Goldberg

July 26, 2013 9:42 AM What Are These Dubious Financial Products Foghorn Leghorn Is Hawking?

Just what the heck is a "reverse mortgage," anyway?

By Devin Castles

July 26, 2013 8:30 AM Will Obamacare Kickstart a Health-Care Revolution?

On Jan. 1, 2014, the federal government will begin subsidizing millions of people’s health insurance purchases through Obamacare. “At that point,” warned Byron York, an influential conservative columnist with the...

By Ezra Klein

July 26, 2013 8:29 AM Battle of the Bills

With Weiner once again a casualty of his own behavior, who might take his place in the runoff?

By Ben Florsheim

July 25, 2013 10:37 AM The Colorado Governor: How a Moderate Starts Looking Like a Liberal

Lynn Bartels had the lead story in yesterday's Denver Post, noting that Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper's (D) longstanding and tightly-managed image as a moderate is crumbling, just as his reelection...

By Seth Masket

July 25, 2013 10:21 AM Bill O’Reilly's Race Problem

Monday night, Bill O’Reilly delivered “an impassioned talking points memo.” As described by Foxinsider.com, O’Reilly “tackled the race problem facing America and the lack of leadership by the president to...

By Harold Pollack

July 25, 2013 10:03 AM The Stupidest Thing Anyone Said About Obama's Economics Speech

Granted, I didn't watch the president's speech yesterday. But that's OK; apparently, Josh Kraushaar hasn't watched anything else the president did from about March 2009 until today. Seriously: I think...

By Jonathan Bernstein

July 25, 2013 10:02 AM Axe Rich People Saving Inducements and Give Them to the Poor

A paper released this week by the New America Foundation makes the case for tax code reform that would make the most basic financial aspiration more attainable for lower-income...

By Katelyn Fossett

July 25, 2013 10:00 AM Steve King: Just Making Stuff Up About Immigrants

While we've heard rumors of the hypothetical potential for a reasonable discussion about immigration reform taking place in this country, we've yet to hear of anyone actually doing it....

By Luke O'Neil

July 25, 2013 9:55 AM Want Peace? Get Rid of Hamas.

A few days ago, I wrote that John Kerry, the U.S. secretary of state, might be running a fool's errand if he thinks he can bring the Israelis and Palestinians...

By Jeffrey Goldberg

July 25, 2013 9:13 AM Identifying “Good” and “Bad” Hospitals

A new paper in JAMA Internal Medicine by McCrum, Joynt, Orav, Gawande, and Jha delivers good news about hospital quality ratings. Of course, it’s wonky good news, so come with...

By Austin Frakt

July 24, 2013 10:58 AM Ken Cuccinelli: What About the Anti-adultery Laws?

I note with some glee that Ken Cuccinelli, who has made an issue of keeping Virginia’s “Crimes Against Nature” law on the books* (1) said in 2008 that he thought...

By Mark Kleiman

July 24, 2013 10:46 AM Laid Off Dads, Laid Off Moms, and Child Abuse

What happens to children when their parents lose their jobs? My intuition is that job losses stress families and put children at increased risk of child abuse. But Jason Lindo,...

By Bill Gardner

July 24, 2013 10:32 AM One Irony of Nate Silver’s Leaving the New York Times

Nate Silver’s imminent departure from the New York Times to ABC and ESPN —see details in the links within this Jack Shafer post—has elicited stories of hostility to Silver within...

By John Sides

July 24, 2013 10:23 AM Who Says Tech Innovation Moves Too Slowly?

In his article for the July/August issue of the Washington Monthly, Barry Lynn correctly notes that the slow pace of technological progress in many fields could help explain many of...

By Michael Mandel

July 24, 2013 8:41 AM Detroit and the Origins of the Urban Crisis

My examination of Detroit in the quarter-century after World War II suggests that the origins of the urban crisis are much earlier than social scientists have recognized, its roots deeper,...

By Dan Hopkins

July 23, 2013 1:01 PM Housing Party

NYC Dems draw a contrast with Bloomberg on housing. But can they deliver?

By Ben Florsheim

July 23, 2013 11:12 AM Will an Immigration Bill Help the Republicans?

On June 27, the Senate passed a comprehensive immigration reform bill 68 to 32. This was a laudable accomplishment in itself, but it is also an interesting foray into political...

By Gregory Koger

July 23, 2013 10:45 AM Kerry's Mideast Fool's Errand Ignores Reality

Veteran Middle East peace processors are arguing that naysayers are in bad odor this week, now that John Kerry, the U.S. secretary of state, has seemingly defied the skeptics. Kerry...

By Jeffrey Goldberg

July 23, 2013 10:00 AM How Legalization Can Expand a Black Market

Human trafficking is one of the most revolting crimes on the planet, and it is therefore understandable that some governments have taken radical action to attempt to eliminate it, including...

By Keith Humphreys

July 23, 2013 9:38 AM Whatever happened to the "crowd" in crowdfunding?

The Securities and Exchange Commission recently generated a buzz in the investment world when it voted to lift a nearly 80 year-old ban on advertising private debt and equity offerings...

By Daniel Gorfine

July 23, 2013 9:05 AM “A Party of Closed Minds and Borders”

That’s the Wall Street Journal on the GOP. After all, the plutocrats love them some guestworkers, and when the principle of bigotry runs into the principle of greed, well then...

By Mark Kleiman

July 23, 2013 8:54 AM Hey, John Boehner: Wanna Make a Deal?

The Speaker (emphasis added): BOEHNER: Well, Bob, I've been around this town for a little while, like you have -- not quite as long -- but around here, never, ever, ever...

By Jonathan Bernstein

July 22, 2013 10:50 AM Why Didn't the Democrats Just End the Filibuster?

Last Tuesday’s announcement of a deal to end an institutional crisis in the Senate gave the Democrats almost everything they were asking for: approval of President Obama’s nominees for Secretary...

By Gregory Koger

July 22, 2013 10:46 AM Prepare for Inflation

Paul Krugman provides Dr. Janet Yellen with an endorsement to be our next head of the Federal Reserve. If selected and confirmed, I predict that she will attempt to introduce...

By Matthew Kahn

July 22, 2013 10:25 AM The Nuclear Senate, Defused

All three senators of the Great Triumverate of Senate history at one point in their careers endorsed stronger limits on Senate debate. So I have no doubt that their...

By Sarah Binder

July 22, 2013 10:16 AM Are the Social Sciences in Trouble?

Nicholas Christakis, a medical scientist perhaps best known for his controversial claim (see also here), based on joint work with James Fowler, that obesity is contagious, writes: The social sciences...

By Andrew Gelman

July 22, 2013 8:34 AM Democrats and Republicans, the Record on Civil Rights

One of the standard glibertarian/Republican lies is that, in the Civil Rights struggles of the early 1960s, Republicans stood for equality and Democrats stood for racism. They’ve even managed to...

By Mark Kleiman

July 19, 2013 10:33 AM Why Does Obamacare Look So Good in New York? Largely Because the Policy Was so Terrible Before

Fans of Obamacare are cheering the massive drop in individual health insurance premiums in New York State. But it should be acknowledged that Obamacare looks so good in the Empire...

By Keith Humphreys

July 19, 2013 10:00 AM World Cup Soccer Breeds Nationalistic Aggression

Nationalism is widely viewed as a force for interstate violence, but does it really have an important effect on state aggression that cannot be explained by strategic concerns? I provide...

By John Sides

July 19, 2013 9:30 AM Are Our Political Parties Really Corrupt?

According to Slate, three out of four Americans consider our political parties to be corrupt. This is based on a report by Transparency International. Indeed, the parties appear to be...

By Seth Masket

July 19, 2013 9:14 AM Why Obamacare Needs 2.7 Million Young People

Sarah Kliff and Ezra Klein wrote, How many younger people are needed each year to hold down premiums depends on how many people sign up for the marketplaces. If the...

By Austin Frakt

July 19, 2013 8:21 AM America, Both Black and White, Doesn't Trust Cops

John Buntin has an engaging piece in New York Times on how to prevent gang members from killing each other. David Kennedy describes how the long-term, prevalent use of stop-and-frisk...

By Keith Humphreys

July 19, 2013 8:06 AM How the European Union May Overreact to Security Concerns

The Financial Times has an editorial warning gravely that the European Union may overreact to the PRISM surveillance program revelations. If recent leaks about US internet surveillance spur Europe’s political...

By Henry Farrell

July 18, 2013 9:34 AM Also, Richard Cohen Got the Research Wrong

Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen brings up one of my research topics in his recent controversial column about race: In New York City, blacks make up a quarter of the...

By Andrew Gelman

July 18, 2013 9:30 AM The Stories that The Stories We Tell Tells

What is the obligation of a documentary—what, for that matter, is the obligation of any work of non-fiction—to its audience and to the underlying facts of the story it...

By Louis Barbash

July 18, 2013 9:27 AM Sexism Clouds the Fed Succession Saga

The favored parlor game of the political-economic complex right now is guessing who will replace Ben Bernanke as chairman of the Federal Reserve. The clear front-runner is Federal Reserve Vice...

By Ezra Klein

July 18, 2013 7:44 AM The New “Get Ready for Obamacare” Video from the Kaiser Family Foundation

Just out. Watch all the way to the end, then comment. Fair? Sufficiently complete? Clear? Confusing? [Originally posted at The Incidental Economist]...

By Austin Frakt

July 17, 2013 2:54 PM Half a Loaf on Immigration: Why High Skill Immigration Reform is Essential

Amidst the continuing fireworks over illegal immigration and immigration reform, many people might forget that around one set of immigration issues—the need for more high-skilled immigrants—Congress has already long come...

By Robert D. Atkinson

July 17, 2013 1:28 PM Insider Joke

What This Town can do for this town.

By Ben Florsheim

July 17, 2013 10:17 AM Did Florida’s Stand Your Ground Law Increase Firearm Homicides?

Probably. At least two empirical papers have found that Stand Your Ground (SYG) laws like the one in Florida are associated with an average increase rather than a decrease in...

By Erik Voeten

July 17, 2013 10:11 AM Appointments: The Goal Isn't to Defeat Nominations; It's to Delay Them in the Senate

Following the Senate nominations deal, which seemingly happened late last night or early this morning, the White House needed replacement nominees for the two NLRB picks who were the losers...

By Jonathan Bernstein

July 17, 2013 9:36 AM James Madison Called the Senate's Future Dysfunction in 1787

I'm finishing up The Glorious Cause, a rather gauzy and sentimental entry in the Oxford History of the United States series covering the American Revolution. But it's not terrible, and...

By Ryan Cooper

July 17, 2013 8:24 AM Is Alcohol a Drug?

To a pharmacologist, that question is a little bit like “Is water a liquid?” Alcohol is not just a drug, but the archetypal drug: the drug most widely used and...

By Mark Kleiman

July 16, 2013 4:53 PM Elizabeth Warren Celebrates the Survival of the CFPB

Elizabeth Warren could barely contain her excitement today at an event put on by Democracy Journal marking the two-year anniversary of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) - and, of...

By Katelyn Fossett

July 16, 2013 1:00 PM Russia Has a New Way to Get Customers to Buy Stuff, and It's Really Creepy

From a New York Times article today on technology to track shoppers’ movements in stores through their cell phones: Synqera, a start-up in St. Petersburg, Russia, is selling software for...

By Andrew Sabl

July 16, 2013 12:56 PM How California Stopped Being a Red State

Andrew Sullivan has a helpful round up of the current debate about whether the GOP can attain electoral success in the face of increasing population diversity by “doubling down” on...

By Keith Humphreys

July 16, 2013 12:50 PM Trayvon Martin's Killing Was Exceptional Only In That We Noticed

As debate rages over the verdict in the Trayvon Martin case, it is important to remember that the initial outcry was not based on the sense that George Zimmerman was...

By David Dagan

July 16, 2013 12:45 PM How Autism Really "Spreads"

The news that Jenny McCarthy will become a co-host of TV discussion show The View is generating a lot of controversy – people worry that McCarthy will be able to...

By Henry Farrell

July 16, 2013 12:40 PM How Many Children Get Assaulted?

Before reading further, stop and ask yourself the question in the title. Be specific: what proportion of children experience violence in a given year? What proportion of adolescent girls have...

By Bill Gardner

July 16, 2013 12:31 PM Why Are Employers Changing Full-time Jobs to Part-time Jobs?

There was a piece in the Wall Street Journal on how some full time jobs are being changed to part time jobs. I braced myself for the usual blame on...

By Aaron Carroll

July 16, 2013 12:20 PM What's the Next Step on Immigration Reform?

Good reporting from NR's Jonathan Strong highlights the weird dynamic on the next step for immigration reform. Here's the deal. Most Republicans, at the very least, want to pass something...

By Jonathan Bernstein

July 16, 2013 10:51 AM Why I Always Put “Medical Marijuana” in Scare Quotes

Yes, cannabis has medical value for some people. And yes, the sustained effort of the federal government to make medical cannabis research as difficult as possible is a national disgrace.And...

By Mark Kleiman

July 15, 2013 8:05 AM The Trouble with Predicting Presidential Elections

This, from Megan McArdle: My assertion that there’s a 70% chance that the GOP controls White House, Senate, and House in 2017 has attracted a lot of pushback. And it’s...

By Henry Farrell

July 15, 2013 7:30 AM Gun Is Control Disappearing from the News

Once the Senate gun control bill died in April, so did the story. That is Danny Hayes, over at Wonkblog. [Cross-posted at The Monkey Cage]...

By John Sides

July 15, 2013 7:00 AM Speak Softly … and Carry a Nuclear Stick

The Teddy Roosevelt-Harry Reid analogy ain’t great, I know.  But the Senate majority leader sure does speak softly, and he’s armed (we think) with a pretty potent stick as the...

By Sarah Binder

July 14, 2013 11:57 PM “Meritocracy” Is Not What You Think

This has come up before and before, but I think it’s worth explaining again.In the context of a dispute with transit unions, public relations person Sarah Lacy writes: People in...

By Andrew Gelman

July 14, 2013 11:12 PM Is Childhood Obesity Going Down?

There’s usually so much bad news when it comes to obesity in the US, it’s hard to take good news at face value. But it seems to be real: Nearly...

By Aaron Carroll

July 14, 2013 2:25 PM "The View" Hires Loathsome Vaccine Denier Jenny McCarthy, Thus Demonstrating ABC's Utter Disregard for Health, Science, and the Lives of Humans Everywhere

When derp becomes evil. If you thought the CIA's effort to single-handedly keep the polio virus alive and paralyzing/killing people by using a fake vaccination campaign to hunt for bin...

By Ryan Cooper

July 12, 2013 11:40 AM Could the GOP Lose Generations of Latino Voters?

The handful of studies on Latino party identification tends to emphasize its variability across elections as a result of the candidate position-taking on key issues, and the fact that parental...

By John Sides

July 12, 2013 11:34 AM The Electricity Grid's Big Climate Change Problem

In the NY Times, John Broder has written a good piece where he notes that climate stress could lead to both supply and demand shocks for electricity that threaten the...

By Matthew Kahn

July 12, 2013 11:20 AM Maybe Boehner Should Have Tanked the Farm Bill

The Half-Farm Bill squeezed through the House yesterday afternoon, with all Democrats opposing it along with a handful of Republicans. This is the Farm Bill with agriculture stuff only; the...

By Jonathan Bernstein

July 12, 2013 10:26 AM How Violence Is a Source of Trust

Criminals have great difficulty in trusting each other – they often have conflicting interests (and may sometimes have incentives to inform on each other) but have no very good equivalent...

By Henry Farrell

July 12, 2013 9:11 AM The Republicans and Immigration Reform Redux

Now, perhaps there are unforeseen events that will permanently help the GOP among Latinos and that have nothing to do with immigration reform politics in 2013.  But if I’m the...

By John Sides

July 11, 2013 11:15 AM Why Does Al Jazeera Love a Hateful Islamic Extremist?

So, it hasn’t been the best week for Al Jazeera, the television network owned by Qatar’s despotic ruling family, for the same reason that it hasn’t been a great week...

By Jeffrey Goldberg

July 11, 2013 11:05 AM The Immigration Blame Game

A good point from Dave Hopkins: Will be hard for GOP leaders to blame Dems if immig reform falls apart in part b/c plenty of conservatives will take credit for...

By Jonathan Bernstein

July 11, 2013 10:09 AM The State of US Health Ain’t so Good

There’s a ridiculously fantastic manuscript over at JAMA that you should go read right now. “The State of US Health, 1990-2010: Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors“: Importance Understanding...

By Aaron Carroll

July 11, 2013 10:00 AM Obama’s Big Problem Is Obama

For the White House, immigration reform perfectly encapsulates the most frustrating reality of President Barack Obama’s second term: If it’s to be a success, Obama needs to stay out of...

By Ezra Klein

July 11, 2013 9:58 AM Judicial Nominations: Nuclear Retaliation Revisited

Showdown July in the Senate! With the possibility that Democrats will attempt majority-imposed reform should Republicans continue to block executive branch (and perhaps judicial) nominations, we're getting a rehash of...

By Jonathan Bernstein

July 10, 2013 12:01 PM Political Science Graduates As Political Reporters

As the criticism of our current state of journalism and the current state of journalism education mounts, we ask a simple question: Could political science graduates do a better job...

By John Sides

July 10, 2013 9:14 AM Why Does Japan Need to Restart Its Nuclear Power Plants?

Japan is on course to restart its nuclear reactors, which have been off-line for safety inspections since the March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami, which led to the nuclear...

By Tina Gerhardt

July 10, 2013 8:06 AM Policing the Illicit Cannabis Market After Legalization

Law enforcement officials in Colorado and Washington will soon be grappling with the question of how to police illicit sales and production of cannabis after the legal cannabis market is...

By Keith Humphreys

July 10, 2013 7:52 AM Do We Finally Have a Fix on Executive Branch Nominations?

I wrote recently about what, from my perspective, is the very good news about Senate reform -- it appears that Harry Reid and the Democrats are now planning to decouple...

By Jonathan Bernstein

July 10, 2013 6:44 AM Young White Women, Killing Themselves by Tanning

Despite the hoopla over dysfunction in Washington, the government can still do useful things. To prove it, the Food and Drug Administration should move aggressively to implement and then strengthen...

By Peter Orszag

July 09, 2013 10:52 AM Rick Perry, President?

Rick Perry is not running for yet another term as Texas governor; speculation is that he's in for another presidential run. Is he a viable candidate? Sure. Why not? He...

By Jonathan Bernstein

July 09, 2013 10:44 AM Cutting Off Egypt’s Aid Will Only Worsen Chaos

Two men I admire, U.S. Senator John McCain and Robert Kagan of the Brookings Institution, have recently argued that the U.S should suspend aid to Egypt after the army coup...

By Jeffrey Goldberg

July 09, 2013 8:20 AM America's Painkiller Problem

A number of commentators have unhelpfully framed debate about the astonishing rate of opioid prescriptions in the U.S. (more annual prescriptions than adults in the entire population at this point)...

By Keith Humphreys

July 09, 2013 8:03 AM Make it Easier to Avoid Vaccines, and People Will Skip them

This one is pretty much common sense, but it bears highlighting. “Exempting Schoolchildren From Immunizations: States With Few Barriers Had Highest Rates Of Nonmedical Exemptions“: Rates of nonmedical exemptions from...

By Aaron Carroll

July 09, 2013 8:00 AM Are the Democrats at a Disadvantage in Redistricting?

To what extent are Democrats inherently disadvantaged in congressional elections because of where they live?  This was a hot topic of conversation just after the 2012 congressional elections, when the...

By Eric McGhee

July 08, 2013 5:35 PM Blue Texas? Not So Fast

After Texas State Senator Wendy Davis’s recent 13-hour filibuster on anti-abortion legislation, many progressives may be looking at Texas with blue-colored glasses. In particular, the attention Senator Davis has received,...

By Stefan Hankin

July 08, 2013 11:14 AM Did China’s Economic Liberalization Increase Sex Selection?

Doug Almond, Hongbin Li, and Shuang Zhang write: Following the death of Mao in 1976, abandonment of collective farming lifted millions from poverty and heralded sweeping pro-market policies. How did...

By Andrew Gelman

July 08, 2013 11:00 AM The Illusion of American Health Care Quality

David Lazarus is a reporter on consumer issues for the LA Times. His family recently became big-time consumers of health when his wife spent a week in an intensive care...

By Bill Gardner

July 08, 2013 8:36 AM How About Non-commercial Pot Legalization?

If you believe, as I do, that the tension between the incentive for sellers in a licit cannabis market to create and maintain addiction with aggressive marketing and product design...

By Mark Kleiman

July 05, 2013 4:46 PM When Should Judges Retire?

July the 4th weekend is always a good time to think about political power wielded arbitrarily by unelected, berobed rulers who may serve until their death.In that light,this Reuters interview...

By David Karol

July 05, 2013 3:22 PM Obama Makes Wise Choice to Delay Insurance Mandate

The Barack Obama administration should be commended for delaying implementation of the employer mandate under the Affordable Care Act. The delay won’t do much damage -- other than perhaps symbolically...

By Peter Orszag

July 05, 2013 11:05 AM Would Martin O'Malley Be a Good Presidential Candidate?

Alec MacGillis had a piece yesterday talking down Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley as a presidential candidate. He may be right! But...well, let me give you a taste: For all his...

By Jonathan Bernstein

July 05, 2013 10:54 AM How Often Do Coups Lead to Elections?

As a commentator on Jeremy Pressman’s excellent blog post noted, Hein Goemans and Nikolay Marinov’s research on the rise of the guardian coup is highly relevant for interpreting what...

By Erik Voeten

July 05, 2013 10:49 AM The Disastrous Results of Outsourcing

Florida has some new road signs. The Florida Department of Transportation, which farms the manufacturing of its interstate signs out to a (sadly unnamed) sign manufacturer in Arkansas, was a...

By Daniel Luzer

July 05, 2013 10:40 AM The Difference Between Offense and Defense in Cybersecurity

This New York Times article about Edward Snowden implicitly highlights the perceived dilemmas of US cybersecurity policy. In 2010, while working for a National Security Agency contractor, Edward J. Snowden...

By Henry Farrell

July 05, 2013 10:06 AM Good Riddance to the Muslim Brotherhood’s Fake Democrats

A few months ago, King Abdullah II of Jordan told me about his meetings with Mohamed Mursi, the now-deposed president of Egypt. The king wasn’t fond of Mursi, both because...

By Jeffrey Goldberg

July 03, 2013 12:14 PM Obama's Climate Action Plan: The Methane Problem With ‘Clean’ Natural Gas

Last week, President Barack Obama presented his Climate Action Plan to the public. President Obama's plan aims to 1. reduce carbon emissions from existing power plants, by using laws already...

By Tina Gerhardt

July 03, 2013 8:44 AM How Did the U.S. Lose the Egyptian People?

So here’s a question that’s nagging at me as we watch millions of Egyptians express their loathing for Mohamed Mursi, their hapless, power-grabbing president, and for his Muslim Brotherhood movement:...

By Jeffrey Goldberg

July 03, 2013 8:15 AM Who Needs the Employer Mandate?

So, the employer mandate is delayed a year. Why not make it two, three, or infinitely more?Years ago, I wrote many posts questioning why we should want to encourage the...

By Austin Frakt

July 03, 2013 8:00 AM People Don't Understand How Deficits Work

Proof today that people just don't understand the basic Keynesian ideas about deficits. At Roll Call, Nathan Gonzales claims that Obama-era Democrats are "rallying against two of the highest profile...

By Jonathan Bernstein

July 03, 2013 7:50 AM Chief Justice Roberts Is Awesome Power Behind FISA Court

Chief justice of the U.S. is a pretty big job. You lead the Supreme Court conferences where cases are discussed and voted on. You preside over oral arguments. When in...

By Ezra Klein

July 03, 2013 7:05 AM Pot and Schizophrenia: Scare Stories Are not Policy Arguments.

The Wall Street Journal has an op-ed by a Yale psychiatry resident warning that the legalization of cannabis will lead to increased disability due to schizophrenia. That’s based on a...

By Mark Kleiman

July 02, 2013 3:23 PM Is the Voting Rights Act Dead?

Has the U.S. Supreme Court killed the Voting Rights Act? No—but with Shelby County, Alabama v. Holder, handed down on June 27th, the Court radically demoted the Act’s constitutional meaning....

By Rick Valelly

July 02, 2013 1:48 PM Is India the Next Global Bad Boy?

By 2030, India will be the world’s most populous country, with a projected 1.5 billion people. Its $14 billion economy will be the world’s third largest, trailing only China and...

By Ed Gerwin

July 02, 2013 11:52 AM The Political Economy of Edward Snowden

It seems like Edward Snowden has offered his citizenship to at least 21 countries via auction from Moscow’s airport transit area. It is not yet clear if anyone will bid...

By Erik Voeten

July 02, 2013 11:44 AM John Kerry’s Bid for Mideast Peace Is Doomed

It’s a testament to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s grit, determination and self-assurance that he refuses to give up in his quest to bring Israelis and Palestinians back to...

By Jeffrey Goldberg

July 02, 2013 11:00 AM Why America Needs the Humanities

At some point in high school, in one of those endless bifurcations people come up with to make sense of society, I realized that all the smart guys at my...

By Jamie Malanowski

July 02, 2013 10:00 AM Vladimir Putin on his 'American Partners'

“If he wants to go somewhere and they accept him, please, be my guest…If he wants to stay here, there is one condition: He must cease his work aimed at...

By Joshua Tucker

July 01, 2013 11:04 AM Why Debates About Public Debt Are Dumb

In the past few years, there have been countless op-ed pieces and spirited debates about the level of government debt in the U.S. and in the Eurozone, whether it is...

By Keith Humphreys

July 01, 2013 10:00 AM The Problem with Health Care 'Technology'

We tend to equate “technology” with “high-tech,” e.g., devices built on microprocessors. That’s a mistake. “Technology” is broader than that, encompassing any practical application of scientific knowledge. There are many,...

By Austin Frakt

July 01, 2013 9:54 AM How Cities Compete For Business

Local economic development theory argues that it’s usually a bad idea for cities to offer special incentives to try to attract businesses. These incentives weaken the fiscal position of the...

By Henry Farrell

July 01, 2013 7:04 AM The Crisis of Jail Inmates with Mental Illness

Following the informed debate generated by my post about deinstitutionalization of mentally ill patients, I am passing along this short, powerful PBS segment. Some people with mental illness who used...

By Keith Humphreys

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