Wednesday October 01, 2014
July 9th, 2014
Fed up with the do-nothing Congress, people around the country are no longer waiting for Washington to lead on some of the most pressing economic fairness issues of our time.
Take the minimum wage debate. States and cities are rising above the partisan swamp in the nation’s capital to combat wage stagnation. In the 2014 session, 10 state legislatures and the District of Columbia passed minimum wage increases. Similarly, state and local efforts to rein in CEO pay are proliferating.
How would you react if one of your neighbors announced that while he obviously benefits from having clean water, highways, Medicare, police protection, parks, schools, and other public services, he was no longer going to pay his share of the taxes that make them available?
And what if this neighbor also said he was renouncing his U.S. citizenship to become a citizen of Switzerland because he could pay less in taxes there? Not that he was actually moving to that cold country, mind you.
If you pay too much attention to opinion polls, as most people do, doubtless you've heard that a plurality of voters has judged Barack Obama the worst president since World War II. Thirty-three percent, to be precise, which as it conflates almost exactly with the number of hard-core Republicans, merely tells you something you already knew: GOP partisans dislike Obama with irrational zeal.
In short, the Quinnipiac University survey reveals more about them than about Obama. But hold that thought.
Some elections are contests between voters who are happy and voters who are not. This fall's elections are of a different sort: Since almost all the voters are unhappy with politics, the battle will be over which party gets the blame for dysfunction, inaction and disillusionment.
A jazz great died this month. Though revered by fans around the world, Horace Silver is not a household name in his own country, where the popular taste tends more toward rock and country than it does toward jazz. Silver's most widely recognizable tune, "Song for My Father," is recognizable mainly because the rock band Steely Dan used it in the opening riff of one of their biggest hits, "Rikki Don't Lose That Number."
Two years ago Kansas embarked on a remarkable fiscal experiment: It sharply slashed income taxes without any clear idea of what would replace the lost revenue. Sam Brownback, the governor, proposed the legislation - in percentage terms, the largest tax cut in one year any state has ever enacted - in close consultation with the economist Arthur Laffer. And Brownback predicted that the cuts would jump-start an economic boom - "Look out, Texas," he proclaimed.
In politics, as in many endeavors, it helps to be underestimated. In this sense, Hillary Clinton is doing great.
How did the Supreme Court manage to agree unanimously that police must obtain a warrant before searching cellphones, yet split on whether employers must offer contraception as part of their health care plans?
My explanation, slightly crude but perhaps compelling: All the justices, presumably, have cellphones. Only three have uteruses, and you know which way they voted.
W. cut off Dick Cheney.
Why can't we?
Who would have thought that Iraq imploding would give the mountebanks who tricked us into war a chance to rear their heads and seek rehabilitation - somehow grabbing onto the hellish spiral as proof that they were right in their original wrongness?
But, then, they did always create their own reality spun from grandiosity.