DOJ’s Zero Tolerance Of Zero Tolerance

A Justice Department report critical of the Baltimore police missed the point. So did those who praised and faulted it. [Credit: NY Post]

A Justice Department report critical of the Baltimore police missed the point. So did those who praised and faulted it. [Credit: NY Post]

The Department of Justice report on Baltimore police practices has prompted predictable reactions from Left and Right.

The report confirmed suspicions on the Left that police unconstitutionally harassed African-American males. From the Right came reflexive defenses of the police.

Both have a point.  And both miss the point.  As does the report itself. Continue reading

Obamacare’s Next Chapter

Chief Justice John Roberts ' opinion in King v. Burwell betrayed widely-held misconceptions about health insurance markets.  [Credit: Human Events]

Chief Justice John Roberts ‘ opinion in King v. Burwell repeated widely-held misconceptions about health insurance markets.  Conservatives should take note. [Credit: Human Events]

“The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act grew out of a long history of failed health insur­ance reform.” Chief Justice John Roberts, in upholding Obamacare subsidies.

Obamacare is the newest chapter in that long history of failed health insurance reform.  Conservatives who hope one day to replace it would do well to learn from its errors and conceits. Continue reading

The GOP’s Gift To Henry Waxman — Part II

Cold War era Congressman Chet Holifield wanted the federal government to finance a network of underground bomb shelters.  His successor, Henry Waxman, wanted the federal government to take over health care. Holifield failed; Waxman is still doing just fine.  [Credit: NY Times]

Cold War era Congressman Chet Holifield wanted the federal government to finance a network of underground bomb shelters. His successor, Henry Waxman, wanted the federal government to take over health care. Holifield failed; Waxman did just fine. [Credit: NY Times]

Chet Holifield was obsessed with The Bomb.

During a 32-year tenure that flowered during the Cold War, the Los Angeles Congressman sought federal money to help Americans survive a nuclear war.  He called for “a nationwide system of underground shelters” in which to huddle, safe from irradiated debris.

Though Holifield achieved success in other areas – he was known as “Mr. Atomic Energy” for his promotion of nuclear power — he left Congress in 1974 without fulfilling his subterranean vision. Continue reading

The GOP’s Gift To Henry Waxman — Part I

Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and John Boehner (R-OH) took a bow when the House passed a $141 billion health care bill. But Henry Waxman deserves the credit. [Credit: Politico]

Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) took a bow when the House passed a $141 billion health care bill. But Henry Waxman deserves the credit. [Credit: Politico]

“What a way to celebrate a birthday!”  — House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) after the House passed bipartisan health care legislation

Sorry, Nancy.  It’s not about you.

The $141 billion health care bill that cleared the House last month and that is expected to win Senate approval next week is a tribute from the GOP-controlled Congress to former Congressman Henry Waxman, a man who worked tirelessly – and with great success – to expand health care-related welfare spending. Continue reading

Obamacare: The More You Pay, The Less You Get

Obamacare enrollment increased this year, but only the poorest among the uninsured have so far signed up. [Credit: Arkansas Times]

Obamacare enrollment increased this year, but only the poorest among the uninsured have so far signed up. [Credit: Arkansas Times]

Can government get people to buy a product that millions think isn’t worth the price?

That’s the question that health care analysts are asking as they pore over the results of the Obamacare open season that concluded on February 15. Continue reading

If Obama Were President

The mammone -- a jobless man in his 20s, 30s or 40s who lives with mamma -- is an Italian tradition. But under President Obama, labor force participation rates of young men have plunged to Italian levels. [Credit: studenti.it]

The mammone — a jobless man in his 20s, 30s or 40s who lives with mamma — is an Italian tradition. Under President Obama, labor force participation rates of young American men have plunged to Italian levels. [Credit: studenti.it]

In Italy, they call him a mammone: an unemployed man in his 20s, 30s or 40s who still lives with mamma.

The prevalence of the mammone has long been thought to be a predominantly Italian phenomenon, with deep cultural roots.  It has grown more pronounced with the country’s recent economic distress.  Since 2008, a growing percentage of Italian men aged 25-54 have abandoned the labor force, no longer bothering even to look for work.

Italy’s workforce participation rate among men of prime working age is by far Europe’s lowest.  But it is not the lowest in the developed world.  Italy now shares that dubious distinction with the U.S.

That wouldn’t happen if Obama were President. Continue reading

Inequality: Has The Income Gap Narrowed?

Two icons of the Left -- economist Thomas Piketty and Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) -- talking about rising inequality last June.  But by some measures, inequality is shrinking.  [Credit: National Review]

Two icons of the Left — economist Thomas Piketty and Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) — discussing rising inequality during an event last June. But by some measures, inequality is shrinking, not rising. [Credit: National Review]

“The game right now in America is rigged. It is rigged so that those at the top keep doing better and better, and everyone else is under increasing pressure, is under increasing economic strain…And that is the profound danger that we see from great inequality.” Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)

Democrats are still stinging from last month’s epic defeat at the polls.  Some of them attribute that unhappy outcome to ideological temperance.  The party would do better, some argue, if their candidates took a more strident tone, denouncing the rich, preaching that Washington governs in the service of Wall Street, and calling for more aggressive redistribution of income and wealth to dampen rising inequality.

But a new study published in the Southern Economic Journal pulls at a critical thread of that narrative.  It found that, at least according to one measure of income, the gap between rich and poor actually narrowed between 1989 and 2007. Continue reading

When Dead Men Rule

G.K. Chesterton worried that our predecessors would have too little influence on our politics. But Gene Steuerle says that they have too much. [Credit: christiancompletely blog]

G.K. Chesterton worried that our ancestors would have too little influence on our society. But a new book by the Urban Institute’s Gene Steuerle says that they exert too much control over our politics. [Credit: christiancompletely blog]

“Tradition means giving votes to the most obscure of all classes, our ancestors.  It is the democracy of the dead.”G.K. Chesterton

Chesterton fretted that modern democracies might show too little deference to past generations.  But according to the Urban Institute’s Gene Steuerle, the very opposite is true: in American democracy, dead men rule. Continue reading

Inequality: What We Earn vs. What We Consume

Is inequality better measured by what we earn or what we spend? The difference is surprising. [Credit: Politic.org]

Is inequality better measured by what we earn or what we spend? The difference is surprising. [Credit: Politic.org]

Is your standard of living better measured by what you earn or by what you buy?

The question may seem an odd one, but it is critical to understanding the problem of rising inequality. Continue reading

Student Loans: Punishing People Who Play By The Rules

President Obama believes that requiring student loans to be repaid is punishing good behavior.  [Credit: NPR]

President Obama believes that requiring student loans to be repaid is punishing good behavior. [Credit: NPR]

“If somebody plays by the rules, they shouldn’t be punished for it.” — President Obama

The President made this inarguable statement in the course of proclaiming a change in the law governing student loans.  Henceforth, millions of people who borrowed for college will have their monthly payments restructured and, in some cases, be entirely relieved of the obligation to repay their debt.

In the President’s mind, borrowing money is playing by the rules; paying it back is punishment. Continue reading