Tag: July-August 2019

An Economy in Waiting

The 2020 Democratic field now teems with proposals to mitigate rampaging wealth and income inequality, from Kamala Harris’s plan to increase tax credits for low- and moderate-income families to Elizabeth Warren’s wealth tax. Such plans overlook, however, the principal set of relations that skew American capitalism upward: the ownership and operational control of business enterprises.
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How Washington’s Elite Learned to Love Policy Wonks

If David Brooks of The New York Times were alive in the Eisenhower era, rather than a mere intellectual artifact of it, we might have called him a “meatball.” Today, we must settle for “policy wonk.” The Oxford English Dictionary calls policy “a principle or course of action adopted or proposed as desirable.” But to understand policy requires expertise, […]

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Democratic Rot and the Origins of American Conspiracism

At the end of 2016, in the wake of Donald Trump’s election, The Oxford English Dictionary made “post-truth” its word of the year, Merriam-Webster picked “surreal,” and Dictionary.com chose “xenophobia.” Loath to put too fine a point on it, the American Dialect Society went with “dumpster fire.” At least in recent times, official words of […]

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Antifa Is Arming Itself Against a Trump Crackdown

Liberals are notoriously loath to take their own side in a fight. But their reticence may well be changing in an age of vigilante, white nationalist terror—openly condoned and supported by an incumbent president who has suggested that his armed devotees won’t stand for his removal from office. Increasingly, the antifa left is arguing—and training—in […]

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#ETTU?

The fall of 2017 dumps you roundly in the wrong. You catch yourself musing aloud to a friend, regarding Louis C.K.’s admission of masturbating in front of a large minority of his industry, about whether his having asked the women’s permission first shouldn’t count for something. Under her hard, silent look, you are forced to […]

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Eric Bolling Is Failing Up

In 2007, Eric Bolling was new to Fox News; after a successful run as an oil trader on Wall Street, he had landed a job as a financial analyst on Fox Business. The jauntily named show he hosted, Happy Hour, was a far cry from the incendiary, conservative rabble-rousing for which he’d later become known, […]

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How John Hersey Bore Witness

Some writers are known for their oeuvre. Some are known for their personality. John Hersey, as the subtitle of Jeremy Treglown’s biography attests, is known as the “author of Hiroshima.” Taking up most of the August 31, 1946, issue of The New Yorker, Hersey’s article was a media sensation, selling out that issue of the magazine, and […]

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White Mom’s Burden

Cindy McCain was buying sari cloth for her daughter from a “tiny wooden kiosk” in Kolkata, India, some years ago, she said, when she saw “little eyes” through the floorboards, peering up at her. The shopkeeper told her they belonged to members of his family, she recalled in an interview with a Phoenix radio program […]

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The Road Not Taken

Chuckie Denison took the podium at the United Steelworkers hall in Canton, Ohio, in his ever-present blue Good Jobs Nation T-shirt, flanked by people holding protest signs. One handmade sign read “Promises Made, Promises Broken”; it featured a likeness of President Trump, who’d flown into Ohio that day for a big-money fund-raiser at a nearby […]

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The Polling Industry Is in Crisis

The polls were unequivocal. In 2016, two days before Michigan’s Democratic primary, the respected Marist poll predicted that Hillary Clinton would win in a landslide, with 57 percent of the vote to Bernie Sanders’s 40 percent. On the morning of the March 8 primary, James Hohmann of The Washington Post wrote, “Michigan should have been fertile territory […]

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Oligarch of the Month: Viktor Orbán

During a busy May that saw his “infrastructure week” flop and his bellicose posturing toward Iran temporarily thwarted, President Donald Trump found time to roll out the red carpet for Viktor Orbán, the prime minister of Hungary. Since his election nine years ago, Orbán has built a razor wire fence, caged refugees in shipping containers, […]

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Give War a Chance

Senator Elizabeth Warren’s plan to address America’s opioid epidemic has one unusual component, something that sets her dramatically apart from nearly everyone else running for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination: a villain.
  Specifically, that villain is Purdue Pharma, the creator of OxyContin. Even more specifically, it is the Sackler family, who own Purdue. A May […]

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The Man Who Was Upset

There would be a cartoon, like for kids. Or it might also have been a prime-time cartoon, actually. The situation was fluid, but consider the growth potential. Honestly, the whole notion was exceedingly hazy and changed a lot, but, as it got pitched among the corps of cold-calling salespeople to potential investors in a company […]

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All Over the Map

Jared Diamond doesn’t use a computer. He relies “completely” on his secretary and on his wife for “anything” requiring one, as he puts it. Diamond also confesses that he lacks the ability to turn on his “home television set” and can “do only the simplest things” with his newly acquired iPhone. “Whenever friends have shown […]

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The Impossibility of Impeachment

Polling outfits routinely ask historians and political scientists to rate the presidents from worst to best. It’s an inherently frustrating exercise. Does “greatness” depend on what a chief executive accomplished or instead on his ability to bend Congress to his will and influence his successors? How should we evaluate a president like Lyndon Johnson, who […]

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