Economy & Budget

The Politics of Parenthood

In an interview conducted by Rachel Maddow, John Stewart once suggested that the media exaggerates the centrality of the Republican/Democratic divide in America. Looking surprised, Maddow asked what he meant. As an example, Stewart suggested that the difference between people with children and those without was much more significant. At the time I thought it…

What If Jesus Was Right About The Poor?

The title is the first of two questions that have been been bouncing around in my head for a few months now. It has to do with a comment made by Jesus. Here’s how it was recorded in The Gospel of St. Mark: For ye have the poor with you always, and whensoever ye will…

Choosing a Presidential Candidate

I should be grading, preparing new lectures, or otherwise tackling a productive task. But I seem to know a surprising number of swing voters (albeit none living in swing states). So I want to suggest a few things to keep in mind when choosing a presidential candidate.   1) You are voting for a party…

Fairness in Tax Policy

We’ve begun to discuss the specifics of tax policy in a few of the comment threads, so I thought I’d bring that discussion here. I’ll do my best to keep the explanation simple, but if you’re not into tax policy I understand.   Jacob and I started with a discussion of what constitutes “fairness” in…

Taxation and Slavery

In his recent comment,* Jacob made several references to slavery, both historical and metaphorical. I’d like to unpack them a bit since they reflect the foundation of some of our differences. In his first reference, Jacob references the historic institution of slavery. He suggests that “the majority of Americans were better off as a result…

On Taxation, Redistribution, and the “General Welfare”

In my last post I leaned heavily on “promot[ing] the general welfare” as justification for action by our government. This phrase is necessarily vague and calls for some clarification as to what I perceive as it’s boundaries. Jacob has offered what I would characterize as a conservative/libertarian reading. In his view, “the general welfare” implies…

On Compromise and Obstruction

First, my apologies for the recent silence. Who knew a new baby would take so much time away from blogging!? (Ok, yes, we all knew.) In response to my last post, Jacob┬áraised some excellent questions. As I mentioned on the Facebook page, I think they are worth everyone’s consideration. I’ll respond to Jacob’s simpler points…

Structuring National Health Care in America

I’ll be honest in admitting that a part of me, from time to time, thinks that we should just adopt a single-payer, nationalized health care system like that of the UK. There are some wonderful arguments for equality and gains to be made through standardization. Believing that we’re ready to move basic health care from…

A Speech for Obama

Recently, David Brooks called on Obama to take up the mantle of reformer, leading a charge to make government “simple, elegant and user-friendly.” Though his column was directed at liberals, Brooks suggested a program designed to appeal across ideological lines. Since my purpose here is to articulate a moderate politics dedicated to a better practice…

Democracy and Technocrats II

As promised earlier, here are my main concerns with technocratic government, from the new governments in Greece and Italy to the emergency city managers cropping up in the United States. To begin with I would actually like to set aside one argument: that technocrats are often associated with autocratic government. There are plenty of historical…