• The Paris Hilton Benefit Act

    EJ Dionne's firing on all cylinders today with a blistering column on the Paris Hilton Benefit Act, otherwise known as the estate tax. You guys probably know Bush's tax cuts eliminated it, but they just shoved it in an overstuffed closet and it's slated to pop back out, strong as ever, in 2009. So tomorrow, Republicans are sitting down to reform -- read: eliminate 00 the tax permanently and ensure that all those rich heirs will never pay a dime on their estates. Time for the left to call bullshit. Dionne argues for explicitly tying the tax to the Social Security shortfall. According to the CBO, even a reduced estate tax would cover fully 1/2 of the program's deficit, which means Republicans are going to have to decide between protecting Paris Hilton's inheritance and paying Grandma Millie's Social Security check. Democrats should be all over that choice, making sure it's made as publicly as possible. Go git' em. Update : Heh .
  • Progressive Econ

    Brad Plumer's thoughtful, Galbraith-inspired post on the Democrat's lack of economic vision deserves a response and, indeed, a discussion. So I hope the blogosphere's economist-kings (bet Plato never saw them coming) will pick up on it. Until they do, I will. To start, I think Brad's got two things going on here. One is the need for an economic vision, and the other is a need for a set of policy principles that get us there. And I thin, at times, that Brad conflates the two. As I read Neoconomy, conservatives want to keep growth roaring along and prices stable because the advancement of business is an end in and of itself. So pro-growth policies aren't the vision, they're the means. That's because the right sees an almost Platonic good in productivity increases, unending innovation, higher profits, etc, etc. So the success of business, for them, is the end. The opposite would be the so-called "European Dream", which prizes quality-of-life far above efficiency of business and has...
  • Battle Panda

    The subvert-the-dominant-link-hierarchy blogroll (also known as "Deserves More Attention") got a new entry this morning -- the immensely good Battle Panda . Not only is the site great, but I have a special affinity for blogs with panda in the name. Take a look.
  • But Who Will Tell Newt Gingrich?

    Matthew Holt scores an interesting find. Turns out that HMO competition makes them less , not more, efficient. Apparently, if you gather a few HMO's in a town, they'll mainly compete over who can insure the most people who need insurance the least. In other words, it becomes a race to the healthy. Fascinating stuff.
  • Health to the Care

    Kash has a great post comparing America's health care with those of other developed nations. As you all know by now, our system's report card lands us in the remedial classes. There's virtually no metric that, when compared to other wealthy nations, we don't languish on the tail-end of. Kevin follows Kash with another great post comparing our house-of-horrors system with the far-superior French model. France is the way to go if you want to sidestep the (way overblown ) pitfalls of Canadia Care (as I like to call it) and the total mess that is Britain. But it also shows why we're having such trouble in the health care debate. We've lost all our examples. The right took hold Canada and, despite the fact that their system scores far better than ours and spends much less doing it, painted a nightmarish and wholly false scenario of elderly refugees streaming to Vermont for hip surgery. O'Reilly and friends have spent the last few years striking the word France off the map and crayoning in...
  • Air Wars

    So I was about to sign up for NetFlix tonight when I learn that it has not one, but two cheaper competitors running round town. Both WalMart and Blockbuster have their versions of the movies-to-mailbox service, and both undercut NetFlix on the cost issue. I'm still going for NetFlix based on pure lefty instinct (support the upstart, not the corporate juggernauts playing Johnny-come-lately), but if any of you know a super-compelling reason I should consider Blockbuster*, leave it in comments. * And if any of you are about to evangelize for WalMart, I hope you're reading this site ironically.
  • Dear American Airlines

    Ooooh...I love this idea . Get out your stamps and envelopes, folks.
  • Who Took the Cookies From the Cookie Jar?

    Looks like BattlePanda and I tapped into the same thought-waves the other night. Gotta love metaphors so obvious that everyone gets them at once.
  • What a Tool

    I'm no Horowitz fan, but holy hell, I didn't think the guy was this intellectually dishonest. Challenging someone to a written debate, editing their answers down, and then publishing the exchange with comments that you wish your opponent had participated more fully -- when he did and you cut it! -- is a rarely realized peak of argumentative weakness. I guess this is just one more of Horowitz's never-ending contradictions -- to reach this highest point of dishonesty he had to sink lower than we ever thought he could. Why Berube wastes his time on this guy I'll never know.
  • Go Read

    I love this Rude Pundit post . Just perfect.