Does anything on this list seem like a big problem to you? It's surprisingly anodyne. Only one item stands out to me--#4, which could dramatically change the structure of the American economy for the worse, spreading unprodctive, legalistic, Detroit-style union practices (work rules, promotion by seniority, protections for lousy workers, etc.) by subjecting non-union workers to thuggish peer pressure. The others might do little harm, in moderation (#3) or some substantial good (#1, #8, #9). But does anyone think that any of these measures--individually or in concert--is going to reverse the growing gap between the economy's winners and losers? What will the Dems do if they pass their agenda and the public realizes the rich are still getting richer (as they apparently did in the Clinton years)--while the gap between "winners" and "losers" isn't shrinking? ...
P.S.: How does greater immigration by unskilled workers fit into the Dems' inequality-averse agenda? It doesn't, that's how. As Demo-pessimist Thomas Edsall, in today's NYT [$], notes:
The strengthening of the Democrats' protectionist wing is virtually certain to force to the surface [an]internal conflict between the party's pro- and anti-immigration wings. This conflict among Democrats remained submerged while President Bush and the Republican House and Senate majorities fought without resolution over the same issue. [snip] ...
The Democratic Party made major gains in the Mountain West, he says, and many of these voters are ''populist with a lot of nativism,'' firmly opposed to the more liberal immigration policies of key party leaders.
A solid block of Democrats who won this month -- Jon Tester, James Webb, Sherrod Brown and Heath Shuler included -- is inclined to put the brakes on all cross-border activity (otherwise known as globalization): trade, outsourcing and the flow of human labor. Nolan McCarty of Princeton, writing with two colleagues, has provided some empirical data supporting the argument that immigration has led ''to policies that increase economic inequality.'' Significant numbers within the Democratic Party agree with this reasoning.
Who's the journalist Michael Kinsley writes about this week--the one who turned into a solipsistic "ego monster" when he started a web site? William Beutler and Wonkettewant to know, or at least pretend to want to know. I'm not the accused, I'm pretty sure--the timing and various details are off. Kinsley also writes that this journalist, pre-Web, was "a modest, soft-spoken and self-effacing fellow." So it's not Andrew Sullivan. Beats me. I'll try to find out after I move the laundry from the washer into the dryer. It's the light colors today. 5:01 P.M.
New House Intelligence Chair: Not Alcee Hastings. IP has a roundup. ... WaPo says Reyes, Dicks and Bishop are in the running, and offers yet another reason for Pelosi's dislike of Jane Harman-- Harman's "tough management style ... helped drive Democratic staff away that Pelosi had appointed when she was the ranking Democrat on the intelligence committee." ... "Tough management style" can mean a lot of things, no? ... 4:49 P.M.
Sunday, November 27, 2006
"Analysts say" the failure of incoming Democrats to tackle immigration immediately "carries some risks ... because restless voters may see the new Congress as having no more boldness or or problem-solving skills than the 'do-nothing Congress' denounced in many political ads this fall." But the Dems will be OK "provided something is done before the next election, these observers said," writes WaPo's Charles Babington. [Emphasis added.] Unfortunately no analysts or observers are quoted saying any of these things. ... Hey, I've got analysts too! Many analysts say that "analysts say" pieces are the laziest form of journalism, because the "analysts" usually just happen to say what the journalist himself would say if the rules of journalism permitted him to do so without putting the opinions in the mouths of "analysts." Meanwhile, analysts who might say something else get ignored. But at least "analysts say" pieces, analysts say, should quote some analysts saying the things the analysts are supposed to have said. Otherwise the impression is overhwelming that the journalist who wrote the thing is just spouting off. According to observers. 2:23 A.M.
Now They Tell Us--Tasty Donuts, Part II: With the midterm election safely in the past, the NYT's Robert Pear reveals that the Bush administration delegated the task of saving the Medicare drug plan to ... a competent civil servant, Abby Block:
She solved many problems that plagued the program in its first weeks, when low-income people were often overcharged and some were turned away from drugstores without getting their medications. By September, according to several market research firms, three-fourths of the people receiving drug coverage through Medicare said they were satisfied.
P.S.: The Bushies can't have been so stupid as to only peddle this story now ... can they? This looks more like a source-greaser for Pear. But wouldn't the grease have been as slick a month ago? (Maybe not. Third possibility: Block isn't such a nonpartisan civil servant--and Pear's repeat attempts to describe her as apolitical are the giveaway. Maybe she didn't want to be greased a month ago, when it would have helped the GOPS.) ... 1:09 A.M.