Mar 142013

Conor Friedersdorf has a very smart piece at The Atlantic calling out The Washington Post’s Ezra Klein for characterizing himself as data-driven and Paul Ryan as ideological. It’s impossible to disagree with the central claim of the piece: I’ll never demand that Klein self-identify as a movement liberal or progressive. But he is deeply mistaken

Oct 132012
How I'd Moderate a Presidential Debate on Economic Policy

Just a quick political vent here. I’ve got fairly strong views about economic policy, but even those with whom I don’t agree recognize a lot of our contemporary political debate on the subject is detached from reality. Here’s a quick outline of how I’d structure a sane debate on economic policy. 1) Remind everyone in

Apr 302012

Via Reihan Salam, here’s a bit from Greg Mankiw: one reason that people differ in their incomes is that some people care more about having a high income than others… Bryan [Caplan] goes on to suggest that to the extent this is true, it weakens the case for income redistribution. He is absolutely right.  Most

Dec 272011
How inequality harms

I try to avoid politics here on the blog, even though it’s something I read about and talk about quite a bit. But there’s a point about inequality that I’ve been startled to see conservatives either missing or ignoring. In the clip above, Rich Lowry makes what I believe is a very misguided statement, arguing

Mar 292011

Both our brains and our political system tend to overly focus on short term pain/gain and ignore long term pain/gain. We put off going to the gym to instead have a burger; we postpone deficit reduction because legislators’ incentives aren’t aligned with the long term. This makes it hard to tackle issues like healthcare costs

Dec 162010
Markets and Networks

Several weeks ago Steven Johnson took to the op-ed page of The New York Times to defend his excellent new book on innovation and to declare “I am not a Communist.”  The question of possible communist sympathies was raised, apparently, on a book tour, in reference to his support of what he dubs “fourth quadrant”

Aug 152010
Population and the Senate

Admittedly, this has nothing to do with media or the web – the usual topics of this blog… but the U.S. Senate has been on my mind recently for many reasons, including this excellent New Yorker piece by George Packer. Since each state has two senators regardless of population I started to wonder what the