An increasing cadre of Massachusetts politicians is showing up on what the Boston Herald terms “bombshell ‘sponsor’ lists” kept by the state Probation Department encompassing “stunning documents” detailing recommendation letters. So are politicians fleeing the frenzy?
Actually many of them proudly own up to their efforts to help constituents get jobs and some are utilizing my all-time favorite defense from James Michael Curley, the “I did it for a friend” excuse. The deftest channeler of The Rascal King has been none other than Attorney General Martha Coakley. Continue reading
New York Times columnist Nick Kristof, wrote a column the other day lamenting that professors are not sufficiently engaged in the public sphere. When I first encountered the piece, I skimmed it, recognizing familiar arguments and claims, and thinking that in general a call for greater participation by academics in public debate and dialogue is healthy enough, and certainly not offensive. As I often do, I posted it to my Facebook page along with other articles I intended to look more closely at later, with a note of agreement. Soon thereafter, I came upon a couple of very thorough and negative critiques of Kristof’s column, written by professors who see themselves and their fellows as highly engaged. Continue reading
I write about the potential of the Olympic Games to foster greater international mutual understanding, even if unintentionally and indirectly. Continue reading
What if there was an Outrage Media Olympics? Who would bring home the gold in events like radio talking, op-ed writing, cable TV news analysis, and political blogging? Who would lead the American team? Would left wing bloviators, feeling out gunned, form their own team; the Anti-American Outrage Media team? Continue reading
Without every intending to do so I’ve gotten dragged in over my head, to discussing the Affordable Care Act and the Congressional Budget Office report that caused so much controversy. When I posted How the Parties Still Deliver on Tuesday, I wrote that the CBO report bolsters the notion that the ACA delivers for the Democrats’ traditional constituency of low-income workers; and the Bush tax cuts delivered for the Republicans’ key constituency, Wall Street. When I read the CBO report I had it in mind to ask, who are the beneficiaries? But I got diverted on the partisan track.
Then some commenters protested my view (I like you too, Jeff) and I thought, but if one was a low income worker and read the CBO report, one might conclude that the ACA has been very good for me indeed, especially if I was interested in better access to health care while working fewer hours and having more disposable income. Since then I’ve gotten a bit more education about low-income workers, thanks to a study by my UMB colleagues economists Randy Albelda and Michael Carr, as chronicled in a CBS News MoneyWatch article How America became the land of the low-wage bread winner. Continue reading
Commentators on the right and left kicked up a fuss last week over the Congressional Budget Office Report The Budget and Economic Outlook Report: 2014-2024, especially “Appendix C: Labor Market Effects of the Affordable Care Act: Updated Estimates.” The right reads the revised estimates as proving the “job killing” nature of the Affordable Care Act. The left responds that the report shows not that people will be kicked out of work but that some workers will choose to work fewer hours and perhaps find more appealing outlets for their time.
I came away with a different impression. It is that the parties still have the capacity to achieve big things for their core constituencies: ACA boosts the low income workers who form a traditional core constituency of the Democratic Party, just as the Bush tax cuts rewarded the Republicans’ established backers on Wall Street. Continue reading
We all know that NPR is where Birkenstock wearing profs like me go to be comforted in hearing the news reported our way. So imagine my shock this morning when I heard a clear case of media bias deifying the Republicans’ critique of the Affordable Care Act, based on last week’s report by the Congressional Budget Office. An obvious case of right-wing bias by the drive-by public media!
No, it isn’t. But it is bias. Continue reading
At a lunch last week at Suffolk Law School, Charlie Baker was asked about his position on the South Coast rail. He didn’t rush to support the current project and paused before noting that perhaps making New Bedford and Fall River less dependent on Boston’s wealth might be a good thing. That’s a thoughtful pause. Continue reading
Today’s Cape Cod Times noted the imminent retirement of Senate President Therese Murray and listed two of the leading candidates for her seat, Plymouth state representative Vinnie deMacedo and former Falmouth state representative Matt Patrick. Continue reading
What’s a right wing pundit to do when everything he claim about the Affordable Care Act crumbles with scrutiny? Charles Krauthammer shows the way in his latest column, “The Healthcare Myths We Live By.” Continue reading