The debt-ceiling fight is about politics, not policy. But
count on the news media to conflate the two—in service of the trope that everyone just needs to meet in the middle of wherever they
are right now.
One of the most interesting posts on Middle East expert Juan
Cole's extensive blog is his advice
to fledgling Arab democracies on how to build a democracy. He bases his advice
on ten mistakes that he thinks Americans have made in the formation and
perpetuation of our democracy.
A new Century editorial argues that unemployment, not the budget deficit,
is the most urgent economic problem facing the U.S. We need to deal with the
deficit at some point, but first we need to get people back to work by
stimulating the economy.
"In these tough times, Americans are tightening their belts—and their
government needs to do the same." This bipartisan applause line is pithy, full of populist empathy and easy to
understand. It's also exactly wrong.
As a child Richard Feynman once asked his father why a ball went to the back of a wagon when he pulled the wagon forward. His father said it was inertia. When Feynman asked what inertia was, his father said it is the name scientists give to the movement of a ball to the back of a wagon, but in truth no one really knows what it is. Feynman went on to get degrees at MIT and Princeton, and he won a Nobel Prize in physics. He attributed his success in science to the curiosity engendered by that conversation with his father. The simplest questions can carry us to the edge of knowledge, and that’s where he wanted to play (TED Radio Hour, June 12).