Relevant and even prescient commentary on news, politics and the economy.

Campaign Finance Reform Upheld The Supreme Court just issued a ruling upholding the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law that was passed in 2002. So now it’s official: the ban on soft money stands. Who is celebrating more today, Democrats or Republicans? I think it’s an open question — but it may well be Republicans. Democrats have […]

Playing Hardball with Bush Hardball is the only game that the Bush administration is interested in playing, both domestically and internationally. It played it again yesterday, with the news that countries that didn’t support the Iraq invasion will be punished by being declared ineligible to bid on reconstruction contracts. The Europeans are catching on, though. […]

Food For Thought Take a quick look at the graph in the previous post and ask yourself what happens when healthy seniors who are reasonably sure that their drug costs will be under $800 decide to opt out of the coverage program. Hint: total revenue from drug premiums goes down and the average drug cost […]

Medicare Drug Benefit Update Reading Today’s Daily Howler, I see that the NYT has a new story on the Medicare drug benefit. The Problem? The NYT’s figures and analysis exclude the $420 annual premium, grossly overstating the true benefits provided under the plan. To illustrate the distortion, I took the data from an earlier post […]

The Dean Endorsement, con’t Wondering if Gore’s endorsement of Dean matters? Take a look at this graph to see the effect it has had on Dean shares in the Iowa Electronic Market. The price of Dean shares is represented by the green line. Apparently, at least among the individuals trading shares on the IEM, this […]

The Fed’s Take The Fed’s Open Market Committee – the group that sets the US’s short term interest rates – met today and decided to hold interest rates constant. They also issued a statement indicating their sense of the economy’s direction: The Committee perceives that the upside and downside risks to the attainment of sustainable […]

Comparing Two Great Depreciations The dollar continued its fall against the euro today, hitting its eighth record low in a row. It’s now down to around 1.22 $/€. This set me to wondering. Sure the dollar has fallen pretty consistently over the past couple of months. But is this depreciation of the dollar large by […]

Dean Endorsement I’m not sure what to make of Gore’s endorsement of Dean, other than that it’s clearly good news for Dean. If I were a right wing columnist or blogger, I suppose I’d be trying to figure out how this either proves that (1) Hillary will run in 2004, or (2) Hillary will run […]

Just Like the Texas “Education Miracle” We learned last week that the Texas Miracle was really the result of low standards on the TAAS, not accurately reporting dropouts, and excluding expected low-performers from taking tests. John Ashcroft, meet Rod Paige: it appears that the same tactics are being used to inflate the terrorism conviction rate: […]

Even the Conservative Washington Times… … is reporting negatively on current deficit and spending levels: “In the historical context, you can think of times when politicians have gone for big-government solutions, and you can think of times when politicians have gone for tax cuts and limited government,” said Robert Bixby, executive director of the budget-watchdog […]