Pundit Wire

Author Archives: Jim Jaffe

Doubting Data and the Debate on Education

Heiwa_elementary_school_18America’s war between the progressives and populists is well into its second century with no resolution in sight.  Despite changes in rhetoric and technology, the basic tension about who can be most trusted to decide what’s best for us — the experts or we voters — shows no sign of abating.

Public education has always been central to the American vision and an important part of this debate.  That’s what inspired the Scopes Monkey Trial and more recent controversies about creationism. And there’s been a endless debate about whether American education is good enough and, if not, what need be done to make it better.

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Slim Twice Good for Enhanced Health

red-cross-29930_640In the quest to control American medical costs, slim is in from several perspectives.

Lowering our obesity rate would make us healthier and reduce anticipated medical expenses and suffering  — and we seem to be progressing toward that goal.

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Explaining Our Cautious, Caustic Congress

0226-union-protest03pg-horizontalThe political system America enjoys today is roughly a century old.   It began when voters were first allowed to directly elect U.S. Senators in 1913 and women got the vote in 1920.  Both acts made the system more democratic…
Photo: latestnewslink.com

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Ted

images-9In an odd way,  the Ted Cruz presidential campaign reminds me of the one waged by Dick Gephardt, my former boss.  There are obvious differences in that no one has ever seriously characterized Cruz as either a centrist or a Democrat.  Both had careers of relentless success that create confidence that…

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The war to reform American medicine has been won.

LyndonJohnsonSigningMedicareBillThe transformation began with the enactment of Medicare and medicaid during the Johnson years — which allowed prices to be contained as a growing percentage of bills were paid by large entities, especially the government — and the HMO act during the Nixon years — which endorsed the idea of an efficient system where experts decided on how to treat any problem,  effectively setting limits on volume.

Once the tools were in place to control both price and volume, the rest was just fine tuning,  which is still ongoing.  The basic principles were ratified in Obamacare and are no longer under serious challenge.  The change hasn’t relied entirely on government action, but reflects private sector movement in the same direction.

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The New, Improved Payday Loan?

payday loanWhat would you say if I offered a $500  loan that would require that you repay me with $920 less than six months hence?

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Bigger American Medicine May Be Better

Unknown-12For better and worse, American medicine is increasingly controlled by large corporate entities and Obamacare is accelerating the transition. Observers including me who see our medicine as highly inefficient view this trend as an opportunity to impose rationality, but there are also clearly pitfalls.

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America Works

2349875751_a4f7ed5a91_zThe dysfunctional government epidemic endlessly tracked by the media has yet to reach my outlier within-the-beltway neighborhood.

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