Pundit Wire

So What’s the Problem?

healthcare If the good news we’ve been hearing about American health costs in the past few months turns out to be the new norm – it’s too early to tell – then much of today’s political debate is wildly misguided. Consultants predict 2014 will see abnormally low inflation, again. Medicare spending per beneficiary is dropping more than previously anticipated. And new tools provided by Obamacare to constrain costs could accelerate these trends.

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Gas Exports and Liberty

DSCF1077 On my last visit to Budapest about a year ago, I was treated to a dramatic illustration of the power that Vladimir Putin’s Russia exercises over its former satellites through their dependency on imports of Russian natural gas.

Near Hungary’s parliament building is a park called Liberty Square. The park was created to honor the Hungarian patriots who died in an unsuccessful rising against Habsburg rule in 1848-49. But the park also has two other monuments to Hungary’s liberators.

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Which algorithm are you?

millenial I love online quizzes.

The one I currently love most is “How Millennial Are You?” which the Pew Research Center put out on Friday. You answer 14 questions, ranging from whether living a very religious life is very important to you to whether you have a piercing in a place other than your earlobe, and your score tells you what generation you most resemble.

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Lobbying’s Hidden Persuaders

lobby There are two interesting additions to the annals of political influence which focus on quiet issue lobbying.

The quiet lobbying game works best when no one looks carefully at the sausage-making machinery. It offers a stark contrast to the money game where contributors present themselves as 800-lb gorillas who are willing to spend as much as it takes to make things happen their way.

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Flappy Bird, Happy Bird

flappybirdreuters If you’ve been on an aboriginal walkabout, you may not know that, until yesterday, Flappy Bird was the most popular iPhone and Android app on the planet.  Its appeal lies neither in its crappy graphics nor its nonexistent story, but in its addictive difficulty.  You win by tapping on your screen to prevent birds from hitting pipes in their flight path.  Or rather, you don’t win; innumerable social media posts confess to racking up humiliatingly low scores after embarrassingly time-eating attempts.

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Obamacare: It’s Working

new york The relentless flow of good news about Obamacare may explain why a growing number of elected Republicans are walking away from the issue.  Two new bits of insurance news suggest progress that backers of reform find quite encouraging…

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Pemexed Out

320px-Oil_platform_P-51_(Brazil)In 1938, Mexican President Lázaro Cárdenas expropriated and nationalized the largely foreign-owned petroleum industry in Mexico. Since that time, Mexico has maintained one of the most restrictive legal frameworks for energy development in the world. The Mexican constitution virtually excludes participation by foreign energy firms, with the result that Petróleos Mexicanos (Pemex), the national oil company, has a monopoly on the exploration and production of oil and gas.

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PunditWire Correction: How Tea Party Can Help IRS

Editor's Note Contributions to social welfare groups [501(c)4s] involved in the political process do not yield tax deductions for donors, contrary to the original text of this post.

On behalf of contributor Jim Jaffe and everyone here at PunditWire, we apologize for our error. ENtag

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