The Great Debate

A sequestration solution for the Pentagon

By Benjamin Friedman
February 28, 2013

The sequestration drama in Washington is less severe and intractable than you have heard. A partial solution: Block the across-the-board cut of $42.5 billion in military funds this year — the Pentagon’s portion of $85 billion due March 1 — and spread the savings over several years by tweaking military spending caps already on the books.

Obama’s Two Choices: Good and Better

By Keith Koffler
February 26, 2013

President Barack Obama must like the view from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue right now. Politically speaking, the sky is clear, and the few clouds on the horizon have silver linings.

Rubio rewrites GOP media playbook

By Joe Brettell
February 21, 2013

Comprehensive immigration reform still looks uncertain on Capitol Hill as the principles laid out by Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and the other members of the bipartisan “Gang of Eight” slowly evolve into legislative text. But Rubio’s lead role in this has been crucial. Equally important, was the template Rubio provided by engaging with media of all stripes – conservative, mainstream and online – to sell the idea, and his party, to audiences outside the usual Republican comfort zone.

The future of free-market healthcare

By Douglas Holtz-Eakin and Avik Roy
February 20, 2013

Over nearly a century, progressives have pressed for a national, single-payer healthcare system. When it comes to health reform, what have conservatives stood for?

Can GOP blame Obama for the sequester?

By Bill Schneider
February 19, 2013

More than 25 years ago, Representative Jack Kemp told me, “In the past, the left had a thesis: spending, redistribution of wealth and deficits. Republicans were the antithesis: spending is bad.”

Populists, plutocrats and the GOP sales tax

By Charles Postel
February 14, 2013

February 1913 marked a turning point in U.S. history. One hundred years ago this month, the states ratified the 16th Amendment, clearing the way for adoption of a federal income tax. Two decades before, in 1892, the Populist Party had first put a progressive income tax on the national agenda.

Obama must surprise in State of the Union

By Michael Waldman
February 11, 2013

President Barack Obama stirred with an unexpectedly powerful inaugural address – a second effort that far surpassed his first. He summoned great themes of American history to argue cogently for his second-term agenda. Now he has a chance to deliver a State of the Union address that improves on those of his first term, too.

Rebuilding our economic backbone

By Ed Rendell
February 11, 2013

We’re getting beat by Estonia.

Not that there’s anything wrong with the tiny state on the Baltic Sea. But the nation that built the Hoover Dam, pioneered the Interstate Highway System and created the best aviation system in the world, is rapidly sliding toward the bottom of the list when it comes to infrastructure.

Time for a serious deficit plan

By Mitch McConnell
February 5, 2013

 President Barack Obama pledged to cut the deficit in half by the end of his first term. But because he focused on political gimmicks, rather than real reform, we’ve seen trillion-dollar deficits and nearly $6 trillion added to the debt instead. Based on what we heard from the president at a news conference Tuesday, his unserious attitude is likely to continue.

Seeking consensus on immigration, guns

By Bill Schneider
February 2, 2013

Two tough issues — immigration reform and gun control. “It won’t be easy,” President Barack Obama said about gun control in December, “but that’s no excuse not to try.”   Tuesday, he said about immigration reform: “The closer we get, the more emotional this debate is going to become.”