The Heritage Foundation and the Wall Street Journal have a new report promoting the 18th annual release of their "Index of Economic Freedom," the right wing's gold standard for international comparisons of public policy.
It almost goes without saying that since the results "demonstrate that when countries adopt policies leading to high scores, they also enjoy prosperity, economic security and success," the key to winning the future, according to Heritage and the WSJ editorial page, is to become a small East Asian dictatorship…
Hong Kong scored 89.9 on the 1-100 scale, highest worldwide. Singapore, which has ranked second all 18 years, scored 87.5. Australia and New Zealand ranked third and fourth, respectively, enabling the Asia-Pacific region to account for the four highest-ranked countries.
But, but! Mitt Romney says the United States is "the greatest nation in the history of the earth!" By which he must mean we're the greatest at being number 10, since that's where we're ranked, behind sixth place Canada and in a statistical dead-heat with Denmark.
The interesting thing, besides the discovery that Heritage analysts are actually Canadian infiltrators (admitting that other people are better than you was the giveaway), is that many policy interventions that are controversial in the United States come standard in the high-ranking countries.
Hong Kong's public healthcare system is still modeled on the Beveridge Plan that created the British NHS. Canada is well regarded for its single-payer insurance scheme known as
Death to GrandmaMedicare. Switzerland joined the universal healthcare club in 1994. The Danes contribute 49% of the nation's GDP to taxes. Every country in the top 10 has a higher union density than does the United States.
It's almost as if systems of subsidized heath-care, egalitarian tax and spending schemes and pro-labor policy can be a part of "freedom." Just don't tell the Wall Street Journal about the Wall Street Journal's own research — extreme cognitive dissonance isn't covered by most private insurers.
Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
Tags: Canada, Economy, Health Care, Heritage Foundation, Hong Kong, Mitt Romney, Republicans, Unions, Wall Street Journal
According to a CNN poll conducted in October, approximately 80% of Democrats say Barack Obama should be their party's presidential nominee in 2012, a higher level of support than Bill Clinton received in the runup to the 1996 elections. And though the fundamentals of the 2012 campaign are encouraging for the Republican Party, Obama leads all GOP candidates in the polls, his margin varying from 1.4% against Mitt Romney to 15% against Michele Bachmann.
For Democratic pollsters and professional trolls Douglas Schoen and Patrick Caddell these facts lead to a simple and ineluctable conclusion, which somehow the president failed to heed the first time they proposed it: Obama must step aside in favor of letting Hillary Clinton and a merry band of bipartisan unicorns save the country…
When Harry Truman and Lyndon Johnson accepted the reality that they could not effectively govern the nation if they sought re-election to the White House, both men took the moral high ground and decided against running for a new term as president. President Obama is facing a similar reality — and he must reach the same conclusion.
He should abandon his candidacy for re-election in favor of a clear alternative, one capable not only of saving the Democratic Party, but more important, of governing effectively and in a way that preserves the most important of the president's accomplishments. He should step aside for the one candidate who would become, by acclamation, the nominee of the Democratic Party: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Now, now. I know this sounds like crazytalk, since it's not clear if there any major public policies on which Obama and Clinton disagree, nor is there any reason to think Republicans will abandon their beliefs in the absence of a President Obama, but Schoen and Caddell do offer us some historical analogies to work with.
Who, for example, could forget the administration of President Adlai Stevenson, the Democratic Party's standard bearer after Truman's exit from electoral politic? And we — and by we, I mean people who have never picked up a history book — will forever be grateful for how President Hubert Humphrey pulled our boys out of 'Nam with grace and dignity.
And if a Clinton nomination can bend the space-time continuum so as to make such an electoral strategy work in the past, perhaps Republicans will "come to the table and negotiate," because…magic. Let's just go with magic.
Photo by Pool/Getty Images News/Getty Images
Tags: Barack Obama, Douglas Schoen, Hillary Clinton, Hubert Humphrey, Michele Bachmann, Mitt Romney, Patrick Caddell, Polls, Republicans, Wall Street Journal
Appearing yesterday at — I kid you not — a truck dealership in recession-battered North Las Vegas, Nevada, Mitt Romney unveiled his plan to construct a "a job-creating machine in America," which will be run, of course, by America’s foremost business machine, Mitt Romney.
If the quality of showmanship is any indication, Romney's Salesforce software update is really paying dividends…
He appeared on a bright stage, surrounded by seven giant trucks, an American flag painted on metal cages, and a large banner that read, "Day One, Job One." His campaign distributed paperback books for the occasion that were titled, "Believe in America: Mitt Romney's Plan for Jobs and Economic Growth." Romney took the stage to the upstage country music of Alabama's "Roll On."
Romney also boasted that he was speaking without a TelePrompTer, as Obama often does, and instead referring to some scribbled notes on a legal pad.
Impressive, but curious tech watchers want to know: Why the scribbled notes? Was the Wi-Fi connection to Romneybot broken? These are not the IT standards I expect in Romney's America.
In any case, the Wall Street Journal editorial page was curiously unimpressed with Romney's 160-page proposal, calling it "timid and tactical." Looking through the presentation, I think I can spot some problems the WSJ missed…
* Not enough Reagan, not enough freedom! The plan starts strongly enough, with a proposal for a "Reagan Economic Zone" of free trade and economic integration, but the document cites Saint Ronnie only 8 other times. And why isn't it called the "Reagan Zone of Economic Freedom," as it was in 2007?
* Still too much socialism. Romney's plan includes a provision to repeal one regulation for every new rule that's issued, because you can't have a policy regime of clean air and safe workplaces, child labor regulations and non-toxic food. But why do we have to pick and choose which protections to eliminate?
* Too timid about revealing Barack Obama's time-traveling powers. Though Obama assumed office in January 2009, Romney released a chart dubbing the period of time from 2007-2009 the "Obama recovery." I'm happy to have Obama's ability to travel back in time revealed for all to see (can all Muslim socialists do this?), but why stop at 2007 when the president’s job killing powers can clearly reach back to any point in history?
Then again, maybe a new crop of youthful advisers will help Romney guide the economy to better health, even if his plan lacks a certain Reaganesque panache…
Romney also announced his economic policy team today, which consists of R. Glenn Hubbard, dean of the Columbia Business School who was chairman of President Bush's council of economic advisers from 2001 to 2003; Gregory Mankiw, an economics professor at Harvard University who was chairman of President Bush's council of economic advisers from 2003 to 2005; former Senator Jim Talent, of Missouri; and former Representative Vin Weber, of Minnesota.
Or maybe not.
Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images News/Getty Images
Tags: Economy, Mitt Romney, Nevada, Primaries, Republicans, Ronald Reagan, Unemployment, Wall Street Journal
You know, a whole lot of people really jumped all over the media for immediately assuming that the awful awful awful terrorist attacks in Norway this past weekend were the work of an Islamic extremist organization like al Qaeda before knowing all the facts.
However, I'm assuming that most of those people are Islamic extremists, and I don't think we should be paying attention to the opinions of terrorists…
The Colbert Report airs Monday through Thursday at 11:30/10:30c.
Tags: al Qaeda, Christianity, Islam, Norway, Religion, Stephen Colbert, Terrorism, The Colbert Report, Video, Wall Street Journal
And so, the Great Debt Ceiling Negotiations of Aught-Eleven rages on with no end in sight! Will the Obama presidency be utterly destroyed? Will Republican Party implode due to rampant infighting? Will the very fabric of the American economy be torn asunder?
Coverage continues with Wall Street Journal congressional correspondent Naftali Bendavid after the jump.
The Colbert Report airs Monday through Thursday at 11:30/10:30c.
Tags: Barack Obama, Debt, Economy, Eric Cantor, Grover Norquist, House of Representatives, John Boehner, Mitch McConnell, Republicans, Senate, Stephen Colbert, Taxes, The Colbert Report, Video, Wall Street Journal