Category Archives: US Politics

War Against Poverty II

The NYT magazine has a great profile of John Edwards, titled ‘The Poverty Platform’. A few snippets: About a month after the 2004 election, Edwards met with his most loyal advisers at his cluttered home on P Street in Georgetown. … Continue reading

Posted in US Politics | 1 Comment

No HECS, thanks – we're Americans

Two prominent Democrats – Evan Bayh and Rahm Emmanuel – have introduced legislation to reform higher education student subsidies. So far as I can tell, their proposal offers some administrative simplicity, but not much in the way of real reform. … Continue reading

Posted in Economics of Education, US Politics | 11 Comments

A stitch in time

Andrew Rotherham and Richard Whitmire offer a 9-point education plan to aspiring US Presidential candidates. Here it is: Don’t just attack No Child Left Behind. It has done a lot of good. For poor and minority kids, it’s their best … Continue reading

Posted in Economics of Education, US Politics | Comments Off on A stitch in time

Elections and the Ecological Fallacy, Part II

Every now and then, people try to learn something about individual voting patterns by looking at regional voting patterns. Given that we have post-election surveys, this approach has always puzzled me. More worryingly, it’s plagued by the ‘ecological fallacy’: aggregating things … Continue reading

Posted in Australian Politics, US Politics | 4 Comments

Mr Ed Opens the Gates

Eli Broad and Bill Gates plan to spend $60 million on moving schools up the US political agenda. Here’s what the NYT has to say about it. Under the slogan “Ed in ’08,” the project, called Strong American Schools, will … Continue reading

Posted in Economics of Education, US Politics | 2 Comments

Can a US Prez be born in Oz?

My mother-in-law has alerted me to the fact that if I’m feeling especially ambitious for my son, I should be campaigning for John McCain to win the presidency. There’s presently some uncertainty over whether a ‘natural born citizen’ encompasses someone … Continue reading

Posted in US Politics | 2 Comments

You can bet on it

If you’ve been following the literature on the predictive power of election betting markets, you may have seen this graph, from  a paper based on data from the first 12 years of the Iowa Electronic Markets. The horizontal axis shows … Continue reading

Posted in Australian Politics, US Politics | 4 Comments

Obama's In

Senator Barack Obama officially announced today that he’s running for President. My favourite paras from his speech. It was here, in Springfield, where I saw all that is America converge – farmers and teachers, businessmen and laborers, all of them … Continue reading

Posted in US Politics | 8 Comments

Obama's Odds

US Senator Barack Obama has created an exploratory committee for his presidential bid. While this has been billed as big news by some local journos, the betting markets seem to have regarded it as being as predictable as the next act … Continue reading

Posted in US Politics | 9 Comments

The Audacity of Hope

In yesterday’s Sydney Morning Herald, I had a review of Barack Obama’s new book, The Audacity of Hope. They cut it down a bit, so the full version is over the fold. Shorter AL: Obama for Prez.

Posted in US Politics | 6 Comments

A degree of difference

In the 2000 election campaign, George Bush’s education team coined the phrase “the soft bigotry of low expectations”. It was a cutesy phrase, but whenever you hear the US president talking about education, you do get a strong sense he … Continue reading

Posted in Australian Politics, Economics of Education, US Politics | 38 Comments

'Move on' is good advice

Ed Kilgore mentions something that hadn’t occurred to me. The junior senator from Connecticut is an Independent. The other irony, of course, is that Democratic control of the Senate now depends on Joe Lieberman. Nobody has any reason to think … Continue reading

Posted in US Politics | 8 Comments

"I'm not racist, except towards Americans…"

In his new Blogocracy blog, Tim Dunlop has a chuckle at the notion that the Democratic victory has driven Andrew Bolt, Tim Blair and Mark Steyn to anti-Americanism. I’m more interested in the unspoken flipside of Tim’s posting: the prospect that this … Continue reading

Posted in Media, US Politics | 15 Comments

Thanks for coming, Mac

So the Dems have won the House, and maybe the Senate. If George Allen loses the Virginia Senate race (by what would be the slimmed of margins), surely YouTube deserves partial credit for handing control of the Senate to the Democrats. … Continue reading

Posted in US Politics | 7 Comments

But what the heck, let's look at the exit polls anyway

CNN’s early exit polls have been leaked to ThinkProgress (assuming they’re not lying to us, that is). If they’re accurate, the Dems have won the House, and may have won the Senate. Tradesports now (6.20pm US EST) have the GOP … Continue reading

Posted in US Politics | 11 Comments


After the exit poll debacle of 2004, it doesn’t look like anyone’s relying on exit polls this time around. Above is the trade price and volume on the Tradesports contract for GOP House control (current estimate: 17%). 

Posted in US Politics | 2 Comments

In pursuit of happy little vegemites

Many of the great delights in the world are cross-cultural. One is the splendid discovery that the best way to eat vegemite is on proper fresh-cooked American bagel. But now, it seems that may have all come to an end. … Continue reading

Posted in US Politics | 12 Comments


According to the NYT, Barack Obama is now countenancing a run for President in 2008. If it turned out to be Obama vs McCain, that would be a race worth moving to the US to watch.

Posted in US Politics | 4 Comments

A place called Hope

In a book* written a few years ago, I argued that negative political ads hurt left-wing parties more than right-wing parties. If you’re a classic small-government conservative, rising distrust of politicians is consistent with the Reaganesque ‘government isn’t the solution, it’s the problem’ message. … Continue reading

Posted in Australian Politics, US Politics | 7 Comments

Will Joe Go?

Lieberman’s not looking good to stay a Senator – with 25% of booths reporting, the NYT has him trailing 45/55. Update: Lieberman has lost the primary, but says he’ll run as an Independent. My understanding is that he’d romp it … Continue reading

Posted in US Politics | 4 Comments

Legislating two-digit hourly wages

In a move that will make Barbara Ehrenreich happier than Jason Furman, Chicago has passed a new ordinance: After months of fevered lobbying and bitter debate, the Chicago City Council passed a ground-breaking ordinance yesterday requiring “big box” stores, like … Continue reading

Posted in Low Wage Work, US Politics | 5 Comments

Facts vs fear

One of the great things about being in the US is being able to watch the C-SPAN channel. Last night, it carried Bill Clinton’s July 24 speech supporting Joe Lieberman in the Connecticut primary. It’s a terrific speech, and if a … Continue reading

Posted in US Politics | 2 Comments

DC gossip

A friend who follows US politics very closely gave me his best guess as to how 2008 will play out.  Gore beats Hilary (and Kerry, Edwards, Bayh, Warner, etc) to win the Democratic primary. McCain easily wins the Republican primary. McCain elected president. … Continue reading

Posted in US Politics | 20 Comments

One for the huddled masses

The Californian-based Independent Institute has put out an open letter on immigration, signed by 500+ US scholars. About 40 foreigners (of which I’m one) also signed on, though I’m not quite sure how persuaded GWB will be by non-US citizens signing … Continue reading

Posted in Economics Generally, Inequality, Low Wage Work, US Politics | 2 Comments

Crack and pack didn't get them back

A commonly held view is that the extraordinarily high incumbent re-election rate in the US is due to gerrymandering (colloquially known to political operatives as “crack and pack”). My friends John Friedman (a Harvard PhD student) and Richard Holden (an Aussie … Continue reading

Posted in From the Frontiers, US Politics | 12 Comments

Praying mantis politics

The Democratic Leadership Council presents an impassioned defence of Senator Joe Lieberman (full text over the fold). Ironically, he’s currently under challenge by Move On, who should.

Posted in US Politics | 17 Comments


Eddie Lazear is a brilliant economist, and one of the best communicators in academia. But apparently even the best find it hard to avoid the spin zone when they get to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Jared Bernstein unpicks his latest WSJ op-ed.

Posted in Economics Generally, US Politics | Comments Off on Unspun

The new populists?

Those following the “Where should the Democrats go now?” debate in the NYT may be interested in a new paper by labour economist Stephen Rose, put out by the Progressive Policy Institute. The paper argues against Thomas Frank’s argument that … Continue reading

Posted in US Politics | 14 Comments

Arm the "laser"

I’m all for research into weapons that have minimal collateral damage. But after Austin Powers, I find it very hard to read stories like this with a straight face.

Posted in US Politics | 3 Comments


John Kenneth Galbraith’s NYT obituary is definitely worth reading. Like most progressive economists, I enjoyed his books, but I’ve never found anything to cite in them. Even by the 1970s, economics was moving in a much more formal direction. But he … Continue reading

Posted in Economics Generally, US Politics | 13 Comments