Clicking on banner ads enables JWR to constantly improve
Jewish World Review Jan. 24, 2003 / 21 Shevat, 5763

Bill Steigerwald

Bill Steigerwald
JWR's Pundits
World Editorial
Cartoon Showcase

Mallard Fillmore

Michael Barone
Mona Charen
Linda Chavez
Ann Coulter
Greg Crosby
Larry Elder
Don Feder
Suzanne Fields
James Glassman
Paul Greenberg
Bob Greene
Betsy Hart
Nat Hentoff
David Horowitz
Marianne Jennings
Michael Kelly
Mort Kondracke
Ch. Krauthammer
Lawrence Kudlow
Dr. Laura
John Leo
Michelle Malkin
Jackie Mason
Chris Matthews
Michael Medved
Kathleen Parker
Wes Pruden
Sam Schulman
Amity Shlaes
Roger Simon
Tony Snow
Thomas Sowell
Cal Thomas
Jonathan S. Tobin
Ben Wattenberg
George Will
Bruce Williams
Walter Williams
Mort Zuckerman

Consumer Reports

'Original' ideas follow New Deal philosophy | Atlantic Monthly's cover package, "The Real State of the Union," is not completely worthless.

It's true the country's smartest magazine has dumbly turned about 50 pages over to a drippy liberal think tank to produce a package of 15 often annoying essays about how to fix what ails America.

It's also true that most of the "original" ideas the policy wonks at the think tank, New America Foundation, push are variations of the same old top-down, expert-directed, government-forced-and-paid-for economic schemes and social-engineering projects:

  • To help harried parents, let's mandate paid medical and family leave for all employees!!! And "free" government-paid subsidies for quality (i.e., expensive) child care!!!

  • To repopulate and re-energize our depopulated and aging Heartland, let's have a federal program to help poor immigrants and working-class folks move from Los Angeles and New York, where it's overcrowded, to Nebraska and Iowa!!!

  • To close the widening wage gap between rich and poor that so deeply bothers penthouse progressives, let's give the 4 million babies born in America each year a $6,000 endowment that would be invested in a safe stock portfolio!!!

    Not all of the essays or ideas they put forth are this goofy. One is amazingly stupid.

    Shannon Brownlee's essay on how to reform health care, "The Overtreated American," points out that many people especially old people in places like Florida where lots of doctors have gathered in dense mobs to prey on them get excess care that is costly but has no health benefit.

    That makes perfect sense. Yet she never mentions the main reasons the health care market is such an inefficient mess too much government interference and a third-party payment system that encourages patients to demand "free" Cadillac health care when all they need is Chevy Cavalier care or no care at all.

    Other essays are better informed. Margaret Talbot warns that we need to rebuild our parole and rehabilitation systems so that the hordes of prisoners we've been locking away will be less anti-social when they get out.

    And James Pinkerton, a conservative columnist for Newsday, suggests a way to save public education and make both Democrats and Republicans happy (or mad).

    To equalize expenditures and end the need for local property taxes to pay for education, he says, every child in America should get $7,000 in the form of a voucher than could be spent at any kind of school or for home-schooling.

    Pinkerton's "federal school choice" idea is a think-tanker's pipe dream. But it's not as market-unfriendly as some of the others offered in what, unfortunately, appears to be just the first of Atlantic's co-productions with the New America Foundation.

    Atlantic's editors might think they're being neutral by pushing neither Republican nor Democrat policies. But the general tilt of their narrow package is neo-New Deal that government can and ought to right all life's inequalities and solve all life's problems.

    If they want to broaden the discussion, or merely terrify their readers with truly radical ideas, next time they should turn some of their pages over to the Cato Institute, a free-market think tank that sees government as the cause of many of our problems, not the solution.

    Enjoy this writer's work? Why not sign-up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

    JWR contributor Bill Steigerwald is an associate editor and columnist at the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Comment by clicking here.

    01/22/03: When handicapping 2004, watch the economy: Ten minutes with Charlie Cook
    01/17/03: New Republic fans hatred for SUVs
    01/14/03: 10 minutes with Santorum on ... taxes, steel and Lott
    01/10/03: Newsweeklies move on to latest menace
    01/07/03: The best of the Q&As
    12/30/02: Rosie's demise tops list of 2002 highlights
    12/23/02: GOP must stick to its principles: 10 questions for ... Bill Kristol
    12/20/02: Lott fiasco uncovers bigger problem
    12/18/02: Free markets king in Sweden, at least for a day: Ten minutes with . Donald Boudreaux
    12/13/02: Corruption of Indian casinos no surprise
    12/06/02: Giving credit to young philanthropists
    12/02/02: Ten minutes with . Chris Matthews
    11/26/02: It's critical to memorialize communism's victims: 10 minutes with Lee Edwards
    11/22/02: JFK's secret health woes are revealed
    11/19/02: “It's best to contain Saddam”: Ten minutes with Col. David Hackworth
    11/15/02: Brushing up on the affairs of a wild world
    11/12/02: Make Dems filibuster 10 minutes with Robert L. Bartley
    11/08/02: National Geographic: Urban overpopulation is good
    11/05/02: The bloody consequences of a broken INS: Ten minutes with Michelle Malkin
    11/01/02: Going to pot; thank heaven for media overkill
    10/29/02: It's all about federalism: Ten minutes with Jonah Goldberg
    10/25/02: Frank Sinatra, Kurt Cobain, Mad Magazine will never die
    10/22/02: Here's why Orwell matters: Ten minutes with Christopher Hitchens
    10/18/02: The sniper knocks Iraq off the covers
    10/15/02: Iraq, oil and war: 10 minutes with ... economist/historian Daniel Yergin
    10/11/02: England's gun-control experiment has backfired
    10/04/02: Buchanan the media baron?
    09/27/02: Analyzing Esquire, GQ is not for the squeamish
    09/20/02: CEOs: The rise and fall of American heroes
    09/13/02: Skeptics remind U.S. to calm down
    09/10/02: 'A failure to recognize a failure': 15 minutes with ... Bill Gertz
    09/06/02: Rating the 9-11 mags
    08/30/02: Bad trains, bad planes, and bad automobiles
    08/28/02: Baseball, broken, can be fixed: 15 minutes with George Will
    08/16/02: 9-11 overload has already begun
    08/13/02: Tell us what you really think, Ann Coulter
    08/09/02: A funny take on a new kind of suburb
    08/02/02: It's not the humidity, it's the (media) heat wave; the death of American cities
    07/12/02: Colombia's drug lords are all business
    07/09/02: If capitalism is 'soulless' then show me something better: 10 minutes with Alan Reynolds
    06/25/02: Origins of a scandal: 10 minutes with Michael Rose
    06/21/02: 9/11 report unearths good, bad and ugly
    06/18/02: The FBI is rebounding 10 Minutes with Ronald Kessler
    06/14/02: U.S. News opens closet of Secret Service
    06/11/02: 10 minutes with William Lind: Can America survive in this 'fourth-generation' world?
    06/07/02: America, warts and all
    05/30/02: FBI saga gets more depressing
    05/13/02: The magazine industry's annual exercise in self-puffery
    04/30/02: 10 Minutes with ... The New York Sun's Seth Lipsky
    04/26/02: Will the American Taliban go free?
    04/23/02: 10 minutes with ... Dinesh D'Souza
    04/19/02: Saddam starting to show his age
    04/12/02: Newsweek puts suicide bombing in perspective
    04/09/02: How polls distort the news, change the outcome of elections and encourage legislation that undermines the foundations of the republic
    04/05/02: Looking into the state of American greatness
    03/25/02: The American President and the Peruvian Shoeshine Boys
    03/22/02: Troublemaking intellectual puts Churchill in spotlight
    03/20/02: 10 minutes with ... Bill Bennett
    03/18/02: Suddenly, it's cool again to be a man
    03/12/02: 10 minutes with Ken Adelman
    03/08/02: TIME asks the nation a scary question
    03/05/02: 10 minutes with ... Rich Lowry
    02/26/02: 10 minutes with ... Tony Snow
    02/12/02: Has Soldier of Fortune gone soft?

    © 2002, Bill Steigerwald