With so much to be aware of, awareness bracelets have reverted to signifying nothing more than color itself. Idealism has devolved into fashion.
Whenever the very rich hold views at odds with those of the entire population, the federal government tends to do the rich's bidding.
Republican presidents talk about freedom. Democratic presidents talk about equality.
Deciding which ideas to save and which ideas to discard is one of society's most important tasks.
Republicans don't seem to mind taking inflation into account when the subject is tax rates.
The problem with wanting the tax code to be 'simpler, fairer,' and 'pro-growth' is that it's impossible to achieve all three at the same time.
Some liberals think that describing any role that education gaps play in creating income inequality is some sort of sellout - that, in essence, you're telling the middle class, 'Tough luck; you should have stayed in college.'
For any politician who didn't enter office a wealthy man, nothing says 'I take bribes' like a Rolex watch.
The liberation of Iraq, which is already hard to justify from the perspective of American interests, at least had the virtue of freeing Iraqis from a brutal dictator. Despite all the anarchy and violence, life has gotten better for most Iraqis.
It never fails to astonish me how cheaply a politician can be bought.
To argue that universal health care would wreck the U.S. lead in cancer survival, you'd have to argue that universal health care would wreck the entire U.S. economy.
I'd never have guessed that, six years after Medicare introduced a drug benefit, it would still be forbidden to negotiate prices with pharmaceutical companies. Health reform might fix that, but it probably won't.
The thing to strive for is to get paid to talk about yourself.
To pine for the days before public education became a practical reality is to pine for an America held back by mass ignorance and mass illiteracy.
The argument most commonly made in the filibuster's favor is crudely partisan: 'Our side may be in the majority now, but someday it will be in the minority, and when that happens we'll want to block the other side's extremist agenda.'
We Americans love our Constitution so much that we can't bear to change even the stupid parts.
I'm an incompetent consumer. I have two settings: Buy and Don't Buy.
Cable television and the Internet have created an unending demand for information, and there simply isn't enough truth to go around.
You have to let the market reward effort and skill. But a system in which inequality of incomes constantly increases over time is worrisome.
Right now, as I'm typing this, some liberal somewhere is saying something unforgivable about Michelle Bachmann or Ann Coulter. I condemn you, whoever you are! But I'm not going to conduct a house-to-house search to find you.
Whenever a president nominates somebody to a high-profile post, there is always the risk that some skeleton, real or imagined, will emerge from the nominee's closet and doom the whole enterprise.
Moderates tend more than ideologues to be other-directed types who respond to external pressure.
The advantage of a market-based national defense is obvious: Every citizen would receive an individualized amount of military protection, based on the value each of us placed on defending the homeland.
Conservatives often say that we should care not about equality of outcomes but about equality of opportunity.
Sometime, while I wasn't paying attention, trickle-down economics got respectable.
The embourgeoisement of China's proletariat may be the inevitable result of its industrialization, but 'inevitable' isn't the same as 'speedy.'
In shuttering Yucca Mountain, Obama makes it extremely likely that nuclear power in the United States will continue its long, slow, and extremely welcome death.
Is class snobbery a social reality in the United States? Absolutely, and the kind that's codified by meritocracy is probably more toxic than the old-fashioned kind based on bloodlines.
Democrats view elections as a means to an end, while Republicans view an election as an end in itself.
Romney has become reluctant to say that human activity causes global warming, and even in his greener days he was always somewhat cagey about which remedies he'd support.
The Pentagon got fed up with its recruits getting ripped off by payday lenders and in 2007 got Congress to make it illegal to extend such loans to members of the military. But civilians remain fair game.
The U.S. policy of hoarding crude oil never made the world, or even the U.S., a safer place.
A thriving middle class is a necessary precondition for a free representative government.
President Obama has his faults, but overall, I think, is a good president.
Is New Ageism inherently fascist? Of course not, though I'm happy to pronounce its babble about chakras and cosmic energy errant quackery.
One can imagine nonviolent or minimally violent ways to reduce or eliminate hatred, but there's no mollifying evil.
When a conservative praises a liberal as 'morally serious,' he means that person is less liberal than most.
If you want to slow medical inflation in the private sector, it makes sense to expand the government's investment in private health care.
One of the enduring mysteries of America's occupation of Iraq is why a nation that so little relishes peacekeeping nonetheless refuses to turn the job over to the United Nations.
You know what isn't class warfare? Progressive taxation, as in, say, expecting billionaires to pay at least as much in taxes as their secretaries. Ideally, in fact, they should pay more.
There is no better example of social and economic policy discussion as an idle pastime for the rich than the World Economic Forum at Davos. These guys make the millionaire schmoozers at the Aspen Ideas Festival look like short-order cooks.
The hometown economic elite - rich local families or individuals whom people used to praise or revile, read about in the society pages, and gossip about incessantly - disappeared from most American cities decades ago.
What the 1990s taught the Clinton veterans was that you could 'triangulate' with a GOP-controlled Congress.
If corporations are people, as the Supreme Court wishes us to believe, they are stunningly unpatriotic ones.
Health care probably contributes a lot more to the common wealth than finance.
Economic inequality is less troubling if you live in a country where any child, no matter how humble his or her origins, can grow up to be president.
The Kurds were the only people in Iraq who were completely unguarded in expressing their gratitude to the United States for setting them free.
Success is a wonderful thing, but it tends not to be the sort of experience that we learn from. We enjoy it; perhaps we even deserve it. But we don't acquire wisdom from it.