David Brooks Gets It Wrong About Education and Health Care

David Books outdid himself today in writing post about education and health care that is completely misleading about improvements in both in the last fifty years and about the limits of productivity increases in both areas. It takes more than a FB status update to explain why. Read this blog post for details. The short story though, is that if you really think there haven’t been any improvements in either education or medical care in this country since 1960, you don’t deserve to have your opinions appear on the op-ed page of The New York Times. And if you think that huge productivity increases in labor intensive fields are possible, then maybe you should explain why NY Times columnists do only two columns a week instead of the three they did in the 1960s. Continue reading

What the Pundits Missed About President Obama’s Speech

It’s not easy to come up with instant analysis of a political speech. But, even if we grade them on a curve, it seems to me that the pundits have utterly missed the point of the President’s speech last night. Most of them seem to have found it uninspiring. Yet there is no question that the audience in Charlotte was moved by the speech. Hell, I was moved by the speech and, frankly, I tend to hold events like this at an analytical distance which makes it hard for me to get caught up in them. The pundits were right to say the speech was about the future not the past and that it proposed a continuation of Obama’s  basic approach to governing. And they were right to say that there were no bold new ideas in it. (Few Presidents do something as big and bold as health care reform and then have an … Continue reading