“Regime change” is a failure

One of the biggest American exports these days is democracy, but it’s a product that isn’t doing very well. Almost as soon as opposition to a dictatorship appears, the U.S. supports “regime change,” supposedly helping rebels to replace the despot with democracy. The list of failures of this effort is depressingly long. It includes Russia, […]

Regulators drive electric bills higher

Two new developments show how the restructuring of the electricity industry has gone astray, leaving customers with higher bills. Restructuring began when the federal government opened the grid – high voltage wires – to buyers and sellers, both independent of the systems’ owners. Electric transmission became a common carrier, like a bus line, required to […]

Constitution misused, becomes a partisan tool

It looks like the Constitution is going to be bent again, adding to a growing trend to use its broad principles to achieve narrow results. This time, the Republicans in the House of Representatives have decided to sue President Obama for allegedly having exceeded his authorized powers as chief executive. They claim that he is […]

Has America lost its world leadership?

At the end of the film “Miss Congeniality,” the FBI agent who has masqueraded as a Miss America contestant, admits she agrees with the rote refrain of the others, saying, “I really do want world peace.” Everybody says they “really do want world peace,” while knowing it won’t happen. For a long time, the best […]

Statoil Rejection an Epic Error for Maine, U.S.

Recent news about a $2.5 billion investment in England by Statoil, the giant Norwegian energy company, has reminded people that Maine kicked the company out of the state. But the real meaning of the state’s action has been greatly underrated. The move was an epic error. Statoil is rated by Forbes magazine as the 51st […]

Divided government is “do nothing” government

With the deep partisan split, it is appealing to think that divided government is both a check on political excess and a driver for compromise. With no middle-of-the road influence in government, divided government should protect against extremes while forcing deals. At least in theory. A closer look suggests divided government doesn’t work as well […]

Johnnie Walters dies and so does his spirit

Let us remember Johnnie M. Walters, who died last week. He has been forgotten, though people should honor what he did. I do. In 1972, he was the commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service. He had been picked by President Richard M. Nixon for that job. The president probably thought he should be so happy […]

“Who cares what the centrists think?”

Almost everybody who follows public affairs knows American government has been virtually immobilized by the deep division between conservative Republicans and liberal Democrats. Conservatives believe the fault lies with the control over previous decades by big-spending Democrats. Liberals believe the fault lies with obstructionist conservatives, who want to dismantle most government services. These beliefs have […]