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 […]

Beware of political pundits run wild

The political pundits are running wild. Recent primary elections have produced some unexpected results, unleashing cosmic speculation about the future of American politics. Most of their supposed insights, which could condition voters’ behavior, is likely to turn out to be completely wrong. A lot of the “wisdom” results from the Republican primary in a single […]

Conflicts forcing environmental, security trade-offs

The time has come to consider major trade-offs. The Ukraine crisis is turning out to have far wider implications than whether that country leans more toward to Russia or the European Union. In seeking to signal Russian President Vladimir Putin they disapprove of his takeover of Crimea and his efforts to undermine the Ukrainian government, […]

Bigger role for states might help break deadlock

With the federal government deeply deadlocked, allowing states to play a bigger role could provide an answer to public frustration with the stalemate. Throughout its history, this country has struck a balance between the states and the federal government, though Washington has gradually gained authority while states have less power than they had 200 years […]

“Rock star” economist attacks income gap

There’s a lot of talk these days about the income gap between the rich and the not-so-rich. At the top end, salaries and bonuses are measured in the tens of millions, while the minimum wage remains at $7.25 an hour, where it has been since 2009. Nowhere among advanced countries is the gap greater or […]

King endorsement opens field day for pundits

In a politically unusual move, independent Sen. Angus King, who almost always lines up with the Democrats, endorsed Republican Sen. Susan Collins for re-election. President George W. Bush labeled forecasting the political future based on today’s events as “punditry,” and King’s move was just the kind of tidbit pundits like. While I make no claim […]