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Archive for September, 2012

Free Ed Hochuli: Fairness in Football and Trade

September 26th, 2012

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The National Football League’s misadventures with replacement referees turned into an all-out debacle this past Monday. A frightfully botched call by stand-in officials stole victory from the Green Bay Packers–on the final play of a nationally televised game. The story led the news–not just the sports.

The officiating fiasco is a crisis for the NFL. But the NFL’s travails also offer critical lessons about how America can compete and win in global markets.

To be sure, the NFL’s regular refs occasionally botch critical calls. But like other professionals–including judges, traffic cops, and food inspectors–NFL referees usually work in the background, expertly enforcing complex and changing rules that make things fairer and safer. Like sanitation workers, however, we quickly know when they’re missing. Read the rest of this entry »

Romney, GOP are stuck in old America

September 24th, 2012

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This piece was originally featured in Politico.

When GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney loses in November, Republicans will ask themselves, “How did this happen?” How did they blow their best opportunity to capture the White House since 1980?

They are likely to come up with the wrong answer. They will blame everything on the candidate.

That is certainly part of the answer but not all of it. Romney is the worst presidential nominee since Barry Goldwater and George McGovern. Don’t expect Romney’s vote to collapse to the 38 percent that both Goldwater and McGovern got, however. There are probably enough anti-Obama voters out there to keep Romney’s share of the vote above 45 percent. But not much above that. Read the rest of this entry »

A Grand Bargain, the Old School Way

September 20th, 2012

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The U.S. economy keeps inching toward the fiscal cliff—the combination of spending cuts and tax increases set to occur at the end of this year.

But even as legislators leave town for the election, momentum is slowly building in Washington for a grand bargain to avert the cliff and reduce long-term deficits. We’re seeing increased discussion behind the scenes on the Hill, and additional momentum for a fiscal deal is coming from think tanks, advocacy groups, and CEOs.

We’re glad to hear the voices growing. Third Way has long argued that we can’t wait any longer to forge a deal on the debt—that the fiscal cliff presents a now-or-never opportunity for a deal. And Third Way’s founders, in a recent Politico column, urged Democrats to get specific about new revenue and spending cuts in a balanced plan.

Last week the wave of momentum was amplified by former Treasury secretaries James Baker and Robert Rubin, who joined a small bipartisan army of retired legislators speaking at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).

The choice of two ex-Treasury chiefs to lead a charge of fiscal pragmatism is no surprise. As Reagan’s chief of staff, Baker brokered the 1982 deficit reduction deal, which combined tax increases with spending cuts. Rubin directed the National Economic Council when Clinton signed a budget deal in 1993.

These elder statesmen laid out their respective approaches to today’s deficit problem, admittedly much bigger than those they faced while in power. True to their parties, the two have major substantive differences on how to reduce the deficit.

Read the rest of this entry »

New America vs. Old America

September 11th, 2012

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This piece was originally featured in Politico.

It’s time for the Great Showdown between the Old and New Americas. The Old America met in Tampa. The New America met in Charlotte.

What the country wants to know is: Which America can manage the economy better? The answer is not clear. That’s why this election is so close. The Old America got us into this mess. The New America can’t seem to get us out of it.

The Old America’s rallying cry at the Republican National Convention: “Restore Our Future.” Take us back to the days when America was rich, great and powerful, the undisputed leader of the world. GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney declared, “You might have asked yourself if these last years are really the America we want, the America won for us by the greatest generation.” Read the rest of this entry »