In recent weeks, I've written about how the "Bootleggers and Baptists" dynamic corrupts regulatory politics. Bruce Yandle developed this concept decades ago. He observed that Prohibition became reality because Baptists wanted people to stop drinking while the ban on legal alcohol put money in the Bootlegger's pockets. The do-gooders succeeded only because the money-grubbers joined their effort.
I recently highlighted an important book that describes how politics really works. "Bootleggers and Baptists: How Economic Forces and Moral Persuasion Interact to Shape Regulatory Politics," by Adam Smith and Bruce Yandle, showed that prohibition became reality because it appeared to satisfy both Baptists and Bootleggers.
The death of Leonard Nimoy saddened millions of Trekkies around the world (including me). But it wasn't just Trekkies who mourned. In the past month, it has become clear that Mr. Spock - the character Nimoy brought to life - had become a cultural icon extending far beyond the Trek universe.
It's apparent to anyone willing to look that a wide gap has grown between a Washington/Wall Street political class and the nation they want to rule. Less clear to many is the reason why.
Two-thirds of all federal spending is consumed by just three program areas: Social Security, Medicare/Medicaid and National Defense. Because these programs consume most of the budget and are responsible for most of the annual spending increases, there is simply no way to regain control of federal spending without addressing these programs.
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has emerged as a serious contender for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination. In response, the Washington Post researched and published a lengthy article on the "mystery" of why Walker dropped out of college.
Recently, while responding to a question about how to get young people involved in politics, President Obama expressed fears that they see politics as a "sideshow in Washington" and should be taught that "government is not something separate from you - it is you."
Page 1 of 1
The big story about the federal budget this week was the Republican Party's struggle to deal with raising the debt ceiling. Last year's big budget story was President Barack Obama and the Democrats coming to grips with the so-called sequester, a policy gimmick that modestly slowed the growth of federal spending.
The biggest threat to President Barack Obama's health-care law doesn't come from Republicans in Congress; it comes from people like Stacie Brown.
A theoretical listing of the best states put together by a publication for Washington insiders rates New Hampshire as the best state in the union, and finds that nine of the 10 worst states are in the American South.
Like toddlers who believe they are the center of the universe, many in official Washington whine about the fact the American people don't devote more time to studying politics and talking about the things that matter in our capital city.
Before President Barack Obama's health-care law was passed, Americans were frustrated that insurance companies had too much control over the medical care they received. Now, Americans are frustrated that the government has too much control.
During the holiday season, many reflect on finding the right balance in their lives. As a nation, we're in a season of searching for the right balance between individual freedoms and the role of government.
Journalist Michael Kinsley once defined a political gaffe as when someone "accidentally reveals something truthful about what is going on in his or her head." In other words, a gaffe is when a political player accidentally tells the truth. This appears to be what happened in a recent Washington Post story.
Entering the world of "official Washington" is a bit like the mythical trip Alice took through the looking glass. Everything is upside-down and nonsensical.
For all the confusion it is causing, President Barack Obama's signature legislative accomplishment did not fundamentally change the health-care industry. Both before and after the law passed, the business of providing medical care in America could best be described as a conspiracy by government, insurance companies and medical care providers to keep prices high.
The health care rollout is an enormous political gift that may lead the Republican Party to win control of the Senate in 2014. But, as President Barack Obama's health-care law collapses, the GOP should avoid the temptation to promote its own top-down solution as an alternative.
Americans are pragmatic, not ideological.
Washington's political class fundamentally misunderstands the role of politics and government in American society. They act as if government is the central force in American life and that its decisions guide the course of the nation. In historical reality, societal trends embrace new technology and the deep currents of public opinion lead the way. Government follows along a decade or two behind.
Many news stories have noted the importance of getting young, healthy people to sign up for insurance on the exchanges created by President Obama's health care law. The Washington Post's Ezra Klein reported that the White House considers this the single most important factor in making the law work.
Many reporters caught up in the bizarre world of official Washington have written extensively on political tactics and implications of the so-called government shutdown and disastrous launch of HealthCare.gov. Typical was a New York Times headline that blared ''Republicans, Sensing Weakness in Health Law Rollout, Switch Tactics.''