I'm out of town on vacation for a few days starting tomorrow and probably won't add anything while gone, but here's some reading material I've come across the last few days and found worthwhile:
- The internal incoherence of John McCain's "economic team" (be warned: this is a Weekly Standard piece. It's also damn good, so shut your yap.)
- Two views of inequality in the U.S. economy and what to do about them: from the left, Harold Meyerson, in recent testimony to a House committee; and from the right, a software CEO named Jim Manzi, writing in the National Review. (Scared yet?) Meyerson nails the diagnosis, and I basically agree with his prescriptions, but the "hollowing out" hypothesis is significantly overstated, as this recent study of labor market projections by labor market analysts Harry Holzer and Robert Lerman details. The Manzi piece is totally fascinating: he tells the best story I've heard about Reagan-era supply-side economics and how they exacerbated inequality as a negative externality of economic growth, but then shoehorns weird right-wing "solutions" (destroy public education?) that would do nothing to solve the problem he's ostensibly addressing. Still, an A for effort.
- New York magazine's John Heileman offers one explanation for what went wrong in the Clinton campaign: through a combination of bad fortune and bad strategy, she is losing--or already has lost--a war of narratives. Here's another "pre-post-mortem," focusing more on tactics.
- And the Obama campaign, meanwhile, is closing in on their millionth donor. They really should give the lucky guy/girl a prize--shots with Michelle Obama or something like that. I think Obama is both symptom and cause here: he's clearly an inspiring guy and has run a tactically superb campaign, but the Democrats also just have an edge at this sort of thing. And it doesn't necessarily mean much for November success: Barry Goldwater broke all kinds of ground in terms of grass-roots activity and donations in 1964, but still got crushed.
- Finally, I remembered something on the way home tonight that had bugged and mystified me: during the Super Bowl, a Fox bumper into commercial featured the Arcade Fire song "No Cars Go." It's a dramatic piece of music and was well suited for the occasion... but Arcade Fire is famously unwilling to license their music for any commercial purpose. A Google search revealed that Fox didn't get permission--which strikes me as a pretty big freakin' deal. To my surprise, though, it seems they have little shot to make Fox pay big-time. Hey, at least the Giants won.