Squaring the circle in U.S. health care
America’s current health-care crisis isn’t due to neglect – incessant debate and trillions of dollars have been devoted to the system over the past decade. The Democratic vision of expanding access to health coverage – primarily by boosting enrollments – has run head-on into an effort by Republicans to contain medical costs and reduce the budget burden.
GIS Dossier: Shinzo Abe’s Japan
Shinzo Abe is not popular, but this consummate political insider has become just the second prime minister in Japan’s history to win three general elections. He managed this feat by skillfully juggling factions in the dominant Liberal Democratic Party, stirring life into Japan’s stagnant economy, and pledging vigorous leadership in the face of a nuclear-armed Korea. Can Mr. Abe turn around a country widely seen to be in irreversible decline?
Opinion: The perfect tax (other than zero)
Tax systems are coming under increasing scrutiny in Western countries. Because governments do not like simple rules and transparency, they are most likely to support measures imposing more progressivity, including substantial levies on wealth, or adding value-added taxes on top of personal income taxes. But the simplest and fairest proposals would focus taxation on one activity – consumption – while keeping social solidarity on the expenditure side.
Argentina’s president looks for easy midterm wins
Argentina’s President Mauricio Macri is coming to terms with reality after promising a “transformational” government when he took power in early 2016. No shower of foreign investment or gas revenue has materialized, leaving him with a scaled-back philosophy of “gradualism” and fiscal austerity. Given this dour choice, Mr. Macri has focused on splitting his Peronist and Kirchnerista opponents before next month’s parliamentary elections – with a certain measure of success.
Brazil’s embattled president is still not in the clear
Brazilian President Michel Temer beat a corruption indictment by using federal funds and political favors to by off Congress. But the price of his political survival may have been the sacrifice of his fiscal reform program. And Mr. Temer is not out of the woods yet.
Opinion: Conventional measures give false reassurance on global risk
Conventional measures could be the wrong ones to gauge the risk of a financial shock to the global economy. Imbalances created by cheap money are building up in the economy. A close look at market capitalization, share buybacks, and interest-rate spreads presents a troubling picture.
GIS Dossier: Modi’s India
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has harnessed identity politics to shake up India’s inefficient economy and turn it into a global player. At home and abroad, he has proved an adept operator. Geopolitically, Mr. Modi’s most important move is an increasingly obvious realignment with the U.S., as part of a long-term strategy to counter China’s bid for hegemony in Asia.
Helmut Kohl and the European ideal
If the European Union wants to survive and thrive, it should pay attention to the legacy of Dr. Helmut Kohl. The former German Chancellor, who died last week, belongs to a line of giants including Charles de Gaulle and Konrad Adenauer. What they understood is what today's European leaders are getting wrong.