James M. Lindsay

The Water's Edge

Lindsay analyzes the politics shaping U.S. foreign policy and the sustainability of American power.

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Showing posts for "Renewing America"

Friday File: Will Foreign Policy Matter Much in Campaign 2012?

by James M. Lindsay
Protesters take part in a rally for jobs in New York on January 16, 2012. (Eduardo Munoz/courtesy Reuters) Protesters take part in a rally for jobs in New York on January 16, 2012. (Eduardo Munoz/courtesy Reuters)

Above the Fold. A dinner obligation kept me from watching last night’s GOP presidential debate in Jacksonville, Florida, breaking my streak of eighteen straight debate viewings. From what I can tell from reading the debate transcript this morning, I didn’t miss much, at least as far as foreign policy is concerned. Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, and Rick Santorum grumbled a bit about President Obama’s supposed lack of support for Israel, and they pledged to increase the pressure on Castro’s Cuba. Read more »

Manufacturing and the Middle Class

by James M. Lindsay
Workers from Ford's Chicago Assembly Plant push a full-size Legoland edition Ford Explorer, made with more than 380,000 Lego blocks. (Frank Polich/courtesy Reuters) Workers from Ford's Chicago Assembly Plant push a full-size Legoland edition Ford Explorer, made with more than 380,000 Lego blocks. (Frank Polich/courtesy Reuters)

Rick Santorum deserves credit for trying to draw attention to the fate of U.S. manufacturing. As he pointed out at last night’s GOP presidential debate in Tampa, manufacturing has long been a source of good middle-class jobs, helping to build “that ladder of success all the way down so people can climb all the way up.” The problem is, as the chart below shows, that manufacturing hasn’t been the source of job creation in the United States for a very long time. Indeed, the number of manufacturing jobs has fallen by about a third over the past decade. Read more »

Can Americans Afford College?

by James M. Lindsay
A customer counts her money while waiting in line. A customer counts her money while waiting in line. (Jessica Rinaldi/courtesy Reuters)

Earlier today I noted the obvious: college costs are skyrocketing. But cost growth is only half of the equation when it comes to deciding whether college is affordable; the other half is income growth. If your costs go up, but your paycheck goes up even more, you are fine. The problem for most Americans is that their real incomes (that is, adjusted for inflation) haven’t even begun to keep pace with rising tuition costs. Over the past thirty years, real median household income has risen only 13 percent. Worse yet, real median household income is actually lower today than it was in 1999. Read more »

Does Obama Have a Solution for Rising College Costs?

by James M. Lindsay
A graduate at Columbia University’s commencement ceremony in 2005. (Chip East/courtesy Reuters) A graduate at Columbia University’s commencement ceremony in 2005. (Chip East/courtesy Reuters)

I have one child in college (Wahoowa!), another set to start this September, and two more who will join them within the next four years. So my ears perked up during Tuesday night’s State of the Union address when President Obama said that once kids graduate from high school “the most daunting challenge can be the cost of college.” Read more »

Lord Stanley’s Cup Meets Globalization

by James M. Lindsay
The Stanley Cup trophy is seen in the National Hockey League's store in New York, April 15, 2009. The quest for the Stanley Cup begins tonight with the start of the NHL playoffs. (Chip East/courtesy Reuters)

The Stanley Cup trophy. (Chip East/courtesy Reuters)

Globalization meets hockey tonight at 8 PM when the Boston Bruins square off against the Vancouver Canucks in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals. At stake is not just the pride of two great cities, but the pride of Canada as well. No Canadian team has taken home the Stanley Cup since the Montreal Canadiens did it in 1993. That’s hard to believe, given that Canada gave us hockey.

If you tune into NBC tonight you will not only see a great game, you will also see a concrete example of globalization at work. People in my line of work spend a lot of time worrying about all the bad things that globalization generates and facilitates: terrorism, climate change, financial panics, infectious diseases, and so forth. So it’s worth taking a moment once in a while to highlight some of the good things.

Here’s what I mean. Until the 1980s, virtually everyone who played in the NHL was Canadian. American-born players like Robby Ftorek of Needham, Massachusetts were such a rarity that every fan knew who they were and where they came from. The only European-born players were people like Stan Makita of the Chicago Blackhawks who fled communist-controlled Czechoslovakia as a kid and ended up in Canada.

The Bruins and Canucks today look like the UN on ice. Okay, that’s somewhat of an exaggeration. But the countries represented in tonight’s game include Canada, the United States, Finland, Sweden, Germany, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Slovakia, and Russia.

Read more »