Articles filed under Hamilton, Lee

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  • With the budget, the president calls the shots Feb 19, 2015 1:00 AM
    Columnist Lee Hamilton: It may not be obvious from the news coverage, but a good bit of Congress’s 2015 agenda just landed on Capitol Hill with a thud. I mean this literally. The federal budget that President Obama recently submitted runs to 2,000 pages. This is the most important government

  • Term limits move Congress in wrong direction Jan 23, 2015 1:01 AM
    Columnist Lee Hamilton: The issue didn’t get much attention at the time, but the elections last November did more than give Republicans a majority in the U.S. Senate.

  • It’s not as bad as you think, America Dec 28, 2014 5:01 AM
    Columnist Lee Hamilton: We are one glum country. Trust in the federal government is at historic lows, according to Gallup. More than half of the respondents to an October Rasmussen poll think our best days are behind us. And just a few weeks ago, an NBC/Wall St. Journal poll found that the one thing Americans agree upon whatever their race or circumstances is that the system is stacked against people like them.

  • What lies ahead: Progress, not reform Dec 9, 2014 1:01 AM
    Lee Hamilton: The big question, as the old Congress reconvenes and prepares to make way for next year’s version, is whether the two parties will work more closely together to move the country forward or instead lapse back into confrontation and deadlock.

  • How lobbyists make the system work for them Nov 27, 2014 5:01 AM
    Columnist Lee Hamilton: Because of its power to influence public affairs, the press has long been known as “the Fourth Estate.” But I think the media may have been displaced. These days, it’s lobbyists who seem to carry the most clout in Washington.

  • Some thoughts on governing Nov 9, 2014 5:01 AM
    Columnist Lee Hamilton: I have been working in or around government for more than 50 years, and if you asked me to boil down what I’ve learned to one sentence, it is this: Governing is much harder work than most people imagine. This doesn’t excuse its lapses or sluggish rate of progress, but it does help explain them.

  • Viewing political corruption more broadly Oct 26, 2014 5:01 AM
    Columnist Lee Hamilton: Earlier this year, veteran political writer Thomas Edsall reported an eyebrow-raising fact about Americans’ views toward government. Polling by Gallup, he noted, found that the proportion of Americans who believed that corruption is “widespread” in government had risen from 59 percent in 2006 to 79 percent in 2013. “In other words,” Edsall wrote, “we were cynical already, but now we’re in overdrive.”

  • The slim hopes for change after this November Oct 3, 2014 1:01 AM
    Columnist Lee Hamilton: Members of Congress are home now, campaigning for the upcoming elections. Their messages are all over the map, and for a good reason: they have very little to brag about.

  • Always hope in the next political moment Sep 5, 2014 1:01 AM
    Columnist Lee Hamilton: There is great unease in the land — concern about economic inequality, disgust with scorched-earth politics in Washington. But the long reach of our history teaches that when an aroused public forces political leaders to focus on finding solutions to problems, we can overcome differences and make progress.

  • Why government transparency matters Aug 22, 2014 5:01 AM
    Columnist Lee Hamilton: One of the fundamental lessons of 9/11 was that our government carried a share of blame for the failure to stop the attacks. Not because it was asleep at the switch or ignorant of the dangers that al-Qaida posed, but because the agencies charged with our safety did not share what they knew, either up and down the chain of command or with each other. The attacks were preventable with shared information.

  • Why government fails, and what we should do Aug 8, 2014 1:01 AM
    Columnist Lee Hamilton: What’s odd is that while the frequent failures in government’s performance are very much on ordinary people’s minds, politicians don’t talk much about fixing them

  • Why incumbents keep getting re-elected Jul 29, 2014 5:01 AM
    Columnist Lee Hamilton: Nearly three-quarters of Americans want to throw out most members of Congress, including their own representative, yet the vast majority of incumbents will be returning to Capitol Hill in January. In other words, Americans scorn Congress but keep re-electing its members. How could this be?

  • Are we doomed to polarization? Jul 13, 2014 5:01 AM
    Columnist Lee Hamilton: We Americans are trapped in a political dilemma. We all like representative democracy, but we don’t much like the way it’s performing. The reason for this dissatisfaction is clear. Polls in recent years detail a polarized nation, divided both ideologically and politically.

  • The lesson Congress should learn from the VA scandal Jun 29, 2014 5:01 AM
    Columnist Lee Hamilton: Like other federal scandals before it, the mess involving VA hospitals has followed a well-trod path. First comes the revelation of misdoing. Then comes the reaction: a shocked public, an administration on the defensive, grandstanding members of Congress. Finally, major reform bills get introduced, debated, then put aside when the heat dies down, or the target agency gets more money thrown at the problem. With the VA, we’re at the reform part of the cycle.

  • What our country needs from the press Jun 17, 2014 5:01 AM
    Columnist Lee Hamilton: These days, the scandal involving long wait times at VA hospitals can feel like some made-in-Washington spectacle generated by politicians looking for headlines. But it isn’t. It had its genesis in a late-April report on CNN that as many as 40 veterans may have died waiting for appointments at VA hospitals in Phoenix. And it’s a reminder of just how important old-fashioned shoe-leather reporting remains to our system of government, especially when it uncovers official misdoing.

  • Why I still have faith in Congress Jun 4, 2014 5:01 AM
    Columnist Lee Hamilton: It’s depressing to read poll after poll highlighting Americans’ utter disdain for Congress. But it’s my encounters with ordinary citizens at public meetings or in casual conversation that really bring me up short. In angry diatribes or in resigned comments, people make clear their dwindling confidence in both politicians and the institution itself.

  • Prepare yourself for more of the same May 21, 2014 5:01 AM
    Columnist Lee Hamilton: I felt a brief surge of hope about Congress a few weeks ago. It was returning from Easter recess, and Capitol Hill was filled with talk about immigration reform, a minimum-wage bill, a spending bill to keep the government operating, and maybe even funding for transportation infrastructure. But, as I said, it was brief.

  • The justices and the scramble for cash May 7, 2014 5:01 AM
    Columnist Lee Hamilton: I fervently hope that support for public financing and for muscular disclosure laws will grow with time, because our politics will be more democratic, more honest, and more free if we reduce the impact of money on elections.

  • Government as innovator? You bet! Apr 20, 2014 5:01 AM
    Columnist Lee Hamilton: Five years ago, the federal government spent $169 billion to fund basic research and development. This fiscal year, it’s down to $134 billion. People who believe in public belt-tightening applaud drops like that. I understand why: There are many reasons to reduce government spending. But in this case they’re wrong.

  • A broken system en route to failure Apr 10, 2014 5:01 AM
    Columnist Lee Hamilton: Government today is highly pressured and deals with tough, complicated problems. It needs to be able to recruit and retain first-rate talent; you don’t want a second-rate lawyer negotiating a nuclear arms treaty.

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