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In Georgia, a capitalist struggles

MCDONOUGH, Ga. — In a sun-dappled square decorated with scores of entrants in the community’s Halloween scarecrow contest, a balky sound system enables, if barely, the Republican U.S. Senate candidate to exhort a few hundred people, mostly supporters, to urge neighbors to vote to reduce Sen. Harry Reid to minority leader. The exhorter is David Perdue, a glutton for punishment who has been campaigning incessantly for 15 months and may be doing so for two more.

Dreading Ebola

One of the profound challenges of our age is how to evaluate risk from complex threats. At one level, experts provide scientific facts about, say, the transmissibility of a disease, and they can quantify the prospects for contagion. At another level, human emotions measure risk with irrational but powerful gut feelings.

Why partyism is wrong

A college student came to me recently with a quandary. He’d spent the summer interning at a conservative think tank. Now he was applying to schools and companies where most people were liberal. Should he remove the internship from his resume?

No easy way to put a lid on health costs

Critics of the 2010 Affordable Care Act complain that it doesn’t do much to control the health care costs that are becoming unsustainable for families and businesses. In fact, the law does many small things; the latest is the grant program announced recently to teach Medicare and Medicaid doctors new ways to offer higher-quality, better-coordinated, more cost-effective care. The four-year goal is to turn $840 million in grants into $5 billion in savings — a number that sounds big until it’s compared with the nearly $4 trillion in annual health care spending in the United States. The modesty of the effort reflects the reality that there’s just no easy way to put a lid on health care costs.

Obama’s half-hearted punch

An unlikely consensus is emerging across the ideological spectrum about the war against the Islamic State: President Obama’s strategy to “degrade and eventually destroy” the terrorist entity is unworkable. It’s not just that, as some administration officials say, more time is needed to accomplish complex tasks such as training Iraqi and Syrian forces. It’s that the military means the president has authorized cannot accomplish his announced aims.

Ideology and investment

America used to be a country that built for the future. Sometimes the government built directly: Public projects, from the Erie Canal to the Interstate Highway System, provided the backbone for economic growth. Sometimes it provided incentives to the private sector, like land grants to spur railroad construction. Either way, there was broad support for spending that would make us richer.