B.U. Bridge

Julian Zelizer, CAS History, talks about his new book, The American Congress, at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, November 3, at Barnes and Noble at BU.

Week of 29 October 2004 · Vol. VIII, No. 9

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New York Times: Bush and Kerry stumped on Iraq

During the presidential debates, the candidates articulated distinct messages on health care, taxes, and how America should generally conduct itself in world affairs. But on the question of how to manage Iraq, they seemed stumped. “[I]t seems to me there was a very sad consensus between the two candidates that we’re stuck in Iraq,” says Augustus Richard Norton, a CAS professor of international relations, in the October 15 New York Times. “It was painfully obvious that neither man had any clear answers about how we might succeed.” But in terms of the war on terrorism, he says, “voters were offered a very different perspective on how the U.S. needs to proceed in a dangerous world.”

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Risk-free investment is hogwash

The future of Social Security is a hot-button issue in this year’s presidential race, and while neither George Bush nor John Kerry have offered specific plans for heading off the system’s predicted mid-century collapse, many Democrats believe that, if elected, Bush would push to privatize it. He recently floated the idea of allowing workers to channel into private accounts a portion of their Social Security payroll deduction. Proponents of the plan say that some investment options, such as purchasing U.S. savings bonds, promise a higher rate of return than can Social Security savings in the coming decades. Opponents say the plan misses the point of Social Security: to guarantee all citizens a certain minimum return. “Allowing people to invest in risky assets defeats that purpose,” says Zvi Bodie, an SMG professor of finance and economics, in the October 25 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “People want to hear you can earn higher rates of return in the stock market and the risk goes away automatically. That’s nonsense and it always was nonsense.”

Boston Globe: Organ services show transplant system’s failings

The decision by a Denver hospital in October to conduct a kidney transplant using an organ that its recipient found on a fee-based Web site alarmed some health officials. Commercial services, they say, undermine the fairness of the nation’s official organ distribution system, which is coordinated by the United Network for Organ Sharing and is based on who is sickest. But George Annas, an SPH professor and chairman of the health law, bioethics, and human rights department, says in the Boston Globe on October 20 that the success of commercial transplant services highlights the fact that UNOS has done little to bring living donors and recipients together, and that along with the nation’s transplant centers, it must help create a larger system for doing so. “As a little pilot project, it’s hard to argue with this,” he says, “but it certainly shouldn’t be seen as much bigger than this.”


29 October 2004
Boston University
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