"New Ideas"

A terrible Washington Post article criticizes John Edwards' anti-poverty agenda on the grounds that "Critics Say He Brings Few Fresh Ideas to Signature Issue." Well, um, okay. But as Jared Bernstein argues, the virtue of Edwards' plan isn't that it's fresh it's that it's a good plan. No, Edwards hasn't uncovered the Magical New Idea To End Poverty -- rather he's assembled some old-but-not-implemented good ideas, is pushing for increased efforts on some old-and-effective ideas, etc., all in recognition of the fact that despite some difficulties the country has consistently shown itself capable of significantly reducing poverty whenever we're really cared to try.

Recall Jon Chait's "case against new ideas" in this context. What liberals need to do on poverty is win an election in a manner that provides some kind of plausible mandate for implementing anti-poverty policies, and then implement some good policies -- not necessarily the freshest ones -- and Edwards represents the best shot at that we've seen in decades.

Presented by

Matthew Yglesias is a former writer and editor at The Atlantic.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register with Disqus.

Please note that The Atlantic's account system is separate from our commenting system. To log in or register with The Atlantic, use the Sign In button at the top of every page.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Does This Child Need Marijuana?

Inside a family's fight to use marijuana oils to treat epilepsy

Video

A Miniature 1950s Utopia

A reclusive artist built this idealized suburb to grapple with his painful childhood memories.

Video

Why Principals Matter

Nadia Lopez didn't think anybody cared about her school. Then the Internet heard her story.

Video

A History of Contraception

In the 16th century, men used linen condoms laced shut with ribbons.

Video

'A Music That Has No End'

In Spain, a flamenco guitarist hustles to make a modest living.

More in Politics

Just In