The parable of Italians in the South

A house with a story THE cellar is flooded and Chris Ranalli worries about snakes. From the safety of the back door, he points out the sturdy walls—two feet thick, as if to withstand Mediterranean earthquakes—and the elegantly vaulted ceilings. “They lived in the top two storeys and made wine in the basement,” explains Mr…

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Before Republicans replace Obamacare, the White House is killing it

WHETHER or not their bid to reform health care succeeds, Republicans think Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act will founder. For years, critics of the law have said that its health-insurance markets will enter a “death spiral” in which rising premiums drive out healthy buyers, forcing premiums higher still. “Obamacare is absolutely dead” President Donald Trump…

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Congressional hearings on election meddling grind on

John Brennan, optimist “IT SHOULD be clear to everyone that Russia brazenly interfered in our 2016 presidential election process.” So declared John Brennan, former director of the CIA, at a hearing of the House Intelligence Committee on May 23rd, adding that he had seen intelligence of “contacts and interactions between Russian officials and US persons…

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The White House’s budget goes from unrealistic to innumerate

THE Budget Act of 1921 requires the president to propose a budget, but Congress holds the power of the purse. Since Mick Mulvaney, the budget director, sketched out the Trump administration’s proposal in February, it has been clear that lawmakers would end up rewriting it. Mr Mulvaney wants immediate deep cuts across government that are…

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Schemes to topple the president quickly would hurt the country

AMERICA has elected a man of frightening impatience as president. That is no reason for Donald Trump’s opponents to copy him. Four months into the Trump presidency his sternest critics seem ready to tear the country apart, just to see him gone. Democrats and activists on the left, including members of Congress, are already calling…

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President Trump’s travels

DONALD TRUMP departs for his first trip abroad as president on May 19th. He may be happy to leave Washington, but the cloud he is under will travel with him. And while every preparation has been made to ensure nothing will go awry, there is every reason to fear it will. Mr Trump’s boasting to…

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Why evangelicals love Donald Trump

MANY titles bestowed on Donald Trump—from president to commander-in-chief—are hard for non-supporters to digest. But the honorific that most puzzles the world, perhaps, is that bestowed by American conservatives who praise the swaggering, thrice-married tycoon as a man of God. Expect that gulf of perception to grow still wider as Mr Trump embarks on his…

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Prisoners and the job market

DION got his first paying job at 14—which would be admirable, except that he was selling crack cocaine. He spent much of his early adulthood bouncing between prison and the streets of Yonkers, in New York state. Then, a few months out of one four-year spell behind bars, he discovered Greyston bakery. Founded by a…

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George Soros runs the gauntlet

No friend of autocrats, either IN “MASQUERADE”, Tivadar Soros’s memoir of Nazi-occupied Budapest, he describes how he procured false IDs for fellow Jews, including his 14-year-old son George. The elder Soros’s approach to the forgeries is enlightening. With wealthy clients, he “asked for whatever the market would bear”. From the desperate he made nothing: “I…

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Who should run Illinois?

Must grumble IN THE two and a half years since he was elected governor of Illinois, Bruce Rauner has met the media as little as possible. Recently, though, he has seemed more eager to communicate. In February he started to take questions from listeners once a month on WBEZ, the local public-radio station. On May…

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