Articles by John Merline

Safety in the Driver's Seat

In a series of new ads for Volkswagen's Jetta, drivers merrily go about their way, yakking it up with passengers, when a terrible crash occurs. Air bags burst open. Passengers emerge relatively unscathed. And the tagline appears: Safe happens. They... Read More

Not So Fuzzy Math

The latest figures on the federal deficit had Washington all atwitter this week. The Bush administration is crowing about the fact that the deficit is coming in much lower than the budget forecasters had predicted a few months ago (which,... Read More

And the Winner ... Isn't Hollywood

As The New York Times put it in its coverage of the Academy Awards, "2005 was billed as the year of the message movie." It's true, this year the Academy did send a message: moviegoers don't have a clue as... Read More

Did Anyone Actually Read Bush's Budget?

The AP calls it "austere." Reuters says it "cuts domestic programs from community policing to Medicare." The Washington Post: "drains money from two-thirds of federal agencies, continues a large military buildup" CNN: "Teachers, doctors protest budget cuts." USA To Read More

Health Care Crisis? How About a Recreation Crisis?

When President Bush lays out his health care reform plan at the State of the Union address, the underlying premise will be that the nation spends too much on health care. That seems like a reasonable assumption. After all, national... Read More

Mining the Media Distortions Yields Black Gold

Here's a headline you aren't likely to see: "Sago mine tragedy defies improved mine safety trend under the Bush administration." Yet, the facts support it. Mining fatalities have dropped every year President Bush has been in the White House, according... Read More

Smell the CAFE

Is there any public policy more durable and beloved by its supporters than CAFE? For those not intimately versed with Washington-speak, CAFE is the acronym for "corporate average fuel economy." Under these federal standards, passed by Congress in 1975,... Read More

Be Safe, Not Sorry

Has there ever been a more intense campaign against a single consumer product that the one being waged against SUVs? To hear critics, they are nothing more than gas guzzling road hogs that deepen our dependence on foreign oil,... Read More

The Road to CAFE

Back in 1974, Ford executive vice president Fred Secrest warned that if Congress passed mandatory fuel economy standards for cars, Ford would have to abandon its large cars, and sell "all sub-Pinto-sized vehicles or some mix of vehicles ranging from... Read More

Needed: Promise Keepers

In a late June decision that passed by almost entirely without notice, the Federal Communications Commission decided to let Verizon get away with yet another broken promise. Verizon had asked the FCC to count $150 million it spent on Northpoint... Read More

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