Columnist: George Will

Feb. 08, 2015 @ 11:52 AM

Education is the business of the states

In 1981, Tennessee's 41-year-old governor proposed to President Ronald Reagan a swap: Washington would fully fund Medicaid and the states would have complete responsibility for primary and secondary education. Reagan, a former governor, was receptive. But Democrats, who controlled the House and were beginning to be controlled by teachers unions (the largest, the National Education Association, had bartered its first presidential endorsement, of Jimmy Carter, for creation of the Department of Education) balked.   


Jan. 28, 2015 @ 08:23 PM

Bud Selig's winning legacy

The business of baseball and the nation's business used to be conducted in Washington with similar skill. The Washington Senators were run by Clark Griffith, who said: "Fans like home runs, and we have assembled a pitching staff to please our fans." Today, however, Washington's team is a model of best practices. The government? Less so.


Jan. 21, 2015 @ 08:17 PM

George Will: The mushrooming welfare state

America’s national character will have to be changed if progressives are going to implement their agenda. So, changing social norms is the progressive agenda. To understand how far this has advanced, and how difficult it will be to reverse the inculcation of dependency, consider the data Nicholas Eberstadt deploys in National Affairs quarterly:


Jan. 18, 2015 @ 12:08 PM

Mitt's third run would be no charm

After his third loss, in 1908, as the Democratic presidential nominee, William Jennings Bryan enjoyed telling the story of the drunk who three times tried to enter a private club. After being tossed out into the street a third time, the drunk said: "They can't fool me. Those fellows don't want me in there!" 


Jan. 14, 2015 @ 11:54 PM

The silliness emerges of the Keystone catechism

Not since the multiplication of the loaves and fishes near the Sea of Galilee has there been creativity as miraculous as that of the Keystone XL pipeline. It has not yet been built but already is perhaps the most constructive infrastructure project since the Interstate Highway System.


Jan. 11, 2015 @ 11:20 AM

Questions for the attorney general nominee

Senate confirmation hearings put nominees on notice that, as a Michigan state legislator reportedly once said, "I'm watching everything you do with a fine-toothed comb." Loretta Lynch, a talented lawyer and seasoned U.S. attorney, should be confirmed as attorney general. Her hearing, however, should not be perfunctory.


Jan. 07, 2015 @ 09:25 PM

Climate change's instructive past

We know, because they often say so, that those who think catastrophic global warming is probable and perhaps imminent are exemplary empiricists. They say those who disagree with them are "climate change deniers" disrespectful of science.


Jan. 04, 2015 @ 02:41 PM

The senator to watch in 2015

Standing at the intersection of three foreign policy crises and a perennial constitutional tension, Bob Corker, R-Tenn., incoming chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, may be the senator who matters most in 2015. 


Dec. 31, 2014 @ 08:27 PM

A strike against rent-seeking

Mighty oaks from little acorns grow, so last year's most encouraging development in governance might have occurred in February in a U.S. District Court in Frankfort, Kentucky. There, a judge did something no federal judge has done since 1932. By striking down a "certificate of necessity" (CON) regulation, he struck a blow for liberty and against crony capitalism.


Dec. 28, 2014 @ 09:15 AM

Jeb Bush's hurdles of immigration, Common Core

In 1968, a singularly traumatic year -- assassinations, urban riots, 16,899 Americans killed in Vietnam -- Vice President Hubert Humphrey, the ebullient Minnesotan, said his presidential campaign was about "the politics of joy." This was considered infelicitous.


Dec. 24, 2014 @ 08:36 PM

For many, Cuba derangement syndrome lingers

Barack Obama has made a geopolitical irrelevancy suddenly relevant to American presidential politics. For decades, Cuba has been instructive as a museum of two stark failures: socialism and the U.S. embargo. Now, Cuba has become useful as a clarifier of different Republican flavors of foreign-policy thinking. 


Dec. 21, 2014 @ 08:40 AM

Lighting fuses of federalism in Oklahoma

Scott Pruitt enjoyed owning a AAA baseball team here, but he is having as much fun as Oklahoma's attorney general, and one of the Obama administration's most tenacious tormentors. The second existential challenge to the Affordable Care Act began here.


Dec. 17, 2014 @ 11:52 PM

A Texas-sized plate dispute

The Battle of Palmito Ranch near Brownsville, Texas, on May 13, 1865, is called the last battle of the Civil War, but the Texas Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV) might consider that judgment premature, given its conflict with the state's Department of Transportation and Department of Motor Vehicles. This skirmish is of national interest because it implicates a burgeoning new entitlement -- the right to pass through life without encountering any disagreeable thought.


Dec. 14, 2014 @ 10:44 AM

The unlikely cheerfulness of real tax reform

"Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen and six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery."

-- Mr. Micawber in "David Copperfield"


Dec. 10, 2014 @ 02:28 PM

The plague of overcriminalization

WASHINGTON -- By history's frequently brutal dialectic, the good that we call progress often comes spasmodically, in lurches propelled by tragedies caused by callousness, folly or ignorance. With the grand jury's as yet inexplicable and probably inexcusable refusal to find criminal culpability in Eric Garner's death on a Staten Island sidewalk, the nation might have experienced sufficient affronts to its sense of decency. It might at long last be ready to stare into the abyss of its criminal justice system.