Commentary

Last week, new consumer price data released by the US Labor Department confirmed what most shoppers already suspected: Food prices, which took their biggest one-month leap in nearly two decades in April, rose even further in May. Energy costs, too, went up last month. The big question, though, is why?

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...while excitement is good, it also comes with risk. As I've written before, I think the most important priority in picking a running mate should be choosing someone clearly qualified to be president. A close second to that is the ability to perform the job of vice president, a job description that includes serving as a capable surrogate and helping the president to govern more effectively.

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I'm all in favor of unions and other voices of the left making themselves heard when it comes to the substantive priorities of the Obama campaign and someday (should things go well in November) the Obama administration. But making a fuss over the appointment of economist Jason Furman, because of his association with centrist Democratic economics, seems not the best excuse to do it.

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The Credit Card Crunch has caught the nation's attention. From single working mothers to jet setting finance guys, today's economy has everyone watching their bottom line. Unfortunately, few are focused on what is shaping up to be the economic debacle of our generation: the growing racial divide that threatens to undermine the economic future of the nation.

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I have just returned from two weeks in Europe and Istanbul, where, as is apparent to all American travelers, the world is watching the US elections with fervent hope, if also some trepidation. A possible Obama presidency is seen everywhere as a potentially transformational moment for American leadership in the world.

Yet while the world is watching America, America is paying little attention to the world.

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As health-care costs continue to climb, the trend to more "cost sharing" continues, and the ranks of the uninsured keep swelling, more and more Americans are finding that paying for medical care means going into debt. The latest study by the Commonwealth Fund found that one out of five Americans have medical debt — a population that includes many individuals with health insurance.

The credit card crunch underscores the great racial divide that remains in the American economy. Around half of all white households with credit cards are indebted, but for black households the number is more than 80 percent, with Latino families close behind.

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Senior Fellow Sasha Abramsky investigates what it mean when a democracy removes the vote from several million adults, and how the political process is affected when certain groups — racial minorities and low-income whites, in particular — bear the brunt of this disenfranchisement.

Remove the voting power of the urban poor, and issues of importance to inner-city America are likely to get ignored come Election Day.

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Senior Fellow Nomi Prins discusses the need for a real windfall tax that addresses the growing chasm between the cost of buying and refining crude oil, in order to divert enough money into alternative sources that will ultimately reduce demand and thus prices.

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The cost crisis of Medicare gets a lot of attention. The program can be fixed only by universalizing the larger health system in which Medicare resides.

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