Robert J. Samuelson

It Could Last Until 2000

CONSIDER PRINGLES POTATO CHIPS AS A SYMBOL OF the gathering global boom. Only three years ago Procter & Gamble sold Pringles mainly in the United States. Now Pringles are shipped to more than 40 countries.

Alan Knows Best?

THE CAMPAIGN DEBATE ABOUT WHO should get credit for the economy left someone out. It's not Bill Clinton's economy or, even now, Newt Gingrich's. If anyone in Washington guides the economy, the man is Alan Greenspan, chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, and his stewardship is increasingly under siege.

Sowing More Cynicism

Americans require a new ""contract'' with gov-ernment, as Rep. Newt Gingrich and his fellow Republicans argue. But their proposal is not what's needed and, in many ways, points in the wrong direction.

Economic Amnesia

Alan Blinder bombed in Jackson hole. Normally, this wouldn't be news. Blinder is an economist who taught at Princeton and, until recently, served on President Clinton's Council of Economic Advisers.

Maestro Of The Business Cycle?

The Clinton administration is miffed. Despite a strong economy, the president is low in the polls and isn't reaping the political benefits. "I don't think that the president has gotten the credit that he has deserved," grumbled Commerce Secretary Ronald Brown at a recent White House briefing called to rectify this oversight.

Rethinking Health Care

IT'S TIME TO RETHINK HEALTH CARE. AS CONGRESS FIDDLES, the prospects for constructive change are dwindling. Any plan that passes will probably be a murky mess and might do more harm than good.

The New (Old) Industrial Policy

THE CLINTON ADMINISTRATION'S LATEST EXCURSION into industrial policy is its most troubling. The Pentagon proposes spending $587 million over five years to enable U.S. companies to capture 15 percent of the world market for "flat-panel displays." These are used for laptop computers, videogames, advanced instruments-and cockpit displays for jet fighters.

The Triumph Of The Psycho-Fact

WE LIVE IN A WORLD OF REAL DANGERS AND IMAGINED fears. The dangers are often low and falling, while the fears are high and rising. We are hounded by what I call "psycho-facts": beliefs that, though not supported by hard evidence, are taken as real because their constant repetition changes the way we experience fife.

The More And Less Deserving Rich

WE REMAIN FASCINATED BY THE HUGE SUMS PAID TO many of our athletes, movie stars, corporate executives, lawyers and doctors. The Wall Street journal reported last week, for example, that Disney chairman Michael Eisner was the best-paid CEO in 1993, receiving $203 million (most came from the exercise of stock options).

The Useless 'Jobs Summit'

THE UPCOMING "JOBS SUMMIT," TO BE HELD NEXT WEEK among the United States and the other major industrial nations, promises to be a big waste of time. The summit was suggested by President Clinton to explore the "global crisis" of meager job growth.

War And Remembrance

WITH APOLOGIES TO HERMAN WOUK, I TAKE THE title of his 1978 novel as this week's theme. We will soon be inundated with retrospectives of World War II, because the 50th anniversary of D-Day (June 6, 1944) is fast approaching.

Japan As Number Two

economic colossus. Ever since the 1979 book "Japan as Number One" by Asian expert Ezra Vogel, we have seen Japan as a relentless economic machine that would ultimately overwhelm us.

The Isolationist Illusion

I HAVE BEEN WATCHING CONGRESSIONAL DEBATES FOR SEVERAL decades, and none has been so removed from the underlying facts as the NAFTA debate. It is less about the agreement with Mexico than all the things NAFTA now symbolizes.

Health Care

THE HEALTH CARE DEBATE LAUNCHED BY President Clinton will occur along the ragged border between ethics and economics. Ever since World War II, Americans have come to consider good 'health care as a right: something that people should receive when they need it.

Why Are We Fighting?

It is experiences like Stephen Spragens's that inspired President Clinton's new trade policy toward Japan. I met Spragens in 1978. He was a marketing manager for a company called Plantronics, which makes lightweight telephone headsets.

The Good Recovery

In general, I avoid economic predictions like the plague. It's easy to forecast; it's easier to be wrong. Why bother? So what follows is not a prediction or a forecast but merely a commentary on the current recovery: it's getting a bum rap.

Clinton As Roosevelt

To understand Bill Clinton, you need to recognize that he aspires to be the Franklin Roosevelt of the late 20th century. He wants to be a pivotal president: someone who changed history, someone who used government to better the lot of millions of Americans and someone who created a new political alignment by winning voters' loyalty with new programs.