Robert J. Samuelson

The Death Of Management

We are now witnessing the death of management. By management, I mean the peculiarly American idea (still taught at many business schools) that a "good manager" should be able to manage any enterprise, anywhere, any time.

Japan In Our Future

We are again thinking about Japan. President Clinton and Japanese Prime Minister Kiichi Miyazawa met last week, amid chatter about the need to forge "a new Japan policy" (the U.S. phrasing) or to "strengthen the relationship" (Japan's phrasing).

Energy Tax: A Good Idea?

I have advocated some type of energy tax for 15 years. President Clinton's proposal strikes me as desirable for all the reasons the White House cites. It would trim the budget deficit-by 1997, the tax would raise about $22 billion in revenues.

What Limits?

We are dodging the debate we urgently need. It concerns the role of government. What can it do? What should it do? Over the past half century, the federal government has transformed itself.

What Clinton Isn't Saying

We face a future of much bigger government, regardless of which party controls the White House. Even if President Clinton's budget program were completely adopted it would only nibble at the long-term deficit.

Rhetoric Over Reality

In some ways, President Clinton has done the impossible. He has projected himself as both a champion of austerity-- determined to subdue stubborn budget deficits-and an apostle of government activism-committed to using government's powers to raise American living standards.

Clinton's Nemesis

Broadly speaking, President Clinton's nemesis is the modern welfare state. By welfare state, I mean something beyond the usual narrow concept: government as helper of the poor.

Not So Bad A President

George Bush's decisive defeat leaves no doubt about the public's judgment of his presidency. More than 60 percent of the electorate voted against him, he trailed Bill Clinton by 5.5 million votes, and he carried only two major states (Texas and Florida).

The Trophy Syndrome

The School Board of Fairfax County, Va.-a suburb of Washington, D.C.-had a problem: complaints from high-school students and principals that class rankings were unfair.

Europe, Our Former Ally

We call the Europeans our "allies." This reference is an increasingly outdated relic of the cold war. The bitter trade dispute now raging between America and Europe merely captures a larger reality: Western Europe is so self-absorbed that it's aggravating the conflicts of the post-coldwar world.


We need to nationalize our health care. By this, I don't mean that every doctor and hospital has to go on the federal payroll. But we must find some way-a political way-to control runaway health spending.

The Truth About Deficits

Sen. Warren Rudman, Republican of New Hampshire, and former senator Paul Tsongas last week announced the formation of the Concord Coalition, which they hope will build a popular movement to curb federal budget deficits.

The Virtues Of 'Gridlock'

Everyone deplores political "gridlock" these days. Both The New York Times and The Washington Post have run long articles stigmatizing divided government (Republican White House/Democratic Congress).

The Dangerous Power Vacuum

We can only hope that the tragedy now unfolding in the former Yugoslavia is not a harbinger. If it is, we can expect cascading chaos-driven by ethnic strife, economic collapse and political breakdown-in Eastern Europe and much of the former Soviet Union.

The Global Slowdown

We delude ourselves if we think that the economy's present sluggishness is exclusively a domestic phenomenon-caused primarily by lack of confidence, slow money growth or whatever's the latest theory.

Technology In Reverse

Let me introduce you to retarded technology. It's the opposite of advanced technology. Advanced technology enables us to do useful new things or to do old things more efficiently.

This Plan Too Slick

It would be nice to report that Gov. Bill Clinton has presented a "national economic strategy" worthy of the name. He hasn't. His claims that he will cut the deficit by half in four years are mostly bogus.

Economic Mush From Perot

We are now getting a glimpse of Ross Perot's economic thinking. There's a lot of homespun folk wisdom and not much else. It's a mushy mixture of old ideas (the line-item veto), bad ideas (opposition to a free-trade agreement with Mexico), vague promises (balance the budget) and misinformation.

Original Sin Remembered

We are still suffering from the legacy of a commencement address given by John Kennedy 30 years ago this month at Yale. The speech was then seen as a daring statement of new economic principles, and, with hindsight, it may rank as the most important presidential pronouncement on economic policy since World War II.

The End Is Not At Hand

Whoever coined the phrase "save the planet" is a public-relations genius. It conveys the sense of impending catastrophe and high purpose that has wrapped environmentalism in an aura of moral urgency.

On Being Competitive

If nothing else, the Los Angeles riot ought to concentrate our minds on what matters-and what doesn't. What doesn't matter is "competitiveness," as it's normally understood.

The Bored Billionaire?

Frankly, my first reaction to Ross Perot as a serious contender for the presidency was that he's an impostor. Perot is posing as an antipolitician: someone who (Unlike all other politicians) will tell us the truth and deal candidly with difficult problems.

The Dilemma Of Democracy

Senator Warren Rudman, the New Hampshire Republican, hit a raw nerve the other week by announcing he won't seek re-election. Rudman, one of Congress's most respected members, said he's frustrated.

Overworked Americans?

As I write, I am feeling severely overworked. The deadline for this column looms, and it looks as if I won't make it, although I know I will because I always have.