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Does $60,000 make you middle-class or wealthy on Planet Earth?

By Heather Long and Leslie Shapiro
Does $60,000 make you middle-class or wealthy on Planet Earth?
A shopper looks at a smartphone at a mall in Bangkok, Thailand, on Saturday, June 16, 2018. By 2020, more than half of the world's population will be

The world is on the brink of a historic milestone: By 2020, more than half of the world's population will be "middle class," according to Brookings Institution scholar Homi Kharas.

Kharas defines the middle class as people who have enough money to cover basics needs, such as food, clothing and shelter, and still have enough left over for a few luxuries, such as fancy food, a television, a motorbike, home improvements or higher education.

It's a critical juncture: After thousands of years of most people on the planet living as serfs, as slaves or in other destitute scenarios, half the population now has the financial means to be able to do more than just try to survive.

"There was almost no middle class before the Industrial Revolution began in the 1830s," Kharas said. "It was just royalty and peasants. Now we are about to have a majority middle-class world."

Today, the middle class totals about 3.7 billion people, Kharas says, or 48 percent of the world's population. An additional 190 million (2.5 percent) comprise the mega-rich. Together, the two groups make up a majority of humanity in 2018, a shift with wide-reaching consequences for the global economy - and potential implications for the happiness of millions of people.

1. So how much money does it take to meet Kharas's definition of middle-class?

It depends on where you live and, more precisely, on how expensive things are where you live. Kharas's definition takes into account the higher cost of meeting basic needs in places such as the United States, Western Europe and Japan than in much of the developing world.

In dollar terms, Kharas defines the global middle class as those who make $11 to $110 a day, or about $4,000 to $40,000 a year. Those are per-person numbers, so families with two parents and multiple children would need a lot more. It's a wide range, but remember that he adjusts the amounts by country to take into account how much people can buy with the money they earn. For example, earning $12,000 for a family of four in Indonesia would qualify for the global middle class, but it would not in the United States.

2. What about the U.S. middle class? </p> <p>The median household income in the United States is just over $59,000. That's right in the middle for the United States, but it ranks in the 91st percentile globally for a family of three, according to Kharas's research, putting that U.S. family on the high end of the global middle class. </p> <p>"Americans have a hard time realizing the American middle class is, in a global perspective, pretty high up," said Anna Rosling Rönnlund, who founded the Dollar Street project to photograph families and their lifestyles around the world.</p> <p>3. Where are these new residents of the middle class coming from?</p> <p> Kharas estimates 140 million to 170 million people a year are moving into the middle class every year. (More-exact estimates are difficult to come by; not all countries keep uniform records, and in some places the data is years out of date.)</p> <p>India and China have been driving much of the middle-class boom in recent years. Now, Kharas said, Southeast Asian countries such as Thailand and Vietnam are poised for a middle-class surge.</p> <p>4. So what does it look and feel like, around the world, to be a part of the global middle class? </p> <p>Dollar Street, the project from Sweden's nonprofit Gapminder foundation, has photographed the daily lives of more than 250 families around the world. Their subjects include a family of five in Burundi who lives on $324 a year and a family of five in China pulling in $121,176 a year. The photos show the people and their homes, eating utensils, toilets, toothbrushes and transportation, allowing people to compare lifestyles around the world.</p> <p>Dollar Street recently photographed Angga and Yuli Yanvar, a couple in their early 30s with two young children, part of the rising middle class in Indonesia. Angga is a social worker and Yuli is a teacher. The family has a refrigerator, electricity and a motorbike to get around, and their children have several toys, including bikes and a battery-powered minicar. They are saving money to purchase a home and car, goals that appear realistic given that they earn just over $12,000 a year in income.</p> <p>What immediately jumps out flipping through the Dollar Street photos is how remarkably similar daily life is around the world, with the exception of the very rich and poor. The vast majority of the families have electricity, running water in their home, children that attend school and some sort of transportation.</p> <p>"The most striking thing is so many of the people we visited so far actually have a plastic toothbrush," said Rönnlund, who started Dollar Street in 2015. "It's the same with soap. Almost everyone in the world has access to some kind of soap. The poorest buy a tiny fraction of a soap bar or make it themselves. When you come to the middle, you see people buying locally produced, big bars of soap. The higher you go up the income scale, the nicer the soap becomes - or even multiple cleaning products."</p> <p>That lines up with Kharas's research. "These people in the global middle class have a lot of things in common," he said. "They like having air conditioning, a refrigerator, a car or motorcycle to get around, and they like going on vacation and not having to work every day."</p> <p>5. Does more money and more stuff make us happier?</p> <p> There are endless debates about what amount of money and what lifestyle would maximize happiness. The consensus among researchers who have studied this extensively is that day-to-day mood doesn't improve much after about $75,000 a year in the United States. There's not much noticeable improvement in mood after that, even when homes and bank accounts get larger. That said, people also tend to feel better if they are moving up the income ladder, not moving down or stalled, which helps explain why the middle class in the United States and much of Europe is upset after years of stagnating income.</p> <p>Ronnlund and her team have witnessed some of these trends with the Dollar Street project. They don't ask specifically about happiness, but they did ask every family they photographed about their favorite things they own and what they would like to buy if they got a bit more money.</p> <p>One poor family held up a plastic bucket as their favorite possession because it was the difference between life and death for them. They dreamed of getting a phone or better bike. Middle-class families valued things that made their life better, such as air conditioning or a refrigerator, and they longed to own cars or homes. Wealthier families prized items such as specialty alcohol, exotic plants or fancy stuffed unicorns.</p> <p>"I thought it would be easiest to photograph wealthy people, but it's been the opposite," Rönnlund said. "Richer people have a harder time inviting people into their home as is. They want to stage it so they look good and present the social media version of themselves."</p> </text> </story></html></div> </div> </div> <div id="tile_2" class="news card hasBack"> <div class="front"> <div class="imageFrame cover" style="background-image: url(https://news-service.s3.amazonaws.com/catholics-de5fbd82-a3e9-11e8-a656-943eefab5daf.jpg);"></div> <div class="frontContent"> <h3>'Wasted our lives': Catholic sex abuse scandals again prompt a crisis of faith</h3> <span class="author">By Julie Zauzmer, <span class='noCap'>et al.</span></span> </div> </div> <div class="back"> <img class="close white" src="data:image/png;base64,iVBORw0KGgoAAAANSUhEUgAAAEgAAABICAQAAAD/5HvMAAABIklEQVRo3u3YyQ2DMBCFYU5QHJBGCZFYioPTyyGWkiBssGexD/MXYD6JzZ6qsizLsizLKi88MKAmrdBgRMvH2QFM6SQ0WAHsLCTHQTrJcQBgR8fHSST9cD6kngZ64r85jnTgAMBAA9WY00knnIn2cpBIIpx0khjHkZbD4kt4cVFOPEmcE0dS4dwnqXHukVQ5jnS84Pq9oDonTMrC8ZOycbykfBzP7cnJuSTpc4KkPBwvKR+nOFBht6ywh7qw1/70qzzTjgPcnJp2HGDn0E8o7JwspOs/evxxQJSjSrq/31EhxW2/xEnxu0FRUtrmNHwcUOeIkWhbdwESXrSf5glppIFa5pHeRh58omMcem48c9ieaSy8cU6qSxqcW5ZlWZZlcfYGeH9hqTM7UAAAAAAASUVORK5CYII=" /> <img class="close black" src="data:image/png;base64,iVBORw0KGgoAAAANSUhEUgAAAEgAAABICAQAAAD/5HvMAAAA/ElEQVR4Ae3YOw7CMBBF0VeZxSVhoyFI+SyOVEbggn91xzLFu+7DkZxIzMg555xz7h87alQS6aBJXRxnV9asBDibsnZ1cZwMSIWT76Q+iPMgAU4hDUKdlF/OogQ4tzMKlbQA0jMHXDsgAQ4lMQ4nrW8PX5U4pz6JcziJc+qSOIeTEIeTPn5wU+KceBLnhJM4J5bUkPPjejiHkzinPolzwkmFY1D7K2v/UuPPvi1nRv+9K3ASHAfCOXxCCedwUiQHjANVOZwUzuEkzuGkeA4ncQ4cBypzOIlzWpHO3zmANAnVBa/0Lnzx2cctPTmnNASthTmn/eLcOeecc656V8QdWIh8Y0j9AAAAAElFTkSuQmCC" /> <div class="backInner"></div> </div> </div> <div class="fullHtml" id="fullHtml_2"> <div class="backContent"> <div class="headline">'Wasted our lives': Catholic sex abuse scandals again prompt a crisis of faith</div> <div class="byline">(c) 2018, The Washington Post &middot; Aug 19, 2018 - 7:57 PM</div> <img src="https://news-service.s3.amazonaws.com/catholics-de5fbd82-a3e9-11e8-a656-943eefab5daf.jpg" alt="Matthew Mangiaracina stands outside of St. Mary Mother of God Catholic Church in Washington. Mangiaracina used to attend St. Patrick's but changed parishes this past week because he didn't want to face Cardinal Donald Wuerl. MUST CREDIT: Washington Post photo by Michael Robinson Chavez"> <div class="storyHtml"><html><story><text> <p>WASHINGTON - She thought about not coming.</p> <p>Disillusioned by the sex abuse scandal once again consuming the Catholic Church, Claartje Bertaut considered skipping Sunday mass for the first time in more than four decades. In fact, she even considered leaving Catholicism.</p> <p>But the 87-year-old District of Columbia woman sat in the pews Sunday at the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament - one of the region's most prominent Catholic churches - as a young, impassioned priest urged more than 200 churchgoers not to lose their faith in God or Catholicism amid a "period of darkness" for the church. Rev. Alec Scott, Blessed Sacrament's parochial vicar, apologized for the misdeeds of the clergy.</p> <p>"For all the frustration this has caused you, I express my condolences," Scott said. "But without you, reform won't be possible."</p> <p>The congregation in Northwest Washington - moved by his plea - clapped when he finished.</p> <p>"I never in that church heard the audience applaud a sermon," said Bertaut, who joined in the ovation. "This was a first."</p> <p>It has been a painful summer for faithful Catholics. First, an investigation into widespread abuse in Chile and a cardinal on trial in Australia. Then, the first-ever resignation of a U.S. cardinal accused of sexual abuse - Theodore McCarrick, Washington's former archbishop.</p> <p>And then last week, a Pennsylvania grand jury investigation revealed a systemic coverup by church leaders of child sex abuse. The report, in graphic victim accounts, detailed alleged abuse by more than 300 priests against 1,000 children over 70 years.</p> <p>"This has been the summer from hell for the Catholic Church and our sins are blatantly exposed for the world to see," Vatican adviser Rev. Thomas Rosica wrote on Friday.</p> <p>Paul Elie, a writer who lectures at Georgetown University's Berkley Center, thought that after the revelation of the sexual abuse crisis in 2002 and subsequent blows in the years after, he had lost the ability to feel even more disappointment in his church. He was wrong.</p> <p>"It affects me profoundly," he said of the recent scandals. "A lot of Catholics, we have to ask whether we have wasted our lives following this model of leadership. At this point, the leadership in this country is not credible. The repeated scandals make it difficult or even impossible to pass the faith on to our kids ... I think about it every hour."</p> <p>The Catholic church has lost more members in recent decades than any other major faith. About 27 percent of former Catholics who no longer identify with a religion cited clergy sexual abuse scandals as a reason for leaving the church, according to Pew research in 2015. And among former Catholics who now identify as Protestant, 21 percent say the sexual abuse scandals were a reason for leaving Catholicism, Pew says.</p> <p>Even greater numbers of former Catholics say that they left over the church's teachings on abortion, homosexuality, contraception, or women.</p> <p>Surveys have rarely asked about the Catholic Church's response to the crisis since 2013, when a Post-ABC poll found that 78 percent of Catholics disapproved of the way the church had handled the scandal - more than a decade after the Boston Globe investigation prompted the church to overhaul its procedures for rooting out abusive priests.</p> <p>"It's almost unsalvageable. The church is in pieces. People have completely separated their faith from the organization," said Patricia McGuire, president of Trinity Washington University.</p> <p>As head of a Catholic institution, McGuire said she sees this summer sowing new doubts. "The fact that we thought all the worst had come out already - this is what creates cynicism. People were like: 'OK, it's all cleaned up, now we're moving on.' ... Now we know: The church is a fallible human organization."</p> <p>For Washington Catholics in particular, last week's Pennsylvania grand jury report dealt a second blow of the summer, by casting doubt on McCarrick's successor, the current Washington archbishop Cardinal Donald Wuerl.</p> <p>Wuerl, whose conduct as bishop of Pittsburgh was scrutinized in the investigation, has canceled his trip to Ireland for a major Catholic summit and has had his upcoming book's publication postponed. And in the pews of his diocese, some are heartsick to read how the report says he handled the abusive priests he supervised.</p> <p>Matthew Mangiaracina, 25, went to mass every day on his lunch break at St. Patrick's in downtown Washington, a church where Wuerl often celebrates mass. But this week, as he read the report, Mangiaracina felt he could never go back to St. Patrick's and face the cardinal.</p> <p>This week, he stepped tentatively into St. Mary Mother of God, the next nearest church to his job at the Family Research Council, to see whether he could find solace in the mass there instead.</p> <p>"Anything associated with the archbishop makes me uncomfortable. Everything coming out of the Pennsylvania report, it seems pretty damning. I don't trust him anymore," he said. "I'm at a loss."</p> <p>Facing the latest investigation, Catholics had a range of reactions - from those who can't be shocked anymore to those who were newly grieved, from those who feel Catholics are unfairly singled out to those who maintain their faith in the religion but not its leaders.</p> <p>"Everybody's always lambasting the Catholic Church," complained Elizabeth Rhodes, a former Fox News producer, as she had lunch with her daughter near the campus of Catholic University of America on Thursday. "They don't look at people in sports, the ones who are training kids in soccer. There are plenty of other religious communities, Jewish and others, where there's sexual exploitation. Any religion, any time, it's a tragedy, but I hate this focus (on Catholics)."</p> <p>Still, Rhodes said, she's frustrated with the church's leadership. She thinks Pope Francis has been far too slow to respond to the crisis in Chile. She was upset by the revelations about McCarrick. She no longer trusts Wuerl, based on what she's heard about the Pennsylvania report.</p> <p>But she retains her trust in the priests she knows personally, and in her religion. "For me, church is like a hospital - you go for help. You go in times that are difficult. You need that support, just like you need to work out physically."</p> <p>Rigo Azanwi, a 26-year-old Capuchin friar who is studying at Catholic University to become a priest, said his first reaction was much the same: sorrow and anger over the children who were hurt, but also suspicion that the Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office specifically went after Catholics, even though most of the cases are too old to ever be prosecuted.</p> <p>"Is this supposed to be trying to tarnish the image of the church?" he asked on Thursday.</p> <p>He said he has learned while wearing his friar habit just how deeply many people view the Catholic church with suspicion after years of scandal. He remembers sitting down on an airplane once, then hearing a stranger sneer at him, "Which child have you abused this morning?"</p> <p>Fearful of such perceptions, he is careful to never be alone with a child or touch one, even when his nieces and nephews ask him for hugs and piggyback rides. "I love kids but at the same time, I am scared of them," he said.</p> <p>For young adults like Azanwi, the scandals are simply part of what they know of the church that they have grown up with. Alexandra DeSanctis, a 23-year-old writer who goes to Mass almost daily, said this summer was the first time the issue truly rocked her.</p> <p>First the allegations against McCarrick, then the immense scale of Pennsylvania report disturbed her deeply - but changed her view of her church's leaders, she said, not her faith. "No one I know will leave the church over this. To me this isn't the Catholic Church, these are people within the church who did evil things," she said.</p> <p>She's praying all the more fervently at Mass nowadays. "You have to pray and ask for the grace to get through something as difficult as this."</p> <p>---</p> <p>The Washington Post's Scott Clement contributed to this report.</p> <p/> </text> </story></html></div> </div> </div> <div id="tile_3" class="news card hasBack"> <div class="front"> <div class="imageFrame cover" style="background-image: url(https://news-service.s3.amazonaws.com/film-2000s-04acf330-a24e-11e8-8e87-c869fe70a721.jpg);"></div> <div class="frontContent"> <h3>The new Canon: The best films of the 2000s</h3> <span class="author">By Ann Hornaday</span> </div> </div> <div class="back"> <img class="close white" src="data:image/png;base64,iVBORw0KGgoAAAANSUhEUgAAAEgAAABICAQAAAD/5HvMAAABIklEQVRo3u3YyQ2DMBCFYU5QHJBGCZFYioPTyyGWkiBssGexD/MXYD6JzZ6qsizLsizLKi88MKAmrdBgRMvH2QFM6SQ0WAHsLCTHQTrJcQBgR8fHSST9cD6kngZ64r85jnTgAMBAA9WY00knnIn2cpBIIpx0khjHkZbD4kt4cVFOPEmcE0dS4dwnqXHukVQ5jnS84Pq9oDonTMrC8ZOycbykfBzP7cnJuSTpc4KkPBwvKR+nOFBht6ywh7qw1/70qzzTjgPcnJp2HGDn0E8o7JwspOs/evxxQJSjSrq/31EhxW2/xEnxu0FRUtrmNHwcUOeIkWhbdwESXrSf5glppIFa5pHeRh58omMcem48c9ieaSy8cU6qSxqcW5ZlWZZlcfYGeH9hqTM7UAAAAAAASUVORK5CYII=" /> <img class="close black" src="data:image/png;base64,iVBORw0KGgoAAAANSUhEUgAAAEgAAABICAQAAAD/5HvMAAAA/ElEQVR4Ae3YOw7CMBBF0VeZxSVhoyFI+SyOVEbggn91xzLFu+7DkZxIzMg555xz7h87alQS6aBJXRxnV9asBDibsnZ1cZwMSIWT76Q+iPMgAU4hDUKdlF/OogQ4tzMKlbQA0jMHXDsgAQ4lMQ4nrW8PX5U4pz6JcziJc+qSOIeTEIeTPn5wU+KceBLnhJM4J5bUkPPjejiHkzinPolzwkmFY1D7K2v/UuPPvi1nRv+9K3ASHAfCOXxCCedwUiQHjANVOZwUzuEkzuGkeA4ncQ4cBypzOIlzWpHO3zmANAnVBa/0Lnzx2cctPTmnNASthTmn/eLcOeecc656V8QdWIh8Y0j9AAAAAElFTkSuQmCC" /> <div class="backInner"></div> </div> </div> <div class="fullHtml" id="fullHtml_3"> <div class="backContent"> <div class="headline">The new Canon: The best films of the 2000s</div> <div class="byline">(c) 2018, The Washington Post &middot; Aug 17, 2018 - 6:49 PM</div> <img src="https://news-service.s3.amazonaws.com/film-2000s-04acf330-a24e-11e8-8e87-c869fe70a721.jpg" alt="Six-year-old Mason, played by Ellar Coltrane, in Richard Linklater's "Boyhood." MUST CREDIT: Matt Lankes, IFC Films"> <div class="storyHtml"><html><story><text> <p>As the film world prepares to leave the childish things of summer behind and welcome the more serious, artistically ambitious movies of festival and awards season, it's an opportune moment to consider the Canon: that list of revered films that helped form cinematic language, broke it open, captured not only their own zeitgeist but proved wisely prescient, and have stood the test of history to remain mini-master classes in aesthetics, technique, grammar and taste.</p> <p>For the most part, the Canon has remained an unchanged list of cinema's most revered titles; the last time it was even slightly upset was in 2012, when the respected film journal Sight &amp; Sound announced that its Greatest Films of All Time poll of programmers, film professionals and academics had put Alfred Hitchcock's 1958 fever dream "Vertigo" at the top of the list, upending longtime pride-of-place holder "Citizen Kane." </p> <p>That blip aside, the rest of the list was and continues to be a largely predictable - and unquestionably well-deserved - litany of familiar titles, from Jean Renoir's "The Rules of the Game" to Stanley Kubrick's "2001: A Space Odyssey." Lists from such august institutions as the American Film Institute and the British Film Institute have mostly hewed to worship of the classics, with Wong Kar-wai's "In the Mood for Love" and David Lynch's "Mulholland Drive" the only films released in 2000 or after to be added.</p> <p>If the bias toward older films is understandable - it's only in the fullness of time that we understand what possesses enduring artistic value and meaning that transcends its precise cultural moment - it gives short shrift to movies that, despite their youth, could take their place among their forebears with confidence. Even considering a Hollywood business model that has doubled down on comic-book movies, effects spectacles and all of the re's (re-boots, re-makes, re-treads and re-quels), the early 21st century has witnessed the emergence of breathtaking visions and voices, both in classical narrative and subversions of form and genre. </p> <p>This list advances the modest proposal that, when it comes to the Canon, we expand our notions of permanence and connoisseurship to include films that are worthy of appreciation - even veneration - despite being so recent. (As for rankings, this collection is unnumbered, reflecting a loose, intuitive collection rather than a strict hierarchy.) No one is a prophet in their own hometown; sometimes we need reminding that many of the films we're seeing right now are genuinely timeless. </p> <p>- "Children of Men" (2006)</p> <p>Alfonso Cuarón's adaptation of the P.D. James novel evinced the perfect balance of technical prowess, propulsive storytelling, complex character development and timeliness when it was released in 2006. But its depiction of a dystopian near-future - what we ruefully now call the present - has proved to be not just visionary but prophetic. Its predictive value aside, it stands as a flawless movie - a masterwork of cinematic values at their purest, with each frame delivering emotion and information in equally compelling measure.</p> <p>- "25th Hour" (2002)</p> <p>Released a little more than a year after Sept. 11, 2001, Spike Lee's urban thriller, about a criminal (a superb Ed Norton) confronting his past as he embarks on a seven-year prison sentence, was the first bona fide post-9/11 movie, evoking post-World War II neorealism in its use of a shattered city as a backdrop. Although Lee never commented on the tragedy directly in the film, it suffused the film's mood of numbed resignation (the ruins of Ground Zero can be glimpsed in the background). Lee displayed his usual talent for beginnings and endings, conceiving an operatic coda bursting with life, hope and the grief of a future reduced to ashes.</p> <p>- "The Hurt Locker" (2008)</p> <p>The director Kathryn Bigelow has always felt at home in hypermasculine, ritualistically aggressive subcultures. In this Iraq War drama, she plunged viewers into the world of technicians dismantling explosive devices in and around Baghdad with filmmaking that was viscerally subjective and formally thoughtful. Although the battle sequences were masterfully choreographed and executed, it's a scene toward the end - when a cocky bomb tech returns stateside and stands dumbfounded in a supermarket cereal aisle - that's the most memorable, conveying an entire interior landscape with no words or discernible action whatsoever.</p> <p>- "Michael Clayton" (2007)</p> <p>If movies can be evaluated as sums of their parts - script, performance, design, editing and sound - then this legal thriller is sheer perfection. Screenwriter Tony Gilroy, making his directorial debut, wisely subverts the native charisma of star George Clooney, whose portrayal of a man coming undone among Manhattan cutthroats stands as the finest of his career. It's a master class in balancing craft, tone and star power with precision, finesse and, of all things, soul.</p> <p>- "Pan's Labrynth" (2006)</p> <p>An eccentric, uncompromising artist pursuing his most personal obsession always courts risk: At their worst, such enterprises wind up being overworked, solipsistic and hopelessly opaque. With this surrealistic fable - the story of an intrepid young girl in Franco-era Spain finding safety in the most frightening reaches of her imagination - Guillermo del Toro created a film that qualified not only as one of the most dazzling visual pieces of cinema of the early century but also as a superbly effective political allegory regarding fascism, personal expression and the power of finding allies in our most secret monsters.</p> <p>- "There Will Be Blood" (2007)</p> <p>From its nearly wordless opening sequence, featuring the prospector Daniel Plainview bullying a vein of ore from a pit in the American Southwest, Paul Thomas Anderson's adaptation of the Upton Sinclair novel "Oil!" announces its ambition: to be the closest thing we have to the Great American Novel on screen. A wild, unwieldy portrait of greed, aspiration and self-belief, featuring an uncompromising performance by Daniel Day-Lewis, this chronicle of enterprise, exploration and Darwinian capitalism bursts with daring and emotion; even its bizarre final sequence - controversial for its brazen tonal shifts and outright weirdness - acknowledges the fact that the very best movies always have a touch of madness to them.</p> <p>- "Boyhood" (2014)</p> <p>The coming-of-age tale is a reliable genre precisely because of its reassuring linearity; the idea of discovering it anew is ludicrous, which is probably why Richard Linklater attempted to do it, filming the same boy over 12 years - along with Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke as his parents - and then working with longtime editor Sandra Adair to sew the resulting assortment of moments together into a seamlessly flowing depiction of time at its most inexorable, corrosive and liberating. It's not often that one can say a filmmaker has invented a new cinematic language, but that's what Linklater did with this tender, openhearted portrait.</p> <p>- "4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days" (2007)</p> <p>Naturalism as cinematic style is nothing new - as the oeuvre of everyone from John Cassavetes and Mike Leigh to Paul Greengrass and Andrea Arnold readily attest - but the Romanian writer-director Cristian Mungiu reinvigorated the form with this portrait of a young woman in Bucharest working the late-communist black-market system to terminate a pregnancy. Told virtually in real time with long, uninterrupted takes, the story is a harrowing, unforgettable portrayal of Darwinian survival, as well as female friendship, generational change and ethical complexity. </p> <p>- "Old Joy" (2006)</p> <p>Like Mungiu, the American director Kelly Reichardt works within a rigorously realistic vernacular, the kind of unforced, spontaneous, fly-on-the-wall observation that demands far more difficult work than its improvisatory aesthetic suggests. Where "4 Months, 3 Weeks" was gritty and downbeat, this chronicle of a weekend trip taken by two old friends in the Pacific Northwest is lyrical and lush, with the actors Will Oldham and Daniel London being enveloped by the generous verdant embrace of the Cascade Mountains, their emotional connection deepening over long, eloquently silent interludes. </p> <p>- "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" (2004)</p> <p>Michel Gondry, working from a script by Charlie Kaufman, limns a man's desperate attempts to erase and then recapture a lost love in an audaciously imaginative, brilliantly staged psychic thriller that starts out as a thwarted love story but winds up being a deeply moving meditation on memory, consciousness and the construction of personal meaning. As an ever-enfolding house of cards, the movie manages to be cerebral and achingly emotional, freewheeling and meticulously calibrated, all at the same time.</p> <p>- "Hunger" (2008)</p> <p>The accomplished visual artist Steve McQueen would win an Oscar for the 2013 drama "12 Years a Slave," but it was his directorial debut about Irish Republican Army leader Bobby Sands that announced his undisputed cinematic chops. Structured as a triptych set in the notorious Irish prison the Maze, the film follows Sands - played in a mesmerizing performance by Michael Fassbender - during his final days, when he embarked on a hunger strike to attain political status for IRA prisoners. Anchored by a riveting 17-minute take when Sands debates the morality of his political action with a Catholic priest, the film is both intimate and carefully formalist, disturbing and full of fleeting, improbable beauty.</p> <p>- "You Can Count on Me" (2000)</p> <p>The writing-directing debut of playwright Kenneth Lonergan is a masterpiece of subtext, on its face the story of an adult brother and sister coming to terms with their past, but teeming with the subterranean impulses of grief, abandonment, loyalty and forgiveness. Filmed with disarming directness, masterfully interpreted by Mark Ruffalo and Laura Linney, this simple, often amusing human drama demonstrates the art of screenwriting at its most layered, honest and emotionally resonant.</p> <p>- "No Country for Old Men" (2007)</p> <p>With this adaptation of the Cormac McCarthy novel, Joel and Ethan Coen created a technically perfect movie, a one-film master class in every element of cinematic style, from writing and acting to cinematography, editing and sound design. Viewers can be skeptical of the film's moral universe - conditioned by McCarthy's weary pessimism and overworked moral rhetoric - and still appreciate the Coens' impeccable control of the material. A scene when Josh Brolin's protagonist listens to an approaching foe in a hotel hallway is a tutorial in the use of sound to tell a story with excruciating tension and suspense.</p> <p>- "I'm Not There" (2007)</p> <p>Biopics are usually the starchy, conventional stuff of Wiki-lists and Oscar bait. But Todd Haynes exploded the genre in this composite portrait of Bob Dylan, in which the notoriously mythologized and constantly self-reinventing musician was portrayed by six male and female actors, only a few of whom bore a remote physical resemblance to the real-life analog. The fact that the most spot-on depiction belonged to Cate Blanchett (as the "Don't Look Back"-era Dylan) only reinforced the rightness of an enterprise that subverted the form, but never at the expense of the subject himself. </p> <p>- "Minority Report" (2002)</p> <p>Steven Spielberg's adaptation of the Philip K. Dick story stands as one of his finest elaborations on established genre conventions, in this case film noir put to the service of speculative science fiction. Casting Tom Cruise in a starring role as a man at odds with the surveillance culture of the not-too-distant future, Spielberg built a sleek, stylish, eerily convincing world of consumerist technology and corporate control that turned out to be breathtakingly prescient.</p> <p>- "Dunkirk" (2017)</p> <p>Since his breakout indie hit "Memento," Christopher Nolan has played with notions of time, scrambling his movies' chronology and creating densely layered narratives that barely skirt utter incomprehensibility. With this interpretive history of the World War II evacuation of Allied forces, Nolan deconstructs the time frame, doing away with linear narrative in favor of a sensory experience that is immersive and empathic. As an exercise in sound and image, "Dunkirk" achieved a purity rarely seen in contemporary commercial cinema, simultaneously returning movies to their roots and pushing them forward.</p> <p>- "Mudbound" (2017)</p> <p>In her adaptation of Hillary Jordan's World War II-era novel, Dee Rees made a magnificent throwback of a movie, a multigenerational drama reminiscent of "The Best Years of Our Lives" and the literary work of William Faulkner that also felt distinctively of this era. Collaborating with cinematographer Rachel Morrison and an acting ensemble that included Carey Mulligan and Mary J. Blige, Rees embraced the classical values of sturdy, unfussy narrative filmmaking, shaking off the dust in the process and proving that even old-fashioned movies can feel urgent, new and quintessentially American.</p> <p>- "Spotlight" (2015)</p> <p>Another example of pared-down, classical filmmaking, Tom McCarthy's dramatization of the Boston Globe's investigation of sexual abuse within the Catholic Church exudes quiet confidence, from its straightforward storytelling and McCarthy's levelheaded control of tone to ensemble scenes of shoe-leather reporting that with less accomplished actors and filmmakers would have been fatally talky and dull. This is a high-wire act in extracting taut drama from quotidian routine, and it never puts a foot wrong.</p> <p>- "Son of Saul" (2015)</p> <p>Even at their best-intentioned and highest execution, films aspiring to dramatize the Holocaust evoke queasiness almost by definition, with the act of bearing witness and preserving memory almost always at odds with questions of aestheticizing sadism and suffering or reducing them to spectacle. Laszlo Nemes, a first-time feature filmmaker from Hungary, achieved the impossible, re-creating the atrocities at Auschwitz, but at the margins of a frame taken up with the wary visage of a man navigating the camp while trying to give a child's corpse a proper Jewish burial. Filmed in a squared-off aspect ratio that accentuated the protagonist's entrapment, Nemes called upon viewers to fill in the blanks of the unspeakable acts around them, making us collaborators in his own moral imagination.</p> <p>- "Stories We Tell" (2012)</p> <p>In this personal memoir of her own childhood, actress and director Sarah Polley uses first-person essay, interviews, re-enactments and archival footage to create a sublime visual and emotional collage in which fact, fiction, memory and slippery notions of truth run in parallel and intersect in fascinating ways. As part of a Golden Age of nonfiction film, this exploration of the genre's core tenets qualifies both as a juicy whodunit and a valuable demonstration of how to balance artistic license and transparency, fulfilling its implicit contract with the audience with beauty, grace and tact.</p> <p>- "The Fog of War" (2003) </p> <p>In the 1990s, Errol Morris revolutionized documentary filmmaking with his use of narrative film technique, including re-enactments and stylized speculative scene-making. In this movie, about Vietnam-era defense secretary Robert McNamara, Morris delivered the ultimate example of an otherwise derided nonfiction form: the talking-head movie. Stripping the format down to its deceptively crude basics, filming McNamara in pitiless close-up, he allows his subject to emerge as several things at once: confident, conflicted, brilliant, arrogant and, finally, confounding.</p> <p>- "The Royal Tenenbaums" (2001)</p> <p>Wes Anderson achieved the fullest expression of his signature style in this saga of a sprawling Manhattan family, who flawlessly embodied the filmmaker's deadpan humor and mannered style, but avoided the quirk-for-quirk's-sake to which he can often succumb. Anderson's bespoke approach to visuals and music can often feel labored and hermetic. But this story of sadness and redemption brims with genuine feeling that breaks out of the dollhouse and into a realm that's recognizably, triumphantly human. </p> <p>- "Spirited Away" (2001)</p> <p>Japanese anime director Hayao Miyazaki seems unable to make anything but masterpieces; still, this epic tale of a young girl separated from her parents and thrust into a magical world stands as his greatest - not only for its transporting visuals but also for its bracing sense of adventure, terror, resilience and heroism. Full of whimsy, fantasy and childlike wonder - elements that would otherwise feel overbearing or unforgivably ersatz - Miyazaki's vision is also earthy and profound, even at its most allegorical.</p> <p/> </text> </story></html></div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="moat-trackable pb-f-theme-normal pb-f-dehydrate-false pb-f-async-false full pb-feature pb-layout-item pb-f-syndication-nss-landing-section" moat-id="syndication/nss-landing-section|syndication" data-chain-name="no-name" data-feature-name="no-name" data-feature-id="syndication/nss-landing-section" data-pb-fingerprint="0f17R3slRpa" id="f7udCe13yLSgEq"><div class="landingSectionWrapper"> <div class="landingSectionContent"> <div class="titleBlock"> <div class="shortWhiteLine"></div> <h2 class="sectionTitle"><a href="/syndication/columnists">Columnists</a></h2> </div> <p class="sectionSummary">Pulitzer-winning opinion from the most respected voices in the world.</p> <div class="cardsWrapper"> <div id="tile_4" class="columnists card short hasBack"> <div class="front"> <div class="imageFrame cover" style="background-image: url(https://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-apps/imrs.php?src=https://s3.amazonaws.com/arc-authors/test/c22c9c97-dd28-4643-b7d6-a7f7878ed6d0.jpg&w=267);"></div> <div class="frontContent"> <h3>Rudy Giuliani does not exist</h3> <span class="author">By alexandra petri</span> </div> </div> <div class="back"> <img class="close white" src="data:image/png;base64,iVBORw0KGgoAAAANSUhEUgAAAEgAAABICAQAAAD/5HvMAAABIklEQVRo3u3YyQ2DMBCFYU5QHJBGCZFYioPTyyGWkiBssGexD/MXYD6JzZ6qsizLsizLKi88MKAmrdBgRMvH2QFM6SQ0WAHsLCTHQTrJcQBgR8fHSST9cD6kngZ64r85jnTgAMBAA9WY00knnIn2cpBIIpx0khjHkZbD4kt4cVFOPEmcE0dS4dwnqXHukVQ5jnS84Pq9oDonTMrC8ZOycbykfBzP7cnJuSTpc4KkPBwvKR+nOFBht6ywh7qw1/70qzzTjgPcnJp2HGDn0E8o7JwspOs/evxxQJSjSrq/31EhxW2/xEnxu0FRUtrmNHwcUOeIkWhbdwESXrSf5glppIFa5pHeRh58omMcem48c9ieaSy8cU6qSxqcW5ZlWZZlcfYGeH9hqTM7UAAAAAAASUVORK5CYII=" /> <img class="close black" src="data:image/png;base64,iVBORw0KGgoAAAANSUhEUgAAAEgAAABICAQAAAD/5HvMAAAA/ElEQVR4Ae3YOw7CMBBF0VeZxSVhoyFI+SyOVEbggn91xzLFu+7DkZxIzMg555xz7h87alQS6aBJXRxnV9asBDibsnZ1cZwMSIWT76Q+iPMgAU4hDUKdlF/OogQ4tzMKlbQA0jMHXDsgAQ4lMQ4nrW8PX5U4pz6JcziJc+qSOIeTEIeTPn5wU+KceBLnhJM4J5bUkPPjejiHkzinPolzwkmFY1D7K2v/UuPPvi1nRv+9K3ASHAfCOXxCCedwUiQHjANVOZwUzuEkzuGkeA4ncQ4cBypzOIlzWpHO3zmANAnVBa/0Lnzx2cctPTmnNASthTmn/eLcOeecc656V8QdWIh8Y0j9AAAAAElFTkSuQmCC" /> <div class="backInner"></div> </div> </div> <div class="fullHtml" id="fullHtml_4"> <div class="backContent"> <div class="headline">Rudy Giuliani does not exist</div> <div class="byline">alexandra petri &middot; Aug 20, 2018 - 9:18 PM</div> <img src="https://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-apps/imrs.php?src=https://s3.amazonaws.com/arc-authors/test/c22c9c97-dd28-4643-b7d6-a7f7878ed6d0.jpg&w=267" > <div class="storyHtml"><p>ALEXANDRA PETRI COLUMN</p><p>(FOR IMMEDIATE PRINT AND WEB RELEASE)</p><p>(For Petri clients only)</p><p></p><p>By ALEXANDRA PETRI</p> <p>(BEG ITAL)Rudy Giuliani: When you tell me that [Trump] should testify because he's going to tell the truth and he shouldn't worry, that's so silly, because it's somebody's version of the truth. Not the truth.</p> <p>Chuck Todd: Truth is truth.</p> <p>Giuliani: No, it isn't truth. Truth isn't truth.(END ITAL)</p> <p>The thing you have to understand is that there is nothing to testify about. Certainly, objective reality does not exist. None of my actions have consequences because there is no world outside myself. That is why I work for the Trump administration. (Which does not, of course, exist -- a fact that is a constant balm to the consciences of those who work there, assuming they can be said to work for a thing whose existence is in doubt, and assuming they possess consciences.)</p> <p>You, Chuck, are, I believe, limited by the notion that we share a frame of reference. That what one of us does affects another. This is, of course, untrue.</p> <p>When I move my hand in front of my face, in reality there is no hand. When someone shouts "Lock her up!" at a rally, it does not make a sound. The only thing keeping Merrick Garland off the Supreme Court is his belief that he is not on the Supreme Court.</p> <p>Don't you see? You are trapped in a prison created by your own mind, is what I would like to tell the children at the border, who, again, do not exist, and are only stimuli generated by a bored demon tormenting my mind in a jar.</p> <p>All I know is the line between law and crime, between truth and untruth, between reality and fantasy -- there is no line. They are infinitely fungible. Everything is real, or, perhaps, more simply, nothing is real. This is a belief system that the president and I share, although he is of course not real, merely a cruel joke concocted by my mind, like a dream metaphor that feels too on-the-nose. (I often have dreams that are too pointed; flying, falling, mainly falling. I have not troubled myself to understand them.)</p> <p>You can give me money for information, Chuck. You can give me information in exchange for the promise of influence. You can meet me in a place -- let us call it Trump Tower. I will laugh, because, of course none of these things actually exist.</p> <p>There was no meeting, no influence, no money, no information, because, fundamentally, none of these concepts are anchored in anything that can be called a shared reality. People may think they had a meeting. Porn stars may think they accepted hush money. But really -- nothing happened, because no one is real but myself. I shut my eyes, and the world is snuffed out.</p> <p>I am not here and (of course) you are not here with me. It is no insult to call the news fake: Everything is fake.</p> <p>The point is, it is good that I work for the Trump administration.</p> <p>Why should we not lock Hillary Clinton up? Why should we not pack the courts with judges? Why should we not build the wall?</p> <p>I snap my fingers -- the wall exists already! It is beautiful and tall. I close my eyes; my hands become enormous, large enough to engulf entire cities. I merely wish, and I am an expert upon any subject. The instant I cease to recollect the existence of Puerto Rico, it ceases to be a problem. I am the measure of all things. When I say that there are good people on all sides, it becomes so. Global warming is, of course, not real, because, again, nothing exists.</p> <p>Why should we not do whatever we wish, truly? This is not reality. This is a playground for our minds.</p> <p>History is a series of agreed-upon lies. It has no objective existence; we like to imagine we will be seen and judged, but we are neither seen nor judged. The only lesson I took from "Hamilton" (a musical my mind invented for my own amusement) is that if two people walk into a room and no one else is in the room when it happened, literally it is impossible to say what occurred in that meeting. And that assumes you live in a universe where a meeting is possible, which, again, I am not certain I accept.</p> <p>Maybe there is no one in the White House. Maybe there are no insides to other people, and you can act on them however you wish. Certainly that must be true of women.</p> <p>Maybe there is no morality or law. Does the Constitution exist? Is not the existence of any kind of law or truth not the greatest lie of all?</p> <p>Our actions have no consequences, and we move aimlessly in a void. How do I sleep at night? How do you know I am not sleeping now?</p> <p>Follow Alexandra Petri on Twitter, @petridishes.</p> <p>(c) 2017, Washington Post Writers Group</p> </div> </div> </div> <div id="tile_5" class="columnists card short hasBack"> <div class="front"> <div class="imageFrame cover" style="background-image: url(https://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-apps/imrs.php?src=http://wp-eng-static.washingtonpost.com/author_images/gersonm.jpg?ts=1440533350591&w=267);"></div> <div class="frontContent"> <h3>The crazy-rich Asian experience</h3> <span class="author">By michael gerson</span> </div> </div> <div class="back"> <img class="close white" src="data:image/png;base64,iVBORw0KGgoAAAANSUhEUgAAAEgAAABICAQAAAD/5HvMAAABIklEQVRo3u3YyQ2DMBCFYU5QHJBGCZFYioPTyyGWkiBssGexD/MXYD6JzZ6qsizLsizLKi88MKAmrdBgRMvH2QFM6SQ0WAHsLCTHQTrJcQBgR8fHSST9cD6kngZ64r85jnTgAMBAA9WY00knnIn2cpBIIpx0khjHkZbD4kt4cVFOPEmcE0dS4dwnqXHukVQ5jnS84Pq9oDonTMrC8ZOycbykfBzP7cnJuSTpc4KkPBwvKR+nOFBht6ywh7qw1/70qzzTjgPcnJp2HGDn0E8o7JwspOs/evxxQJSjSrq/31EhxW2/xEnxu0FRUtrmNHwcUOeIkWhbdwESXrSf5glppIFa5pHeRh58omMcem48c9ieaSy8cU6qSxqcW5ZlWZZlcfYGeH9hqTM7UAAAAAAASUVORK5CYII=" /> <img class="close black" src="data:image/png;base64,iVBORw0KGgoAAAANSUhEUgAAAEgAAABICAQAAAD/5HvMAAAA/ElEQVR4Ae3YOw7CMBBF0VeZxSVhoyFI+SyOVEbggn91xzLFu+7DkZxIzMg555xz7h87alQS6aBJXRxnV9asBDibsnZ1cZwMSIWT76Q+iPMgAU4hDUKdlF/OogQ4tzMKlbQA0jMHXDsgAQ4lMQ4nrW8PX5U4pz6JcziJc+qSOIeTEIeTPn5wU+KceBLnhJM4J5bUkPPjejiHkzinPolzwkmFY1D7K2v/UuPPvi1nRv+9K3ASHAfCOXxCCedwUiQHjANVOZwUzuEkzuGkeA4ncQ4cBypzOIlzWpHO3zmANAnVBa/0Lnzx2cctPTmnNASthTmn/eLcOeecc656V8QdWIh8Y0j9AAAAAElFTkSuQmCC" /> <div class="backInner"></div> </div> </div> <div class="fullHtml" id="fullHtml_5"> <div class="backContent"> <div class="headline">The crazy-rich Asian experience</div> <div class="byline">michael gerson &middot; Aug 20, 2018 - 7:48 PM</div> <img src="https://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-apps/imrs.php?src=http://wp-eng-static.washingtonpost.com/author_images/gersonm.jpg?ts=1440533350591&w=267" > <div class="storyHtml"><p>MICHAEL GERSON COLUMN</p><p>(Advance for Tuesday, Aug. 21, 2018, and thereafter. Web release Monday, Aug. 20, 2018, at 8 p.m. Eastern time.)</p><p>(For Gerson clients only)</p><p>WRITETHRU: Changing "Crazy, Rich Asians" to "Crazy Rich Asians" throughout. (no comma)</p><p>By MICHAEL GERSON</p> <p>WASHINGTON -- The breakthrough Hollywood film about the Asian experience, told from an Asian perspective, featuring an Asian cast, could have been about the cruel exploitation of Chinese workers in the building of the Transcontinental Railroad. It could have been about the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act, which barred Chinese laborers from the U.S. for a decade and denied citizenship to Chinese already here. It could have been about the forced removal of more than 110,000 people of Japanese ancestry to internment camps during World War II. </p> <p>It says something that "Crazy Rich Asians" -- called a "landmark" and the Asian "Black Panther" -- is a romantic comedy, concerned more with class than race. Its plot is closer to "The Philadelphia Story" than to the immigrant struggles of "The Joy Luck Club." This has been a source of criticism in some quarters. But it is not a flaw but a feature. </p> <p>The story of "Crazy Rich Asians" is propelled by the interaction of three ethnically Chinese groups. There are the overseas Chinese, who left China (often because of conflict and famine) in the 19th and 20th centuries and came to dominate the economies of Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines and -- the main setting for the movie -- Singapore. By one estimate they comprise about 6 percent of the combined population of those countries and hold about 60 percent of their corporate wealth. Like in Renaissance Italy or 19th-century New York City, a few fabulously wealthy families constitute dynasties, setting the terms of social welcome or exclusion. The male lead, played by Henry Golding, is a scion of one of those families. </p> <p>Then there is the nouveau riche, whose growth in wealth has far outstripped their growth in taste. This group provides the protagonist's best friend, played by Awkwafina, who dominates every scene she enters with a manic glee. </p> <p>Finally, there are the Asian-Americans, who are viewed with suspicion by the Chinese dynastic families, particularly for their tendency to prefer choice and self-expression to filial responsibilities. The American interloper, played charmingly by Constance Wu, was raised by a single mother, became an economics professor at NYU and innocently enters the buzz saw of Singaporean high society. </p> <p>Without providing any spoilers, the product of the American immigrant experience proves every bit as tough and resourceful as the matriarch of the grand Chinese family and love prevails across the division of class (unlike in "The Philadelphia Story," in which class ties win out). </p> <p>No film can really encompass the Asian experience, in part because the term "Asian" is absurdly broad. Part of the context for "Crazy Rich Asians" is the cultural self-confidence of the overseas Chinese, captured at one point in the movie when a father urges a child to clear his plate with the admonition: "Think of all the starving children in America." This is an ethnic group that fully expects to own the future. </p> <p>The other context for the movie is a particular phenomenon -- the extraordinary success of Chinese and other East Asian immigrants in America. The general outlook of this group is conditioned by the fact that the American dream worked as promised for many of them. The median family income of Asians in America is significantly higher than that of whites. One of their main concerns is the accusation that Harvard stoops to race-conscious admissions practices that artificially lower its number of Asian students. </p> <p>I've seen some of these trends at the micro level. My wife is Korean. She came to America through international adoption -- an immigrant experience, not as a tolerated stranger, but as a much-loved member of a family. Growing up in a fundamentalist community, in a nearly all-white suburb, she can recall only two instances of prejudice. Our marriage did not cause controversy. </p> <p>Intermarriage is in the process of scrambling a lot of simple ethnic stories. According to a Pew Research Center study, 29 percent of Asian-American newlyweds in 2015 married someone from a different race or ethnicity. My children -- thanks to the low-cost proliferation of genetic testing -- know their background is East Asian, West European, South European and European Jewish, with a hint of Irish, Scottish and Welsh.</p> <p>People with this kind of background -- and Asian-Americans more generally -- are likely to be proud of their heritage, but not defined by its divisions and resentments. And they are seeing their story reflected, not in a tragedy, but in a brilliant comedy of class and manners.</p> <p>Michael Gerson's email address is michaelgerson@washpost.com.</p> <p>(c) 2018, Washington Post Writers Group</p> </div> </div> </div> <div id="tile_6" class="columnists card short hasBack"> <div class="front"> <div class="imageFrame cover" style="background-image: url(https://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-apps/imrs.php?src=http://wp-eng-static.washingtonpost.com/author_images/robinsoneh.jpg?ts=1439419185320&w=267);"></div> <div class="frontContent"> <h3>Truth (BEG ITAL)is(END ITAL) truth</h3> <span class="author">By eugene robinson</span> </div> </div> <div class="back"> <img class="close white" src="data:image/png;base64,iVBORw0KGgoAAAANSUhEUgAAAEgAAABICAQAAAD/5HvMAAABIklEQVRo3u3YyQ2DMBCFYU5QHJBGCZFYioPTyyGWkiBssGexD/MXYD6JzZ6qsizLsizLKi88MKAmrdBgRMvH2QFM6SQ0WAHsLCTHQTrJcQBgR8fHSST9cD6kngZ64r85jnTgAMBAA9WY00knnIn2cpBIIpx0khjHkZbD4kt4cVFOPEmcE0dS4dwnqXHukVQ5jnS84Pq9oDonTMrC8ZOycbykfBzP7cnJuSTpc4KkPBwvKR+nOFBht6ywh7qw1/70qzzTjgPcnJp2HGDn0E8o7JwspOs/evxxQJSjSrq/31EhxW2/xEnxu0FRUtrmNHwcUOeIkWhbdwESXrSf5glppIFa5pHeRh58omMcem48c9ieaSy8cU6qSxqcW5ZlWZZlcfYGeH9hqTM7UAAAAAAASUVORK5CYII=" /> <img class="close black" src="data:image/png;base64,iVBORw0KGgoAAAANSUhEUgAAAEgAAABICAQAAAD/5HvMAAAA/ElEQVR4Ae3YOw7CMBBF0VeZxSVhoyFI+SyOVEbggn91xzLFu+7DkZxIzMg555xz7h87alQS6aBJXRxnV9asBDibsnZ1cZwMSIWT76Q+iPMgAU4hDUKdlF/OogQ4tzMKlbQA0jMHXDsgAQ4lMQ4nrW8PX5U4pz6JcziJc+qSOIeTEIeTPn5wU+KceBLnhJM4J5bUkPPjejiHkzinPolzwkmFY1D7K2v/UuPPvi1nRv+9K3ASHAfCOXxCCedwUiQHjANVOZwUzuEkzuGkeA4ncQ4cBypzOIlzWpHO3zmANAnVBa/0Lnzx2cctPTmnNASthTmn/eLcOeecc656V8QdWIh8Y0j9AAAAAElFTkSuQmCC" /> <div class="backInner"></div> </div> </div> <div class="fullHtml" id="fullHtml_6"> <div class="backContent"> <div class="headline">Truth (BEG ITAL)is(END ITAL) truth</div> <div class="byline">eugene robinson &middot; Aug 20, 2018 - 7:10 PM</div> <img src="https://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-apps/imrs.php?src=http://wp-eng-static.washingtonpost.com/author_images/robinsoneh.jpg?ts=1439419185320&w=267" > <div class="storyHtml"><p>EUGENE ROBINSON COLUMN</p><p>(Advance for Tuesday, Aug. 21, 2018, and thereafter. Web release Monday, Aug. 20, 2018, at 8 p.m. Eastern time.)</p><p>(For Robinson clients only)</p><p></p><p>By EUGENE ROBINSON</p> <p>WASHINGTON -- Whenever the Trump administration ends, we already have its shameful epitaph: "Truth isn't truth." </p> <p>President Trump's lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, made that unintentional confession of method and purpose Sunday on "Meet the Press." From the beginning of the campaign, this whole enterprise has been a lie, a fraud, a grift, a cruel deception -- a sustained and increasingly frantic attempt to obscure inconvenient truth.</p> <p>Earlier in the interview, as if to illustrate the point he was about to make, Giuliani told what can only be called a bald-faced lie. He claimed that when Trump's son, son-in-law and campaign chairman met at Trump Tower in 2016 with a Russian lawyer offering dirt on Hillary Clinton, "all they knew is that a woman with a Russian name wanted to meet with them. They didn't know she was a representative of the Russian government." But in email traffic setting up the meeting, Donald Trump Jr. was told that the promised "information that would incriminate Hillary" constituted "part of Russia and its government's support for Mr. Trump."</p> <p>Giuliani claimed Monday that his declaration about the nature of veracity was just a clumsy way of describing "he said, she said" situations in which the facts cannot be ascertained. But he had tried to peddle what White House counselor Kellyanne Conway once called "alternative facts" about the Trump Tower meeting. "Truth isn't truth" should be taken as a suspect's blurted admission of guilt.</p> <p>Constant, relentless, shameless lying is not ancillary to the Trump administration. It is not a sideshow; it's the main event. We have become inured to the fact that the president of the United States and his aides and associates simply cannot be relied upon to tell the truth.</p> <p>Sometimes they lie about little things. Last week, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders issued a rare correction -- she had claimed, falsely, that more jobs have been created for African-Americans since Trump took office than during Barack Obama's eight-year tenure. In acknowledging that this was absurdly wrong (the true figures are about 3 million new jobs under Obama and about 700,000 under Trump), Sanders claimed that numbers she had given were right but "the time frame for Pres Obama wasn't."</p> <p>Even that, however, was a lie.</p> <p>The tallies that Sanders claimed are correct use as their starting points the months when the two presidents were elected, not the months when they took office. This unusual shift in time frame has the effect of subtracting jobs from Obama's total, since his transition took place during the 2008 economic meltdown, and adding them to Trump's, since the economy was rapidly expanding during the months he was president-elect.</p> <p>Why obsess over a few obscure numbers? Because the figures were prepared by the Council of Economic Advisers, which in previous administrations has meticulously provided accurate, definitive information about the economy. It appears that Trump's vanity and insecurity have impaired the CEA's ability to perform its most important function, which is to tell presidents economic news they might not want to hear.</p> <p>Little lies lead inexorably, of course, to big lies. Trump and his aides want us to believe that of the estimated 4 million Americans who have security clearances of some kind, the only individuals who deserve to have their clearances reviewed -- and ultimately, perhaps, revoked -- are a handful of vocal critics of Trump, including such figures as former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, former national security adviser Susan Rice and former acting Attorney General Sally Yates.</p> <p>Former CIA Director John Brennan, who has accused Trump of "treasonous" behavior, said Sunday he may take Trump to court over last week's decision to revoke his clearance. I hope Brennan does sue. The administration claims otherwise, but Trump has drawn up a Nixon-style "enemies list" and is punishing those on it -- a clear and unacceptable abuse of power.</p> <p>Trump's acid-tongued Twitter feed and his public remarks are gushers of lies, falsehoods and exaggerations. As of Aug. 1, The Washington Post's indefatigable Fact Checker column had counted a staggering 4,229 false or misleading claims by the president since he took office. </p> <p>How can this not have a corrosive effect on our democracy? We are accustomed to politicians who shade the truth and spin the facts, but now we have a president who ignores unpleasant truth and rejects unflattering facts. Whether this is a diabolical plan to delegitimize critics or a reflection of Trump's narcissism, the damage is the same. As a society we become less able to believe, less able to trust.</p> <p>Truth (BEG ITAL)is(END ITAL) truth -- and worth fighting for.</p> <p>Eugene Robinson's email address is eugenerobinson@washpost.com.</p> <p>(c) 2018, Washington Post Writers Group</p> </div> </div> </div> <div id="tile_7" class="columnists card short hasBack"> <div class="front"> <div class="imageFrame cover" style="background-image: url(https://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-apps/imrs.php?src=https://s3.amazonaws.com/arc-authors/washpost/7349be0d-3cc7-46dc-a7fa-7e26f762c919.png&w=267);"></div> <div class="frontContent"> <h3>It's our government, not Trump's</h3> <span class="author">By richard cohen</span> </div> </div> <div class="back"> <img class="close white" src="data:image/png;base64,iVBORw0KGgoAAAANSUhEUgAAAEgAAABICAQAAAD/5HvMAAABIklEQVRo3u3YyQ2DMBCFYU5QHJBGCZFYioPTyyGWkiBssGexD/MXYD6JzZ6qsizLsizLKi88MKAmrdBgRMvH2QFM6SQ0WAHsLCTHQTrJcQBgR8fHSST9cD6kngZ64r85jnTgAMBAA9WY00knnIn2cpBIIpx0khjHkZbD4kt4cVFOPEmcE0dS4dwnqXHukVQ5jnS84Pq9oDonTMrC8ZOycbykfBzP7cnJuSTpc4KkPBwvKR+nOFBht6ywh7qw1/70qzzTjgPcnJp2HGDn0E8o7JwspOs/evxxQJSjSrq/31EhxW2/xEnxu0FRUtrmNHwcUOeIkWhbdwESXrSf5glppIFa5pHeRh58omMcem48c9ieaSy8cU6qSxqcW5ZlWZZlcfYGeH9hqTM7UAAAAAAASUVORK5CYII=" /> <img class="close black" src="data:image/png;base64,iVBORw0KGgoAAAANSUhEUgAAAEgAAABICAQAAAD/5HvMAAAA/ElEQVR4Ae3YOw7CMBBF0VeZxSVhoyFI+SyOVEbggn91xzLFu+7DkZxIzMg555xz7h87alQS6aBJXRxnV9asBDibsnZ1cZwMSIWT76Q+iPMgAU4hDUKdlF/OogQ4tzMKlbQA0jMHXDsgAQ4lMQ4nrW8PX5U4pz6JcziJc+qSOIeTEIeTPn5wU+KceBLnhJM4J5bUkPPjejiHkzinPolzwkmFY1D7K2v/UuPPvi1nRv+9K3ASHAfCOXxCCedwUiQHjANVOZwUzuEkzuGkeA4ncQ4cBypzOIlzWpHO3zmANAnVBa/0Lnzx2cctPTmnNASthTmn/eLcOeecc656V8QdWIh8Y0j9AAAAAElFTkSuQmCC" /> <div class="backInner"></div> </div> </div> <div class="fullHtml" id="fullHtml_7"> <div class="backContent"> <div class="headline">It's our government, not Trump's</div> <div class="byline">richard cohen &middot; Aug 20, 2018 - 5:42 PM</div> <img src="https://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-apps/imrs.php?src=https://s3.amazonaws.com/arc-authors/washpost/7349be0d-3cc7-46dc-a7fa-7e26f762c919.png&w=267" > <div class="storyHtml"><p>RICHARD COHEN COLUMN</p><p>(Advance for Tuesday, Aug. 21, 2018, and thereafter. Web release Monday, Aug. 20, 2018, at 8 p.m. Eastern time.)</p><p>(For Cohen clients only)</p><p></p><p>By RICHARD COHEN</p> <p>It is highly unlikely that Donald Trump knows or cares anything about poetry, but just in case he does, he should know that T.S. Eliot was wrong. When it comes to U.S. presidents, April is not the cruelest month. It's August. The month's a killer.</p> <p>It was Aug. 9, 1974, that Richard Nixon, surrounded by a fed-up Congress and an unsympathetic judiciary, surrendered and came out of the White House with his hands up. He then stepped into a waiting helicopter and flew off to temporary exile in California and permanent disgrace in history. His sins were many, but his mistake was confusing the presidency with a monarchy. It cost him his head.</p> <p>Nixon did not live long enough to see the same forces gang up on Bill Clinton. This, too, happened in August. It was Aug. 3, 1998, when what Trump would later call "the deep state" demanded Clinton's blood. The then-commander in chief was told by a Navy physician to roll up his sleeve and make a tight fist while a vial of blood was taken from him. In a flash, it was out the door and whisked to a laboratory where, to the juvenile glee of Clinton's enemies, it matched the DNA extracted from the infamous stain on Monica Lewinsky's dress. </p> <p>Trump might well ponder what happened to Clinton that day. It was a signal lesson about the limits of the American presidency. Later that month, on the 20th, Clinton ordered missile strikes on purported al-Qaida facilities in Afghanistan and Sudan. With the scratch of a pen, he commanded the killing of enemies thousands of miles away. It was the sort of military strike that's emblematic of American power and which is always at a president's fingertips. He lacked the power, however, to keep the doctor at bay.</p> <p>Trump has taken easily to the monarchical side of the presidency. He favors high kitsch, having grown up in Queens, New York, where the apartment houses of first- and second-generation Americans were pedigreed with names like "Gardens" or "Villa" or "Courts," sometimes with a vestigial "e" added as in "Towne." He himself has adopted a Louis XIV affect. People who have seen his New York digs come away gagging on his conspicuous presumption.</p> <p>In Trump's case, the decor suits the man. He rules -- or he attempts to -- in utter disregard of precedence, history or good taste. He is now engaged in a monarchical attempt to punish former -- and some current -- members of the intelligence community for differing with him. He cannot understand that their loyalty is to truth and not to him. The poor man is addled.</p> <p>Trump conducted his life by non-disclosure agreements. Lawyers like Michael Cohen or, before him, Roy Cohn, cleaned up after him. But while NDAs might silence former lovers and wives, nothing binds former federal employees, except the rules applying to classified information. John Brennan, for instance, did not work for Trump or even for Barack Obama. He worked for the American people. We paid his salary. To my mind, he's still earning every penny.</p> <p>An inexorable decline is underway. Trump is learning about -- and railing against -- the limitations of his power. (He even had to cancel his proposed military parade.) But he cannot control himself. His demeaning tweets, his rampant lying, his compulsive attacks on the news media and his breathtakingly bratty behavior might thrill his base, but the rest of Washington is growing sick of him. Republicans will use him to stock the courts with conservatives, repeal regulation and finally get back at Franklin D. Roosevelt, but as soon as Trump is shown to be politically weakened, they will throw him under the bus.</p> <p>Once while visiting a military base, Lyndon Johnson started to walk to the wrong helicopter. A soldier intervened, saying, "That's your helicopter over there, sir." Johnson replied, "Son, they are all my helicopters." It was a pithy example both of presidential power and hubris. In the end, however, Johnson was forced to announce he would not run for re-election. It turned out that none of the helicopters were his.</p> <p>Trump will soon learn the same lesson. It is not his government, it is ours. It is not his White House, it is ours. The deep state is very deep indeed. It booted Richard Nixon from the White House and compelled Bill Clinton to roll up his sleeve. To Trump, it looks like a monster rising from the swamp. To me, it looks like a shivering soldier at Valley Forge. </p> <p>Richard Cohen's email address is cohenr@washpost.com.</p> <p>(c) 2018, Washington Post Writers Group</p> </div> </div> </div> <div id="tile_8" class="columnists card short hasBack"> <div class="front"> <div class="imageFrame cover" style="background-image: url(https://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-apps/imrs.php?src=https://s3.amazonaws.com/arc-authors/test/c22c9c97-dd28-4643-b7d6-a7f7878ed6d0.jpg&w=267);"></div> <div class="frontContent"> <h3>August, you are a garbage month</h3> <span class="author">By alexandra petri</span> </div> </div> <div class="back"> <img class="close white" src="data:image/png;base64,iVBORw0KGgoAAAANSUhEUgAAAEgAAABICAQAAAD/5HvMAAABIklEQVRo3u3YyQ2DMBCFYU5QHJBGCZFYioPTyyGWkiBssGexD/MXYD6JzZ6qsizLsizLKi88MKAmrdBgRMvH2QFM6SQ0WAHsLCTHQTrJcQBgR8fHSST9cD6kngZ64r85jnTgAMBAA9WY00knnIn2cpBIIpx0khjHkZbD4kt4cVFOPEmcE0dS4dwnqXHukVQ5jnS84Pq9oDonTMrC8ZOycbykfBzP7cnJuSTpc4KkPBwvKR+nOFBht6ywh7qw1/70qzzTjgPcnJp2HGDn0E8o7JwspOs/evxxQJSjSrq/31EhxW2/xEnxu0FRUtrmNHwcUOeIkWhbdwESXrSf5glppIFa5pHeRh58omMcem48c9ieaSy8cU6qSxqcW5ZlWZZlcfYGeH9hqTM7UAAAAAAASUVORK5CYII=" /> <img class="close black" src="data:image/png;base64,iVBORw0KGgoAAAANSUhEUgAAAEgAAABICAQAAAD/5HvMAAAA/ElEQVR4Ae3YOw7CMBBF0VeZxSVhoyFI+SyOVEbggn91xzLFu+7DkZxIzMg555xz7h87alQS6aBJXRxnV9asBDibsnZ1cZwMSIWT76Q+iPMgAU4hDUKdlF/OogQ4tzMKlbQA0jMHXDsgAQ4lMQ4nrW8PX5U4pz6JcziJc+qSOIeTEIeTPn5wU+KceBLnhJM4J5bUkPPjejiHkzinPolzwkmFY1D7K2v/UuPPvi1nRv+9K3ASHAfCOXxCCedwUiQHjANVOZwUzuEkzuGkeA4ncQ4cBypzOIlzWpHO3zmANAnVBa/0Lnzx2cctPTmnNASthTmn/eLcOeecc656V8QdWIh8Y0j9AAAAAElFTkSuQmCC" /> <div class="backInner"></div> </div> </div> <div class="fullHtml" id="fullHtml_8"> <div class="backContent"> <div class="headline">August, you are a garbage month</div> <div class="byline">alexandra petri &middot; Aug 20, 2018 - 4:00 PM</div> <img src="https://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-apps/imrs.php?src=https://s3.amazonaws.com/arc-authors/test/c22c9c97-dd28-4643-b7d6-a7f7878ed6d0.jpg&w=267" > <div class="storyHtml"><p>ALEXANDRA PETRI COLUMN</p><p>(FOR IMMEDIATE PRINT AND WEB RELEASE)</p><p>(For Petri clients only)</p><p></p><p>By ALEXANDRA PETRI</p> <p>August, and I say this with no affection, you are a month of hot garbage.</p> <p>There is no good in you, August. You serve no purpose.</p> <p>You are the wrong temperature not only in one place but in every place.</p> <p>To go outdoors in you, August, is to walk into a stranger's mouth. It is to sit in a vile cloud of heat and moisture that wicks away energy from every limb like a wizard's curse. To go outdoors in you, August, is to be wrapped in a thick hot sponge and beset by mosquitoes. It is to have your whole body lightly braised in a fine oil like a slightly rotisseried chicken, to wrap yourself in a piece of wet paper towel and climb into a microwave. It is to stand inside a fart.</p> <p>But to go indoors in you, August, is to walk into a store's cold refrigerator of beer, or a florist's icy chamber of rare plants. To go indoors in you is to step into the freezing arctic and be blasted by a thousand icy winds, to witness penguins shivering in your office and huddled for warmth. Indoors is an icy cave where it is always winter and never Christmas and there is no Turkish delight and Santa is four months away. Did you bring ice cream with you from outdoors? Too bad; you do not want it now, and it is frozen to your hand with a layer of ice an inch thick, and you will need to chisel it off.</p> <p>Indoors in August is the surface of a moon of Jupiter, but not one that supports life. Indoors you must step over several dead tauntauns and the flags of many failed polar expeditions and the stiff form of the little match girl to get into the elevator. But you are still damp with sweat, which now freezes to your body, like a cursed ice pop. To stay indoors in August is to need several sweaters at least, but you have just come from the warm cave of the tropics and there was no thought of sweaters then. August indoors should sell sweatshirts, like any place that is freezing cold that you do not realize will be freezing cold -- San Francisco in summer, indoors literally anywhere in August.</p> <p>Want to go back outdoors? Oh, but now it is raining. There are also mosquitoes.</p> <p>August heard we liked summer, so it gave us extra summer, but it did not get useful feedback about what of summer was good. August demands that you go lurching out on the weekend convulsed with the regrets of July and June, trying to seek fun, but now it is unpleasant everywhere.</p> <p>August is too wet in places and too dry in other places, and also there are primaries in it, which is confusing. The news is just as bad as ever, but sometimes the anchors are on vacation, and it does not seem to make a difference. The television does nothing but tell you to go back to school, and this is cruel to students who must go back to school and cruel to everyone else who must be reminded of the ineluctable march of time toward the grave and how much fashions have changed since their youth.</p> <p>When a movie comes out in August, it is a movie about a large shark whose entire endeavor is to insult you for fun, or it is a Good Movie that you cannot gather a group to see on a Friday night because you will all have Thoughts about it afterward.</p> <p>There is too much of you, August. We did not need 31 days of this, but you have 31 days anyway, to spite us. You smell funny. You are the second helping of summer we ordered because the first helping was so delicious but we did not realize we would be full by the time you arrived.</p> <p>You contain no holidays, August. You confuse the holiday aisles of CVS, and they try to sell Halloween candy but furthermore back-to-school supplies but furthermore a small plastic shovel for making sand architectures at the beach. There are no fireworks in you. The sports are all over, or they are too far along.</p> <p>You are too late in the year for us to make any changes and have them stick. Everything is too close to over for anything to be different, and the thing that comes after you is fall, where they shove pumpkin spice into us until we cry out to the gods for mercy, and the whole world is full of gourds.</p> <p>Vile month, despicable month, everything about you is garbage, and I spite you.</p> <p>Follow Alexandra Petri on Twitter, @petridishes.</p> <p>(c) 2017, Washington Post Writers Group</p> </div> </div> </div> <div id="tile_9" class="columnists card short hasBack"> <div class="front"> <div class="imageFrame cover" style="background-image: url(https://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-apps/imrs.php?src=http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-partisan/files/2014/06/bigwill_01.jpg&w=267);"></div> <div class="frontContent"> <h3>America is overdue for another Lehman-like episode</h3> <span class="author">By george f. will</span> </div> </div> <div class="back"> <img class="close white" src="data:image/png;base64,iVBORw0KGgoAAAANSUhEUgAAAEgAAABICAQAAAD/5HvMAAABIklEQVRo3u3YyQ2DMBCFYU5QHJBGCZFYioPTyyGWkiBssGexD/MXYD6JzZ6qsizLsizLKi88MKAmrdBgRMvH2QFM6SQ0WAHsLCTHQTrJcQBgR8fHSST9cD6kngZ64r85jnTgAMBAA9WY00knnIn2cpBIIpx0khjHkZbD4kt4cVFOPEmcE0dS4dwnqXHukVQ5jnS84Pq9oDonTMrC8ZOycbykfBzP7cnJuSTpc4KkPBwvKR+nOFBht6ywh7qw1/70qzzTjgPcnJp2HGDn0E8o7JwspOs/evxxQJSjSrq/31EhxW2/xEnxu0FRUtrmNHwcUOeIkWhbdwESXrSf5glppIFa5pHeRh58omMcem48c9ieaSy8cU6qSxqcW5ZlWZZlcfYGeH9hqTM7UAAAAAAASUVORK5CYII=" /> <img class="close black" src="data:image/png;base64,iVBORw0KGgoAAAANSUhEUgAAAEgAAABICAQAAAD/5HvMAAAA/ElEQVR4Ae3YOw7CMBBF0VeZxSVhoyFI+SyOVEbggn91xzLFu+7DkZxIzMg555xz7h87alQS6aBJXRxnV9asBDibsnZ1cZwMSIWT76Q+iPMgAU4hDUKdlF/OogQ4tzMKlbQA0jMHXDsgAQ4lMQ4nrW8PX5U4pz6JcziJc+qSOIeTEIeTPn5wU+KceBLnhJM4J5bUkPPjejiHkzinPolzwkmFY1D7K2v/UuPPvi1nRv+9K3ASHAfCOXxCCedwUiQHjANVOZwUzuEkzuGkeA4ncQ4cBypzOIlzWpHO3zmANAnVBa/0Lnzx2cctPTmnNASthTmn/eLcOeecc656V8QdWIh8Y0j9AAAAAElFTkSuQmCC" /> <div class="backInner"></div> </div> </div> <div class="fullHtml" id="fullHtml_9"> <div class="backContent"> <div class="headline">America is overdue for another Lehman-like episode</div> <div class="byline">george f. will &middot; Aug 17, 2018 - 9:26 PM</div> <img src="https://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-apps/imrs.php?src=http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-partisan/files/2014/06/bigwill_01.jpg&w=267" > <div class="storyHtml"><p>GEORGE WILL COLUMN</p><p>(Advance for Sunday, Aug. 19, 2018, and thereafter. Web release Saturday, Aug. 18, 2018, at 8 p.m. Eastern time.)</p><p>(For Will clients only)</p><p>WRITETHRU: 2nd to last graf, 2nd sentence: "and saddle" sted "and saddling"</p><p>By GEORGE F. WILL</p> <p>WASHINGTON -- Eric Sevareid (1912-1992), the author and broadcaster, said he was a pessimist about tomorrow but an optimist about the day after tomorrow. Regarding America's economy, prudent people should reverse that.</p> <p>This Wednesday, according to the Financial Times' Robin Wigglesworth and Nicole Bullock, "the U.S. stock market will officially have enjoyed its longest-ever bull run" -- one that rises 20 percent from its low, until it drops 20 percent from its peak. And Sept. 15 will be the 10th anniversary of the collapse of Lehman Bros., the fourth-largest U.S. investment bank. History's largest bankruptcy filing presaged the October 2008 evaporation of almost $10 trillion in global market capitalization. </p> <p>The durable market rise that began March 6, 2009, is as intoxicating as the Lehman anniversary should be sobering: Nothing lasts. Those who see no Lehman-like episode on the horizon did not see the last one. </p> <p>Economists debate, inconclusively, this question: Do economic expansions die of old age (the current one began in June 2009) or are they slain by big events or bad policies? What is known is that all expansions end. God, a wit has warned, is going to come down and pull civilization over for speeding. When He, or something, decides that today's expansion, currently in its 111th month (approaching twice the 58-month average length of post-1945 expansions), has gone on long enough, the contraction probably will (BEG ITAL)begin(END ITAL) with the annual budget deficit exceeding $1 trillion.</p> <p>The president's Office of Management and Budget -- not that there really is a meaningful budget getting actual management -- projects that the deficit for fiscal 2019, which begins in six weeks, will be $1.085 trillion. This is while the economy is, according to the economic historian in the Oval Office, "as good as it's ever been, ever." </p> <p>Leavening administration euphoria with facts, Yale's Robert Shiller, writing in The New York Times, notes that since quarterly GDP enumeration began in 1947, there have been 101 quarters with growth at least equal to the 4.1 percent of this year's second quarter. The fastest -- 13.4 percent -- was 1950's fourth quarter, perhaps produced largely by bad news: The Cold War was on, the Korean War had begun in June, fear of the atomic bomb was rising (New York City installed its first air-raid siren in October), as was (consequently) a homebuilding boom outside cities and "scare buying" of products that might become scarce during World War III. Today, Shiller says, "it seems likely that people in many countries may be accelerating their purchases -- of soybeans, steel and many other commodities -- fearing future government intervention in the form of a trade war." And fearing the probable: higher interest rates.</p> <p>Another hardy perennial among economic debates concerns the point at which the ratio of debt to GDP suppresses growth. The (sort of) good news -- in that it will satisfy intellectual curiosity -- is that we are going to find out where that point is: Within a decade the national debt probably will be 100 percent of GDP and rising. As Irwin Stelzer of the Hudson Institute says, "If unlimited borrowing, financed by printing money, were a path to prosperity, then Venezuela and Zimbabwe would be top of the growth tables."</p> <p>Jay Powell, chairman of the Federal Reserve, says fiscal policy is on an "unsustainable path," but such warnings are audible wallpaper, there but not noticed. The word "unsustainable" in fiscal rhetoric is akin to "unacceptable" in diplomatic parlance, where it usually refers to a situation soon to be accepted. </p> <p>A recent IMF analysis noted that among advanced economies "only the United States expects an increase in the debt-to-GDP ratio over the next five years." America's complacency caucus will respond: But among those economies, ours is performing especially well. What, however, if this is significantly an effect of exploding debt? Publicly held U.S. government debt has tripled in a decade. </p> <p>Despite today's shrill discord between the parties, the political class is more united by class interest than it is divided by ideology. From left to right, this class has a permanent incentive to run enormous deficits -- to charge, through taxation, current voters significantly less than the cost of the government goods and services they consume, and saddle future voters with the cost of servicing the resulting debt after the current crop of politicians have left the scene. </p> <p>This crop derives its political philosophy from the musical "Annie": Tomorrow is always a day away. For normal people, however, the day after tomorrow always arrives.</p> <p>George Will's email address is georgewill@washpost.com.</p> <p>(c) 2018, Washington Post Writers Group</p> <p>---</p><p>Video Embed Code</p><p>Video: Columnist George F. Will says President Trump's scattershot economic policy has surrendered the world stage to China.(Gillian Brockell,Kate Woodsome,James Pace-Cornsilk/The Washington Post)</p><p>Embed code: &lt;iframe src=&quot;https://www.washingtonpost.com/video/c/embed/0d40099a-31f3-11e8-b6bd-0084a1666987?ptvads=block&amp;playthrough=false&quot; width=&quot;480&quot; height=&quot;290&quot; data-category-id=&quot;opinion&quot; frameborder=&quot;0&quot; webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen allowfullscreen&gt;&lt;/iframe&gt;</p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="moat-trackable pb-f-theme-normal pb-f-dehydrate-false pb-f-async-false full pb-feature pb-layout-item pb-f-syndication-nss-landing-section" moat-id="syndication/nss-landing-section|syndication" data-chain-name="no-name" data-feature-name="no-name" data-feature-id="syndication/nss-landing-section" data-pb-fingerprint="0fqWUhNTRpF" id="f73xRm13yLSgEq"><div class="landingSectionWrapper"> <div class="landingSectionContent"> <div class="titleBlock"> <div class="shortWhiteLine"></div> <h2 class="sectionTitle"><a href="/syndication/cartoonists">Editorial Cartoons</a></h2> </div> <p class="sectionSummary">The sharpest pens in the industry serve up points of view to chew on.</p> <div class="cardsWrapper"> <div id="tile_10" class="cartoonists card "> <div class="front"> <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/syndication/cartoonists/jack-ohman/?name=jack_ohman"> <div class="imageFrame " style="background-image: url(https://news-service.s3.amazonaws.com/2018/JO/7ba53489-6912-4af2-8525-4bcbde52bf18.jpg);"></div> <div class="frontContent"> <h3></h3> <span class="author">By jack ohman</span> </div> </a> </div> </div> <div id="tile_11" class="cartoonists card "> <div class="front"> <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/syndication/cartoonists/nick-anderson/?name=nick_anderson"> <div class="imageFrame " style="background-image: url(https://news-service.s3.amazonaws.com/2018/AND/2eed85e1-5dc2-462e-8f4c-8047b9ba0b88.jpg);"></div> <div class="frontContent"> <h3></h3> <span class="author">By nick anderson</span> </div> </a> </div> </div> <div id="tile_12" class="cartoonists card "> <div class="front"> <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/syndication/cartoonists/jeff-danziger/?name=jeff_danziger"> <div class="imageFrame " style="background-image: url(https://news-service.s3.amazonaws.com/2018/JDZ/7f78643a-ed50-4154-b18a-4d799726b631.jpg);"></div> <div class="frontContent"> <h3></h3> <span class="author">By jeff danziger</span> </div> </a> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="moat-trackable pb-f-theme-normal pb-f-dehydrate-false pb-f-async-false full pb-feature pb-layout-item pb-f-syndication-nss-landing-section" moat-id="syndication/nss-landing-section|syndication" data-chain-name="no-name" data-feature-name="no-name" data-feature-id="syndication/nss-landing-section" data-pb-fingerprint="0fXfNtNTRpE" id="fBxyyN13yLSgEq"><div class="landingSectionWrapper"> <div class="landingSectionContent"> <div class="titleBlock"> <div class="shortWhiteLine"></div> <h2 class="sectionTitle"><a href="/syndication/comics">Comics</a></h2> </div> <p class="sectionSummary">Bury your dead-tired strips and grab something fresh, meaningful and hilarious.</p> <div class="cardsWrapper"> <div id="tile_comic" class="comics card "> <div class="front"><a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/syndication/comics/reply-all-lite/?name=reply_all"> <div class="imageFrame " style="background-image: url(https://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-apps/imrs.php?src=https://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-stat/syndication/comics-images/LizzieLite_0.jpg&w=338);"></div> <div class="frontContent"> <h3></h3><span class="author">Reply All Lite</span> </div> </a></div> </div> <div id="tile_comic1" class="comics card "> <div class="front"><a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/syndication/comics/fort-knox/?name=fort_knox"> <div class="imageFrame " style="background-image: url(https://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-apps/imrs.php?src=https://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-stat/syndication/comics-images/characters/fort-knox/hero-fortknox-portrait.png&w=338);"></div> <div class="frontContent"> <h3></h3><span class="author">Fort Knox</span> </div> </a></div> </div> <div id="tile_comic2" class="comics card "> <div class="front"><a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/syndication/comics/barney-clyde/?name=barney_clyde"> <div class="imageFrame " style="background-image: url(https://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-apps/imrs.php?src=https://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-stat/syndication/comics-images/hero/hero-bc-portrait.png&w=338);"></div> <div class="frontContent"> <h3></h3><span class="author">Barney &amp; 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