Timothy Noah

(Timothy Robert Noah)

Timothy Noah
Timothy Noah
  • Born:
  • Nationality: American
  • Profession: Journalist, Author

149

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12

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Quotes
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A thriving middle class is a necessary precondition for a free representative government. Government
An orthodox belief in big government's inefficiency cannot coexist with an orthodox belief in private industry's inability to compete with big government. Government
Being a teacher is back-breakingly difficult work. It is also extremely important work. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training ;Work, Workers & The Labor Force
Being superintendent or the superintendent's chief of staff is important work, but there's no chance it's as difficult as being a teacher, and I hesitate to say that it's as important. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training ;Work, Workers & The Labor Force
Bottom line: A market approach to national defense would give us a lousy national defense.
Cable television and the Internet have created an unending demand for information, and there simply isn't enough truth to go around. Truth
Capitalism can't deliver decent health care. Health, Healthcare & Medicine
Conservatives often say that we should care not about equality of outcomes but about equality of opportunity. Equality & Equal Opportunity
Creativity seldom thrives in an atmosphere of great discipline or scrutiny. That's one reason we tend not to want our leaders to get too creative.
Customer service, they say, is dead. Actually, it isn't. It's just hiding behind a call center in Manila.
Deciding which ideas to save and which ideas to discard is one of society's most important tasks. Society
Democrats view elections as a means to an end, while Republicans view an election as an end in itself.
Economic inequality is less troubling if you live in a country where any child, no matter how humble his or her origins, can grow up to be president.
Electing Barack Obama president was a glorious Jackie Robinson moment for the United States of America. Obama didn't just win; he became the first Democrat since Jimmy Carter to win a popular-vote majority.
Everyone agrees that animals should not be exposed to unnecessary pain. But neither should scientists be hamstrung by the requirement to use anesthesia in every animal experiment that might cause pain.
Expressing truth is hard work. Truth ;Work, Workers & The Labor Force
Federal law prohibits anyone convicted of a felony from owning a gun. Seems like kind of a good idea, no?
For any politician who didn't enter office a wealthy man, nothing says 'I take bribes' like a Rolex watch.
GOP candidates routinely sign a pledge never, ever to raise taxes. Democratic candidates aren't even asked to sign a parallel pledge never, ever to cut entitlements.
Gun Owners of America is a lobby group dedicated to the proposition that the National Rifle Association is a bunch of accommodationist sissies.
Health care probably contributes a lot more to the common wealth than finance. Health, Healthcare & Medicine ;Business, Commerce & Finance
I recognize that Republicans see a moral difference between a dollar taken away from a millionaire in government benefits and a dollar taken away from a millionaire in taxes. Government
I won't dispute that bankers' privileged treatment in the 2008 crash merits populist scorn. But unfortunately, without a bank bailout, there probably would have been a worldwide depression.
I'd never have guessed that, six years after Medicare introduced a drug benefit, it would still be forbidden to negotiate prices with pharmaceutical companies. Health reform might fix that, but it probably won't. Health, Healthcare & Medicine
If corporations are people, as the Supreme Court wishes us to believe, they are stunningly unpatriotic ones.
If one does not wish to take the word of journalists, human rights groups, and the United Nations that Iraq conducted a deliberate campaign to eradicate the Kurdish population, there's always the word of the Iraqis themselves.
If Romney were a chair, he'd be a squishy, expensively upholstered easy chair that bore the imprint of whoever last sat on it.
If the 1992 and 2000 elections were any guide, third-party candidates are death on the mainstream parties with which they're most naturally aligned. Death
If the Pentagon truly confined itself to providing defense, then presumably we wouldn't need a whole separate government agency to provide 'Homeland Security.' Government
If we were to compile a list of the ways in which the United States has made both itself and the wider world a better place, then at or very near the top would be its commitment to universal education. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training
If you want to slow medical inflation in the private sector, it makes sense to expand the government's investment in private health care. Health, Healthcare & Medicine ;Government
I'm all for lifting the payroll-tax cap, if only to make payroll taxes a little less regressive.
I'm an incompetent consumer. I have two settings: Buy and Don't Buy.
In removing the friction involved in paying bills, electronic billing has substantially increased the friction involved in not paying them.
In shuttering Yucca Mountain, Obama makes it extremely likely that nuclear power in the United States will continue its long, slow, and extremely welcome death. Power ;Death
In Washington, the accepted method for passing along information about how the government fails to meet real-world needs is to leak it. Government
Income inequality has gotten worse under President Barack Obama.
Inequality doesn't create unhappiness.
Is class snobbery a social reality in the United States? Absolutely, and the kind that's codified by meritocracy is probably more toxic than the old-fashioned kind based on bloodlines.
Is New Ageism inherently fascist? Of course not, though I'm happy to pronounce its babble about chakras and cosmic energy errant quackery.
It never fails to astonish me how cheaply a politician can be bought.
It's no surprise that Mitt Romney bent himself into a pretzel to disavow the portions of Obamacare that derive from his own reform in Massachusetts.
I've come to the conclusion that the government needs to impose price controls on tuition increases - and so, I think, has President Obama. Government
Just about everything I own was made in China. Just about everything you own was made in China, too.
Loopy as the Motion Picture Association of America's ratings system is, it's better than what you'd probably get by putting such decisions in the federal government hands. Government
Markets can do many wonderful things, which is why I'm glad to live in a capitalist country.
Moderates tend more than ideologues to be other-directed types who respond to external pressure.
No man is an island. If you want to blame anybody for poisoning the world with that socialistic idea, blame John Donne.
Nothing energizes me more than to burrow myself under a pile of received wisdom and emerge triumphant with the truth. Truth
Obama is an intelligent man whose life and work experience sensitize him to class distinctions. Life ;Work, Workers & The Labor Force
On Wall Street, financial crisis destroys jobs. Here in Washington, it creates them. The rest is just details.
One can imagine nonviolent or minimally violent ways to reduce or eliminate hatred, but there's no mollifying evil.
One of my lifelong hobbies has been to collect 'aptronyms' - the newspaper columnist Franklin P. Adams's term for people whose names were curiously appropriate to, or provided ironic comment on, their occupations.
One of the enduring mysteries of America's occupation of Iraq is why a nation that so little relishes peacekeeping nonetheless refuses to turn the job over to the United Nations.
Politicians have such large egos that it usually takes them an inordinately long time to grasp when they've become a pathetic joke. Time
President Obama has his faults, but overall, I think, is a good president.
President Obama seems to think that you win by demonstrating that you're a more reasonable person than your opponents. It didn't work too badly, I'll grant, as an electoral strategy in the 2012 election. Work, Workers & The Labor Force
Presidential election results in 2008 and 2012 clarified that talk radio was not, in fact, running the country.
Republican presidents talk about freedom. Democratic presidents talk about equality. Equality & Equal Opportunity ;Freedom & Liberty
Republicans don't seem to mind taking inflation into account when the subject is tax rates.
Right now, as I'm typing this, some liberal somewhere is saying something unforgivable about Michelle Bachmann or Ann Coulter. I condemn you, whoever you are! But I'm not going to conduct a house-to-house search to find you.
Romney has become reluctant to say that human activity causes global warming, and even in his greener days he was always somewhat cagey about which remedies he'd support.
Rule of thumb: When Democrats lose, they blame the candidate. When Republicans lose, they blame the opposition.
Some liberals think that describing any role that education gaps play in creating income inequality is some sort of sellout - that, in essence, you're telling the middle class, 'Tough luck; you should have stayed in college.' Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training
Sometime, while I wasn't paying attention, trickle-down economics got respectable.
Spoken language's elaborate rhythms and inflections convey more meaning per word than the printed word.
Steve Jobs was the greatest manufacturer of consumer products of his age. His marketing vision put him on par with Henry Ford, and his grasp of the aesthetic component to industrial design far surpassed Ford's.
Stock prices relative to company assets are no better at signaling the likelihood of future earnings growth than they were the day the Titanic sank, and risk management is a good deal worse. Future
Success is a wonderful thing, but it tends not to be the sort of experience that we learn from. We enjoy it; perhaps we even deserve it. But we don't acquire wisdom from it. Success
The $100 bill may be America's most successful export.
The advantage of a market-based national defense is obvious: Every citizen would receive an individualized amount of military protection, based on the value each of us placed on defending the homeland.
The argument most commonly made in the filibuster's favor is crudely partisan: 'Our side may be in the majority now, but someday it will be in the minority, and when that happens we'll want to block the other side's extremist agenda.'
The Bush administration got a lot of things horribly wrong in its disaster response to the New Orleans flood, and it deserves almost all of the bitter recriminations hurled its way.
The central con of the political coalition assembled by Ronald Reagan and maintained by his successors was that government was a common enemy. Government
The chief purpose of a union is to maximize the income of its members.
The Clinton administration cared a lot about the middle class and the poor. But it also cared a lot - too much, in retrospect - about the rich.
The doomsayers of the 1970s were wrong about how quickly the world would run out of oil, but not about the dangers that hydrocarbon consumption posed to the global environment, especially with respect to climate change. Respect
The embourgeoisement of China's proletariat may be the inevitable result of its industrialization, but 'inevitable' isn't the same as 'speedy.'
The federal government does not trample in jackboots those with whom it does business. It wraps them in cotton batting and, when they express ingratitude, apologizes profusely. Government ;Business, Commerce & Finance
The financial services industry is a ward of the state.
The GOP doesn't seem particularly afraid of being perceived as blocking reform, despite efforts by the Obama White House to establish that narrative.
The gulf between Virginia and Maryland isn't only a function of geography. It's also sociological. Indeed, it's probably not much of an exaggeration to say that Maryland suburbanites and Virginia suburbanites constitute two mutually hostile tribes.
The hometown economic elite - rich local families or individuals whom people used to praise or revile, read about in the society pages, and gossip about incessantly - disappeared from most American cities decades ago. Society
The House of Representatives eliminated the filibuster way back in the 19th century, and somehow it managed to survive.
The idea that the business world's needs get ignored in Washington is perpetuated by business so it can fulfill even more of its needs, real or imagined. Business, Commerce & Finance
The intriguing aspect of food charges on airlines is that they create the perfect laboratory for any economist who wishes to study the question of how to price a good that possesses, by universal consensus, absolutely no objective value. Nutrition, Food, Starvation, Farming & Agriculture
The Kurds were the only people in Iraq who were completely unguarded in expressing their gratitude to the United States for setting them free.
The liberation of Iraq, which is already hard to justify from the perspective of American interests, at least had the virtue of freeing Iraqis from a brutal dictator. Despite all the anarchy and violence, life has gotten better for most Iraqis. Life
The only agency of the federal government with a more demoralized workforce than Homeland Security is the Small Business Administration, a notorious turkey farm that should have been abolished years ago. Government ;Business, Commerce & Finance
The pathological degree to which former Vice President Dick Cheney operated in secrecy led to government abuses that we'll probably spend years learning about. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training ;Government
The Pentagon got fed up with its recruits getting ripped off by payday lenders and in 2007 got Congress to make it illegal to extend such loans to members of the military. But civilians remain fair game.
The problem with wanting the tax code to be 'simpler, fairer,' and 'pro-growth' is that it's impossible to achieve all three at the same time. Time
The promise of Obama's presidency, in many people's minds, is partly that America will move toward becoming a post-racial society. It's pretty clear, though, that we aren't there yet. Society
The Reagan years really were a bonanza for the rich; you didn't imagine that.
The Sudan bombing is a blot on the Clinton presidency, and a blot it ought to remain.
The Supreme Court needs jurists, not politicians.
The thing to strive for is to get paid to talk about yourself.
The typical family of four with employer-based health insurance is not the same as the typical family of four. It's better-off. Health, Healthcare & Medicine ;Families, Children & Parenting
The U.S. policy of hoarding crude oil never made the world, or even the U.S., a safer place.
The United States is a country where practically everybody considers himself middle class.
The United States is not, nor has ever been, anything close to a fascist country.
The war to rein in Wall Street excess is never over. War & Peace
The white working class likes being pandered to even less than it likes being insulted.
The worst an ex-con is likely to do if given the right to vote is vote for a Democrat.
There is no better example of social and economic policy discussion as an idle pastime for the rich than the World Economic Forum at Davos. These guys make the millionaire schmoozers at the Aspen Ideas Festival look like short-order cooks.
There's a growing consensus that the best way to defeat communism in Cuba is to get its citizens hooked on American goods.
There's no shortage of Democrats who are at least as committed as Schwarzenegger to reducing greenhouse gases.
To argue that universal health care would wreck the U.S. lead in cancer survival, you'd have to argue that universal health care would wreck the entire U.S. economy. Health, Healthcare & Medicine
To cut the federal budget without cutting entitlements is like giving up chocolate-chip cookies and then deciding it's OK to eat the ones that don't have any nuts.
To pine for the days before public education became a practical reality is to pine for an America held back by mass ignorance and mass illiteracy. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training
Ultimate success for a carbon tax would mean so complete a shift to renewable energy that the tax would stop raising much revenue at all. Success
Under Obama, income growth has been confined almost entirely to those at the top of the income distribution, continuing a pattern that began under President George W. Bush.
Universities are basically socialist institutions.
Various people have explained why Henry Kissinger is a bad choice to run an investigation into what went wrong on Sept. 11. He's a liar. He's an apologist for corrupt regimes.
Vote Republican if you like, but don't kid yourself that a Republican president would replace Obamacare with anything at all.
Voters care only that student loans remain freely available and that they cost taxpayers as little as possible.
Wal-Mart uses technology to increase sales volume, but the more it does so, the more it drives down profit margins - its own and everybody else's. The same logic does not appear to hold for Goldman Sachs. Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology
Was President Obama's endorsement of gay marriage crassly political? God, I hope so. Hope ;Religion & God ;Families, Children & Parenting
Washington culture has always had a difficult time acknowledging untruth. Time
Washington is a place where politics and economics often aren't on speaking terms. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
We all need to save money to send our kids to college, to buy our first house, and to retire. But the truth is that most of us don't save very much. Truth ;Money, Coins & Minting
We Americans love our Constitution so much that we can't bear to change even the stupid parts. Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex
We live in a diverse nation, but it isn't that diverse. If any one state showed results so dramatically different from the results in each of the other 50 states, the likeliest explanation would be that someone had tampered with the polls.
We live in an era of mind-blowing scientific discovery, virtually none of which ever makes the front page, even as every trivial twist and turn in the rococo political drama has a secure place as the lead story.
What if an asteroid were to strike planet Earth? What could we possibly do to prevent it? However many guys we have working on this problem, it can't possibly be enough.
What is the engine that drives economic growth in an ideopolis? The university.
What I've come to believe is that psychological advice isn't worth much if it isn't rooted in personal experience.
What I've learned, and will try to remember from now on, is that defending your country's credibility is never sufficient reason to fight a war. War & Peace
What people want is big government that they don't have to pay for. Government
What the 1990s taught the Clinton veterans was that you could 'triangulate' with a GOP-controlled Congress.
What type of 'person' is the for-profit corporation? A spoiled brat - all rights and no responsibilities, a traditional conservative argument would say.
Whatever the reason, American Muslims appear far less inclined to support the global jihad than their European counterparts.
When a conservative praises a liberal as 'morally serious,' he means that person is less liberal than most.
When businesses affirmatively like regulations, that's when to reach for your wallet.
When Democrats lose, they're pathetic. When Republicans lose, they're bitter and mean.
When Grover Norquist launched his project to name anything and everything after Ronald Reagan, I humbly proposed that the deficit be re-christened 'the Reagan.'
When the only people in mainstream discourse who care about the working class are Wall Street investors, it really is time to ask where our politics went wrong. Time ;Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
Whenever a Kurd wants to measure the depth of some foreign leader's commitment to Kurdish autonomy, he listens for one particular word. That word is 'federal.' Anyone who will say he favors Kurdish federalism can be counted a friend of the Kurds.
Whenever a president nominates somebody to a high-profile post, there is always the risk that some skeleton, real or imagined, will emerge from the nominee's closet and doom the whole enterprise.
Whenever the very rich hold views at odds with those of the entire population, the federal government tends to do the rich's bidding. Government
Why does Medicare have such difficulty accommodating a cut - no, wait, a trim to its annual spending increase - of two measly percentage points? Two words: baby boom.
With its Medicaid expansion, Obamacare may turn out to be the most equality-promoting policy enacted in a generation.
With so much to be aware of, awareness bracelets have reverted to signifying nothing more than color itself. Idealism has devolved into fashion.
Within the narrow confines of Permanent Washington - the journalists, lobbyists, and congressional lifers who are the city's avatars of centrism and continuity - Ford is considered the beau ideal of American leadership. Leaders & Leadership
Without the three-fifths rule, there wouldn't have been a Constitution of the United States - not one that governed the American South, at any rate - because the South wouldn't have ratified it.
Working people vote!
You can be president of the United States and have the best, most bipartisan-seeming idea in the world. But if it doesn't have a constituency, you might as well be town clerk of Toad Suck, Arkansas.
You have to let the market reward effort and skill. But a system in which inequality of incomes constantly increases over time is worrisome. Time
You know what isn't class warfare? Progressive taxation, as in, say, expecting billionaires to pay at least as much in taxes as their secretaries. Ideally, in fact, they should pay more.