By Fareed Zakaria
In 2012, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives conducted more than 13,000 compliance checks at the nation’s 69,000 federally licensed gun dealers, and found about half of them were ‘in full compliance with the law,’” a Bloomberg editorial notes. “That means half were not.”
“Are the violations minor? The ATF says that ‘commonly disclosed’ compliance failures include not verifying a buyer’s eligibility, not accounting for gun stock, not properly recording receipts or documenting gun transfers, and not reporting multiple sales. In other words, not following the basic tenets of U.S. firearms law. To put that in perspective, between 2004 and 2011, there were 174,679 documented thefts and losses from gun dealer inventories.”
Obama’s enthusiasm for drones, which he believes minimizes the risk to American forces and non-combatants on the ground, "is unnervingly reminiscent of Eisenhower’s enthusiasm for poisoning schemes and coup plots," argues Steve Coll in the New Yorker. "Drone strikes are also defended on the ground that they have killed terrorists in Pakistan and Yemen before those terrorists could kill Americans in Times Square or on the Mall, in Washington. There is no way to assess these claims: the official secrecy surrounding the program makes it impossible to judge the results."
The last time the U.S. government introduced a major new health care program was in 2006, “when Medicare began offering a prescription drug benefit through what is called ‘Part D,’” writes Jonathan Cohn in the New Republic. “It got off to a notoriously rough start, as seniors showed up at pharmacies only to discover they were enrolled in the wrong plans—or that their plans didn’t cover drugs like they did before. The Children’s Health Insurance Program, which became law in the late 1990s, was slow to attract enrollees. But things got better. As Larry Levitt of the Kaiser Family Foundation noted recently, the end result was that seniors got drug coverage and kids got insurance they never had before. Today, the programs are highly popular, even if they are not perfect.”