Big Win for Obama, but at What Cost?
( New York Times )

The House’s passage of health care legislation late Sunday night assures that whatever the ultimate cost, President Obama will go down in history as one of the handful of presidents who found a way to reshape the nation’s social welfare system.

Whether it was a historic achievement or political suicide for his party ― perhaps both ― he succeeded where President Bill Clinton failed in trying to remake American health care. President George W. Bush also failed to enact a landmark change in a domestic program, his second-term effort to create private accounts in the Social Security system.

But there is no doubt that in the course of this debate, Mr. Obama has lost something ― and lost it for good. Gone is the promise on which he rode to victory less than a year and a half ago ― the promise of a “postpartisan” Washington in which rationality and calm discourse replaced partisan bickering.

【 まずは準備運動 】

・legislation (提案・制定された)法律、立法行為
・ultimate 最後の、最終の、根本的な
・handful 一つかみ、一握り、少量、少数
・enact (法を)制定する、上演する

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Avoiding a Japanese Decade
( New York Times )

To understand those economic risks, it is worth considering Japan’s experience in the 1990s. A bursting housing bubble there sparked a banking crisis that was followed by a decade of economic stagnation.

The Japanese government lacked the resolve to do what was necessary. It failed to fix its banks and stopped its early fiscal stimulus before recovery had taken hold, leaving the economy all too vulnerable to outside shocks, including the Asian currency crisis and the dot-com collapse in 2001. Japan’s annual growth rate ― which had averaged 4 percent since 1973 ― slowed to less than 1 percent, on average, from 1992 to 2003.

President Obama’s economic advisers have learned from Japan’s
experience. But they may not have learned enough. (Certainly Congress has not been paying attention.) If they are not careful, they could end up repeating some of the big mistakes that condemned Japan’s economy to a lost decade.

The White House is now pushing another mini-stimulus plan for next year. Chances are it will need to do a lot more to push reform and boost the economy. If there is an overarching lesson from Japan’s lost decade, it is that half measures don’t pay.

【 まずは準備運動 】

・resolve 決心(する)、決意
・fix 固定する、修理する、直す
・fiscal 財政上の、会計の
・boost 押し上げる、高める
・overarch 上にアーチをかける、全体にわたる

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Japan Unveils Plan for Growth, Emphasizing Free Trade in Asia
( New York Times )

Analysts say those goals are unrealistic, however, given Japan’s shrinking population and low rate of immigration. The government has also offered scant details on how its economic plan would be financed.

“A lack of government willingness to tackle the severe challenges of fiscal consolidation, and an aging population, prevents firms and households from feeling confident about the future beyond the next fiscal year,”Masamichi Adachi, a senior economist at JPMorgan Chase, said.

【 まずは準備運動 】

・shrink 縮む、減る
・scant 乏しい、わずかな
・finance 金融、融資する、資金を調達する
・fiscal 財政上の、会計の
・consolidation  強化、合同、合併
・prevent 妨げる、〜しないようにする

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Obama Adds Troops, but Maps Exit Plan
( New York Times )

President Obama announced Tuesday that he would speed 30,000
additional troops to Afghanistan in coming months, but he vowed to start bringing American forces home in the middle of 2011, saying the United States could not afford and should not have to shoulder an open-ended commitment.

The military escalation Mr. Obama described and defended in his
speech to a national television audience and 4,000 cadets at the United States Military Academy here, the culmination of a review that lasted three months, could well prove to be the most consequential decision of Mr. Obama’s presidency.

The scene in the hall was striking and somber: row after row of
cadets, in their blue-gray uniforms, listening intently to a strategy that could put many of them in harm’s way. “If I did not think that the security of the United States and the safety of the American people were at stake in Afghanistan, I would gladly order every single one of our troops home tomorrow,” Mr. Obama said. “So no, I do not make this decision lightly.” He called on foreign allies to step up their commitment, declaring, “This is not just America’s war.”

【 まずは準備運動 】

・cadet 士官候補生、士官学校生
・consequential 重大な、結果として起こる(名詞:consequence)
・intently 熱心に、真剣に(形容詞:intent)

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Crashers Met Obama; Secret Service Apologizes
( New York Times )

President Obama and his wife, Michelle, had a face-to-face encounter with the couple who sneaked into a state dinner at the White House this week, White House officials acknowledged on Friday. The revelation underscored the seriousness of the security breach and prompted an abject apology from the Secret Service.

That disclosure coincided with a statement from the director of the Secret Service, Mark Sullivan, saying that his agency was “deeply concerned and embarrassed” by the events. Secret Service officials said the agency wanted to interview everyone connected with the episode, including the Salahis, and had not ruled out criminal charges.

“The preliminary findings of our internal investigation have
determined established protocols were not followed at an initial checkpoint, verifying that two individuals were on the guest list,” Mr. Sullivan said.

“Although these individuals went through magnetometers and other levels of screening, they should have been prohibited from entering the event entirely,” Mr. Sullivan said. “That failing is ours.”

【 まずは準備運動 】

・sneak こそこそと入る(出る)
・breach 違反、侵害、裂け目
・abject 救い難い、みじめな
・preliminary 予備的な、準備の
・protocol 手順、手続き、儀礼、典礼、プロトコル

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