Tuesday December 10, 2013
Archive - Jun 2013
There's a far better case right now for being an infrastructure hawk than a deficit hawk.
Deficit hawks tend to have two worries. The first is a practical concern about interest rates. Too much government borrowing can, in a healthy economy, begin to "crowd out" private borrowing. That means interest rates rise and the economy slows.
In politics, we often skip past the simple questions. This is why inquiries about the fundamentals can sometimes catch everyone short.
Michael Lind, the independent-minded scholar, posed one such question last week about libertarianism that I hope will shake up the political world. I'll get to his query in a moment. It's important because many in the new generation of conservative politicians declare libertarianism as their core political philosophy.
Maybe I'm a bit pessimistic when it comes to governmental paternalism and the unrelenting erosion of civil liberties, but I've always assumed that someone or something - including the government - is tracking, or could track, everything I do in an increasing virtual reality.
Already far from beloved, the IRS - do those initials need to be explained to anyone? - has given us practically an engraved invitation to berate it. The admitted extra investigation of organizations applying for tax exemption status was poor judgment to say the least.
Someday, a young girl will look up into her father's eyes and ask, "Daddy, what was privacy?"
The father probably won't recall. I fear we've already forgotten that there was a time when a U.S. citizen's telephone calls were nobody else's business. A time when people would have been shocked and angered to learn that the government is compiling a detailed log of ostensibly private calls made and received by millions of Americans.
If you're having trouble following all of the twists and turns in the saga relating to the availability of what is commonly referred to as the "morning-after pill," you're not alone.
The acid that corroded George W. Bush's presidency was fear - spreading it and succumbing to it.
You could see the fear in his eyes, the fear that froze him in place, after Andy Card whispered to W. in that Florida classroom that a second plane had crashed into the twin towers.
The New Yorker last week carried a cartoon of a man delivering a commencement address to a graduating class, all in caps and gowns, and his advice was: "It's an intern-eat-intern world out there!"
Many Republicans, and Democrats, never thought the automatic across-the-board spending cuts known as sequestration would take effect. After all, they might produce dangerous, if unintended, consequences such as potentially bankrupting the U.S. health-care system, along with millions of families.
Typical Washington hyperbole, right? It actually is happening under sequestration, which kicked in three months ago, a product of America's political dysfunction.
The treatment of Army Pfc. Bradley Manning has been excessively harsh, as far as I can tell. If he is found guilty of leaking more than 700,000 classified documents, he deserves some punishment -- probably -- but should not be at risk of spending the rest of his life behind bars. Apparently.