How government funding hurts the arts

Conservatives usually complain about government funding of the arts because they see taxpayer money going for art they consider objectionable. That’s not really the point, argues dramatist David Marcus.  The real problem with government funding is that it hurts the arts. [Read more…]

Congress stops default & ends shutdown

Cutting it close as usual, on the day before the government would run out of money, Congress agreed to raise the debt ceiling and end the 16-day partial government shutdown.  Basically, both sides dropped their demands and kicked the can down the road.  The government will be funded until January 15, and the debt limit will rise until February 7.  In the meantime, a commission will be appointed to try to resolve the controversies. [Read more…]

Democrats up the ante on default bill

It looked like Congress was close to an agreement on funding the government and avoiding default on Thursday, but negotiations fell apart yesterday.  And as Republicans abandoned their insistence on defunding Obamacare, Democrats made demands of their own, insisting that Republicans agree to end the sequester, the across-the-board cuts from last time we were about to go over the fiscal cliff that have actually worked to curb government spending. [Read more…]

Punitive Liberalism

If you watch old movies, read books from the first half of the 20th century, and are old enough to remember the early 1960s, you will recall that New Deal liberalism was a cheerful, optimistic creed, pro-American and working for economic prosperity.  After all, liberals from Franklin Roosevelt through Hubert Humphrey were progressives, which gave them confidence that things were getting better and better.  But after a certain point, liberals began to be filled with gloom and doom.  America must be punished for its sins; our neglect of the environment will incur apocalyptic judgment; economic prosperity weakens our moral fiber.  Conservatives used to sound that way, and did, before the sunny optimism of Ronald Reagan.

George Will discusses the shift to a “punitive liberalism” in a discussion of a book that sees the tipping point as  the assassination of John F. Kennedy, even though Lee Harvey Oswald was a Communist.  (I think the tipping point was the Vietnam War, but still. . . .) [Read more…]

States fare differently under Obamacare

More quirks in Obamacare:  The same policy from the same insurer with the same coverage costs $1,800 per month in Virginia, but it costs only $285 in adjoining Maryland.  This is because Maryland mandated that all policies cover, among other things, gastric by-pass surgery for obesity.  Virginia did not, requiring those interested in that surgery to pay extra for that coverage.

Presumably, insurance companies–which are not allowed to charge extra for the $15,000 operation in Maryland–are having to make up the difference when selling policies elsewhere.   I suspect that liberal states will be more generous in mandating coverage, with conservative states requiring fewer services unless consumers pay for them.  That will mean people in liberal states will get more comprehensive health care coverage at a lower cost than those in conservative states, which will also have to foot the bill for the liberals’ generosity! [Read more…]

Self-interest vs. ideology

Is it better in the realm of politics to stand on principle or to pursue self-interest?  Most of us would probably say the former.  But Robert J. Samuelson argues that self-interest is superior, even morally, to following an ideology, which breeds conflict, governmental paralysis, and the demonization of opponents.

Mr. Samuelson shows that the left and the right are both fixated on ideology and that their rhetoric and tactics are pretty much identical to each other.  After the jump, you can see how he makes his case. [Read more…]


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