Key quotations from both sides of the aisle:
Theodore Dalrymple (no relation):
The ferocious criminality exhibited by an uncomfortably large section of the English population during the current riots has not surprised me in the least. I have been writing about it, in its slightly less acute manifestations, for the past 20 years. To have spotted it required no great perspicacity on my part; rather, it took a peculiar cowardly blindness, one regularly displayed by the British intelligentsia and political class, not to see it and not to realize its significance. There is nothing that an intellectual less likes to change than his mind, or a politician his policy.
SOMETHING BIG IS happening in China, and it started soon after the onset of the “Arab Spring” demonstrations and regime changes first in Tunisia and then in Egypt: the most serious and widespread wave of repression since the Tiananmen Square crackdowns 22 years ago. Of course, “worst since Tiananmen Square” does not mean “as bad as Tiananmen Square.” As the government has taken pains to ensure, there have been no coordinated nationwide protests so far, and troops from the People’s Liberation Army, in their instantly recognizable green uniforms, have not played the major role that they did then in containing dissent. Instead, enforcement around the country has been left mainly to regular police, typically in their dark-blue uniforms; the much-feared “urban management” patrols known as chengguan, also in dark blue; large reserve armies of plainclothesmen; and many other less visible parts of the state’s internal-security apparatus, which now has a larger budget than China’s regular military does.
Charles Koch (one of “the Koch brothers”):
Federal data indicate how urgently we need reform: The unfunded liabilities of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid already exceed $106 trillion. That’s well over $300,000 for every man, woman and child in America (and exceeds the combined value of every U.S. bank account, stock certificate, building and piece of personal or public property).
The Congressional Budget Office has warned that the interest on our federal debt is “poised to skyrocket.” Even Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke is sounding alarms. Yet the White House insists that substantial spending cuts would hurt the economy and increase unemployment.
Plenty of compelling examples indicate just the opposite. When Canada recently reduced its federal spending to 11.3% of GDP from 17.5% eight years earlier, the economy rebounded and unemployment dropped. By comparison, our federal spending is 25% of GDP.
…Recent studies show that the poorest 10% of the population living in countries with the greatest economic freedom have 10 times the per capita income of the poorest citizens in countries with the least economic freedom. In other words, society as a whole benefits from greater economic freedom.
The most telling moment of Thursday’s GOP debate wasn’t when Michele Bachmann cooly stuck a knife between Tim Pawlenty’s ribs, or when Rick Santorum plaintively begged for more airtime, or when Mitt Romney easily slipped past questions about his record on health-care reform. It was when every single GOP candidate on the stage agreed that they would reject a budget deal that was $10 in spending cuts for every $1 in tax increases. Even Fox News’s Bret Baier couldn’t quite believe what he was seeing. He asked again just to make sure the assembled candidates had understood the question.
I was splashing around in Lake Michigan last week when the realization hit me like a wave — I was wrong about Barack Obama. I should have voted for Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primary three years ago.
When millions of willing and able workers are unemployed, and economic potential is going to waste to the tune of almost $1 trillion a year, you want policy makers who work on a fast recovery, not people who lecture you on the need for long-run fiscal sustainability.
[Bret] Stephens quotes President Obama as saying to an aide in 2008, “I know more about policies on any particular issue than my policy directors. And I’ll tell you right now that I’m… a better political director than my political director.” Obama’s vanity Stephens excuses as but an echo of the balderdash said about him by his admirers. I know what he means. There is the “presidential historian” Michael Beschloss telling radio host Don Imus that Obama “is a guy whose IQ is off the charts….” Asked for evidence, Beschloss confides, “he’s probably the smartest guy ever to become president.” And of course a media “presidential historian” would know.