Monday, April 05, 2010

Cruising the Web

Robert Samuelson examines how our politics has come to be dominated by politicians who try to appeal to voters' self-esteem by making them feel that supporting their policy prescriptions makes them morally superior people. Politics becomes even more divisive because the choice is not just between alternate policies, but between the moral and the evil policy. If you doubt the painting of one's foes as not just misguided, but evil, look to Democrats like the morally superior Charlie Rangel who sees foes of Obamacare as similar to the racists who fought against civil rights.

John Feinstein explodes the hypocrisy of the NCAA which refuses to put in a tournament to resolve the college football championship because it would be too disruptive to the student-athletes' classwork, but blithely are planning to expand the NCAA basketball field which will take kids out of more classes than they are today.
The bottom line is, of course, the bottom line. The tournament is going to expand, "student-athletes" will miss more class time, there won't be a football playoff, college basketball will still be a great game and the tournament itself will still be great fun, because it's so good even the NCAA suits can't destroy it.

Let's give them all a big round of applause for that, because if we don't do it, they will.
Jay Matthews explains how today's college-educated parents have joined into the "Rug Rat Race" as they spend more time chauffeuring their children to all sorts of activities in order to better position them for getting into prestigious colleges. I've had the good fortune to work with many of these parents who get up at 5 in the morning to help drive our Quiz Bowl team across the state to compete and then return after 10 in the evening. God bless 'em. We couldn't do what we do without their help.

It's even good news or bad news
- but unemployment is likely to increase as discouraged workers return to the job market.

This is the golden age for lobbyists.
And I thought that Obama was going to reduce the reach of lobbyists in politics.

And if you think lobbyists have too much influence on policy making now, just wait until we get a VAT tax. Irwin Stelzer looks at how the VAT works in England and how, depending on how a product is defined, it will or won't get taxed and have over 17% added to its cost.
They can hand a competing product the advantage in the U.K. of a price 17.5% lower (in Sweden it's 25%) than a close substitute. That invites both lobbying and corruption and sheer, inexplicable arbitrariness. Get your "sweetened dried fruit" deemed to be "held out for sale as snacking and home baking" and your product will bear a tax and have to compete on grocers' shelves with zero-rated "sweetened dried fruit held out for sale as confectionary/snacking." Peddle your sandwiches "as a general grocery item" and consumers pay no tax, but offer them as "part of a buffet service" and the VAT man wants his 17.5%.
And we'll be turning more and more control over our economy to the bureaucrats who will decide how every item is rated and what level it will be taxed at. And politicians will be able to turn on the tax spigot in ways that will not be as visible to the public at large.

Michael Barone cautions
young people that Obama and the Democrats' policies will end up restricting choices available to them to have a satisfying career.

It's beginning to sound more and more like Justice Stevens will be leaving after this term giving President Obama another nomination to the Court. James Richardson at Red State takes a look at some of the possible choices.

According to The Hill,
40% of those who consider themselves part of the Tea Party movement are either Democrats or independents. That's not quite what you'd imagine if you just listened to how the media portrays them.

Vulnerable Democrats who voted for Obamacare are starting to hear from their constituents.