Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Cruising the Web

Despite the media saying that the House Cut, Cap, and Balance Act would cap federal spending at 18% of GDP, actually the number is 19.9% of GDP which would put us back at where federal spending was in 2007 and is at the post-World War II average spending level.

I agree with the WSJ, a balanced budget amendment is not the solution. If having balanced budget provisions in the Constitution was enough, why do so many states that have similar provisions have such budgetary problems? They play games and use bookkeeping gimmicks to hide the huge deficits they're incurring. If such provisions worked, California, Michigan, and Illinois wouldn't be facing such financial matches. Ramesh Ponnuru also has doubts about such an amendment. He ponts to a vote to restore a measly $6 million to a program to help rural areas get broadband. It got 90 Republican votes including some Tea Party favorites. That's just one of many examples to demonstrate how hard it is to get cuts when favored programs are on the line. He also wonders how such an amendment would be enforced.

Karl Rove looks into the
information in Obama's fundraising last quarter. The top number is impressive, but isn't as impressive as it needs to be to meet his $1 billion goal. I've wondered why the Obama campaign made it public that they wanted him to be the $1 billion man. Why not just raise the money and let the numbers speak for themselves?

Jennifer Rubin asks a good question
: "What do congressional Democrats have to show for themselves? We know they oppose the GOP proposals. But where are their proposals. Where is their budget? The New York Post has a similar question.

Powerline has been posting excerpts from a book by a UCLA professor, Tim Gorseclose. The book is Left Turn: How Liberal Media Bias Distorts the American Mind. Here is the preface, introduction, part of the eighth chapter. He starts off talking about an analysis that he did of media bias and how the leftist blogosphere erupted in spasms of hatred responding to that study. What they didn't have were reasoned analyses of possible errors in his study. Fortunately, UCLA and his co-author's employer at the University of Missouri resisted leftist pressure to fire the authors and instead they received promotions. It's an illuminating insight into the fury that any scholarly analysis of media bias invokes.

Bret Stephens contrasts
the Wikileaks and News of the World hacking stories. The contrast is striking.
Both, in short, are despicable instances of journalistic malpractice, for which some kind of price ought to be paid. So why is one a scandal, replete with arrests, resignations and parliamentary inquests, while the other is merely a controversy, with Mr. Assange's name mooted in some quarters for a Nobel Peace Prize?

The easy answer is that the news revealed by WikiLeaks was in the public interest, whereas what was disclosed by News of the World was merely of interest to the public. By this reckoning, if it's a great matter of state, and especially if it's a government secret, it's fair game. Not so if it's just so much tittle-tattle about essentially private affairs.
Don't get me wrong. I think the hacking done by News of the World was despicable. I just dislike the hypocrisy. So much of the British press regularly involves itself in sleazy journalistic practices. Remember the hacking of the Prince of Wales' private phone conversations with Camilla wherein we learned that his idea of romance was to wish that he was a tampon? Why wasn't there an outcry and arrests back then? What about allegations against CNN's Piers Morgan from his time as editor of The Mirror? And there are similar allegations And Stephens is correct to point to the differing responses to WikiLeaks. Newspapers were happy to print that information even when it might have endangered people's lives.

Economist Eric Hanushek castigates California for deciding to cut education spending by cutting days from the school year.

Yet more evidence that being poor
is quite different than it used to be.