GUTSY. Note that on the flag-burning amendment, Robert Byrd voted against.
Even though he�s from red West Virginia. Even though Jay Rockefeller voted yea. Even though he�s involved in a potentially tough reelection campaign against a simian blowhard from my hometown named John Raese who will demagogue this to death. Even though virtually every other Democrat facing an election this year -- especially those from red states, and even one from a blue state (Bob Menendez) -- voted yeah. (The roll call is here.) Even though Byrd could have been the 67th and thus decisive vote in favor.
When the government imposes restrictions that artificially raise prices above the competitive market level, economic theory predicts that producers will engage in anti-social rent-seeking behavior to maximize their rents. Drug patents, which raise drug prices by several hundred percent above the competitive market price (sometimes several thousand percent), lead to all sorts of corruption, just as economic theory predicts.
The Times ran an informative article on the Bush administration's new rules requiring states to impose more stringent work requirements on welfare recipients. However, the piece fell short in telling readers the cost of welfare. It reports that welfare is blockgranted at $16 billion annually between 2007 and 2010. It would have been helpful to tell readers that the cost of the program will fall from 0.6 percent of total spending in 2007 to 0.5 percent of spending by 2010.
KOOKY? YES. I just got off the phone with Lieberman's press secretary, and I can confirm that yes, she is a bit "kooky." I had called to find out simply what polling company the senator was using, and she nearly jumped down my throat: "Are you working on a story? Is this for a process story?!" She then ranted about how the campaign was focused on the issues of Connecticut voters, all the while growing more agitated.
ON SIMPLICITY.Scott Winship at the new Daily Strategist blog purports to disagree with me and Jon Chait as to whether it's possible to quickly summarize liberal thinking on economic policy. The trouble is that his summary is, well, not all that quick:
KEEPING THE BOOT ON THE NECK. This Hillpiece about the heat Democrats are bringing down on vulnerable House GOP incumbent Mike Fitzpatrick on the subject of Social Security privatization makes for highly encouraging reading. For a while there has been a real worry that Democrats' fierce and devastating victory in the Social Security fight last year was turning out to have been a catastrophic success -- too much of a victory, too soon, for it to be a live issue to campaign on in the fall of 2006. Democrats seemed to have been satisfied with their substantive defeat of actual legislation and weirdly inclined to move on to other issues once that fight had been won.
BOOK CLUBS.This is rather funny. Excited that the Chamber of Commerce's educational wing has selected Cato scholar Arnold Kling's healthcare treatise for their "Top 10 Reading Selections," Michael Cannon enthuses that "The foundation�s board is a bipartisan group of influential figures from the business, political, and policy spheres...[which] evidently agreed with Marginal Revolution publisher Tyler Cowen that Crisis of Abundance 'is one of the most important books written on health care.'�
WAIT A SEC. All due respect to Charlie Pierce, but I've never mentioned Jerome's astrology stuff, have no idea what this is about, and would appreciate it if someone could link me to a synopsis. I think he means Garance and Matt.
By the way, TAPPED astrology fun fact: Did you know that Sam Rosenfeld, Matt Yglesias, and I are all Tauruses?
ASTROLOGY, A POLITICAL LIABILITY? All due respect to Garance and Ezra, but the proof that this whole Kos-TNR rockfight has been conducted exclusively with the moon in the House Of Groucho is probably the latest iteration in which poor Jerome Armstrong, who should just go to the track the next time he wants to make easy money, is belabored with the fact that he has an interest in astrology. I disagree with the notion that this necessarily is a political problem, and anyone who asserts that it is must somehow answer the argument that a similar interest didn't seem to derail the political careers of these fine folks.