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  • DOES STUDENT AID...

    DOES STUDENT AID WORK AFTER ALL? One of the more clever libertarian arguments I've heard is that federal tuition assistance doesn't make college more affordable -- if the government offers $X in assistance, colleges just respond by raising tuition commensurately. Or, as Neil McCluskey puts it today at the Cato blog, "Some people complain that tuition is too high and demand that politicians make college 'affordable.' Politicians, to get votes, provide student aid. Then schools, suddenly able to get more money, raise tuition. But wait, that makes college 'unaffordable' again! And so it goes�" But then in the next paragraph, he writes: "Indeed, aid has actually been increasing faster than tuition over the last ten years." And he seems to have the numbers to back that up. But if aid's been increasing faster than tuition, doesn't that mean that aid programs do, in fact, work as designed? After all, aid is supposed to grow faster than tuition and make school more affordable. Am I missing...
  • YEARLYKOS. Wondering...

    YEARLYKOS . Wondering why the magazines are a bit quiet? Possibly because large segments of their staffs are in Las Vegas, making a fishbowl of YearlyKos. In the rooms I've been in, attendees have barely outnumbered those writing about the attendees. A CAP-sponsored seminar on media appearances this morning saw the second row populated by The Weekly Standard 's Matt Labash , The National Review 's Byron York , and The American Prospect 's me. Also darting in and out of the session were The New Republic 's Ryan Lizza , Time 's Ana Marie-Cox , Salon 's Michael Scherer , a Chicago Tribune reporter, and Maureen Dowd . And this was not, mind you, a large room. --Ezra Klein
  • LINES IN THE...

    LINES IN THE SAND. The New York Times editorializes about the "ridiculous" push for a constitutional amendment to ban flag-burning -- "an issue that exists only for the purpose of pandering to a tiny slice of voters." Though the Times is correct that this is not a high-salience, top-priority issue for most voters, it should be noted that banning flag-burning actually commands majority support in opinion surveys (support for a constitutional amendment to do so is always lower, though usually still above 50 percent). The Times 's political advice to Dems: "Senator Harry Reid, the minority leader, should be rallying Democrats to join the small handful of principled Republicans so far willing to oppose the amendment." (In fact, Reid 's going to vote for it.) Now, I certainly agree that a constitutional amendment banning flag burning is bad and that the principled thing to do would be to oppose it. But I'm often perplexed by arguments like the one found in this Times editorial, wherein the...
  • DERBYSHIRE SELLS OUT....

    DERBYSHIRE SELLS OUT. John Derbyshire has some odd reflections on his Party of Death review in which he recants nothing, but nonetheless says he regrets letting spirited controversy get in the way of collegiality. Let me just observe one nice thing about the line of argument Ramesh Ponnuru 's been adhering to in this debate -- it's clear-cut and seemingly really does follow from its premises. Normally, one sees pro-lifers taking less hardline views and becoming a bit befuddled, often trying to point out that the premises that allegedly underwrite their conclusions serve equally well to underwrite a whole bunch of much-less-congenial conclusions. Ponnuru, though, is happy to bite all of these bullets and embrace a very extreme view, which tends to make further argument pointless. "One man's modus ponens is another man's modus tollens," and it's hard to know what else one can say about that. But while I'm quite sure this will convince nobody, I do think it's worth bringing the systemic...
  • GRADUATION 2006: SEND YOUR DAUGHTERS TO WORK DAY.

    GRADUATION 2006: SEND YOUR DAUGHTERS TO WORK DAY. Today is Harvard�s graduation day . While the politicians and pundits exhort the lucky few to lead their nation and give back to their communities, no one mentions that many of them will do nothing of the kind. If current trends keep up, half of the graduates who are women are not going to lead the nation. They�re going to stay home and raise their babies. Harvard degrees and all. Many don�t want to wind up homeward bound. Often, social forces -- discrimination in the workplace, the long hours that top jobs require -- discourage them from trying to have family and career. Almost half (PDF) of female college graduates with children do not work full-time. Although the census data shows around 76 percent of them in the �labor force,� about a 17 percent are working only part-time, with predictable loss of influence, and another 4 percent are unemployed and looking for work. Some of them admit they never liked working; others dream of...
  • TIME AND AGAIN...

    TIME AND AGAIN (AND AGAIN!) K-Lo with an assist from David Pryce-Jones unleashes a dispatch from the Gamma Quadrant: "He calls Zarqawi�s demise both a 'collassal morale boost' for all of us but says it also has 'big operational significance.' 'When you get rid of a leader, it�s very hard to replace him.' The Israelis have proved this time and time again." The Israelis certainly have proven a lot of things about the tactical/operational aspects of counterterrorism time and again. And, indeed, again. And again. They've proven them so often, for so long, that one might almost conclude that tactical counterterrorism accomplishes very little absent resolution of the underlying political conflicts. --Matthew Yglesias
  • TURNING POINT! TURNING...

    TURNING POINT! TURNING POINT! Look, it's great that Zarqawi 's dead , and it's certainly too bad the Bush administration chose not to kill him when they had the chance years ago, preferring to keep him alive since it was useful to bolstering the set of deceptions they used to launch a war in which tens of thousands of innocent people have been killed, but let's not kid ourselves here. Zarqawi's importance to the tactical situation in Iraq has always been overstated, and I doubt he has any significance at all to the strategic situation. Many less-trivial turns of events that provoked outbursts of optimism -- Saddam 's capture, the Iraqi elections -- have proven to be wildly overblown, and it would be honestly moronic to make a big deal out of this (naturally, they're making a big deal over at the Corner), which even the President seems to at least semi-recognize. We kill people associated with the insurgency in Iraq all the time, and have been doing so for years. The problem hasn't...
  • TRIUMPH OF HOPE...

    TRIUMPH OF HOPE OVER EXPERIENCE. I'm really eager to be convinced that Jacob Weisberg is right and that the gay marriage issue won't work for the GOP this time around. But man oh man am I not convinced by his reasoning: A second reason the issue won't work again is that Democrats have by now figured out how to handle the issue. It is reasonable to assume that a great many of them would, in their heart of hearts, like to see gay marriage legalized. But they recognize that pressing the case nationally is likely to set back the cause as well as their prospects for retaking Congress in 2006 and the White House in 2008. So, Democrats have honed their talking points on the subject: Marriage should be an issue for states (the federalist position usually espoused by Republicans); the amendment is discriminatory and would also ban civil unions, which most people favor (this is an unsettled question); and why tinker unnecessarily with the Constitution, especially while the Defense of Marriage...
  • WHO COULD HAVE...

    WHO COULD HAVE GUESSED? What's that you say? A covert CIA operation backfired and accomplished roughly the reverse of what was hoped for? Stuff like that never happens. Except, you know, it happens all the time . For some reason, though, nobody ever seems to catch on to the idea that the odds of success in these kinds of efforts are just very, very, very low. --Matthew Yglesias
  • JUST POSTED ON...

    JUST POSTED ON TAP: A MAN IN FULL. Garance Franke-Ruta notes that Al Gore �s new movie has turned his criticized qualities into critical ones. --The Editors

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