With Christian ethics in the news -- by way of the "Is there a hell?" debate among conservative evangelicals -- it's worth highlighting this interesting survey result from the Public Religion Research Institute:
Conservatives, in their drive to deny services to leeches low-income people, are overly fond of this formulation, "Poor people aren't really poor, because they own cell phones and big-screen TVs." Ignoring, for a moment, the fact that TV/cell phone ownership isn't particularly indicative of wealth or income, it's also true that for a lower-income household, cell phones are probably cheaper than the alternative, a landline.
The president's approval numbers have also taken a 5 point tumble over the last month. I wonder if his rather transparent deferral of courage to the GOP on the debt has anything to do with it. My own view is, unsurprisingly, un-Krugmanesque. If Obama seeks to win re-election by playing on fears about cuts in Medicare, he'll falter, because people know the crisis is real. Best to stick with the message of fairer debt reduction, shared sacrifice, and some real Medicare cost-cutting that doesn't simply rely on the bend-the-cost-curve experiments whose success is as yet unprovable. [Emphasis mine]