June 22, 2012
"Ultimately the deep problem isn’t about personalities or individual leadership, it’s about the nation as a whole. Something has gone very wrong with America, not just its economy, but its ability to function as a democratic nation. And it’s hard to see when or how that wrongness will get fixed."

— Yikes. Krugman and Wells via The New York Review Of Books.

April 12, 2012
theeconomist:

Tomorrow’s cover today: our cover in North America argues that the presidential campaign looks likely to sharpen America’s divisions.

Everyone’s kidding themselves following politics the way they do like the nuances of this election are at all meaningful. If you think we can solve any of these intractable problems we’ve been accumulating without fundamental changes, and i mean fundamental as in going to the core of people’s underlying assumptions and opinions about what a political party is and what a politician does, then you’re delusional. We need radical change in how people organize society. In other words, we need further evolution in the organization of the global political ecosystem. This has to be the next evolutionary step that society/humanity takes. It’s either inevitable this happens and we continue going forth as a species or we’ve tragically reached, as Fukuyama says, “The End of History.”
And if you think this is all wild conjecture, just remember how crazy far humanity has come in only the past few thousand years. And how that pace of change has come to increase with such rapidity in recent centuries and decades. After all, in less than fifty years communism went from a legitimate competitor to capitalism to an almost extinct political and economic phenomena. And the difference between communism and capitalism is pretty friggin huge. 
Or, I don’t know, maybe technology will soon advance to a point where we’ll just all clone ourselves over to computer simulators and live forever in individual utopia. Maybe it already happened and that’s what life is.

theeconomist:

Tomorrow’s cover today: our cover in North America argues that the presidential campaign looks likely to sharpen America’s divisions.

Everyone’s kidding themselves following politics the way they do like the nuances of this election are at all meaningful. If you think we can solve any of these intractable problems we’ve been accumulating without fundamental changes, and i mean fundamental as in going to the core of people’s underlying assumptions and opinions about what a political party is and what a politician does, then you’re delusional. We need radical change in how people organize society. In other words, we need further evolution in the organization of the global political ecosystem. This has to be the next evolutionary step that society/humanity takes. It’s either inevitable this happens and we continue going forth as a species or we’ve tragically reached, as Fukuyama says, “The End of History.”

And if you think this is all wild conjecture, just remember how crazy far humanity has come in only the past few thousand years. And how that pace of change has come to increase with such rapidity in recent centuries and decades. After all, in less than fifty years communism went from a legitimate competitor to capitalism to an almost extinct political and economic phenomena. And the difference between communism and capitalism is pretty friggin huge. 

Or, I don’t know, maybe technology will soon advance to a point where we’ll just all clone ourselves over to computer simulators and live forever in individual utopia. Maybe it already happened and that’s what life is.

April 9, 2012
While affordable housing advocates and local politicians nobly debate over whether local tax money should be used to finance the construction of low-income units or for vouchers, the federal government continues its backwards system of giving homeowners (renters, of course, get nathan) a guaranteed subsidy that is disproportionately doled out to the rich.

Basically, as the post’s author illustrates, the majority of US Housing Subsidies are eaten up by the Home Mortgage Interest Deduction program, of which the biggest benefactors are those with more expensive homes/rich people. The amount given to subsidize the living of extremely low income households is comparably (and shockingly) small.

March 3, 2012
The biggest issue with lobbying isn't that it leads to outright fraud; it's that it leads to intellectual capture

"The outcome of this is that a disproportionate number of people who have access to politicians, and who are owed favors by politicians, are lobbyists. And so those politicians are listening to a lot of lobbyists—lobbyists who are being paid by a client to invest in their relationships with politicians in order to advance the client’s interest. On some level, the politicians know that. But it doesn’t feel that way to them. It feels like they’re listening to reasonable arguments by people they like and respect on behalf of interests they’re already sympathetic to. And what’s so wrong with that? The answer, of course, is that players with money are getting a lot more representation than players without money, not in sacks of cash delivered in the middle of the night, but through people a politician listens to and trusts and even likes having lunch with in the bright light of the day."

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