Nearly "every problem with the Republican Party today could be cured by a neocon revival", says David Brooks. Brooks isn’t talking about the hawkish approach to foriegn policy that urged US military involvement in the middle east, he’s talking about the domestic policy ideas of people like Irving Kristol.
According to Kristol, neoconservatism’s mission is: "to convert the Republican party, and American conservatism in general, against their respective wills, into a new kind of conservative politics suitable to governing a modern democracy."
In a 1976 essay titled ‘The Republican Future’, Kristol argued that Republican conservatives lacked any coherent set of ideals or a strategy for achieving them. So instead of setting out an alternative vision for the country, Republicans spent most of their time criticising Democrats. In office, they were obsessed with budget balancing. "Republican leaders tend to think like businessmen rather than like statesmen," he said , "and therefore bumble their way through their terms in office."
Because they tended to think like accountants instead of political leaders, Republicans saw their job as rescuing the nation from bankruptcy. As a result they ended up administering a policy and program framework constructed by Democrats. As Kristol explained:
Pretty interesting stuff:
In this article, we analyze the 1920s Ku Klux Klan, those who joined it, and its social and political impact by combining a wide range of archival data sources with data from the 1920 and 1930 U.S censuses. We find that individuals who joined the Klan in some cities were more educated and more likely to hold professional jobs than the typical American. Surprisingly, we find little evidence that the Klan had an effect on black or foreign-born residential mobility or vote totals. Rather than a terrorist organization, the 1920s Klan is best described as social organization with a very successful multilevel marketing structure fueled by an army of highly incentivized sales agents selling hatred, religious intolerance, and fraternity in a time and place where there was tremendous demand.
I first got to know Tom Watson. OK I’ve never met him but we’ve corresponded when he’d just resigned as a Minister in Gordon Brown’s Government doing many things to promote open government and I was doing the government 2.0 Taskforce. In any event, I’ve marvelled at Tom’s morphing into an MP who, having been through the ordeal of of being savaged by the Murdoch empire became more bereft of support from respectable political folk and more and more determined to see justice done.
Anyway, he’s now resigned from the shadow ministry. “After nearly thirty years of this, I feel like I’ve seen the merry-go-round turn too many times. Whereas the Shadow Cabinet’s for people who still want to get dizzy.” You can read his fine resignation letter here.
Cooperation under Democracy and Authoritarian Norms
By: Björn Vollan, Yexin Zhou, Andreas Landmann, Biliang Hu, Carsten Herrmann-Pillath
There is ample evidence for a “democracy premium”. Laws that have been implemented via election lead to a more cooperative behavior compared to a top-down approach. This has been observed using field data and laboratory experiments. We present evidence from Chinese students and workers who participated in public goods experiments and a value survey. We find a premium for top-down rule implementation stemming from people with stronger individual values for obeying authorities. When participants have values for obeying authorities, they even conform to non-preferred rule. Our findings provide strong evidence that the efficiency of political institutions depends on societal norms.
Fallout from the Snowden saga continues to spread.
Take Hong Kong’s press release on Sunday:
Mr Edward Snowden left Hong Kong today (June 23) on his own accord for a third country through a lawful and normal channel.
The US Government earlier on made a request to the HKSAR Government for the issue of a provisional warrant of arrest against Mr Snowden. Since the documents provided by the US Government did not fully comply with the legal requirements under Hong Kong law, the HKSAR Government has requested the US Government to provide additional information so that the Department of Justice could consider whether the US Government’s request can meet the relevant legal conditions. As the HKSAR Government has yet to have sufficient information to process the request for provisional warrant of arrest, there is no legal basis to restrict Mr Snowden from leaving Hong Kong.
The HKSAR Government has already informed the US Government of Mr Snowden’s departure.
Meanwhile, the HKSAR Government has formally written to the US Government requesting clarification on earlier reports about the hacking of computer systems in Hong Kong by US government agencies. Continue reading
I have just completed a lengthy answer to a very thoughtful comment on my previous post on climate change. And because the raises lots of Very Big issues about how one talks and reasons about ethics, I thought I’d exercise my prerogative and turn the exchange into a post for further Troppodillian development:
I find it interesting that leading econobloggers from the ‘progressive side’ in Australia don’t seem to carry much truck for considering historical responsibility in allocating burden-sharing arrangements on climate (really I’m just counting you and Prof Quiggin – haven’t done much of a survey!)
One possible reason for this is the continued perception of the pollution of the climate system as a sink/externality problem? If you reconceive of the climate system as a resource with a capped limit before depletion (whatever threshold we collectively decide is too risky to cross) then it becomes a source/commons problem and then perhaps the issue of historical consumption becomes much more pressing?
I would say that there are three broadly reasonable justifications for developing countries’ “not committing themselves before seeing action from the North” -although I personally think we’re at the stage where everyone has to everything now, these were particularly relevant in the past and should inform how we share “everything, everyone, now.” Continue reading
Thanks to commenter Sancho for alerting me to the following post, by Sarah Kliff, at the Washington Post’s Wonkblog (via Reading is for Snobs). It had me chuckling all the way to the bottle-o and back on this dreary, rainy Melbourne morning:
Readers ask, we answer! What happens if you don’t pay Obamacare’s tax penalty?
Gene is a self-employed New Yorker who currently purchases his own health insurance. He also is a strong opponent of Obamacare. And starting next year, Gene plans to drop his health coverage in express protest of the health law’s mandate.
“I will cancel my insurance the instant I can no longer be denied insurance for preexisting conditions,” Gene wrote in an e-mail Sunday night. “I will not fill out the special IRS form.”
Gene asked that I not use his last name as he’s talking specifically about disobeying a federal mandate…
“I am especially interested to know what happens, if anything, when my 2013 federal tax return does not include the Obamacare form and when I refuse to comply with any request to produce one?” Gene asked in his e-mail. “Am I correct that if I do not provide the form, there is nothing the IRS can do to me? And if they can do something to me, what is it that they can do?”
To answer these questions, I called up Catherine Livingston. Up until January, she was the health-care counsel in the Internal Revenue Services’s Office of Chief Counsel. She now works as a partner at the law firm Jones Day.
The first thing I asked her was what happens if you don’t send in a form that specifies whether you do or don’t have insurance coverage. That, she told me, isn’t actually clear yet.
I’ll skip over the intricacies of US tax accounting and tax law that follow. What’s interesting to me in this post is Gene’s cunning little plan to avoid paying the $95 tax penalty he might incur by dropping his health coverage: