Liveblogging World War II: March 27, 1943
The Live Arguments for Austerity Right Now: A Bestiary

Noted for March 28, 2013

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  • Andrew Kohut: The numbers prove it: The Republican Party is estranged from America: "While there are no catchy phrases for the Republicans of 2013, their image problems are readily apparent… the more extreme party, the side unwilling to compromise or negotiate seriously to tackle the economic turmoil that challenges the nation…. [E]ven elements of the Republican leadership that had been so confident of a Mitt Romney victory… are now looking at ways to find more electable candidates and cope with the disproportionate influence of hard-liners…. [A] staunch conservative bloc… has undermined the GOP’s national image. The Republican Party’s ratings now stand at a 20-year low, with just 33 percent of the public holding a favorable view of the party and 58 percent judging it unfavorably…. The values gap between Republicans and Democrats is now greater than the one between men and women, young and old, or any racial or class divides…. [A} bloc of doctrinaire, across-the-board conservatives has become a dominant force on the right…. There was less diversity of values within the GOP than at any time in the past quarter-century."

  • David Frum sends us to Tim Montgomerie: The shrinking Cameron project: "I have never been a huge fan of Cameron. The über-modernisation. The disregard for the views of Tory MPs and grassroot members. The incompetent 2010 general election campaign. The rush to coalition, including a badly-negotiated deal on AV. The decision to backload spending cuts and frontload tax rises. The lack of a proper growth strategy. This last week has taken me to a new place, however. The shambolic handling of press regulation. The decision to offer a childcare subsidy that wasn't in the Coalition Agreement… a failure to deliver a marriage tax allowance that was…. [T]he Budget that gave up on deficit reduction and, in its place, announced a housing policy that may create another dangerous boom. Cameron's leadership is indeed looking like a lost decade. In Cameronism's first phase there was huge ambition… transform Britain and conservatism… fight climate change, protect the NHS… rebuild the family, cut big business down to size and work towards a ministerial team that was one-third women. The second more modest phase of Cameronism began when the economic crisis struck… form a government of national unity to balance the books. But we now know that the books won't be close to balanced. There has been no reimagining of the state and no grand plan for economic renewal. Our government added £120 billion to the national debt last year. It'll add another £120 billion this year and another £120 billion next. In what parallel universe does that add up to deficit reduction or fiscal responsibility? We're now into phase three of Cameronism. Plan A for deficit reduction is on the back burner and plan B(eer) for re-election is underway. And, you know what - despite the collapse in party membership, the defection of the centre right press and the splintering of the Tory vote - it might even work."

David Frum: The Free-Market Merits of a Carbon Tax | John Carney: Our Massively One-Sided Immigration Debate | David Frum: I Was Wrong About Same-Sex Marriage | The Museum of Bad Art |

  • Paul Krugman: Subways Pay: "Here’s an interesting new working paper: Subways, Strikes, and Slowdowns… mass transit has a significant impact in reducing traffic congestion, even when it carries only a small fraction of commuters. Why? Because commuters who take mass transit are, very disproportionately, people who would otherwise be driving on the most congested routes…. Indeed. I take the train to New York, which keeps me out of the Lincoln Tunnel, and thereby does drivers a big favor. Who cares if nobody takes the train to suburban office campuses? The author tests this claim by taking advantage of a natural experiment, a subway strike in Los Angeles, and finds that even in LA, where public transit is a very small factor, the strike had a quite large effect on travel delays. And he concludes that the LA subway system easily passes a cost-benefit test. Neat stuff. But then I would say that, wouldn’t I? As George Will explained, my motives are sinister: 'the real reason for progressives’ passion for trains is their goal of diminishing Americans’ individualism in order to make them more amenable to collectivism.' Muahahaha."

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On March 27, 2013: