Links, 4/7/11

  • Megan McArdle, “First Thoughts on the Ryan Plan” – from the article: The wildly disproportionate fury and outrage which greeted both Bowles-Simpson and the Ryan plan from the left indicate that progressives have so far failed to come to grips with the fact that they are going to have to compromise: that while some of the gap is going to be closed by tax increases, some of it is going to be closed by spending cuts.  And not just defense cuts, or seemingly trivial changes to physician reimbursement rates that we hope will snowball over time, but actual cuts in services that people currently want and expect to get from government–but do not want or expect to pay for.
  • Jay Cost, “Make No Mistake: the Economy is Problematic for Obama” – from the article: This precipitous decline in the economy comes despite the fact that the federal government has pumped an unprecedented amount of cash into the private sector over the last three years. Obviously, the 2009 stimulus bill was the most notable such example, but there has been much more than that. The extraordinary extensions of unemployment benefits were stimuli. So was the increased level of domestic discretionary spending approved by the Democrats in the last Congress. So was the deal in December on cutting the payroll tax. Additionally, the progressivity of the income tax has been a kind of stimulus – as people’s incomes have fallen, the percentage of that income that has gone to the government has fallen as well. All in all, we have seen the federal government spend more than any point in decades, take in less, and run an unprecedentedly large budget deficit to finance the whole operation…
  • David Axe, “On Pakistan Border, U.S. Troops Launch Their Own Spring Offensive” (h/t Josh) – from the article: The young Afghan took aim, squeezed the trigger and — click, nothing happened. He tried again. Click. Embarrassed, he turned to another Afghan standing to his right, exposing the huddled Americans to the rocket’s blast-zone. When Tanner, McCune and Swaim cried out in alarm, the Afghan turned toward them — now the rocket’s warhead was pointed directly at Fox Company. “Take. Out. The round,” Tanner ordered. The Afghans slouched away. Schlund hurried to catch up and, through an interpreter, explained in no uncertain terms how badly the young soldiers had screwed up.
  • Friedrich Gulda plays a Mozart Sonata in B-flat major: not sure which one, but it is good.

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