Supply and Demand of Government Resources

By systematically underpricing the costs of government resources through tax cuts and deficit spending, Republicans have driven up demand and consumption for those government resources.  If taxes were raised to reflect the actual cost of those government services, presumably the demand for those services would decrease.  Granted, different services have different levels of price elasticity, so demand changes would not be uniform across the state sector.  None the less, I think applying a simple microeconomic model to government services like any other good or service is a useful exercise.  In fact, this entire idea underpins Bruce Bartlett’s good attack on Republican “starve-the-beast” ideology.

Supply and Demand of Government Resources

University Students and the GOP

David Frum has a good post about why the GOP has so much trouble with top university students:

Today’s top students are motivated less by enthusiasm for Democrats and much more by revulsion from Republicans. It’s not the students who have changed so much. It’s the Republicans.

It’s worth reading full.  Kevin Drum has a simpler explanation:

Older voters might be willing to accept Republican incoherence simply because it’s in their interest to do so and they don’t really care if the arguments make sense, but younger voters don’t have that same motivation. Republican magical thinking doesn’t really benefit them, so they’re just repelled by it.

It’s not just that Republican magical thinking doesn’t directly benefit young people in any tangible way.  The bigger problem is that, values aside, this magical thinking is so easy to knock down.  At universities where a bunch of bright young people are getting into late-night bull sessions by night and reading academic literature by day, these arguments have no chance of gaining traction.  They fall down under any empirical attack.  I don’t think politicians need to go around saying the most intellectually daring arguments out there, but they should have some substance behind them.  Republicans increasingly rely on glass house arguments.  Ambitious kids who think they know much more than they do are going to throw rocks.  It would take someone with a lot fortitude to constantly want to play that sort of defense with your peer group.

Increasingly in my life, I simply end conversations when they veer into Republican fantasyland.  I’m not going to argue about whether the Bush tax cuts added to the deficit or not.  Either you base arguments on widely accepted factual premises or you don’t.

University Students and the GOP

All Buildings Must be Segway Compliant!

Fred Barnes writes a typical conservative column decrying non-auto transportation without mentioning how the state subsidizes automobile transportation in a myriad of ways.  Then there’s this at the end:

In his tabletop speech, LaHood said he and his wife take their bikes to the path along the C&O Canal and “ride as far as we possibly can.” That’s nice. But it’s interesting, and perhaps telling, that the canal, as a major mode of transportation, has been obsolete since the 1880s—a lot like bicycling and walking.

Walking is obsolete? And it’s been obsolete from the late 19th century?

All Buildings Must be Segway Compliant!

Reveal and Re-educate

Ron Johnson, the Republican Senate candidate in Wisconsin who is ahead in the polls, is committing himself to the “re-education of America.”  Sounds eerily like brainwashing, but there’s more:

[H]e watches his words, ignoring the fact that he’s already making the trade-offs conventional politicians make to win office. It will be different once and if he wins, he promises. Then, his true feelings can take voice. (emphasis added)

I’m sure once he reveals his true feelings, and re-educates us, I’ll realize the evil ways of liberalism, and why rich people’s lives are so hard and need more money.

Reveal and Re-educate

Political Malpractice, A Definition

Allowing the opposing political party to intimidate and suppress voters that form one of your bases, and then allow the opposing party to gin up pseudo-controversies over voter fraud:

Republican Senate candidate Mark Kirk caught on tape discussing his plan to send “voter integrity” squads to four predominantly African-American Chicago neighborhoods on election day. Kirk calls them “vulnerable precincts … where the other side might be tempted to jigger the numbers somewhat.”

Democrats appear, as always, to allow the GOP to suppress minority voters.

Political Malpractice, A Definition