Video of the day

No, I don’t actually expect you to watch all of this, but somebody actually remade the entire Toy Story movie using real toys.  Amazing:

Being shot doesn’t help your logic

Certainly too bad for Evan Todd that he was shot in the Columbine massacre.  Presumably that gives him some moral authority to talk about gun laws.  What it doesn’t provide him is much knowledge of the issue or basic logical reasoning.  To wit:

First, a universal background check will have many devastating effects. It will arguably have the opposite impact of what you propose. If adopted, criminals will know that they can not pass a background check legally, so they will resort to other avenues. With the conditions being set by this initiative, it will create a large black market for weapons and will support more criminal activity and funnel additional money into the hands of thugs, criminals, and people who will do harm to American citizens.

Huh?  Because there’s no black market now?  Criminals are going to get guns anyway, so we might as well make it legal for them to get guns?

Second, this is just another law that endangers law-abiding citizens. I’ve heard you ask, “why does someone need 30 bullets to kill a deer?”

Let me ask you this: Why would you prefer criminals to have the ability to out-gun law-abiding citizens? Under this policy, criminals will still have their 30-round magazines, but the average American will not. Whose side are you on?

Because average Americans are so frequently needing that 30 round magazine to stop bad guys– right?  Perhaps if 30-round magazines were not legal, there’d be many fewer for criminals to have.  It’s not like criminals are going around with a lot of weapons that are otherwise illegal.

There’s more, but I’m not going to waste my time.  Just sad.

The kids are alright

So, I’m working on the generation gap for a talk at Chapel Hill next week.  And I should be working on that instead of blogging, but I did want to share this recent NYT piece on how the youngest Americans are quite alright with big government.  First, here’s a nice chart:

govt

 

 

And from the article:

It is no secret that young voters tilt left on social issues likeimmigration and gay rights. But these students, and dozens of other young people interviewed here last week, give voice to a trend that is surprising pollsters and jangling the nerves of Republicans. On a central philosophical question of the day — the size and scope of the federal government — a clear majority of young people embraces President Obama’s notion that it can be a constructive force, a point he intends to make in his State of the Union address on Tuesday…

Under-30 voters are “the only age group in which a majority said the government should do more to fix problems,” the nonpartisan Pew Research Center reported in November. In a Pew survey a year earlier, more than 8 in 10 said they believed that Social Security and Medicare had been good for the country, and they were especially supportive of seeing the programs overhauled so they would be intact when they retire. (Young people were also more open than their elders to privatizing the programs.)

And while Washington fights about how to cut the federal deficit, young voters believe that it is more important to create jobs, have affordable access to health care and develop “a world-class education system,” according to the Institute of Politics at Harvard.

In short, the Republican party needs to do more than change on immigration and gay marriage to win over the newest generation of voters.  And contrary to conventional wisdom, there’s no reason to believe that they are simply going to become conservative as they age.

Reaping what you sow

I like how this post about John McCain’s crazy anti-immigrant constituents (watch the video) puts this in a proper perspective:

Blowback is very dangerous. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Many in the Republican Party are starting to find that out. Sadly it is materially affecting the entire country. The country is in a state of policy paralysis because of the monster the Republican Party, Fox News, and the Right Wing echo chamber have created in their zeal to slow down at best, or prevent at worst the policies of President Obama’s administration…

The problem is when you lie to a constituency to get elected or to disrupt policies, they assume that the policies you will support are in line with the lies they believed. Henceforth, McCain’s town hall meeting is a visible result of his own and his Party’s creation. They are faced with a hate filled misinformed constituency that will be disappointed when both parties are forced to work together to move the country forward.

There’s excerpts from the crazy townhall people, but you should just watch the video at the link.

Generational redistribution

Hopefully I’ll have some energy to write some real posts today.  Until then, just make sure you’ve read this Ezra post, if you haven’t already.  Love this factoid:

Few seniors have actually paid for their Medicare benefits. According to an Urban Institute estimate, the typical retired couple paid $122,000 in lifetime Medicare taxes but can expect to receive benefits worth $387,000. Social Security is another story. There, the average retired couple paid $600,000 in lifetime taxes for $579,000 in benefits. Put together, it’s $722,000 in taxes for $966,000 in benefits. (All figures are adjusted for inflation.)

And why this matters:

The point here isn’t that seniors don’t deserve their benefits, or have done something wrong. It’s that the structure and politics of the federal budget right now are leading to a situation in which spending on retirees and keeping taxes low on current workers could really shortchange needed investments in our future. And, while I don’t want to fall into the trap of pretending that government exists to pay out future Social Security benefits, if future growth is low, it’s very difficult to imagine promises to current workers being kept.

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