“Usually when I get up this early, I get up to kill something.” — Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), at an early morning church service to a congregation not familiar with his passion for bowhunting. Yes, such a Christian thing to say. So is Sarah Palin’s statement that that “Waterboarding is how we baptize terrorists.” Out of all the dumb and offensive and idiotic things she has said since bursting onto the scene in 2008, this is the most outrageous.
A new Democracy Corps survey in battleground congressional districts shows 52% of respondents want to “implement and fix” the 2010 health care reform law versus 42% who want to “repeal and replace” it.
Start with the narrow issue of land use. For historical reasons, the federal government owns a lot of land in the West; some of that land is open to ranching, mining and so on. Like any landowner, the Bureau of Land Management charges fees for the use of its property. The only difference from private ownership is that by all accounts the government charges too little—that is, it doesn’t collect as much money as it could, and in many cases doesn’t even charge enough to cover the costs that these private activities impose. In effect, the government is using its ownership of land to subsidize ranchers and mining companies at taxpayers’ expense.
It’s true that some of the people profiting from implicit taxpayer subsidies manage, all the same, to convince themselves and others that they are rugged individualists. But they’re actually welfare queens of the purple sage.
Jonathan Chait: “Since at least October, the assumption has held that the midterm elections will revolve thematically around Obamacare. A series of new developments is suddenly making that once-rock-solid assumption look questionable.”