The Detroit bankruptcy case has been cast as a contest between bondholders and pensioners that can be resolved only by shared sacrifice. [...] In principle, we have no problem with that, though in practice, the pensioners’ fair share will have to take into account their extreme vulnerability: Public pensions are not federally insured and many municipal retirees do not receive Social Security.Meanwhile, Paul Krugman looks at a "moment of truthiness":
What we do have a problem with is shared sacrifice that does not seem to apply to the big banks that abetted Detroit’s descent into bankruptcy. [...] The banks’ 25 percent hit is nothing compared with the 90 percent cut to pensions suggested by the city — a cut that would be disastrous in both human and political terms and that the State of Michigan must prevent from happening.
You probably won’t be surprised to hear that voters are poorly informed about the deficit. But you may be surprised by just how misinformed. [...] Hal Varian, the chief economist of Google, offered to run a Google Consumer Survey — a service the company normally sells to market researchers — on the question. So we asked whether the deficit has gone up or down since January 2010. And the results were even worse than in 1996: A majority of those who replied said the deficit has gone up, with more than 40 percent saying that it has gone up a lot. Only 12 percent answered correctly that it has gone down a lot.More on the day's top stories below the fold.
Am I saying that voters are stupid? Not at all. People have lives, jobs, children to raise. They’re not going to sit down with Congressional Budget Office reports. Instead, they rely on what they hear from authority figures. The problem is that much of what they hear is misleading if not outright false.
On Egypt, Eugene Robinson criticizes the president's strategy:
Obama announced that in response to the violence, he is canceling a planned U.S.-Egypt joint military exercise. This is supposed to send a message of disapproval to the generals while still retaining influence and leverage.On the issue of privacy, Julie Brill, member of the Federal Trade Commission, says more needs to be done to protect us online:
The same rationale keeps Obama from calling what has happened to Egypt by its proper name. Using the word “coup” would require the United States to cut off $1.3 billion in military aid — and thus surrender the usefulness of long-standing military-to-military relationships.
But it should be clear by now that this policy is chasing a mirage. Those back-channel connections with the Egyptian generals didn’t stop them from deposing President Mohamed Morsi, which the United States had warned against. Those old-boy relationships didn’t prevent Wednesday’s assault to clear the protest camps, which the United States had also warned against. When is the administration going to realize that Cairo isn’t listening?
Many tech firms are calling on the government to allow them to reveal how and how often the government seeks information about individuals. We ought to demand the same sort of transparency from the commercial data brokers that know much more about us than we do about them. One of the largest, Acxiom, reportedly has information on about 700 million active consumers worldwide, with some 1,500 data points per person. Such data brokers learn about us from the cookies that hitch rides as users travel online and from the social media sites where we post everything from home addresses to pictures to magazine subscriptions and store purchases, as well as deeds on file in towns and counties. They load all this data into sophisticated algorithms that spew out alarmingly personal predictions about our health, financial status, interests, sexual orientation, religious beliefs, politics and habits.The Detroit Free Press urges parents to vaccinate their kids:
Here’s what we know about vaccines: They save lives. And yet, an increasing number of Michigan parents are choosing not to have their children immunized. [...] It’s bad enough that parents who decide against vaccinating are taking deadly risks with their own children. But failing to vaccinate a child threatens others, too. Some children and adults with depressed immune systems can’t be vaccinated. Very young infants are inoculated on a schedule; vaccine protection layers in over the first year of a child’s life. And vaccines work differently for different people. Most people develop a robust immunity that’s successful in warding off illness. But for a small percentage, the vaccine doesn’t work as well.Finally, Durwood Zaelke and Paul Bledsoe at The Los Angeles Times address solutions to climate change:
This is why herd immunity — the idea that a group of vaccinated individuals is less likely to contract and spread the diseases they’re vaccinated against — is so important.
Climate change presents two distinct problems. The first is linear: A little more warming causes a little more damage. The second is nonlinear: A little more warming pushes some part of the climate system past a tipping point and the damage becomes catastrophic.Add any articles or opinion pieces of your own in the comments.
We need smart climate policies that address both problems, so we can slow incremental damage while also taking out an insurance policy against the growing risk of catastrophic damage.