How Republicans Learned to Love Colleges

Of all the ideas “reform conservatives” have come up with, the most promising is overhauling higher education. Haphazard and increasingly expensive federal subsidies for college education offer one of the few areas where the Republican party’s political need to address the economic insecurities of the working class can be accomplished without betraying the conservative movement’s anti-government impulses.

In some ways, college subsidies work like fee-for-service medicine, which pays doctors and hospitals to provide more medical care but not necessarily better health. College tuition subsidies encourage colleges to enroll students, but do not give them an incentive to furnish these students with useful skills. There’s no cost to the providers for a school that fails to graduate a huge proportion of its student body, or leaves them laden with debt — the feds pay the bill, regardless.

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The Republican Candidates’ Race to Be the Anti-Hillary Has Officially Begun

Welcome to Announcementpalooza: that wonderful time of year, 19 months before Election Day and at least a year before anyone cares, when a number of people audacious and delusional enough to think they should lead the country announce they're running for president.

On Monday morning it was Ben Carson, the celebrated pediatric neurosurgeon who became an overnight political star when he railed against Obamacare at a National Prayer Breakfast two years ago. Draft Ben Carson, the super-PAC effort launched by superfan John Philip Sousa IV, raised $12 million — $3 million more than Ready for Hillary raised in 2014 — so maybe it was only fitting that Carson had the most spectacular campaign announcement yet. Selected of God, the gospel choir you may remember from that Eminem Super Bowl commercial Chrysler did a few years ago, revived their performance onstage at the Detroit Music Hall Center for the Performing Arts, reminding Americans that "Lose Yourself" is a much better song when liberated from Eminem's voice. Then Veritas, a five-piece classical boy band, sang “Glory, Glory, Hallelujah” to raised hands.

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Today in ‘Paul Krugman Is Definitely Not Arguing With David Brooks’

Paul Krugman’s column today is an extensive rebuttal to misguided commentators. “It has been disheartening to see some commentators still writing as if poverty were simply a matter of values, as if the poor just mysteriously make bad choices and all would be well if they adopted middle-class values,” he writes. What’s more, “And it’s also disheartening to see commentators still purveying another debunked myth, that we’ve spent vast sums fighting poverty to no avail (because of values, you see.)” And further still, “Shrugging your shoulders as you attribute it all to values is an act of malign neglect. The poor don’t need lectures on morality, they need more resources — which we can afford to provide — and better economic opportunities, which we can also afford to provide through everything from training and subsidies to higher minimum wages.”

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Hillary Will Call Your Mom for You on Mother’s Day

While other candidates are making lofty promises about rescuing Americans from the tyranny of Obamacare and giving us "the opportunity to author the greatest chapter yet in the amazing story of America," Hillary Clinton has a more practical offer: She'll call your mom for you on Mother's Day. Clinton announced the contest on Sunday in two tweets that link to a page where you can donate to her campaign. As the Washington Post notes, it says in the fine print that you don't have to donate to be one of the five lucky phone-call winners. It's implied that Hillary's chat with mom will supplement your own phone call, but that's not spelled out either.

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Dr. Ben Carson Accidentally Announces He’s Running for President

Dr. Ben Carson is a unique figure in the 2016 field for a number of reasons: He's never run for elected office, he's likely to be the only high-profile African-American candidate, and he's almost certainly the only presidential contender who's been portrayed in a film by Cuba Gooding Jr. Now he can add "first person to accidentally declare his candidacy" to that list. In a video interview posted by Cincinnati TV station WKRC on Sunday night, Carson revealed, "I’m willing to be a part of the equation, and, therefore, I’m announcing my candidacy for president of the United States." Politico reports that the spot was a pre-interview meant to be released tomorrow, around the time of his kickoff event in his hometown of Detroit.

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This Is What Happens When Federal Reserve Chairmen Stop Being Polite and Start Getting Real

Now that he is no longer the chairman of the Federal Reserve and is now a blogger, Ben Bernanke is free to point out certain obvious truths he couldn’t say previously, such as the fact that The Wall Street Journal editorial page is run by crazy people. Bernanke is not quite putting it in those terms, alas, but his blogging career is young. In response to a Journal editorial calling for higher interest rates to tame inflation, Bernanke notes that the Journal has been wrongly forecasting higher inflation for nine years now:

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Capitol Police Keep Leaving Loaded Glocks in Bathrooms

A new Roll Call report shows that Capitol Police officers apparently have a hard time remembering to not leave their Glocks in the bathroom. There have been several instances of Capitol employees or tourists stumbling upon loaded firearms.

On January 29, a Capitol Visitors Center employee found a Glock stuck in a toilet-seat-cover holder. It had been left behind by someone in Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's security detail. In March, a 7- or 8-year-old found a loaded gun in a bathroom in Speaker John Boehner's suite. A janitor stumbled upon another Glock while cleaning the Capitol Police headquarters in April.

Capitol Police are not required to report every incident like this, so Roll Call was unable to say how many times this has happened — although a few officers recalled other instances of forgetful colleagues.

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Ex-Congressman Aaron Schock Might Be Missing

Former Illinois representative Aaron Schock, who was brought down by his Downton Abbey–esque office decor, hasn't just disappeared from Congress. A campaign donor is suing Schock for racketeering and fraud, but according to the Chicago Sun-Times, the man's attorney told a federal judge on Wednesday that he hasn't been able to serve Schock with the lawsuit. He said the Peoria address Schock listed on FEC forms is vacant, and the former congressman's attorneys have not responded to his inquiries. (His Twitter and Facebook are inactive, too.) He's probably just good at avoiding process servers, but someone should check to make sure he hasn't kidnapped his secret love child and run off to London.

Obama’s Presidential Library Will Be in Chicago

After he received proposals from the University of Hawaii and Columbia University, sources tell the AP President Obama has picked the University of Chicago as the site of his presidential library and museum. The university suggested two spots near its South Side campus — Washington Park and Jackson Park — but we probably won't know the library's location until the official announcement is made in a few weeks. Mayor Bill de Blasio said we'd "work hard" to get Obama to choose New York, but hey — no hard feelings, Chicago. It looks like we're going to get the Obamas full-time, so you'll probably need that museum more than we will.

Video of the day

Charlie Rangel Opens Debate With Fake Phone Call

Congressman Joe Garcia Picks Ear, Eats It on Live TV

Sarah Palin Thinks Chelsea’s Baby May Make Hillary ‘Open Her Eyes’ About Abortion

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In The Mag

Back on the Trail

When Mark Sanford decided to run for office again, he asked his ex-wife, Jenny, for her blessing. Whether he has her vote is another matter.

By Jason Zengerle

Reading List

Wonkblog Jan. 21, 2013

The Case for Deficit Optimism

For all the sound and fury, Washington’s actually making real progress on debt.

By Ezra Klein
Salon Jan. 15, 2012

The NRA's Democratic Helpers

Harry Reid and other pro-gun Democrats leave Obama in need of unlikely allies.

By Steve Kornacki

From the Archives

New York Magazine / Nov. 5, 2010

Boehner's Army

After November's glitch, Boehner, McConnell and Congress strike familiar poses.

By John Heilemann
New York Magazine / Jan. 25, 2009

With Friends Like These

Obama drew progressive ire from day one.

By John Heilemann
New York Magazine / Nov. 30, 2008

Hiding In Plain Sight

How one undocumented family lives in our sanctuary city.

By Jeff Coplon