Angus Sibley’s new book “The ‘Poisoned Spring’ of Economic Libertarianism,” recently published by Pax Romana, deals with some of the theoretical issues that have emerged in current debates about America’s long-term fiscal health. Specifically, Sibley argues that the “Austrian School” of economics has come to dominate conservative arguments about the economy and that this school could not be more antithetical to the traditional social teachings of the Catholic Church.
According to Ed Kilgore at the New Republic, Michelle Bachmann's frequent and intentional self-labelling as a "constitutional conservative" can mean different things to different people, but that to those who hear the "dog whistle" in the words, the vision is a little scary.
This is why we have elections: To find out just what the candidates mean by their slogans and it will be interesting to watch the media try and pin down Bachmann on this score. To her great credit, Bachmann does not shy away from media interviews with media outfits other than Fox, so there will be plenty of opportunity to find out just how much of the the phrase is principled and how much is scary.
Attentive readers will also note Kilgore's reference to Peter Berkowitz whom I have cited before as one of the leading lights of intelligent, informed conservative thought writing in America today.
In this morning's Washington Post, Eugene Robinson looks at the budget showdown or, more accurately, the high stakes politics of the showdown. Well worth the read.
If some readers have an RSS feed to my blog specifically, you may have missed my recent article for the print edition of NCR on the White House's outreach to Catholics. You can read it by clicking here.
Ron Paul, the libertarian presidential candidate and Congressman from Texas has proposed an interesting idea for getting around the need to raise the nation’s debt ceiling. He suggests that the Federal Reserve simply destroy the Treasury notes it holds, which amount to some $1.6 trillion.
I am usually immune to bouts of flu and the like, but starting yesterday afetrnoon, I have taken ill with fever and chills. I shall not be posting today.
Baylor University's Thomas Kidd has an article up at Patheos that looks at how evangelical voters can and should approach the GOP nominating process. I especially liked his concern about a traditional evangelical concern, religious liberty, and how some of the GOP candidates ignore that traditional concern and start fear-mongering about Muslims.
Yesterday, I was a guest on the "Colin McEnroe Show" on WNPR here in Connecticut. I was on a panel with former gubernatorial candidate Bill Curry and local news reporter Christine Stuart to discuss the budget negotiations going on between the Governor, the legislature and state employee labor unions. Here is a link to the audio.
I was especially proud to be able to point out that state employees are the only people on the planet whose work contracts are subject to review by state legislatures, which is like being the only teeth in someone's mouth subject to the attentions of an 18th century dentist. And, later in the show I was able to make the point, so central to Catholic social teaching, that labor is not a commodity and efforts to see it as such, either by businesses or government, is an ethical lapse.
By the way, anyone who thinks federalism is the answer should spend some time at your state legislature.
The President gave a mostly impressive performance at his press conference yesterday. Whenever a president finds himself being compared to Harry S. Truman, it is a good day for that president.
As noted in the link above, one of President Obama’s strongest parts of the news conference was when he castigated Congress for failing to act on a variety of measures that might help the economy create more jobs. He noted pending legislation on trade, middle class tax cuts, infrastructure improvements and revising the patent system and challenged Congress to pass the bills. In addition to the Trumanesque charge that Congress is not doing all it should, here was Obama defending a proposition that the GOP denies, that government is part of the solution and not just the problem when trying to stimulate the economy. I wish the President had been a little more explicit on that point, mentioning the jobs that were saved at Chrysler and GM, the people working on infrastructure projects right this moment, etc.
Mark Silk at Spiritual Politics looks at the latest Gallup figures on the God Gap. As usual, more religiously observant American tend to the Republicans, moderately religious Americans tend towards the Democrats, and non-religious Americans overwhelmingly support the Dems.