Common Sense Junction

Common Sense Junction
Political Reports
  1. On Horowitz’s New Book: Progressives

    FrontPage Magazine | 20 Apr 2014 | 10:52 pm MDT

    With a commentary by the author.

  2. The Progressive Paradigms Lost

    FrontPage Magazine | 20 Apr 2014 | 10:50 pm MDT

    Why the central myths animating the Left are losing their credibility.

  3. Daniel Mael on “Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Brandeis and Double Standards” — on The Glazov Gang

    FrontPage Magazine | 20 Apr 2014 | 10:45 pm MDT

    A TruthRevolt warrior confronts the leftist Gestapo on his campus.

  4. Venezuela’s Top 10 Useful Idiots and Propagandists, Pt. I

    FrontPage Magazine | 20 Apr 2014 | 10:40 pm MDT

    Shilling for Chavista tyranny and terror.

  5. The Left Renews Its Vows With Moscow

    FrontPage Magazine | 20 Apr 2014 | 10:35 pm MDT

    How hatred of the U.S. is bringing old allies back together.

  6. EU Unrestrained Support of the PA Is Inimical to Peace

    FrontPage Magazine | 20 Apr 2014 | 10:30 pm MDT

    The Palestinians have received carte blanche from the EU.

  7. Obama Knows Best

    FrontPage Magazine | 20 Apr 2014 | 10:25 pm MDT

    A tribute to the president's know-how and competence.

  8. U of California Holds Conference on Islamophobia by Anti-Semite

    FrontPage Magazine | 20 Apr 2014 | 5:12 pm MDT

    "The Day of Judgment will never happen until you fight the Jews."

  9. George Will: 'The Debate Is Over' Is Obama's Mantra

    National Review Online - The Corner | 20 Apr 2014 | 3:32 pm MDT

    Washington Post columnist George Will said Sunday that the Obama administration has a habit of shouting down debate on matters that are not going President Obama’s way.

    Will made the observation in response to the president’s push to persuade voters and media that Obamacare is working and that Republicans should stop complaining about it.

    “‘The debate is over’ is something of a mantra,’” Will said on Fox News Sunday. “‘The debate is over on climate change; everyone, be quiet.’ ‘The debate is over about early childhood education; everyone, be quiet.’ Lots of things are supposedly over, and you hear that from people who are finding the evidence inconvenient.”

    Will noted that the president is making “a fairly minimal claim” when he asserts that the Affordable Care Act is working. “I mean, the farm subsidies in this country are working; whether or not they are doing good work is another matter.”

    Also dragging out the debate, Will said, is the lack of data on new health insurance enrollees and whether the Affordable Care Act’s mechanism — in which forcing Americans to buy insurance creates a large enough base of healthier, lower-cost members to balance out an influx of less healthy members with higher costs — will actually work. But the real debate, he said, is over first principles.

    “The argument about Obamacare is not just about Obamacare,” he said. “It’s about the nature of the American regime: what kind of country we want to live in. And therefore it’s going to tick on for some while.”

    Will also noted that the president is contradicting himself by declaring debate over but still urging his fellow Democrats to sing the Affordable Care Act’s praises.

    “He says we should all quit talking about this,” Will said, “except Democrats this fall should campaign on the basis of the multiform excellence of Obamacare.”


  10. Obama Won’t Enforce Cruz Law Barring Iranian Terrorist from US

    FrontPage Magazine | 20 Apr 2014 | 3:13 pm MDT

    Obama signed into law a bill authored by Sen. Ted Cruz

  11. Stevens: Fix Second Amendment to Remove "Any Limits" on Government Power

    National Review Online - The Corner | 20 Apr 2014 | 1:51 pm MDT

    Retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens supports gutting the Second Amendment in order to remove any limit on government infringements on the right of self-defense.

    In his new book Six Amendments: How and Why We Should Change the Constitution, Stevens — who generally favored maximum government power during his 35-year tenure on the high court — proposes, among other things, changing the language of the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution so that the amendment would read, “…the right of the people to keep and bear arms [when serving in the militia] shall not be infringed.”

    Stevens acknowledged in an interview Sunday that this would remove “any limits” on government power over legal gun owners.

    “I think that’s probably right,” Stevens said on ABC’s This Week. “But I think that’s what should be the rule, that it should be legislatures rather than judges who draw the line on what is permissible.”

    Stevens said his proposed amendment, and a potential nationwide gun ban, would be closer to the original intent of the framers of the U.S. Constitution than the amendment the framers actually wrote and adopted.

    “There was a fear among the original framers that the federal government would be so strong that they might destroy the state militias,” he told ABC host George Stephanopoulos. “The amendment would merely prevent arguments being made that Congress doesn’t have the power to do what they think is in the best public interest.”

    Stevens made clear that the amendment would clear the way for a national ban on private ownership of the means of self-defense. “I think that’s right,” Stephens said in a pre-recorded interview with Stephanopoulos, a former communications director and senior advisor in the Bill Clinton administration.

  12. Spicer: I Hope Democrats Take the President's Advice on Obamacare

    National Review Online - The Corner | 20 Apr 2014 | 11:05 am MDT

    The spokesman for the Republican National Committee wants Democrats to follow President Obama’s longstanding advice and talk about health care.

    “It’s clear that Obamacare is still the number one, number two and number three issue going into this election,” Sean Spicer, communications director for the Republican National Committee, said Sunday. “Democrats are running from it, distancing themselves from it, talking about things they’ve done [to modify the inceasingly unpopular law]. They won’t talk about the fact they were the deciding vote, that they were out there advocating for it, that they want to implement it. They’re talking about how they can distance themselves from it . . .  In my opinion, I hope they take the president’s advice, frankly, for our side. In race after race, the reason we’re expanding the map, that Oregon, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Virginia are getting more and more into play is because it’s working.”

    Spicer doubled down on Obamacare during an appearance on CNN’s State of the Union, along with Mo Elleithee, communications director for the Democratic National Committee and Rothenberg Political Report’s Stu Rothenberg.

    Spicer’s three interlocutors all tried to dismiss his claim that Obamacare’s unpopularity remains potent politically. CNN host Candy Crowley introduced him by asking whether the Republicans are “a one-note party at this point.” Elleithee claimed that only Republican leaders are concerned about the Affordable Care Act, which passed in 2010 on a close party-line vote that lacked the wide majorities that were enjoyed in the past by comparably broad laws expanding the scope and intrusiveness of government power over citizens.

    “I hope you believe that,” Spicer told Elleithee, “because I can’t wait until we see Majority Leader McConnell, Speaker Boehner . . . ”

    Rothenberg too objected to Republicans’ focus on the law, which has led to millions of insurance policy cancelations and will next year begin penalizing individuals for not buying insurance. “It’s hard for me to believe Republicans can run from now to November,” Rothenberg said in a sing-songy voice, “just on ACA.”

    Spicer cited a recent Gallup Poll showing 54 percent disapproval of the Affordable Care Act and noted that health care policy losses continue to pile up. He pointed to a report by Alabama’s WHNT on a group of widows of county employees whose policies have been terminated.

    Rothenberg labeled such stories “additional anecdotes.”

  13. Snowden reporter promises more NSA revelations are coming

    News Archive | 20 Apr 2014 | 10:40 am MDT

    One of the reporters honored with a Pulitzer Prize last week for his reports on National Security Agency surveillance on Sunday promised further revelations. The Guardian's Glenn Greenwald told CNN'S Reliable Sources that there would be new...

  14. DNC head: Midterms not about Obama

    News Archive | 20 Apr 2014 | 9:51 am MDT

    The midterm elections will not be a referendum on President Obama's performance in the White House, the Democratic National Committee chairwoman said Sunday. “No, absolutely not,” Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) told NBC's "Meet the...

  15. Obama Praises Muslims in Easter Message

    FrontPage Magazine | 20 Apr 2014 | 9:29 am MDT

    It just wouldn't be Easter... without Muslims.

  16. Still Lacking A Leninfall

    National Review Online - The Corner | 20 Apr 2014 | 8:07 am MDT

    In a piece for The New York Review of Books, the Russian writer Vladimir Sorokin highlights the key failure of post-Soviet Russia—the failure that has spawned so much more failure—the failure to stage a real reckoning with the communist past:

    In the course of three days in August 1991, during the failed putsch against Gorbachev, the decaying Soviet empire tottered and began to collapse. Some friends and I found ourselves on Lubianskaya Square, across from the headquarters of the fearsome, mighty KGB. A huge crowd was preparing to topple the symbol of that sinister institution—the statue of its founder, Dzerzhinsky, “Iron Felix” as his Bolshevik comrades-in-arms called him. A few daredevils had scaled the monument and wrapped cables around its neck, and a group was pulling on them to ever louder shouts and cries from the assembled throng.

    Suddenly, a Yeltsin associate with a megaphone appeared out of the blue and directed everyone to hold off, because, he said, when the bronze statue fell, “its head might crash through the pavement and damage important underground communications.” The man said that a crane was already on its way to remove Dzerzhinsky from the pedestal without any damaging side effects. The revolutionary crowd waited for this crane a good two hours, keeping its spirits up with shouts of “Down with the KGB!”

    Doubts about the success of the coming anti-Soviet revolution first stirred in me during those two hours. I tried to imagine the Parisian crowd, on May 16, 1871, waiting politely for an architect and workers to remove the Vendôme Column. And I laughed. The crane finally arrived; Dzerzhinsky was taken down, placed on a truck, and driven away. People ran alongside and spat on him. Since then he has been on view in the park of dismantled Soviet monuments next to the New Tretiakov Gallery. Not long ago, a member of the Duma presented a resolution to return the monument to its former location. Given events currently taking place in our country, it’s quite likely that this symbol of Bolshevik terror will return to Lubianskaya Square.

    The swift dismantling of remaining Soviet monuments recently in Ukraine caused me to remember the Dzerzhinsky episode. Dozens of statues of Lenin fell in Ukrainian cities; no one in the opposition asked people to treat them “in a civilized manner,” because in this case a “polite” dismantling could mean only one thing—conserving a potent symbol of Soviet power. “Dzhugashvili [Stalin] is there, preserved in a jar,” as the poet Joseph Brodsky wrote in 1968. This jar is the people’s memory, its collective unconscious.

    In 2014, Lenins were felled in Ukraine and were allowed to collapse. No one tried to preserve them. This “Leninfall” took place during the brutal confrontation on Kiev’s Maidan Nezalezhnosti (Independence Square), when Viktor Yanukovych’s power also collapsed, demonstrating that a genuine anti-Soviet revolution had finally occurred in Ukraine. No real revolution has happened in Russia. Lenin, Stalin, and their bloody associates still repose on Red Square, and hundreds of statues still stand, not only on Russia’s squares and plazas, but in the minds of its citizens….

    Meanwhile, the overnight news from Ukraine is of a curious shooting of a pro-Russian militiaman in Slaviansk (Slovyansk), the city that has been a center of ‘separatist’ activity in the east. The cars of the supposed gunmen have allegedly been found to have been carrying materials that linked them to Ukraine’s (nationalist) Right Sector, a fact that the Russian foreign ministry has been quick to highlight. For its part, Ukraine’s interior ministry has denounced the incident as a fabrication.

     Estonia’s president Ilves, a man who knows his history, has retweeted this:

    “On the evening of Nov. 26, 1939, Soviet forces shelled the Russian village of Mainila.”

    Google and it will make sense. 

  17. "At the going down of the sun and in the morning..."

    National Review Online - The Corner | 20 Apr 2014 | 7:53 am MDT

    In a powerful and beautifully written piece for the Sunday Telegraph, Dan Hannan, well, I’ll let him explain:

     In 1925, Rudyard Kipling wrote an uncharacteristically restrained and sombre short story called The Gardener. It tells of a woman’s search for her illegitimate son, who goes missing in action on the Western Front. After the Armistice, she learns that he has been killed, and is buried in a military cemetery. Arriving there, she finds a man planting flowers in the earth and asks him where she might find her “nephew”.

    The man looks at her “with infinite compassion,” and tells her “Come with me, and I will show you where your son lies”. As she leaves the graveyard, she looks back, and sees the man bending over his plants; “and she went away, supposing him to be the gardener”.

    Those words, an echo of Mary Magdalene’s first sight of the Risen Jesus, often strike our generation as out of place. But for Kipling, who had lost his own son in the war (“Have you any news of my boy Jack?” begins his most heart-wrenching poem), the Easter reference was natural. He never wavered in his belief that Jack and all the rest had given their lives for others.

    …Well, perhaps it was because of Easter, or perhaps because of the centenary year but, coming back from Strasbourg last week after the final session of the current European Parliament, I decided finally to visit Thiepval, where my great-uncle, William James Hannan, is commemorated along with 73,000 other British and South African soldiers.

    I know little about the man, except that he was said to have been a promising golfer. He was killed in the Somme bloodbath on 21 October 1916, aged 24….

    Hannan concludes:

    Today, our grief is second-hand: almost none of us knew any of the war dead. But but don’t make the mistake of thinking that this makes it ersatz. Try looking up the details of your ancestors on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website – or indeed, if you’re male, try typing in your own name, and counting how many matches come up – and see how easily the tragedy touches you across the intervening century.

    Kipling’s generation, the generation that mourned its sons, was the first to pass; then the generation which mourned its comrades; then that which mourned its fathers, clinging, perhaps, to fragmentary childhood picture-memories. Then the fallen became faces in yellowing photographs. Now they are names on family trees. Soon, they will be only notches on slabs. Yet we will remember them.

  18. Russia 'outraged' by attack in Ukraine

    News Archive | 20 Apr 2014 | 7:40 am MDT

    Russia's ambassador to the U.S. on Sunday decried the overnight attack on a pro-Russian checkpoint in Ukraine that has broken a fragile Easter truce. “We are outraged by the attack on the checkpoint,” Ambassador Sergei Kislyak said on Fox News...

  19. Fund: Reid Calling Bundy Supporters 'Domestic Terrorists' Part of Dems' Effort to Rally the Base

    National Review Online - The Corner | 19 Apr 2014 | 5:34 pm MDT

    Be sure to check out John’s most recent piece — “The United States of SWAT?” — on government agencies’ military-style units, such as the one used by the Bureau of Land Management at the Bundy ranch.

  20. The (Re)birth of Ivan Ilyin

    National Review Online - The Corner | 19 Apr 2014 | 3:08 pm MDT

    Here’s a thought-provoking take on, if you like, “Vladimir Putin, conservative”, from John Schindler. The piece covers too much ground to be summarized in a few excerpts, so I’ll focus on just one aspect of it, the way that Putin is looking to base the legitimacy of his regime on older, far older, notions of what the Russian state should be:

    [T]he reconquest of Crimea has caused a clear change of tone in Moscow, with celebration of old fashioned Russian nationalism coming into fashion. In his speech to the Duma announcing the triumphant annexation of Crimea, when speaking of Russians, Putin specifically used the ethnic term – russkiy –  not the more inclusive rossiyskiy, which applies to all citizens of the Russian Federation. This came among incantations to the full Great Russian program, with a Moscow-centric view of Eastern Europe seemingly endorsed by mentions of great Orthodox saints. Unstated yet clearly, this was all of a piece with “Third Rome” ideology, a powerful admixture of Orthodoxy, ethnic mysticism, and Slavophile tendencies that has deep resonance in Russian history.

    Westerners seemed shocked by this “Holy Russia” stuff, but Putin has been dropping unsubtle hints for years that his state ideology includes a good amount of this back-to-the-future thinking, cloaked in piety and nationalism. Western “experts” continue to state that a major influence here is Aleksandr Dugin, an eccentric philosopher who espouses “Eurasianism,” an odd blend of geopolitical theory and neo-fascism. While Dugin is not irrelevant, his star at the Kremlin actually faded a decade ago, though he gets some Kremlin attention because his father was a GRU general. Far more important to divining Putin’s worldview, however, is Ivan Ilyin, a Russian political and religious thinker who fled the Bolsheviks and died an emigre in Switzerland in 1953. In exile, Ilyin espoused ethnic-religious neo-traditionalism, amidst much talk about a unique “Russian soul.” Germanely, he believed that Russia would recover from the Bolshevik nightmare and rediscover itself, first spiritually then politically, thereby saving the world. Putin’s admiration for Ilyin is unconcealed: he has mentioned him in several major speeches and he had his body repatriated and buried at the famous Donskoy monastery with fanfare in 2005; Putin personally paid for a new headstone. Yet despite the fact that even Kremlin outlets note the importance of Ilyin to Putin’s worldview, not many Westerners have noticed.

    They should, however, because Putinism includes a good amount of Ilyin-inspired Orthodoxy and Russian nationalism working hand-in-glove, what its advocates term symphonia, meaning the Byzantine-style unity of state and church, in stark contrast to American notions of separation of church and state. Although the Russian Orthodox Church… is not the state church, de jure, in practice it functions as something close to one, enjoying a privileged position at home and abroad…

    Ilyin is a complicated figure, and perhaps more of ‘liberal’ (these things are relative) than the synopsis above might suggest, but he does play an important symbolic role in what has become the key intellectual project of the Putin regime, the reconciliation of imperial and Soviet Russia, an idea that is (I’d argue) at its core, absurd, but comes with the advantage that it spares the Russian people the necessity of a full reckoning with what was done to, and by, them in the Soviet era.

    As to what Putin actually believes, well, that’s anyone guess, but there should be no doubting his willingness to make use of the ideological position he has developed to support his agenda at home, in the territories of the former USSR (‘the near abroad’) and even further afar than that. Schindler has plenty to say about what the implications of that could be, none of them reassuring.

    As the saying goes: read the whole thing. 

  21. GOPers spar in Georgia primary debate

    News Archive | 19 Apr 2014 | 12:59 pm MDT

    Georgia Republican Reps. Jack Kingston, Phil Gingrey and Paul Broun sparred Saturday with each other and four other candidates in the next-to-last debate ahead of the May 20 Georgia Senate primary.The debate, held near Augusta, Ga., appeared to...

  22. Ukraine crisis, Boston bombing anniversary to lead Sunday shows

    News Archive | 19 Apr 2014 | 10:19 am MDT

    The ongoing standoff between the United States and Russia over Ukraine, and the one year anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombing are set to lead the Sunday shows on Easter morning.Ukraine has instituted an Easter truce but it has become...

  23. Easter truce hours old before shooting

    News Archive | 19 Apr 2014 | 7:58 am MDT

      A fragile Easter truce in Ukraine was shattered early Sunday by a deadly attack on a checkpoint manned by separatists. The shooting occurred near Slaviansk in Eastern Ukraine and at least two people were killed, Reuters reported....

  24. Congress breaks, Capitol repairs begin

    News Archive | 19 Apr 2014 | 5:37 am MDT

    While lawmakers skip out of Washington for spring break, the Capitol Rotunda is undergoing its first makeover in more than 50 years.With more than 1,300 cracks marring its exterior shell, the rotunda is closed to the public from April 12 through...

  25. Obama: Easter a time for reflection, renewal

    News Archive | 19 Apr 2014 | 4:00 am MDT

    President Obama departed from politics Saturday to reflect on Easter as "a story of hope – a belief in a better day to come, just around the bend.”“These holy days have their roots in miracles that took place long ago. And yet, they still inspire us...

  26. GOP wants to be iPhone party, senator says

    News Archive | 19 Apr 2014 | 4:00 am MDT

    Republicans want government to work like an iPhone while Democrats want to use government to tell you what to do.That’s the message Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) conveyed Saturday in this week’s Republican address.“Republicans want to enable you....

  27. GOP wants 'to be the iPhone party,' senator says

    News Archive | 19 Apr 2014 | 4:00 am MDT

    Republicans want government to work like an iPhone while Democrats want to use government to tell you what to do.That’s the message Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) conveyed Saturday in this week’s Republican address.“Republicans want to enable you....

  28. Gallup Week-in-Review

    All Gallup Headlines | 19 Apr 2014 | 2:00 am MDT

    Read what Americans think about taxes, their views on the best long-term investment option, how Indians feel about their government, and more in this week's review.

  29. Gabriel Garcia Marquez

    National Review Online - The Corner | 18 Apr 2014 | 8:37 pm MDT

    Like everyone else I read One Hundred Years of Solitude in college. The magical realism — the sister, was it? with the tail, the other one who ascended into Heaven — seemed like cheating. Another way to put it is that Garcia Marquez was like Faulkner only worse. Yet some expressions and insights have stayed with me.

    I understand The Autumn of the Patriarch contains veiled, perhaps unconscious, criticisms of Castro. I hope that is the case, because Garcia Marquez’ explicit politics were dreadful. He was a despot’s fanboy, like Gorky, Neruda, Pound, and Celine in the last century; or, to go back a bit, like Seneca (who at least killed himself). The paradox of the disciple of beauty who is also the disciple of crime is an old one.

  30. Rand Paul to Meet Top Romney Donors in Boston

    National Review Online - The Corner | 18 Apr 2014 | 2:08 pm MDT

    Rand Paul will do his best to charm a group Mitt Romney’s top donors next week at an event facilitated by Romney finance director Spencer Zwick. 

    The Friday luncheon will take place in Boston at the offices of Zwick’s private-equity firm, Solamere Capital, according to a source familiar with the event. Romney’s eldest son Tagg is also a managing partner at the firm, and Romney is the executive chairman. 

    The event is yet another signal that Paul is preparing a for a serious presidential bid in 2016. Two years before the GOP primary, Paul is attempting to branch out beyond his libertarian-leaning base, and the ability to tap some of the establishment donors who helped Romney raise over $1 billion in 2012 will be critical to that effort. 

    A number of the GOP’s likely candidates, including Bobby Jindal, have also looked to Zwick to make these introductions. Presidential contenders frequently seek access to the donors of the party’s previous nominee, but getting an in with Romney’s top bundlers is particularly coveted because Romney, who opted out of the public financing system, was the first Republican to raise over $1 billion. Romney’s donors also have a reputation for loyalty, and Zwick’s willingness to make introductions is likely to mean a lot.

    The Washington Post reported last month that Paul is in the process of building a national political network, with over 200 people in its ranks, that extends to all 50 states. 

  31. The Coming Real Estate Hyperpocalypse: All YOUR Fault!

    National Review Online - The Corner | 18 Apr 2014 | 1:32 pm MDT

    Some good folks are pig-biting mad about my recent article noting that the rate of foreclosures has dropped dramatically as a result of the reinflation of the real estate market.

    So many nuggets of #yellowjournalism in this @NRO piece by @bigtimcavanaugh, it’s hard to pick my favourite:

    — Sam Heppell (@HeppellSam) April 17, 2014

    Some of the vituperation is coming from the usual gang of housing justice fairness activists incensed that anybody (let alone a majority of homeowners and experts) would oppose the practice of giving public assistance to people who borrowed money with no intention of paying it back. But a lot of the abuse stems from a sentiment I agree with — that declaring victory on mortgage defaults means you have to ignore how bogus the “recovery” of the real estate market is.

    There are three main claims: 1. Banks are sitting on a massive number of non-performing loans and putting off foreclosure starts because that would mean realizing big losses on their balance sheets. 2. For years the “shadow inventory” of hopelessly distressed homes was said to be in the multimillions, and since it’s not clear what happened to those (estimated) numbers, there are still second, third and fourth shoes waiting to drop on the market recovery. 3. The short-term recovery of the market is the result of massive public expenditures, government support for real estate inflation, and outright deception; so the whole house of cards must eventually collapse.

    I agree with the general idea here, and in fact I find the whole concept of the real estate “recovery” infuriating. But facts is facts, and there just isn’t a lot of support for the idea that a second coming of the real estate correction is imminent. The Wall Street Journal had bank-owned property at only 309,000 units in October. Also in October, CoreLogic had the full shadow inventory, including REO and other seriously distressed property, at just1.9 million — about three months of inventory even if it all hit the market at once.

    It’s certainly true that banks dragged their feet on foreclosures in the past, through a combination of swamped processing infrastructure, general reluctance to own real estate, and probably an effort to disguise how dire their balance sheets were. But in fact, the reinflation of real estate increases the bank’s incentive to foreclose on a bad loan. In most cases, foreclosure is just a way of minimizing losses: you lose the value of the loan but you end up with an asset you can unload in order to make up some of what you lost to the deadbeat. But foreclosing on a bad loan in a rising market can be an attractive deal: The lender can potentially end up owning a property that is worth more than the amount of the remaining principal. For the same reason, bad borrowers in rising markets will try to avoid default and foreclosure. That happens more often than you might think: A Boston Fed report [pdf] from 2009 — a time when house prices were still plummeting — found that a third of bad borrowers managed to “self-cure” without any loan modification or outside help. That portion can only go up as the incentive to hang on to the property increases.

    That said, I fully agree that the 2006 crash was only a partial correction that was interrupted, less than midway through its healthful work, by massive fiscal, monetary and regulatory interventions. As a function of income, real estate began 2006 outrageously overvalued; it hit the trough of the downturn only noticeably overvalued; and today it is stunningly overvalued. This is an imbalance that began in the 1990s and has gotten more pronounced, and it is well outside of historic norms.

    For most of postwar history, a house cost about 1.5 to 2.5 times more than a person earned in a year. Today, even after the much-whined-about correction, it is more than four times as much. In 1940 the median U.S. income was $1,368; and the median house price was $2,938, a little more than double the income figure. In 1960 the income figure was $6,200, while the house price was $17,200, 2.77 times as much. In 1980 the ratio was 1/2.62, with income at $18,000 and house price at $47,200.

    But by 2011, supposedly the bottom of the correction, a house cost more than four times what an American earned in a year: income $50,054; house price $212,300. It is a massively unfair situation, and like most contemporary unfairness, it is directed against the young, who are looking at an ever-growing chasm between what they earn and what it takes to buy a house.

    The standard explanations for this imbalance are laughably inadequate. Does anybody believe this is all the result of low interest rates (which by the way are an artificial phenomenon that can’t be sustained indefinitely), or that houses today are that much more valuable because they have bigger bathrooms and granite countertops? As Edgar Guest might have said if he were a certified financial planner, it took a heap o’ swindlin’ to make these houses into overpriced homes. Land-use policy, relentless Realtor propaganda, heedless pro-homeowner lawmaking by both parties, and maybe most of all the IRS’s unjust mortgage-interest deduction (which indirectly encourages real estate ownership by directly encouraging real estate debt) all had a hand in creating this monster.

    As 2006 proved, some parties can come to an end even though they have massive political, business, financial and popular buy-in. Like many of you, I long for the second coming of the real estate crash, and I’m encouraged that RealtyTrac estimates there are still 9.1 million homes underwater. But I also remember how intense the reaction was during the recession, when all the masters of the universe got together to “rescue” us from the threat of reasonably priced homes. All those same people are still working overtime to keep the so-called recovery alive. Fear them.

    Never doubt that a large group of panicking idiots can prevent the world from changing, especially when they have all the guns, all the money and all the microphones.

  32. Job Loss Would Quickly Lead to Hardship for Many in U.S.

    All Gallup Headlines | 18 Apr 2014 | 2:00 am MDT

    Four in 10 U.S. workers say they could go no more than a month before experiencing financial hardship if they lost their job. However, relatively few workers, 16%, think it is likely they would lose their job.

  33. On Economy, Americans Less Confident in Federal Leaders

    All Gallup Headlines | 17 Apr 2014 | 2:00 pm MDT

    Less than half of Americans (42%) have confidence in President Barack Obama on the economy -- the lowest figure Gallup has on record for Obama. New lows were also found for Democratic (35%) and Republican leaders in Congress (24%).

  34. Americans Sold on Real Estate as Best Long-Term Investment

    All Gallup Headlines | 17 Apr 2014 | 2:00 am MDT

    Americans now say real estate is the best choice for long-term investments over gold and stocks. Lower-income Americans, however, still favor gold. Younger Americans are divided on what is the best option.

  35. Newly Insured in 2014 Represent About 4% of U.S. Adults

    All Gallup Headlines | 16 Apr 2014 | 2:30 pm MDT

    Four percent of Americans are newly insured this year. About half of this group obtained their new health insurance through a health exchange, and half got it using some other mechanism.

  36. Higher Fines Compel Uninsured Americans to Sign Up

    All Gallup Headlines | 16 Apr 2014 | 8:30 am MDT

    More uninsured adults would be willing to sign up for health insurance as penalty fines increase. However, this effect differs depending on the amount of the fine.

  37. Uninsured Rate Drops More in States Embracing Health Law

    All Gallup Headlines | 16 Apr 2014 | 1:00 am MDT

    The uninsured rate in states that have chosen to expand Medicaid and set up their own marketplace exchanges based on the 2010 healthcare law has declined by three times as much as the rate in states that have not.

  38. McAllen, Texas, Residents Least Likely to Feel Safe

    All Gallup Headlines | 15 Apr 2014 | 2:00 pm MDT

    Residents of the McAllen, Texas, area felt the least safe walking alone at night (48.5%), in 2012-2013. Residents of the community were also the least likely to say they did not struggle to pay for housing in the last 12 months (75.5%).

  39. U.S. Economic Confidence Steady at -16

    All Gallup Headlines | 15 Apr 2014 | 6:30 am MDT

    Economic confidence is largely stable at -16 for the week ending April 13, compared with -15 the prior week. Gallup's Economic Confidence Index has ranged narrowly between -13 and -20 this year.

  40. As Taxes Rise, Half in U.S. Say Middle-Income Pay Too Much

    All Gallup Headlines | 14 Apr 2014 | 1:30 pm MDT

    As taxes increase for some Americans, nearly half in the U.S. say middle-income Americans pay too much in taxes, an increase from last year. Meanwhile, 23% say lower-income people pay too little, a near-record high.