Stray Links for 26 July 2013

Ramesh Ponnuru explains how the House GOP push to link a debt limit increase to defunding the ACA might damage Republican prospects. The White House and Democrats in Congress think they can “win” a serious confrontation with House Republicans, and they are less willing to make concessions than they have been in the past. Ramesh doesn’t explicitly say that a government shutdown or partial shutdown  might lead to yet another wave election in 2014, in which House Republicans with seemingly solid majorities are defeated, but it would be foolish to rule out the possibility. 

Dylan Matthews fact-checks President Obama’s claim that the typical family income “barely budged” between 1979 and 2007 and finds it off-target. In another post, he aims to demonstrate that the Patients’ Choice Act (PCA), the 2009 bill backed by Sen. Tom Coburn and Rep. Paul Ryan as an alternative to the president’s health reform effort, is actually very similar to the Affordable Care Act. I supported the PCA, and I still think it is preferable to the ACA. Moreover, I think he is understating the differences between the two. As a general rule, the PCA is far prescriptive than the ACA. And while the outcome of auto-enroll might be similar to that of an individual mandate, it is conceptually quite different and, I’d argue, more attractive.

Brendan Greeley reports that as part of their tax reform effort, Sens. Max Baucus and Orrin Hatch are assuring their colleagues that any requests they make to preserve tax loopholes will be kept secret until the year 2063, by which time I hope to be living on some distant planet.

The U.S. prison population has declined for three years running.

I greatly enjoyed Charlie LeDuff’s mordant take on the state of Detroit in the wake of its bankruptcy filing, and I think you will too.

And be sure to read Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry’s thoughts on the future of retirement (on this planet).

Reihan Salam — Reihan Salam is executive editor of National Review and a National Review Institute policy fellow.

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