The Agenda

In Lieu of Regularly Scheduled Blogging

I’m finishing a piece for NRODT on the future of the labor market, so blogging will be lighter-than-usual.

* Kim Rueben of the Tax Policy Center speaks the truth on the mortgage interest deduction.

* Esther Dyson predicts a clash between social buying platforms like Groupon and the small businesses they ostensibly serve. 

* David Weigel observes that Barack Obama’s strength with non-white voters — despite their economic woes — have put him in a stronger political position that Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. I’ve been talking about this for a while, but it seems that Byron York beat me to the punch ages ago. 

* Think it’s impossible to reduce the public debt burden without tax increases? I recommend checking out the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget’s Stabilize the Debt game. I find that one can make significant progress without raising taxes, though it certainly helps to curb the biggest tax expenditures. My favorite target is the state and local tax deduction, which essentially subsidizes high-tax regions at the expense of low-tax regions. To be sure, the required cuts in expenditures aren’t necessarily politically realistic, which is why ones hopes that public-sector productivity improvements are on the table. 

* Tom Jackson of the Tampa Tribune wrote a terrific column on the virtues of bus rapid transit for commuters and taxpayers about a month ago. Check it out.

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

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