The Agenda

Stray Links for 17 September 2010

* Andrew Romano has a new profile of Mitch Daniels.

* John Carney has offered the case against infrastructure spending.

* Sara Murray reports on the growing number of Americans dependent on government transfers:

 

As recently as the early 1980s, about 30% of Americans lived in households in which an individual was receiving Social Security, subsidized housing, jobless benefits or other government-provided benefits. By the third quarter of 2008, 44% were, according to the most recent Census Bureau data.

That number has undoubtedly gone up, as the recession has hammered incomes. Some 41.3 million people were on food stamps as of June 2010, for instance, up 45% from June 2008. With unemployment high and federal jobless benefits now available for up to 99 weeks, 9.7 million unemployed workers were receiving checks in late August 2010, more than twice as many as the 4.2 million in August 2008.

* Mark Kleiman has thoughts on the crime decline:

Crime was down again last year, about 5% overall. Reporters and some criminologists continue to insist that there’s a puzzle here, because crime ought to go up with unemployment. How that idea fits with the high-crime Roaring Twenties and the low-crime Depression era, or the very peaceful low-growth 1950s and the crime explosion that accompanied the Kennedy-Johnson economic boom no one seems to be able to explain.

Then, of course, there is the Grand Theft Auto theory, as Kleiman goes on to explain.

* Peter Suderman has written a comprehensive take on how the states are struggling under the burden of implementing PPACA. This article is essential reading. If Peter is missing something, or if he’s giving us an unduly apocalyptic account, I’d like to hear about it, as he paints a grim portrait. If at least half of what Peter is saying is right, and I have no reason to believe otherwise, efforts to repeal the new heath law will gain traction.

* Seyward Darby has written an excellent assessment of the likely trajectory of a post-Rhee DCPS. 

* Alexandra Harney writes on the changing Chinese labor force.

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