Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

CUTTING EDGE: New Ideas, Sharp Opinions [Derived Headline]

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

CUTTING EDGE: New Ideas, Sharp Opinions [Derived Headline]

Article excerpt

SHOCK AND AWE AT HOME

A. Barton Hinkle at Reason.com isn't keen on domestic law enforcement agencies surveilling U.S. citizens with drones:

"There is a slight difference between Baltimore and Basra or Kansas and Kandahar: We're not at war in Baltimore or Kansas. We're not trying to vanquish enemy forces in Washington, or repel an invasion in North Dakota.

"Admittedly, you might not know that by looking at today's hyper- militarized police forces. In recent years they have been stocking up on body armor, flashbang grenades, assault rifles and armored vehicles like the Lenco BearCat G3 -- an 8-ton, quarter-million- dollar behemoth that is all the rage in burgs both big and small. ...

"But domestic shock-and-awe is now becoming par for the course. ... [And] now law-enforcement agencies around the country are buying drones. During the Clinton years, homegrown militia groups used to warn about black helicopters in whisper mode spying on American citizens. The paranoid fantasies seemed funny at the time. ... As of this writing, more than 300 state and local police departments have bought drones and applied for federal permission to use them."

SCHOLAR, HEAL THYSELF

Luigi Zingales of the University of Chicago in The New York Times: "Academic economists like to make fun of businesspeople, [saying] they want competition when they enter a new market but are quick to lobby for subsidies and barriers to competitors once they get in. Yet scholars like me are no better. We work in the least competitive and most subsidized industry of all: higher education.

"We criticize predatory loans by mortgage brokers when student loans can be just as abusive. ... Just as subsidies for homeownership have increased the price of houses, so have education subsidies contributed to the soaring price of college. ... Last but not least, these subsidized loans keep afloat colleges that do not add much value for their students, preventing people from accumulating useful skills."

BUDGEPOCALYPSE

Peter Suderman in Reason magazine: "The latest long-term budget outlook from the Congressional Budget Office reads like a particularly dark noir: Things start out pretty bad. And then they get worse. …

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