TheDC Morning: Paul Krugman’s split personality disorder leads him to alternately condemn, praise civility

Mike Riggs Contributor
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1.) Happy tax day, suckers — Did you take advantage of the three-day tax extension so that you could party Friday and hate yourself on Monday, per usual? Well, dummy, get thee to a post office. And if you need something to read while you wait in line, corpulent-government enthusiast Ezra Klein has an item that will keep your ticker tocking: “Though [today] gets billed as tax day, it’s actually ‘purchase the federal government for a year’ day. We’re not just spending money. We’re buying something,” writes Klein. To that end, we should all receive receipts. In the meantime, Klein has a breakdown of where your money goes: In 2010, the head of a family of four making $80,000 paid roughly $10,000 in taxes. “About $5,000 went to Social Security. Then came Medicare, at $1,160, and defense, at $1,015. Assorted other health-care programs ate up another $938, while job and income security programs grabbed about $850.” Then “there’s a big drop-off into the miscellany,” says Klein: “Education only cost you $185…Environmental and energy policy was $81. International spending…was about $65. Agricultural programs were $30. Interest on the debt was almost $300.” We like how Klein just dropped that whopper of a debt payment right there at the end! At least he’s honest enough to admit that “some of the costs for what we’re purchasing now are being left till later.” Happy tax day!

2.) Paul Krugman’s split personality disorder leads him to alternately condemn, praise civility — Poor Paul Krugman. Ever since Jared Loughner went on that shooting rampage in Tucson, the voices in Paul Krugman’s head have turned the good doctor’s world upside down. First, the voices warned Krugman about a “climate of hate” that has been “causing far more disturbed people than before to act out their illness by threatening, or actually engaging in, political violence.” At the time, Krugman blamed the unproven uptick on conservatives who spouted uncivil “eliminationist” rhetoric and/or challenged the claim that Obamacare was written on the buttocks of a thousand cherubim with quills made from unicorn horns. Fast-forward three months: For the first time in a decade, Rep. Ron Paul is not the only person in America worried about money. Paul Ryan has proposed “serious” entitlement reforms. Pres. Obama has recruited the Gang of Six to attempt the same feat. And the voices in Paul Krugman’s head? They are livid. “Let’s not be civil,” Krugman writes in the final paragraph of his latest masterpiece. “Instead, let’s have a frank discussion of our differences. In particular, if Democrats believe that Republicans are talking cruel nonsense, they should say so — and take their case to the voters.” Careful now, Dr. Krugman! We don’t want the crazies to use “cruel nonsense” as a license to kill.

3.) George Will is even more scared of Donald Trump than he is of Sarah Palin — Donald Trump is winning all the polls everywhere, including “Most Articulate,” “Best Hair,” and “Best Boss of America.” This bothers actual Republicans, many of whom are worried that the “big tent” has been hijacked by “circus performers.” Leading the “I Don’t Think I Like This” coalition is George Will. “Trump’s more important because he can make a shambles of the Republican debates,” Will said Sunday. “Just by being there, he can hurt the Republican Party. He is what is called a ‘blatherskite.’ That is a word my grandmother was fond of as someone who blathers promiscuously.” THIS JUST IN: Trump takes top spot in Gallup’s “Big Blatherskite” poll!

4.) Glenn Beck has a ‘content borrowing’ problem, say bloggers — “A number of conservative activists and bloggers say they’re furious at media magnate Glenn Beck for what they call content theft,” reports The Daily Caller’s Matt Boyle. “Over the past several years, Beck has relied on video, audio and written content from others to fill his radio and television shows, as well as his websites. Often he has credited his fellow conservatives for their work. Yet in many other instances say dozens of conservative journalists who spoke to The Daily Caller, he has not, often taking elaborate steps to cloak the origins of the material.” The list is longer than a loo roll. Read on.

5.) Hollywood to fight the future using Chris Dodd as a giant doughy club — Writing in Ad Week, Edward Jay Epstein notes that the major movie houses stand to get gutted by Netflix and Internet video, which is so much cheaper than cable TV and movie theaters, where you often have to remortgage your house to buy popcorn. “The Hollywood studios not only risk losing billions of dollars in licensing revenues, but their corporate parents own almost all the big cable networks. Since anti-trust law prevents the studios from meeting to restrain trade, they must act through the MPAA,” writes Epstein. This is where Dodd comes in. “While technically prohibited from lobbying Congress until 2013, Dodd can provide guidance to the MPAA’s massive D.C. lobbying operation. And as a former chairman of the Democratic Party and former head of the Senate Banking Committee, he knows how the who-gets-what system in Congress works.” Dodd’s biggest challenge–and potentially his biggest get–would be to unite movie studios, Internet service providers, and cable channels against rules that would prohibit ISPs from charging more for streaming video.

6.) Tea Party freshmen getting privately battered on debt ceiling
— “The 87 freshmen House Republicans are facing intense pressure from administration officials and even some natural allies on why they should — indeed, why they must — vote to allow the federal government to go even deeper into debt,” writes WaPo. “Financial industry executives, business leaders and Treasury Department officials are visiting the freshmen in their offices, briefing them in small groups and even cornering them at dinner parties. It’s all part of a behind-the-scenes campaign to school congressional newcomers in the economic stakes of Washington’s next big fiscal fight: over the debt ceiling.”

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Mike Riggs