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Saturday, April 16, 2011

Saving the Warfare-Welfare State

A repost from The Freeman | Ideas on Liberty
The Goal is Freedom | Sheldon Richman

Saving the Warfare-Welfare State
The difference is over means not ends.
Posted April 15, 2011

Why does everyone think Washington is plagued by excessive partisanship? The contest over how to address the fiscal debacle says otherwise: Both divisions of the uniparty (Democrat and Republican) agree that the warfare-welfare state must be saved. It’s the means not the end that divides them.

Rep. Paul Ryan, who leads the Republican side, declares that his goal in seeking a balanced budget (someday) is to save the three pillars of the welfare state—Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid—for “our children’s generation.” “I support these missions,” he says. He would “voucherize” Medicare and give states discretionary Medicaid block grants because, he says, the alternative is insolvency. He would maintain Social Security, while permitting people under 55 to put one-third of their Social Security taxes into government-guaranteed accounts. (They would still have to pay current retirees’ Social Security benefits.) His substitute for Obamacare would give a cash subsidy—he uses the Washington gobbledygook “refundable tax credit”—to “[ensure] universal access to affordable health insurance.”

So, although couched in the rhetoric of liberty and self-reliance, Ryan’s plan aims at saving the welfare state from itself, while giving insurance and investment companies more of a role, not to mention a cut of the taxpayers’ money.

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Botched Paramilitary Police Raids: An Epidemic of "Isolated Incidents"

"If a widespread pattern of [knock-and-announce] violations were shown . . . there would be reason for grave concern." —Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, in Hudson v. Michigan, June 15, 2006. An interactive map of botched SWAT and paramilitary police raids, released in conjunction with the Cato policy paper "Overkill: The Rise of Paramilitary Police Raids," by Radley Balko. What does this map mean? How to use this map View Original Map and Database

Key

Death of an innocent. Death or injury of a police officer. Death of a nonviolent offender.
Raid on an innocent suspect. Other examples of paramilitary police excess. Unnecessary raids on doctors and sick people.
The proliferation of SWAT teams, police militarization, and the Drug War have given rise to a dramatic increase in the number of "no-knock" or "quick-knock" raids on suspected drug offenders. Because these raids are often conducted based on tips from notoriously unreliable confidential informants, police sometimes conduct SWAT-style raids on the wrong home, or on the homes of nonviolent, misdemeanor drug users. Such highly-volatile, overly confrontational tactics are bad enough when no one is hurt -- it's difficult to imagine the terror an innocent suspect or family faces when a SWAT team mistakenly breaks down their door in the middle of the night. But even more disturbing are the number of times such "wrong door" raids unnecessarily lead to the injury or death of suspects, bystanders, and police officers. Defenders of SWAT teams and paramilitary tactics say such incidents are isolated and rare. The map above aims to refute that notion.

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