Joe Karaganis in Bloomberg View on Americans and Web piracy Karaganis says SOPA and PIPA, bills that were the subject of widespread internet protest Wednesday, likely won't stop the piracy they are out to prevent but will open the door to more censorship. His public policy organization analyzed Americans' attitudes on issues of censorship and piracy. "We learned that most people want to obey the law. But when values conflict, strong majorities rank privacy, free speech, fear of government intrusion, and yes, sharing among family and friends ahead of copyright protection," he writes. Many Americans, he says, are "casual pirates," and most oppose the various proposed methods of enforcement, including shutdowns of sites that host pirated material. He also notes a trend away from piracy thanks to innovations in paid content streaming like Spotify. "In other words, there is a way to reduce piracy without breaking the Internet or sacrificing civil liberties. It's called business innovation."
Joshua Green in The Boston Globe on Gingrich and food stamps In Monday's debate, Newt Gingrich rehashed his assertion that food stamps cause dependency, implying, as he has before, that they are mostly used by minorities. "But while Gingrich's attacks on food stamps ... are essentially the same ones he and his colleagues were making two decades ago, the profile of the recipients has changed ... and in a direction that Gingrich should applaud," writes Green. He acknowledges that the number of food stamp recipients has risen, both because of the recession and a widening of availability thanks to Bush administration policy. He says food stamps go mostly to children and the elderly, and that working households make up an increasingly large share of recipients, using this as proof that the program works to encourage and supplement employment, not substitute for it. "[T]he program supports and encourages exactly the type of character-building work that Gingrich says he is trying to foster. A policy wonk and a notorious pedant, he surely understands this."
Nicholas Kristof in The New York Times in defense of young bankers Kristof says college students (and others) have increasingly asked him whether going into banking or making millions in private equity is inherently immoral. "My answer to both questions: no ... By allocating capital to more efficient uses, banking laid the groundwork for the industrial revolution and the information revolution," writes Kristof. He argues that for idealist college kids to abandon the financial industry to greedier peers would be akin to liberals abandoning the defense sector to conservatives in the wake of Vietnam. He uses poll numbers to show the youth's declining sympathy for capitalism, and writes that without a new generation of financial workers with principles, capitalism will continue to earn a bad name among the younger generation. "So university students would be wrong to mock their classmates who choose Citigroup over CARE. Banking and private equity aren't evil, and I would never urge college students to stay away."