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Should the United States fund the service program AmeriCorps? President Obama would increase its budget. Rep. Paul Ryan would eliminate federal funding for the program.

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Tom Toles
Posted at 07:20 AM ET, 11/11/2013

My head is tired

Do you ever feel like your head is tired? What can you do? Sleep? But it’s Working Hours! Tasks to be be done. We proceed. But please forgive an even LARGER deficiency of machine-tooled mental acuity as I try to digest this interesting story I noticed last week. A story which struck me as more significant than it set out to be.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-switch/wp/2013/11/06/big-cable-helped-defeat-seattles-mayor-mcginn-but-they-couldnt-stop-this-colorado-project/

First of all it features a photo of a guy on a unicycle which has about as little to do with the story as a photo possibly could. And yet! And yet, as it happens, I CAN RIDE A UNICYCLE. That is not surprising, I suppose, given my constellation of eccentricities, but let me pause to tell you about it briefly. It’s hard to learn how to do. When learning to ride a bicyle, there are two directions you can tip. Left or right, and your politics are determined by that for the rest of your life. But on a unicycle you can fall in 360 different directions. The trick is to get the wheel travelling in the direction you are falling. It’s fun when you get it, a very bubbly fluid feeling. Now I’ll see if I can start falling in the direction of my point here.

The linked story leads with a victory over big cable, which is as misleading as the unicycle photo. The story itself is a maddening account of Big Cable’s actual power, which is detailed and considerable. Yet another example of how the US System, if you can call it a system, frustrates progress and rationality.

But I want to make a still different point, the one I hope you’ll excuse for its tired-head aspect. But big cable seems at this moment in my mind to be symptomatic of a larger problem in the “US System.” That is the current tendency for our much celebrated “competition” to settle into a legal but rigged semi-monopoly pattern where the competition is VERY circumscribed and very hard to break into, with the benefits flowing to a tiny group of winners-take-all. Can we revive a national discussion of this (new?) kind of quasi-monopoly economy and whether it’s good for us please? You can start, I have to go lie down now.

By  |  07:20 AM ET, 11/11/2013

 
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