Timothy P. Carney at the Washington Examiner on the public use of private cameras The investigation into the Boston Marathon bombers demonstrates the "need to maintain robust civil society and public spiritedness," writes Timothy P. Carney — not a massive, government funded surveillance state. "Law enforcement in Boston used cameras to ID the bombing suspects, but not police cameras. Instead, authorities asked the public to submit all photos and videos of the finish-line area to the FBI, just in case any of them had relevant images. ... In a bout of public spiritedness, these pedestrians and businesses willingly shared their videos with law enforcement. Even if the crime had not been so notorious, the police could expect public cooperation — what merchant wouldn't share his surveillance tapes to aid in a murder investigation?" Under the title "We Need More Cameras, and We Need Them Now", Farhad Manjoo at Slate welcomed a London-esque ring of steel: "The best reason to welcome a government network of surveillance cameras is that we’re already being watched—just not systematically, in a way that aids law enforcement. Private security cameras dot every busy street, and people’s personal cameras are everywhere." Falguni A. Sheth and Robert E. Prasch at Salon are far less congratulatory: "The subtext ... coming out of Boston over the last week carried a crucial message ... It was a vindication of the Counter-Terrorism Surveillance State and its massive expenditures and the associated erosion of American constitutional liberties." Not so, say the pair: "Would the initial shootout in Watertown, the escape of one of the brothers, and the eventual spotting of blood on the side of a boat and the calling in of that observation have unfolded in more or less the same way in 1977? Probably. Where is the added value?" As for lawmakers, Rep. Peter King tells The Hill that "[t]his is not looking into someone's home or doing something that would require a search warrant.... We're talking about something which is out in the open." Rudy Giuliani said London has "a much more efficient system than even they have in New York today."
Paul Krugman in The New York Times on austerity-inspired joblessness Has the popular concern with the nation's debt wrought a class of the permanently unemployed? "The famous red line on debt, it turns out, was an artifact of dubious statistics, reinforced by bad arithmetic," Krugman argues, referring to the controversial paper authored by Harvard economists Kenneth Rogoff and Carmen Reinhart. " ... But while debt fears were and are misguided, there’s a real danger we’ve ignored: the corrosive effect, social and economic, of persistent high unemployment." Krugman thinks the decision to focus on debt over near-term problems like unemployment was deliberate. "Let's be clear: this is a policy decision. The main reason our economic recovery has been so weak is that, spooked by fear-mongering over debt, we've been doing exactly what basic macroeconomics says you shouldn’t do — cutting government spending in the face of a depressed economy." Mike Konczal at The Washington Post turns up more examples that those seeking to install austerity measures have consciously ignored unemployment, concluding, "The common wisdom will soon be that austerity as a solution was oversold, with all the toxic side effects hidden. The question next will be how to turn that into political power."