Mason in the News

Posted: January 16, 2009 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

Following are highlights of national news coverage Mason recently received.

Thursday, Jan. 8, Associated Press

Obama Warns of Dire Consequences Without Stimulus

“President-elect Barack Obama warned of dire and lasting consequences if Congress doesn’t pump unprecedented dollars into the U.S. economy, making an urgent pitch Thursday for his mammoth spending proposal in his first speech since his election. In the speech at George Mason University outside of Washington, Obama cast blame on ‘an era of profound irresponsibility that stretched from corporate boardrooms to the halls of power in Washington.’ But he added, ‘The very fact that this crisis is largely of our own making means that it is not beyond our ability to solve. Our problems are rooted in past mistakes, not our capacity for future greatness.’”

Saturday, Jan. 10, Washington Post

Walking Away and What It Leaves Behind

“With property values plummeting, real estate experts say American mortgage holders are increasingly walking away from properties. ‘The more the house is underwater, the more people are likely to walk away from a house and go rent rather than keep money tied up in it,’ said Todd J. Zywicki, a professor who specializes in bankruptcy, contracts and commercial law at the George Mason University School of Law. ‘The traditional restraint on this has been that people have been concerned about the impact on their credit reports . . . but with the large number of foreclosures that we have been going through, my guess is that in a couple of years, a foreclosure is not going to look quite as menacing as it does now.’”

Sunday, Jan. 11, New York Times

In Nashville, a Ballot Measure that May Quiet All but English

“In a proposal that has defined him publicly and dominated local politics for two years, Eric Crafton, a metropolitan councilman for Nashville, hopes to make Nashville the largest city in the United States to prohibit the government from using languages other than English, with exceptions allowed for issues of health and safety. On Jan. 22, city residents will vote on the proposal, which Mr. Crafton calls English First and critics call English Only. Early voting began on Jan. 2 and will continue until Jan. 17. With low turnout expected, as with any ballot initiative, the election will depend on which side can rally supporters without mobilizing the opposition, said Michael P. McDonald, a political science professor at George Mason University in Virginia. ‘There are high levels of support for these types of measures if people don’t view them as punitive against immigrant communities,’ Mr. McDonald said. ‘The trick is, you don’t want to somehow motivate your opponent’s voters with emotional rhetoric.’”

Monday, Jan. 12, New York Times

Democrats Look for Ways to Undo Late Bush Administration Rules

“Democrats are hoping to roll back a series of regulations issued late in the Bush administration that weaken environmental protections and other restrictions. Potential targets include regulations allowing concealed weapons in some national parks and forbidding medical facilities that get federal money from discriminating against doctors and nurses who refuse, on religious grounds, to assist with abortions. Congressional Democrats could use the Review Act to take aim at any rule made final dating to mid-2008, potentially trumping Mr. Bush’s maneuver, said Veronique de Rugy, a senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University.”

Thursday, Jan. 14, CBS News

Homeowner Bailout Rewards Irresponsibility

“The reality is housing prices leapt too high, too fast, beyond what economic fundamentals permit. This is why house prices are falling back to earth. Speculators have moved on or are courting bankruptcy. Lending standards are returning to normal. Debt has given way to moderate thrift. The supply of homes exceeds demand in many areas; prices will stabilize only when homes become affordable again and excess inventory is sold. Yet for at least a decade, the official policy of the U.S. government has been that if you breathe, you qualify for a mortgage. As George Mason University economics professor Russell Roberts noted, that official policy is what created the housing bubble — nonexistent oversight of Fannie and Freddie; the Federal Reserve’s artificially low interest rates; the Community Reinvestment Act and its Clinton-era expansion; and a 1997 law that made capital gains tax-free.”

Thursday, Jan. 15, Washington Post

Make Yourselves at Home, Obama Family

“Welcome to the neighborhood, President-elect and Mrs. Obama. The last tenant, frankly, didn’t much like it here, but don’t let that sway you. The house is old and drafty, but it has beaucoup curb appeal, a crackerjack staff that conveys, and the words ‘24-hour security’ — well, they don’t even come close. Don’t let the White House crowd limit you to their tired and stuffy restaurant hangouts. Branch out. Start off by inviting George Mason University economist Tyler Cowen in to brief you on why a stimulus package won’t do the trick, then get into his invaluable Ethnic Dining Guide, which covers local eateries from more than 80 countries, including — perhaps of particular interest to your family — Indonesia and Kenya.”

Thursday, Jan. 15, Washington Post

Government Gets High Marks from Student Job-Seekers

“A survey released yesterday by the Partnership for Public Service and Universum USA says that five federal government agencies are among the top 15 ‘ideal’ employers in the view of college students. But you don’t have to go too far below the survey’s surface to find issues that hinder the government’s recruiting effort. One is [Uncle] Sam’s reputation, including the well-deserved knock for bureaucracy and red tape. ‘This adversely impacts every agency’s ability to recruit,’ the report says. That red tape has been known to tie the hiring process in knots. Alan More, a former CIA recruiter who is a professor at George Mason University, said in a panel discussion on the survey that federal hiring is ‘a long process where it goes into a black hole and [applicants] never hear from it again.’”

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