Steve Hochstadt: When Romney and the Republicans talk about cutting back on government, they mean much larger cuts in local government spending than what has happened so far.
Mark V. Sykes: Robert M. Nelson and 27 fellow Caltech scientists, engineers and administrators working at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory are risking their jobs and their personal financial well-being to fight for their right of privacy against unwarranted government intrusion. They are fighting for all of us, and they deserve our respect and support.
Steve Hochstadt: Those who want government to go away, or at least get a lot smaller, seem to have two ideas about how to shrink government: Cut out the “waste” and let private companies take over many of its functions. Their assumption is that the private sector can do these jobs better and cheaper. Is that true?
Ivan Eland: The U.S. Justice Department is apparently considering prosecuting Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, which is a Web site that publishes classified documents from governments, under the rarely used Espionage Act of 1917. Such a prosecution would have adverse effects on the American people’s right to know what their government is doing in a republic that is supposed to be run by them.
Tina Dupuy: Going largely underreported, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates spoke at the Eisenhower Library (name for the president who coined the term “military-industrial complex”), last week calling for cuts in the Pentagon’s budget. Gates asked, “Does the number of warships we have and are building really put America at risk when the U.S. battle fleet is larger than the next 13 navies combined, 11 of which belong to allies and partners? “
Andrea Nill: This week, a judge will decide on whether the federal government bears culpability for another immigration detention slip up: the August 2008 death of Chinese immigrant, Hiu Lui “Jason” Ng. ICE is also arguing that this case should be dismissed on grounds that staffers at the jail at which Ng died are contractors — not government employees.