URLs du Jour

2017-09-30

■ A few days back, the Proverbialist got cranky and suspicious about maybe getting cheated by a vendor; today, the shoe is on the other foot. Proverbs 20:14 invites us to contemplate that consumers are no bed of roses either:

14 “It’s no good, it’s no good!” says the buyer—
    then goes off and boasts about the purchase.

You almost wish they'd go a little lighter on the implicit ethnic stereotyping.


■ Do you ever wonder whether U.S. antitrust law is broken? Virginia Postrel has the answer: U.S. Antitrust Law Is Not Broken.

We’ve seen this movie before.

Upstarts seize new technological opportunity, overturning the old business order in the process. They’re celebrated as entrepreneurial heroes as they grow rich and self-important. Then public opinion sours on their success. Competitors complain they’re too powerful. The government brings antitrust action and threatens to break them up. Years of bureaucratic struggle ensue (cue the montage of lawyers with piles of paper, economists writing on whiteboards, and multiple presidential inaugurations). In the final act, a settlement is reached, but it’s largely irrelevant: While the lawyers were fighting, a new generation of upstarts overturned the business order once again.

The original basis for the Feds to swing into antitrust activity was effects on consumer welfare. That doesn't fit very well these days, so the goalposts are moving: Democrats in particular are pushing for considering a "variety of factors" which are less amenable to objective measure and "might include just about anything people don’t like."


■ At Cato, Neal McCluskey reflects on the American Library Association's "Banned Books Week", which coincides with a Cambridge school's librarian's (Liz Phipps Soeiro) rejection of a gift of (racist!) Dr. Seuss books from Mrs. Trump. Is It “Banning” To Reject the Book in the First Place? McCluskey asks us to consider the "root problem":

Public institutions force all taxpayers to fund decisions by other people about what books are valuable, or age appropriate, or just plain morally upright. We are forcing them to fund someone else’s speech and opinions, even if they find that speech or those opinions offensive, or just wrong, and even if their views are rejected.

Indeed.


■ But "Dana" at Patterico has a slightly less philosophical take: The School Library Where Good Manners Go To Die And Dr. Seuss Gets The Racist Treatment. And makes a painfully obvious point:

If Mrs. Obama had gifted Soeiro’s library with the same titles, you and I both know this letter would not have been written, and the books would have been graciously received, whether needed or not. And it would have been taken as an honor and distinction to have been recognized in this way.

And includes the tweeted ironic juxtaposition of a couple of pix of Ms. Soeiro:

How Cambridge can you get?


■ Cato and Michael F. Cannon find plenty to dislike about the Trump Administration. But: The Trump Administration Isn’t Sabotaging ObamaCare—That Was Democrats.

If Democrats or the media want to get angry at someone for sabotaging ObamaCare, there are plenty of targets. They can start with the Democratic politicans who – though they now clamor for bipartisanship now – enacted ObamaCare in 2010 on a purely partisan basis, spent seven years refusing to compromise, and as a result sowed the seeds for the GOP’s electoral gains. Then there’s the Democratic president who – and this was perhaps the sole exception to Democrats’ general refusal to compromise – himself sabotaged the law by agreeing to limit so-called “risk-corridor” subsidies to ObamaCare carriers. Then there was the time when ObamaCare was making voters so angry, that same Democratic president even violated the ACA by allowing people to keep non-ACA-compliant plans. That decision counts as an act of double-sabotage, because it continues to make Exchange premiums higher than they otherwise would be.

Ending with a plea with which we concur: "Now stop making me defend the Trump administration, people. Sheesh."