■ Proverbs 19:21
21 Many are the plans in a person’s heart,
but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.
There are many modern variants.
proverb: "Man plans and God laughs."
Allen: "If you want to make God laugh, tell him about your
Lennon, less theologically: "Life is what happens while you are busy making other
On the other hand, kids, I wouldn't let this deter you from maxing
out your retirement fund contributions.
■ Do you know what to do about health care? Writing at NRO, Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry
would disagree: Nobody
Knows What to Do about Health Care.
Conservatives have a simple dream when it comes to health care, and
that dream has a name, and it is “Singapore.” And it is a beautiful
dream. If Milton Friedman and Elon Musk sat down together to design
a health-care system, it would probably look like Singapore’s. In
outline, it’s very simple to understand: Everybody gets a health
savings account, into which a portion of their paycheck is
automatically deposited; from that health savings account, they can
purchase catastrophic coverage. The elderly get a voucher for their
choice of private insurance plans for age-related illnesses. The
poor get top-ups to their health savings accounts and a special
Sounds great! But keep reading: Gobry argues, convincingly, that it would be a disaster to implement
in the USA.
Is there a solution? "No, there isn’t. We’re all doomed."
The article also has a first-paragraph bunch of links to Gobry's
previous articles; I encourage you to check them out as well.
Also at NRO, Brink Lindsey and Steven Teles write on The
Conservative Inequality Paradox.
Conservatives have two intellectual commitments that are
increasingly incompatible. They believe that the American economy is
clogged up with crony-capitalist corruption that hands out special
favors and protections to organized interests. They also hold that
economic inequality — in particular, the surging share of total
income earned by those at the very top — is morally justified by the
rights of property and the tendency of free markets to raise living
These two commitments can no longer be squared. If our economy
really is riddled with cronyism, then the beneficiaries must have
pocketed large amounts of ill-gotten loot. The existing distribution
of income and wealth, therefore, does not deserve the deference it
would be due if all gains were derived from spontaneous, unregulated
market transactions. Call it the conservative inequality paradox:
Either conservatives have overstated the amount of crony capitalism,
or their dismissal of the concept of inequality as envy is
Lindsay and Teles have a new book out [Amazon link above] that I've placed on my
■ But it's not just "crony capitalism" that tilts toward the
well-off. Megan McArdle writes on
the Republicans' Tax Plan Threatens Higher Ed. The headline
(Threatens? Eek!) might obscure some relevant facts, for
As a proud alum, I’m glad that the University of Pennsylvania has a
$12 billion endowment to sustain it into the future. But it’s hard
to see why the school needs a tax subsidy from the government to
educate students with a median family income of nearly $200,000 a year.
I suspect those parents will ensure that their children get educated
even if the government offers no subsidy at all -- and that the
students could probably manage to learn even without the shiny new
buildings and extensive renovations that have appeared since I left
the campus 23 years ago.
I dug this quote out of Milton & Rose Friedman's Free to Choose
in 2013, and it's gotten truer since its original writing:
We know of no government program that seems to us to be so inequitable
in its effects, so clean an example of Director's Law, as the financing
of higher education. In this area, those of us who are in the middle-
and upper-income classes have conned the poor into subsidizing us on the
grand scale—yet we have no decent shame, we boast to the treetops
of our selflessness and public-spiritedness.
■ Pierre Lemieux writes at EconLog about Puerto Rico's
Brother Does Not Always Help, or Only at a Cost.
One of the roots of its woes: it was established
in 1941 by then-Governor Rexford Guy Tugwell, FDR crony and ardent
advocate for the Planned Economy.
Tugwell thought that competition was a waste and should be replaced by government planning and industrial democracy. Or else, he wrote in his 1933 book, The Industrial Discipline and the Governmental Arts, "we are surely committed to revolution." It is not clear how he reconciled central planning and industrial democracy, by which he meant that firms would be run by their workers and engineers. He was an admirer of the Soviet Union.
1941's shiny monument to Progressive Fascism is today's cesspool of
political patronage, corruption, and inefficiency.
■ As always, Gregg Easterbrook's Tuesday
Morning Quarterback is an entertaining read even if football
bores you silly. Consumer note: I haven't watched a single NFL game
so far this year; I did tune in for a lot of the Iowa-Ohio State
game, and was pretty excited to see OSU get badly beaten by the Hawkeyes.
But anyway, a note on Donna Brazile:
Maybe Russians Hacked the Donna Brazile
Copyedits. Less than a week after publishing a book that
claims the Democratic primaries were rigged, Donna Brazile denied
they were rigged. This isn’t just a politician trying to have
things both ways. Brazile’s claim is a celebrity publishing gimmick:
Include scandalous declarations in a manuscript to draw media
attention and get the book selling, then have the celebrity make TV
appearances denying the claims. The next step, perhaps coming soon,
is that Brazile will ask for sympathy by saying she is the victim of
a smear campaign, which her own book set in motion.
Perhaps one should place quotation marks around her own “book,” which relies extensively on fake quotes that purport to be exactly what was said, word-for-word, though no one was taking notes. Unless Brazile was wiretapping her phone calls to Bernie Sanders! The “book” is not bound for the Ghostwriters Hall of Fame: “I started to cry, not out of guilt, but out of anger. We would go forward. We had to.” Maybe Brazile is denying the content of her own “book” because she hasn’t gotten around to reading it.
Of course, if you're an NFL fan, Easterbrook's pretty interesting on
that subject too.