URLs du Jour

2017-12-12

Proverbs 17:2 gets further into familial dysfunction:

2 A prudent servant will rule over a disgraceful son
    and will share the inheritance as one of the family.

It sounds as if the Proverbialist has been watching the recent season of Gotham. Man, that young Bruce Wayne seems to be kind of a dick. Here's hoping that turns out to be an elaborate con when episodes resume.


■ The cover story in the current issue of Reason by Katherine Mangu-Ward is an excellent summary of where we are: facing The End of Free Speech. For most of 2017, Republicans (correctly) deplored college shout-downs of conservative/libertarian speakers. But…

But as the weather cooled, the GOP revealed its true colors. Led by an increasingly vehement and erratic President Donald Trump, the same party that was poised to die on the hill of free speech when it was being threatened by angry progressives was suddenly ready to eliminate First Amendment rights on the football field, revoke citizenship for flag burning, pull broadcast licenses over bad comedy sketches, and expand libel laws to take down annoying members of the media. There are greater threats to speech, it turns out, than a bunch of angry co-eds.

James Damore is not mentioned, but I suppose Katherine only had so many column-inches.


■ At NRO, Robert VerBruggen considers Google, Facebook, Amazon: Our Digital Overlords.

[…] there are real monopolies in this country, and three of them — Alphabet (i.e., Google), Amazon, and Facebook — control much of our online life. They are already showing anti-competitive tendencies, as well as censoring speech, and yet there is no perfect response to such practices. These firms could do great damage if left unchecked — but then again, their market dominance might not be as secure as it seems.

It’s not time to smash these companies to pieces. But it just might be time to rein in some of their most egregious practices.

Democrats, usually the first to rail against monopolies, are kind of quiet about the big three. Gee, I wonder if that's because they're reliably in Democrat pockets?


■ Chris Edwards of Cato debunks the "giveaway to the rich" propaganda that opponents of tax legislation are flinging around. In fact, Edwards claims, Senate Tax Bill Increases Progressivity.

Without any tax cut, the top quintile will pay 67.0 percent of all federal taxes in 2019, and the top 1 percent will pay 26.7 percent. Since the tax cut shares for those groups are less than that, the cuts will make federal taxation more progressive. If the Senate bill were passed, the top quintile of higher earners would pay an even larger share of the overall federal tax burden. That would undercut the growth potential of tax reform and make our excessively progressive tax code even more so.

And that's not a good thing, in Edwards' eyes, nor in Pun Salad's.


■ Pun Salad is a Frederic Bastiat fanboy, so is AEI's Mark J. Perry. And Mark contributes The Candlemakers’ Petition: Revised and modernized for today’s climate of rising trade protectionism. It's a letter to President Trump from "the American Lighting Association, US light bulb manufacturers, and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers." Sample:

Simply put, the American lighting industry is suffering from the damaging competition of a foreign rival whose conditions are so far superior to our own for producing light that it is flooding the American market with light at an incredibly low, unfair price. That is, this foreign producer is “dumping” light into the US economy to our great disadvantage. The moment the foreign rival appears, our sales of lighting fixtures drop precipitously, all cost-conscious American consumers turn to him, and an important segment of American industry is reduced to economic stagnation, with the accompanying loss of American jobs and the impoverishment of our country.

… and I bet you can guess the nature of that menacing foreign—nay, extraterrestrial—rival.

But if you can't, here's a Tweeted hint from Mark: