URLs du Jour

2018-06-13

[Amazon Link]

  • Proverbs 12:24 sounds kind of ominous for the indolent:

    24 Diligent hands will rule,
        but laziness ends in forced labor.

    I suppose this means something like: Hard work eventually pays off. You get to be in charge! Sloth, on the other hand, results in … slavery? Sounds unpleasant. (But perhaps you could use our Amazon Product du Jour!)


  • Ronald Baily, at Reason, notes that Trump's Totally Free Trade Idea Is Really Smart.

    However, the subhed: "It's a damned shame that he doesn't seem to really believe in it."

    At the G-7 summit meeting in Quebec, President Donald Trump reportedly suggested the idea of totally free trade to the leaders of Canada, Germany, Britain, France, Italy, and Japan. "Ultimately that's what you want, you want tariff free, no barriers, and you want no subsides because you have some countries subsidizing industries and that's not fair," Trump said. "So you go tariff free, you go barrier free, you go subsidy free, that's the way you learned at the Wharton School of Finance." Let's call that insight waging trade peace.

    Well, hooray! Tariffs and other trade barriers are taxes on consumers and protections for the profits of uncompetitive corporations. So how high are tariffs now? According to the World Bank, U.S. tariffs applied to all products average about 1.6 percent. That happens to be the identical rate for Germany, France, Italy, and the United Kingdom. Japan's average is 1.3 percent and Canada's is the lowest at 0.8 percent. In other words, we and our allies are well down the path toward totally free trade.

    Ron also points out that the USA loves to subsidize its agricultural sector. Will Trump throw his weight toward getting rid of those? Don't hold your breath.


  • A bit of good news, reported at the Tech Freedom blog: Court Rejects Trump DOJ Suit to Block AT&T/Time Warner Merger

    Last November, the Department of Justice stunned the antitrust world by suing to block AT&T’s acquisition of Time Warner. No such “vertical” deal (between two companies that do not compete directly) had been blocked in four decades. President Trump’s relentless attacks on CNN, Time Warner’s crown jewel, prompted widespread speculation that the DOJ was stretching antitrust law to serve the President’s political agenda. AT&T made this argument in court, asking to cross-examine Makan Delrahim, Assistant Attorney General for the Antitrust Division, about White House interference in a law enforcement action.

    Today, the U.S. District Court of the District of Columbia handed AT&T a complete victory — delivering a stinging rebuke to the Trump Administration and handing the DOJ its first loss in an antitrust case since 2004.

    The lawsuit was a silly waste of time and taxpayer money.


  • Hey, kids, what time is it? At NRO, Robert Poole has the answer: It’s Time to Rethink America’s Failing Highways. He notes the poor condition of some thoroughfares, while the public and many pols resist raising fuel taxes to pay for fixes.

    Fuel taxes were sold to the public last century as “highway-user fees.” And originally, they were used solely to build and maintain highways. Yet that is far from the case today. Nearly one-fourth of all federal fuel taxes are used for non-highway purposes, and it’s worse than that in some states. In California, over the next 30 years, $18 billion of state gas-tax money is pledged for paying off bonds issued to build Jerry Brown’s high-speed-rail boondoggle.

    It’s not hard to see that there is something fundamentally wrong with the way we fund and manage the highways we all depend on. Highways are one of our basic public utilities — along with water, electricity, natural gas, telephones, etc. Yet we don’t have huge political battles over how to pay for those utilities. Every month you get a bill from your electric company, water company, phone company, and satellite or cable company. You pay for the specific services you used, and the money goes directly to the company that provided those services. None of that is true for highways.

    Yes, Robert is a "sell the streets" libertarian. Check him out, you might become one too.


  • Arnold Kling comments on Eric Weinstein on the IDW. Which is the so-called "Intellectual Dark Web".

    Although he uses different terminology, Weinstein seems to suggest that institutions of the mainstream media–he names CNN, NPR, the NYT, and “magazines like The Atlantic“–have degenerated into put-downs and expressions of outrage at the expense of reporting the news. Stories that would reflect badly on the ability or moral conduct of oppressed groups, or that would reflect favorably on the moral conduct of privileged groups, cannot be processed by these institutions that hitherto were fairly reliable curators of news. The IDW is a reaction against, or an alternative to, the dereliction of duty on the part of the mainstream outlets. Not an alternative news source, but an alternative source of discussion and analysis.

    Eric Weinstein is the brother of Bret, who, you may remember, objected to the "Day of Absence" at Oregon's Evergreen State College, in which white people were "encouraged" to not show up.