URLs du Jour

2018-10-23

[Amazon Link]

  • See if you can tell by the headline of this Economics21 article where Brian Riedl comes down on whether "Republican Policies" are to blame for the entire budget deficit, as Senate Democrats claim: Senate Democrats Absurdly Blame Entire Budget Deficit on “Republican Policies” in New Report.

    This week, the Democrats on the Senate Budget Committee released a ludicrous taxpayer-funded “study” that attempts to prove that the entire budget deficit is the fault of Republicans. The report uses a hyper partisan methodology that essentially rigs the results.

    The study’s argument is as follows: Since 2000, defense spending has risen $205 billion above inflation, and tax cuts have shaved $546 billion from annual tax revenues. Add in $183 billion in resulting interest costs, and you get a $935 billion annual tab that exceeds the current $779 billion budget deficit. Therefore, in the study’s words, “Republican policies caused the 2018 budget deficit.”

    My own reasoning is simpler, and not funded by a dime in taxes:

    1. Republicans control the House, and have done so since 2011.
    2. Republicans control the Senate, and have done so since 2015.
    3. A (nominal) Republican is President, and has been President since 2017.
    4. Not a dime of Federal government "discretionary" spending can occur without the OK of the House and Senate.
    5. Also under the control of the House and Senate (with Presidential approval): "mandatory" spending and taxes.
    6. Therefore, Republican policies (as revealed by the votes of Republican politicians) are responsible for the entire budget deficit.

    Q.E.D., baby.


  • On the same theme, sort of: Ramesh Ponnuru, writing at AEI, tells us What Republicans aren’t telling us in the midterms.

    According to Nancy Pelosi, Republicans in Washington “are setting in motion their plan to destroy the Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security that seniors and families rely on.” She’s distorting comments by Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell, who actually said that while he would like to see reforms to those programs, they will not happen with Congress and the White House both controlled by Republicans. Republicans aren’t planning to cut Medicare and Social Security.

    The truth is worse: They’re not planning to do much of anything at all.

    The best Republicans can do is to claim that they're … um … not Democrats. Give them points for that, anyway.


  • At Reason, Matthew Harwood points out, like oil and water, Civil Liberties and Socialism Don’t Mix.

    In 1981, the socialist economist and best-selling author Robert Heilbroner took to the pages of the democratic socialist magazine, Dissent, to answer what would seem like a rather academic question, "What is Socialism?" His answer was a raw, honest, and devastating critique of democratic socialism from a man wrestling with his faith. In his essay, Heilbroner—reminiscent of a similar definitional debate today among progressives and socialists—explained that socialism is not a more generous welfare state along Nordic lines. Instead, it is something entirely different, an economic and cultural configuration that suppresses if not eliminates the market economy and the alienating and selfish culture it produces.

    "If tradition cannot, and the market system should not, underpin the socialist order, we are left with some form of command as the necessary means for securing its continuance and adaptation," Heilbroner wrote. "Indeed, that is what planning means. Command by planning need not, of course, be totalitarian. But an aspect of authoritarianism resides inextricably in all planning systems. A plan is meaningless if it is not carried out, or if it can be ignored or defied at will."

    As (I'm pretty sure) Hayek pointed out, scapegoats will be found for the failures of socialist schemes: the dissenters.


  • Andrew Cline, writing for the Josiah Bartlett Center, looks at the speech James Dean gave on his installation as President of the University Near Here. He especially liked that it was based on New Hampshire's motto. Speeches of freedom.

    In an era when college students routinely pressure administrators to silence voices that challenge their own preconceptions, it is notable and praiseworthy that UNH’s new president committed himself in his inaugural speech to upholding freedom of speech and of religion.

    President Dean based most of his speech on FDR’s famous Four Freedoms, which is not the foundation on which we would build any talk about freedom. FDR’s revision of our founding principles was a political ploy to revive a dying New Deal and prepare the country for a more energetic U.S. role in foreign affairs. That it is now treated as the touchstone for discussions about American liberty is unfortunate.

    Nevertheless, President Dean’s speech was encouraging. If we’re all talking about how to secure, protect and advance freedom, those who are passionately dedicated to weakening, diminishing and shrinking it will consistently find themselves at a distinct disadvantage.

    As has been said before: UNH is doing a decent job of talking the free-speech talk. We'll see about the walking the walk bit.


  • For only the second time in Pun Salad history, we link to a Harvard Crimson story: A Bill Forbidding Social Group Sanctions Probably Doesn’t Affect Harvard. One Advocacy Group Wants to Change That..

    When Republicans proposed a December 2017 amendment to a congressional higher education bill that would bar universities from punishing students who join single-gender social groups, the legislation seemed explicitly targeted at Harvard — but it wasn’t quite that simple.

    It was unclear at the time whether the bill, a suggested revision to the Higher Education Act, actually applied to the College. The legislation — titled the PROSPER Act — refers only to “recognized” social groups. But Harvard’s controversial sanctions, which took effect with the Class of 2021, only penalize members of “unrecognized” single-gender social organizations.

    The advocacy group is the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), and (unsurprisingly) they think it's a bad idea for places like Harvard to blacklist students who choose to belong to frowned-upon organizations.


  • Not likely to be the basis of an upcoming episode of Blue Bloods: NYPD boss accused of stuffing her panties in co-worker’s mouth.

    Sgt. Ann Marie Guerra, the second-in-command at the 72nd Precinct Detectives Squad, flipped out on Detective Victor Falcon when he complained about her leaving her underwear all over the unisex locker room, sources said.

    “They are f–king clean!” the 38-year-old married mom of two allegedly roared Oct. 7 — as she shoved a pair of her panties into Falcon’s mouth, a source said.

    Although I would like to see the expression on Tom Selleck's face as Garrett explains the situation to him.