URLs du Jour

2019-03-09

[Amazon Link]

  • At Reason, Steven Greenhut asks the musical question: Why Are We Still Debating the 'Merits' of Socialism?.

    For me, the answer is pretty simple: that's a pretty easy debate to win. So maybe a better question is: why do people keep lining up on the other side of the debate?

    Anyway:

    These days, some progressives describe themselves as "democratic socialists," which makes the idea sound kinder and gentler. They aren't thinking about crumbling buildings in Cuba, starving children in Venezuela and genocide in Cambodia, but might be envisioning a facsimile of Portland, Ore.,—a place with cool, fair-trade, vegan restaurants and hip bars, but without all that private ownership stuff. Yet socialistic policies could turn the nicest cities into wastelands.

    Apparently, the leaders in those bad socialist places didn't do socialism right. As a former Barack Obama national security adviser told the Post, "I think the challenge for Bernie is just going to be differentiating his brand of social democratic policies from the corrupt turn—and authoritarian turn—socialism took in parts of Latin America."

    A turn? Authoritarianism is the inevitable outcome—a feature of socialistic systems, not a bug, because those systems empower government at the expense of individuals.

    It was tough to find only a few paragraphs to excerpt; they're all pretty good.


  • At the (possibly paywalled) WSJ, James P. Freeman looks at the latest proposals from a senator from a neighboring state: Bernie’s Bet: $32.6 Trillion Is Not Enough.

    Polling suggests that the more people learn about the cost and bureaucracy likely to result from a government-run health system, the less they favor it. So naturally Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont has decided to make his plan for a government-run health system bigger and more expensive.

    This column recently noted that Mr. Sanders is the kind of socialist who demands $32.6 trillion from taxpayers to alter their medical care and then misleads them about the imagined benefits. But that description now seems unfair since the 2020 presidential candidate has decided to shove the price tag significantly further north.

    Bernie is proposing to kick in "free" long-term care in his M4A scheme, offered to …

    People of any age could qualify if illness, injury or age limit their ability to perform at least one “activity of daily living,” such as bathing or dressing, or one or more “instrumental activities of daily living,” such as managing money or taking prescribed medications. There would be no income or assets tests to qualify, and no copays or deductibles.

    Sounds wonderful, except if you're one of the suckers paying for it.

    Donald Trump, right now, as you are reading this, is hoping that Bernie will not peak too soon.


  • Jonah Goldberg's column this week notes: House Democrats finding it hard to confront anti-Semitism.

    The Democratic party is having a rough time condemning anti-Semitism. Representative Ilhan Omar of Minnesota has, on several occasions, made classically anti-Semitic claims about American Jews, and the effort to formally denounce those statements in the House ruined a week in which the Democrats were supposed to talk about their agenda.

    The gist of Omar’s complaints is that the perfidious, string-pulling Hebraic hordes control Congress with their shady shekels; Israel has hypnotized the world; and American Jews are guilty of dual loyalty.

    They finally passed a watered-down who-could-be-against resolution. So at least we'll have no more hatred in America for the next few years.


  • I'm just back from my weekly trip to the town dump "Transfer Station", so I am attuned to what Kyle Smith at National Review says: Recycling: Wasteful, Expensive, Pointless.

    It took man only 20 centuries or so to give up trying to transmute base metals into gold. How long will it take us to stop trying to turn our rubbish into gold? As John Tierney put it 23 years ago in the New York Times, “Recycling Is Garbage.”

    It may make sense to recycle a few items for the savings in carbon emissions — paper, cardboard, and metals such as aluminum from cans. Recycling a ton of these items saves about three tons of carbon dioxide. Glass, plastic, rubber, all the other stuff? Not really. We used to send our plastic empties to China, but China has lost interest, as The Atlantic’s Alana Semuels reports in “Is This the End of Recycling?” The subhead reads, “Now that other countries won’t take our papers and plastics, they’re ending up in the trash.” Some municipalities are directing those recycling trucks to the nearest incinerator. A transfer station in New Hampshire reports that sending rubbish to a landfill costs $68 a ton. Recycling it? That costs $125 a ton. Wasn’t recycling supposed to save us money, not cost twice as much?

    John Tierney's classic article is here.


  • A local story from Drew Cline of the Josiah Bartlett Center attempts to clear up confusion about The Education Tax Credit: How does it work?. Quoting the sponsor of a bill to repeal the ETC:

    “By reversing this unjust carveout, $6 million currently set aside for the education tax credit program would be appropriated fairly, taking into account all Granite Staters’ needs,” Rep. Joelle Martin, D-Milford, said in testimony before the House Ways and Means Committee in February.

    Every part of that statement about the program is incorrect. There is no state money set-aside for the program. And the credits do not come close to totaling $6 million.

    Democrats basically hate every dollar spent on education that doesn't come from taxpayer pockets..