URLs du Jour

2019-05-03

[Amazon Link]

  • At Heritage, David R. Burton has a long, useful article Comparing Free Enterprise and Socialism. Summary:

    What is being offered by contemporary socialists are fairy tales, and we should not mistake them for the truth. These portrayals of socialism and their caricature of capitalism are inaccurate, vacuous, and utopian. Socialism takes from those who work, take risks, innovate, educate themselves, or save and gives to those who do not—or to those who have political power. A century ago, at the advent of the Russian Revolution, one could be a socialist and hope in good faith that socialism could achieve, or at least advance, its utopian aspirations. Now, socialism has a long record of dismal failure. In fact, it has been tried many dozens of times and failed each time.

    There are no huge surprises in the article, but it's nice to see another full-throated defense of economic liberty against its enemies.


  • At Reason, Peter Suderman notes a small warning from the CBO about a current threat: A New Government Report Shows Why Single Payer Would Be Really, Really Hard.

    For example, what would happen when the expansion of health coverage inevitably increased the demand for health care? More people with insurance would invariably mean more people trying to access medical services, posing a challenge to the system. "Whether the supply of providers would be adequate to meet the greater demand would depend on various components of the system, such as provider payment rates," the report says. "If the number of providers was not sufficient to meet demand, patients might face increased wait times and reduced access to care."

    Single payer plans like the one proposed by Bernie Sanders typically assume that the new system would pay something like today's Medicare rates, which are often quite a bit lower than those paid by private coverage. So the delivery infrastructure, from hospitals to doctors offices to emergency rooms, would face a dual shock—lower rates to providers on the one hand, greater demand on the other—that would likely result in longer waits for care. That's hardly surprising, given that long wait times are a frequent complaint in countries like Canada, which has single payer, and Britain, which runs a fully socialized health care system.

    You can read the CBO report for yourself (PDF) here.


  • Getting rid of the Jones Act (which prohibits foreign-flag cargo ships from operating between US ports) is on any free-marketer's long list of Good Ideas. But, since we have a president with zero appreciation of economic liberty… well, you get stories like this one from Colin Grabow at Cato: Jones Act Waiver Gets Swamped.

    A week after reports emerged that President Trump was leaning toward granting a ten year Jones Act waiver for the transport of liquefied natural gas (LNG) by non-U.S.-flag ships, he seems to have reversed course following a meeting with congressional Jones Act advocates. Confronted with the very swamp creatures that he loudly campaigned against, the president apparently folded—bigly. The members of Congress who spoke with President Trump emerged from the White House projecting supreme confidence that a Jones Act waiver is now effectively off the table. 

    The only meager hope here: Whatever quantum-uncertainty that governs Trump's policy proposals might still cause him to issue a waiver.


  • At the Federalist, David Harsanyi knows The Real Reason Democrats Hate Bill Barr.

    Another thing Mueller didn’t seem at all concerned about was whether the Trump-Russian collusion conspiracy had been initiated or stoked by Russians. Those clamoring for transparency when useful—now acting as if investigating how the entire country was thrown into a panic over non-existent Russian infiltration of the White House is absurd—are the true conspiracy theorists.

    Yet Barr, who dropped some interesting tidbits in yesterday’s hearings, seems willing to investigate the impetus of the Russia “collusion” investigation, the role of the infamous dossier, and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrants used by the previous administration for “spying.” Now that Trump has been cleared of criminal conspiracy, it seems reasonable for the American people to have an understanding of how the Obama administration rationalized spying on its political rivals during a presidential election.

    I don't know if Russia was behind the dossier. I'm pretty sure Democrats don't want that small matter investigated.


  • At the Josiah Bartlett Center, Drew Cline gives credit where credit is due: Joe Biden promotes occupational licensing reform in campaign kick-off speech.

    “Why should someone who braids hair have to get 600 hours of training? It makes no sense. It’s designed to keep the competition down. Look, folks, you can’t just transfer your licenses across one state to another. They’re making it harder and harder in a whole range of professions, all to keep competition down. Why should we get rid of these unnecessary hoops out there? Because we have to restore America’s ability and individual Americans to be able to fight for their own dignity.”

    Biden is right on this — as was President Obama before him.

    Unfortuately, this is not really a Federal issue. Feds can bribe states to relax their licensing restrictions, and that happened some under Obama, but that's indirect at best.

    It's sad (however) that there aren't more Republicans yelling about this.

Lonesome Dove

[Amazon Link]

Saw this at a yard sale years ago. I figured I'd see what all the fuss was about. It finally worked its way to the top of its TBR stack. Yay!

It's long: my edition's last page is number 945. Took me a long damn time to get through. It's not your usual Western, either. I believe nobody gets shot until page 480 or so. And there's only one death before that, an unfortunate gruesome encounter between a cowboy and a nest of water moccasins (page 301).

But after that, people start dropping like flies.

Anyway: the novel centers around two ex-Texas Rangers, Call and Gus, making a living in Lonesome Dove, Texas, just a tad north of the Rio Grande. Their business model seems, roughly: when someone in the area is in the market for cattle or horses, they go down to Mexico and steal some, which they proceed to sell.

But it seems there's some restlessness: when their old buddy Jake shows up telling a tale of unspoiled land (and possible riches) up north in Montana, they organize a cattle drive and undertake a perilous trek.

A lot of colorful characters. The women are mostly prostitutes, none with hearts of gold (but not otherwise unsympathetic). Plenty of action in the last half of the book. Tragedy and humor throughout. (Humor mainly in the dialogue between Gus and Call, even in the bleakest of situations.)


Last Modified 2019-05-03 7:40 AM EDT