URLs du Jour

2019-06-26

[Amazon Link]

  • At Reason, Eric Boehm writes for our "Everybody Knows, Nobody Cares Enough To Do Anything" department: Man, This CBO Report About ‘Unprecedented’ Debt Levels Is a Bummer.

    The national debt will hit "unprecedented levels" in the coming decades, soaring well above the record highs set during World War II and reaching nearly one-and-a-half times the size of the entire U.S. economy by 2049, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projected in a report released Tuesday.

    And that's the optimistic view.

    The CBO says the national debt will hit 144 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), a rough estimate for the overall size of a country's economic output, within 30 years, even if planned spending cuts materialize next year and even if Congress repeals the 2017 tax cuts in 2026, as planned. Neither of those developments should be treated as a sure bet—and, indeed, Republicans have admitted that the planned expiration of those tax cuts was nothing more than a gimmick designed to favorably influence the CBO's analysis of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

    Want to be depressed further? Click on through, kid.


  • Speaking truth to powerful socialists is David Harsanyi in the Federalist: Bernie's #CancelStudentDebt Is A Dangerous Scam. You probably know that already, but Bernie has a powerful advocate/accomplice on his campaign staff:

    […] around two-thirds of American in the workforce have no college degree. Some Americans have no interest in higher education. Many don’t need university degrees for the vocations they pursue. They can, I suppose, go to college and earn a useless degree in journalism or comparative literature for kicks. Or, maybe, they could enter the workforce and start subsidizing people like Heather Gautney.

    “I am $180k in debt. I have a PHD and am a tenured professor — my students are in the same boat, sinking in debt,” Gautney, a senior policy advisor for Sanders, tweeted. “I pay $1100/month in student loan debt, half of my rent. We MUST #CancelStudentDebt.”

    Prof Gautney's Ph. D. is in sociology from the City University of New York. She is currently "on leave" from Fordham U. due to her Sanders-advising work. No idea how much she makes. Also no idea how you rack up $180 thousand in college debt; CUNY's tuition is $4820/semester for full-time PhD students. Was she enrolled for 37 semesters?

    Financial details aside, I would ask the professor: how do you justify demanding that other people cough up money for your poor life choices?


  • Jonah Goldberg asks a tough question: Why doesn't Trump's tough talk on China extend to Uighur persecution?.

    Given the recent fight over whether U.S. refugee detention centers are in fact “concentration camps,” the Trump administration might want to borrow a page from the Chinese and simply call them “vocational skills education training centers.” That way, no one would really care at all.

    That’s what the Chinese call their gulag archipelago of internment and reeducation camps in Xinjiang province, where an estimated million ethnic Uighurs and other Turkic people are being held. The Uighurs are a traditionally Muslim minority, and Beijing says they pose a major threat because of Islamic terrorism. The reality is that the Chinese fear separatist movements, Islamic or otherwise, in a resource-rich region three times the size of France.

    Realpolitik often demands that countries hold their noses about unsavoriness in other countries. I'm not sure how that applies here.

    What really galls me is companies going into boycott-fests over US states passing anti-abortion legislation while at the same time doing big business with China.


  • I've known ubergeek Eric Raymond since our mutual Usenet days … a long time ago. He'd like to offer a course correction to the default libertarian position on immigration, open borders: A libertarian rethinks immigration. Why he changed his mind:

    I started with the usual libertarian disposition in favor of open borders. I also started with – I’m now ashamed to admit – the usual Blue-Tribe presumption that opposition to unrestricted immigration is at best vulgar and plebeian, at worst narrow-minded if not actually racist.

    I should have listened more and reflected the class prejudices of my birth SES less. I now understand that the core complaint of the anti-immigration Trump voters isn’t even about illegals low-balling them out of jobs, although that’s certainly a factor. It’s “I want to keep the high level of social trust I grew up with, and I see mass immigration – especially mass illegal immigration – eroding that.” They think the political elites of both parties, and corporations profit-taking in the labor market, are throwing away that intangible asset to plump up a bit more power and profit.

    I now think that is a serious – and justified – complaint.

    He's not afraid to Go There on IQ issues, either. But the bottom line is much like Reihan Salam's: have a preference for high-skilled immigrants.

    I was going to offer a comment on Eric's post, but (as I type) there are already over 100. (Many well thought out, others… not.)


  • At National Review, David French has bad news about America's most educated and engaged citizens. Friends, America's Most Educated, Engaged Americans Are Making Politics Worse.

    The More in Common project has just released the results of its latest deep dive into American polarization, and they make for a deeply discouraging read.

    It turns out that most Americans have fundamentally mistaken notions about their political opponents, consistently believing that they are substantially more extreme than they really are. For example, Democrats are far less likely to support open borders, far more likely to support private ownership of firearms, and far more friendly to police than Republicans believe they are. Republicans support controlled immigration far more than Democrats believe, and an overwhelming majority believe that racism and sexism still exist in the United States.

    At one level, these conclusions are hardly surprising. After all, previous research has shown that Democrats and Republicans have wildly false notions of the demographic make-up of the opposing party. Democrats think Republicans are older, richer, and more Evangelical than they really are. Republicans think Democrats are more secular, black, and gay than they really are.

    Very much in line with the Arthur Brooks thesis that we've forgotten how to talk to people with different political views.


  • And WalletHub has one of those state rankings that I am a sucker for, and this one more than most: 2019’s Most Patriotic States in America.

    Expressions of American patriotism come in many forms — from setting off fireworks during Fourth of July and buying American-made goods to paying taxes and serving in the armed forces. But some states are better than others at showing their national pride.

    So in order to determine where Americans bleed the most red, white and blue, WalletHub compared the states across 13 key indicators of patriotism. Our data set ranges from share of enlisted military population to share of adults who voted in the 2016 presidential election to AmeriCorps volunteers per capita.

    They make embed code available, so…

    Source: WalletHub

    Yep, we're number one. As I have long suspected.

    Least patriotic state: New Jersey. OK, so you might have guessed that. But Texas ranking number 46? I'd be tempted to question their methodology, if it weren't for my confirmation bias.


Last Modified 2019-06-27 5:00 AM EDT