URLs du Jour

2019-11-20

[Amazon Link]

  • We open with another quote from Deirdre McCloskey's new book, provided by Alberto Mingardi at the Library of Economics and Liberty: Deirdre's Test.

    To test your belief that the government is your own (good) will generalized, and to test in particular your disbelief in the centrality of coercion in government, I suggest an experiment on April 15 of not paying your US income taxes – perhaps giving voluntarily a few contributions in strict proportion to the share of the government’s budget you judge to be effective and ethical. Whether you tend toward left or right on the conventional spectrum, you will have plenty of corrupting items in mind NOT to give to. The new fighter jet that doesn’t work. The corporate subsidy that does.

    Then try resisting arrest. Then try escaping from prison. Then tr[y] resisting re-arrest. After release, if ever, you will note the contrast with the non-policy, non-police arenas of commerce or persuasion. Try buying an iPhone rather than a Samsung. Nothing happens. Try not agreeing with McCloskey. Ditto. You will observe a sharp difference from your experience with the entity possessing the monopoly of coercion, even in Goetborg or St. Paul.

    We mulled on Senator Liz's coining of "traffic violence" as a concept. What needs to be explored, mulled over, instead: actual government violence. But it won't be; it's considered business as usual, the nature of the beast.

    Anyway, the quote is from Deirdre's new book, our Amazon Product du Jour, and I wonder if I'll need to read it if I keep posting excerpts from it.


  • We also have a pretty good quote from a pretty good article by Kevin D. Williamson at National Review: Marco Rubio & Elizabeth Warren Are Wrong: Capitalism Is Not a Rival to the Common Good.

    This is a time of great forgetting, and one of the things that has been forgotten is why we have a federal government and what it is there to do.

    From Senator Marco Rubio and his “common-good capitalism” to Senator Elizabeth Warren and her “accountable capitalism,” politicians right and left who want politicians to have more power over private economic decisions assume a dilemma in which something called “capitalism” must be balanced against or made subordinate to something called the “common good.” This is the great forgetful stupidity of our time.

    Capitalism is not a rival to the common good. Capitalism, meaning security in one’s own property and in the right to work and to trade, is the common good that governments exist to secure.

    Geez, I could just keep going, copy-n-pasting paragraph after paragraph. But I shouldn't; instead I will explicitly encourage you to do that which is usually implicit: Read The Whole Thing.


  • At Reason, Peter Suderman whistles the ball dead after a desperate fourth-down play: Elizabeth Warren Gives Up on Medicare for All.

    Technically she still supports a single-payer system that would outlaw most private health insurance and charge the federal government with financing virtually all of the nation's health care. But less than a month after releasing a half-baked plan to finance single-payer, the Massachusetts Democrat released yet another plan—an implementation timeline that calls for passing full-fledged Medicare for All in year three of her presidency. 

    That is not a plan to pass Medicare for All; it is an acknowledgment that it will never happen.

    Her real, primary, sole goal is to get elected, full stop. No matter what previously-held principles or positions she thinks need to be altered, jettisoned, or reversed to accomplish that feat.


  • … but for an alternative take from a "respectable" analyst, Bloomberg columnist Max Nisen: Elizabeth Warren Has a Smart Hedge on Medicare for All. How smart is it?

    Warren doesn’t give a price for the interim option but expects that it would cost less than the $20.5 trillion in new federal spending she projects Medicare for All will require over 10 years. The plan’s cost, structure, and comparative moderation should make it easier to pass via the reconciliation process and with even a slim Democratic majority in the Senate. Passing it still won’t be easy, but it’s a more realistic and quicker option than needing to end the filibuster or immediately shift to a single-payer plan.

    Warren will still have to go and defend her approach to both Medicare for All absolutists and more moderate rivals. But she has better answers for both now and offers an appealing third path; more realistic than Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders’s, more ambitious than Biden’s or Buttigieg’s.

    "You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time." But, as I'm sure Senator Liz is thinking: … but I only need to fool enough people for as long as it takes to get elected.


  • This is turning into an all-Warren day. Jeff Jacoby notes: Elizabeth Warren plays the "sexism" card. Wheezy Joe and Mayor Pete criticized her for her dogmatic and antagonistic rhetoric, and oh my stars:

    "It's the same old ugly caricatures of women," liberal strategist (and Warren donor) Rebecca Katz, told the Washington Post. In The Atlantic, Megan Garber tied the charge that Warren is too angry to "the dark and ugly history in which the anger displayed by a woman is assumed to compromise her [and] render her unattractive." The headline in The American Prospect bristled with outrage: "Biden's and Buttigieg's Sexist Attacks."

    Warren's media claque routinely plays the sexism card. Pundits who wonder about Warren's likeability, they say, are being sexist. So is anyone who presses Warren to explain the details on her Medicare-for-All plan. So is anyone who likens Warren to Hillary Clinton.

    True enough that the "same old ugly caricatures" are objectionable. Because they're boring. Couldn't we have some new ugly caricatures for a change?