URLs du Jour


  • At NR, Jim Geraghty looks at 2020 & Bernie Sanders’s Long Career. And debunks the notion that Bernie was just a kid when he had all those daffy ideas:

    Bernie Sanders was born three months before the attack on Pearl Harbor.

    This means Sanders was 28 years old when he wrote: “The manner in which you bring up your daughter with regard to sexual attitudes may very well determine whether or not she will develop breast cancer.

    Sanders was 30 years old when he wrote his infamous op-ed about women’s rape fantasies.

    He was 31 years old when he decided that George McGovern was too centrist for him.

    He was 32 years old when he discussed eating placentas with a new mother on a Vermont commune. “How long after the birth were you eating the afterbirth? Don’t all mammals eat the afterbirth?”

    … and more. Trump vs. Sanders is going to be a tough choice for a lot of people who think they've got to go either R or D.

  • Even the reliably anti-Trump Bulwark is showing signs of cracking up when they look at the Bernie future. For example, Walter Olson contemplates Bernie Sanders and the Greatest Show Trials on Earth!

    Which, I have to say, would be the worst J. K. Rowling title ever. But:

    Sanders has repeatedly sounded variations on the theme: “Fossil fuel executives should be criminally prosecuted for the destruction they have knowingly caused.”

    He does not say what criminal law he thinks they have broken, despite the plain current legality under current law of operating refineries, at-pump gas sales and so forth. But note that Sanders’ language is not forward-looking—it’s retrospective. He’s not just talking about passing some new law and then arresting executives who proceed to violate it. He is talking about prosecuting past lawful behavior.

    It’s a reminder that for all his talk of Denmark-this and Sweden-that, Bernie Sanders has never cut his ties to a branch of the socialist tradition in which the conviction gets settled first and the law is discovered afterward.

    Someone should ask Bernie how many of his political rivals he's thinking about putting in jail. Do they have "Lock! Him! Up!" chants at his rallies?

    [Walter also goes into the show-trial positions of the other candidates. Not great, but Bernie's clearly an outlier.]

  • James Pethokoukis has an observation and a question at Bernienomics is built on two big gambles. Should we take it seriously?

    If elected America’s 46th president, Sanders would gamble that the exploding debt and deficits caused by his spending plans wouldn’t hurt the economy. For the moment, let’s take him both seriously and literally. In an interview broadcast on 60 Minutes last night, Sanders was reticent to dig into the numbers. “I can’t rattle off to you every nickel and every dime,” Sanders said when pressed by Anderson Cooper on how much his plans would cost. “But we have accounted for — you — you talked about Medicare for All. We have options out there that will pay for it.”

    The other gamble:

    Another Sanders gamble is that all his tax hikes and private-sector intervention wouldn’t further slow economic growth further from its already historically low level. He wants to raise as much in taxes from the rich, Wall Street, and corporations as is already raised from the entire personal income tax. All that without conceding any significant burden or disincentive to work, save, or invest. If Sanders is wrong, then the idea that we can simply outgrow rising debt in a low-interest rate environment looks less likely. It also means a less prosperous future with less opportunity and technological progress.

    People seemed to blame yesterday's stock plummet in the DJIA to Coronavirus. I wonder if that's the whole story, given Bernie's Saturday win in the Nevada caucus? Isn't that a bigger threat to the value of peoples' investments?

  • Speaking of that, Chris Edwards op-eds at the Hill on something it seems all the Democrats like: The capital gains tax threat.

    The splashy tax idea coming out of the Democratic nomination race has been an annual wealth tax. That far-left idea would be so unworkable and damaging that it would never pass Congress. That is the good news.

    The bad news is that Democrats are pushing many other tax hikes that are more viable. One terrible idea supported by all the top vote-getters in Iowa and New Hampshire—Sanders, Warren, Biden, Buttigieg, and Klobuchar—is to hike the top capital gains tax rate from 24 to 40 percent. Capital gains taxes may seem obscure but limiting them is crucial to U.S. economic growth.

    Chris goes into detail on why that's a poor idea. You're, at least partially, taxing "gains" due to inflation. And you're taxing corporate profits that have already been taxed once. At least in theory.

    Disclaimer As a retired person who's living in part off realized capital gains, I have a vested interest. Also as someone who doesn't want to see the economy go into a deep ditch.

  • Well, that's enough Bernie-bashing for today. It's not like Our Current President isn't doing stupid stuff. From Reason's March issue comes Eric Boehm: Trump’s War on Whisky Is a Dram Shame.

    While the Trump administration's tariffs on steel, aluminum, and Chinese-made goods have earned most of the headlines, another more obscure set of Trump-backed import duties are hitting Americans squarely in the booze.

    Since October, the U.S. has charged a new 25 percent tariff on single malt Scotch whisky, part of a broader set of levies targeting hundreds of European cultural items, including Italian pasta, German ham, and English wool. The 25 percent tariff is expected to cause scotch exports to the United States to drop by 20 percent over a year, according to the Scotch Whisky Association. "Consumer choice will diminish and Scotch whisky companies will start to lose market share," says Karen Betts, the trade group's executive director.

    I'm not a whisky fan myself, but I extend my sympathies to those who are.