URLs du Jour

2021-10-19

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  • Our emperors have no clothes masks. The Amazon Product du Jour is based on a story from earlier this month where it was reported that Congresscritter Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich) told an attendee at an event in Detroit that she was only wearing a mask "because I've got a Republican tracker here."

    Some prominent politicians are dumber than Tlaib. As Robby Soave reports: President Biden Doesn’t Follow D.C.’s Absurd Mask Rules for Restaurants. Click for the deets, but here's the bottom line:

    And that's what should really irritate people about Biden failing to mask up while making a quick exit. He isn't worried about his health during those few seconds; he probably knows that it's pointless to require masking under some circumstances while groups of unmasked people are eating, drinking, and talking for hours. The government's strict mask policies are so stupid that everyone who can get away with ignoring them already does so, yet they remain in place. Not for safety, or because of the science, but because our elected leaders can't be bothered to tweak the rules.

    Also caught maskless: D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser; San Francisco Mayor London Breed; and (I love this Free Beacon headline) Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot Shuns Mask Mandate at Surprisingly Crowded WNBA Game.

    The Democrat posted a photo of herself celebrating the Chicago Sky's championship-clinching victory over the Phoenix Mercury in game four of the WNBA Finals. Unlike the vast majority of attendees, Lightfoot was not wearing a face mask, a reckless decision that endangered the lives of her fellow citizens.

    The Wintrust Arena website states that the venue "is following all state and local mandates which require guests to wear masks indoors at all times, except when eating or drinking." There is no known exception for political photo-ops. Lightfoot, who was not eating or drinking in the photograph, appeared to be posing for the camera.

    Mayor Lori also made news for threatening Chicago cops with insubordination charges if they refused to obey her mandatory vaccination orders.


  • A revolutionary stance. From Drew Cline at the Josiah Bartlett Center: N.H. should let the market sort out private-sector vaccine policies.

    When New Hampshire Republicans start asking the state to regulate private businesses, something’s stopped making sense.

    GOP Executive Councilors Joe Kenney and Dave Wheeler last week suggested the state should forbid private businesses from requiring employees to get a COVID-19 vaccine.

    Florida and Texas have passed such big-government dictates, and Montana adopted a similar one in May.

    But most of the 12 states that have passed some form of restriction on vaccine mandates have prohibited only government entities, not private ones, from requiring proof of vaccination. (New Hampshire is one of those.)

    The reason for the distinction is simple. While it’s undisputed that government can set its own policies for its own facilities, it’s generally accepted, in Republican and conservative circles at least, that government ought to have only the most limited authority to impose its will on private business.

    I'm not unsympathetic to people who don't want to get jabbed. But I'm even less sympathetic to politicians who want to dictate to employers how they should run their businesses.


  • Math is hard. But lying is easy. Allison Schrager spells it out at City Journal: Build Back Better Is Not Cost Free.

    What does it mean for a service or good to cost zero dollars? This was once a straightforward question: if you paid nothing for it, it was free. But “free” has apparently been redefined. In case you thought the days of triggering presidential tweets were behind us, the White House tweeted over the weekend: “The cost of the Build Back Better Agenda is $0. The President’s plan won’t add to our national deficit and no one making under $400,000 per year will see their taxes go up a single penny. It’s fully paid for by ensuring big corporations and the very wealthy pay their fair share.”

    The argument here, such as it is, is that Democrats’ ambitious reconciliation bill, originally slated to contain $3.5 trillion in federal spending over ten years, won’t cost anything—because it will be paid for with taxes on high earners and corporations and by taking money from other places in the budget. This is absurd: if you buy a car with cash instead of a loan, it still costs more than zero. Money spent on free community college is money not being spent somewhere else; low interest rates or not, we still live in a world of finite resources.

    I'm a peaceful guy, but I kind of want to punch something when I see the phrase "… pay their fair share."

    Here's Harvard Econ Prof Greg Mankiw. from last April on that:

    Yesterday, President Biden said, "I will not impose any tax increase on people making less than $400,000. But it’s time for corporate America and the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans to just begin to pay their fair share....But I will not add a tax burden, additional tax burden on the middle class of this country. They’re already paying enough."

    According to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, the middle class (defined here as the middle quintile of the income distribution) now pays about 13 percent of its income in federal taxes. The top 1 percent pays about 30 percent of its income in federal taxes.

    I wonder: What constitutes a "fair share" in President Biden's eyes? On what basis does he conclude that the current distribution of the tax burden is not fair?

    It's mind-bendingly dishonest phrasing, and it's long past time for the watchdog fact-checkers to call it out for the lie it is.


  • And now for something completely different. James Lileks wrote about his doggie in yesterday's Bleat, and captured this so well:

    Saturday came and went without errands or any trip outside the house. Just didn’t feel like it. The world is busy with people running errands, and I’ve no interest in fighting the amateurs at the grocery store. The people who leave their cart in the middle of the aisle while they grapple with the myriad manifestations of pasta. Just sat in the back yard with the dog, occasionally tussling over a rope, enjoying the day.

    Why does the dog decide ROPE NOW? He’s splayed in the grass, basking in the waning warmth. He hears, he stirs, bolts up, looks around, sees the rope, and AH HAH, engage. Always the conundrum: please throw it so I can chase it I love to chase it also hell no I’m not letting this go. You look into the face of a dog holding on to his end of the rope, and you see the black pools of madness. Primal strife, to the death. But scritches first.

    Same thing at my house. Except we don't call it ROPE. Here it is TUG.