URLs du Jour


  • Political "humor" is seldom funny. Unless it's from Reason. Here's their latest: Democratic Disney vs. Republican Disney.

    Old man complaint: I've been watching Saturday Night Live since Season One. It's pretty funny these days, except for their political sketches. Which are tedious and predictable. The live audience is all in, though, producing copious amounts of "clapter", signalling that they prefer one-sided partisan pandering rather than … you know … comedy.

    Anyway, if Lorne Michaels were smarter, he'd hire the Reason guys to write SNL sketches. Also maybe Iowahawk.

  • Here's to government: the cause of, and the solution to, all of life's problems. The WSJ editorialists provide another data point: The Baby Formula Shortage Was Made in Washington.

    Politicians are scrambling to pacify mothers angry about the baby formula shortage, but the one thing they won’t do is look in the mirror. Fixing the shortage requires fixing the government policies that helped to create it.

    The shortage began after Abbott Laboratories shut down a plant in Michigan after four infants who consumed formula made at the facility fell seriously ill. Abbott controls about 42% of the U.S. market, and the other three large manufacturers (Perrigo, Nestle and Mead Johnson) haven’t been able to increase production fast enough to compensate. Ergo, empty shelves.

    Enter President Biden, who on Wednesday invoked the Defense Production Act. The Cold War-era law lets the federal government conscript private businesses to produce goods for national defense and to reorder supply chains, putting some customers ahead of others. Progressives think government is the solution to every problem, which is why the law has become their household remedy to every product shortage.

    (Classic quote adapted for this item's headline. Alternate snarkiness: "Hi, I'm from the government, and I'm here to solve the problems I caused, while causing others.")

  • If "raise taxes" is the answer, it must have been a stupid question. The NR editors take sides in the Biden-vs-Bezos debate: Jeff Bezos Is Right about Joe Biden and Inflation.

    Lowering the price of consumer goods by raising the cost of producing them — President Biden can be, to put it charitably, counterintuitive.

    The Biden administration is in an entertaining public spat with what we might as well call the “Bezos administration” (Amazon’s annual revenue exceeds the GDP of most European countries), and, while our faith in the man who publishes the Washington Post is something quite a bit less than total, in this case Jeff Bezos is unquestionably in the right — and not just because the Biden administration has an uncanny knack for being wrong on every economic question at every possible opportunity.

    Alternative headline: when the only tool you have in your economic playbook is "raise taxes", every economic problem looks like…

  • I should amend that. Another tool in the Progressive box-o'-panaceas is: make more people dependent on government for necessities. For example, health care. J.D. Tuccille takes on a perennial in that area: Medicare for All Would Be a Terrible Trade.

    If you ask, Americans tell you that health care costs too much. That opens a door, or so many politicians think, to dramatic "reforms" that would transform the provision of medicine in this country by putting the government in complete control. The catch, though, is that Americans want top-notch care, and for as close to free as possible. That runs up against the serious tradeoffs revealed most recently in last week's Senate hearings on the latest proposals for Medicare for All.

    "Political party affiliation has little bearing on Americans' attitudes about the current cost of care, with overwhelming majorities of Americans across party lines agreeing that the cost of healthcare in America is 'higher than it should be,'" Gallup reported last year of surveys finding that 94 percent of Americans agree. Almost half of respondents call healthcare costs a "major priority" when deciding how to vote.

    So, it's no surprise that politicians who favor a more active government jumped in with the Affordable Care Act a decade ago and now peddle the idea of implementing government-provided single-payer healthcare, usually in the guise of extending the generally popular Medicare program to the whole population. The public seems to like the idea, but only so long as it costs nothing.

    Let's see… Medicare is slated to run out of money in a few years. And their improper payment rate is somewhere north of 6%. (It has been as high as 12.7% in the past.)

    How about fixing all that first?

  • In a democracy, it's always ultimately the voters' fault. But Veronique de Rugy has a few intermediate goats to scape: Spread the Blame Around for Fed's Lack of Accountability.

    After presiding over the biggest Federal Reserve failure in 40 years and with inflation rating as the top concern among Americans, Jerome Powell's nomination to a second term as chairman was approved this past week by the Senate, 80 to 19.

    I know the usual arguments for ignoring the Fed's spectacular errors, even at a time when inflation is such an issue. Most common are that other candidates would be even worse or that we need continuity. Maybe. The truth, though, is that a good person facing bad incentives in that job will make poor choices. Add in a lack of accountability and you repeatedly get bad policies. That type of continuity is not that appealing to me.

    Me neither, Vero.

    The Senate confirmation vote had an interesting coaltion of NAYs: Cotton, Cruz, Hawley, Lee, Paul, Rubio. But also Sanders, Warren, Markey, Merkley, and Menendez.

    I don't know what that means.