URLs du Jour


[nag nag nag]

  • Ann Althouse has a terrific pair of posts inspired by NYT food cop Mark Bittman's op-ed touting a recent book by (CUNY professor) Nicholas Freudenberg. (Lethal But Legal: Corporations, Consumption, and Protecting Public Health).

    The headline of Bittman's column is: "Rethinking Our ‘Rights’ to Dangerous Behaviors". The sneer-quotes around "Rights" should tell you nearly everything you need to know about the Bittman/Freudenberg thesis. Big corporations are profitably selling us unhealthy stuff, so government must step up, etc.

    Professor Althouse:

    Bittman likes Freudenberg’s debunking of notions of "rights and choice," because he agrees that "we need... more than a few policies nudging people toward better health." As Freudenberg told Bittman: "What we need... is to return to the public sector the right to set health policy and to limit corporations’ freedom to profit at the expense of public health." Oh! Did you see that? Freudenberg said "right." He said "right" in the context of government, and he spoke of returning this "right" — a right to control people — to government. He's saying "right" where the legal term is actually "power." He wants government power at the expense of rights. And the fact that he speaks of the "return" of power to the government is either deceptive or unAmerican. We are free and have a right to do what we want until we give power to government. If the laws that restrict us are repealed, it makes sense to speak of returning rights to the people, but it's wrong and really offensive to characterize new restrictions in terms of returning a right to the government.

    Pun Salad went on kind of a anti-Bittman kick a few years back (for example: here; here; here; here; here; here; here; here; here). But Bittman kept saying the same thing over and over, and I realized that if I wanted to respond, I'd have to say the same thing over and over. So I got off that merry-go-round. But I'm glad that Professor Althouse has stepped up.

  • The GOP has a new tax proposal out. At the WSJ, Congresscritter Dave Camp, chairman of the House Committee on Ways and Means, gives the highlights: two brackets (10% and 25%), a surcharge on "the rich", and "simplifying" the code. And at NR, Eliana Johnson discusses the proposal's efforts to curb IRS abuses.

    Mark Calabria at Cato is (on the other hand) not a fan of the proposal's "Bank Tax".

  • A. Barton Hinkle has some fun with the new Obama budget proposal.

    “With the 2015 budget request,” The Washington Post reported last week, “Obama will call for an end to the era of austerity that has dogged much of his presidency.”

    Well, it’s about time! The end of austerity cannot come soon enough, as far as your humble correspondent is concerned. And a quick look at the historical budget tables shows why: In 2008, the federal government spent just a hair under $3 trillion. After six years of President Slash-and-Burn, spending has shrunk to almost $4 trillion. If we keep cutting like this, it will be down to $5 trillion before you know it.

    I think he's being sarcastic. Not sure.

Last Modified 2024-06-03 6:01 PM EDT