URLs du Jour

2019-01-23

[Amazon Link]

  • At AEI, James Pethokoukis makes: The case for growth.

    Gordon Gekko missed the mark with his famous Wall Street monologue about American capitalism. It is not greed but economic growth that is, for lack of a better word, good. Growth is right. Growth works. Growth clarifies, cuts through, and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit. Growth has marked the upward surge of mankind. And growth—you mark my words—will save that malfunctioning corporation called the USA.

    This is probably pretty obvious to most Americans. Strong economic growth means more jobs and higher wages. Just take a look at the current expansion. It has only been moderate as goes the pace of growth, but it has been sustained. And month after month of a growing economy has brought down the unemployment rate to its lowest level since 1969, even as real wages continue to grow for all income levels. That’s especially true for working-class Americans. The 3.5-percent unemployment rate for Americans with only a high school diploma is the lowest since 2000. Indeed, despite all the debate about income inequality, earnings have been growing faster for those at the bottom than at the top.

    Mr. Pethokoukis writes in response to those on the right, like Oren Cass, who have departed from the free market faith. Repent, Oren!


  • At NR, David French makes the case between last year's nonsense and this year's (latest) nonsense: Covington School Is the Terrible Sequel to the Kavanaugh Case.

    In the Kavanaugh case, conservative men and women looked at decades-old, uncorroborated allegations, the unquestioning acceptance of those claims, and the furious effort to destroy a man’s reputation and career – even by passing along the wildest and most implausible claims – and thought, “That could be me” or “that could be my husband.”

    Now, these same people look at the reaction to the Covington Catholic kids and think, “That could be my son.”

    Indeed. But actually, I did some pretty stupid things in high school. If Trump offers to nominate me to the Supreme Court, I'd probably decline, because who wants that stuff on the news?

    Although it would be nice to see Gayle again.


  • Greg Mankiw asks the musical question: Who is the prototypical rich person?.

    I recommend this op-ed by Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman. . Not because I agree with its recommendation of super high tax rates on the rich, but because it makes clear the perspectives and motives of the Left.

    In the standard economic approach to optimal redistribution (such as Okun and Mirrlees), the case for progressive taxation is based on diminishing marginal utility. But that is not the essence of the matter, according to Saez and Zucman. They view rich people as fundamentally undermining democracy. It is more a political argument than an economic one.

    Prof Mankiw's link will take you to the op-ed. It is remarkable for its lack of sophistication. Pretty much: hey we used to have high taxes on the rich, it was an "American tradition" for a few decades, undone by that rascally Ronnie Reagan.

    But now we've had (relatively) low marginal rates on the "rich" for almost the same amount of time. Disaster? No, they just don't like the esthetics.


  • And breaking news on the fact-checking front from the Babylon Bee: Snopes Introduces New 'Factually Inaccurate But Morally Right' Fact Check Result.

    Popular fact-checking site Snopes.com confirmed Wednesday they are debuting a new "Factually inaccurate but morally right" fact check result for claims they don't want to debunk because they coincide with Snopes editors' worldview.

    The fact-checking website will now label inaccurate claims that they deem "morally right" with the new label, giving public figures whose hearts are in the right place a pass.

    "We were often running into situations were a truth claim was absolutely absurd, but it supported progressive causes," said one Snopes editor. "So sometimes we just called it a 'Mixture,' but then people might get the idea that our favorite politicians are being slightly dishonest sometimes."

    It's nice that Snopes is finally coming clean on this. (Even though they aren't.)