URLs du Jour


  • Jonah Goldberg's title screams "longest article ever": What Bernie Sanders Gets Wrong About Authoritarianism. But it's surprisingly short. (You can get the gist of things from the subtitle: "Well, almost everything.")

    Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination for president, is praised by his admirers for being consistent. He’s been saying the same things for 40 years, they explain—as if this is an obvious compliment. I think that’s kind of weird. 

    But I also like it because it gives me an excuse to make points I’ve been making for 20 years. Specifically: that authoritarianism doesn’t make people rich. 

    Sanders refuses to apologize for his praise for some of the great accomplishments of authoritarian regimes, such as Fidel Castro’s Cuba. At a recent CNN town hall, he volunteered that there are things about China he likes, too. 

    “China is another example, all right?” Sanders said. “China is an authoritarian country, becoming more and more authoritarian. But can anyone deny—I mean, the facts are clear—that they have taken more people out of extreme poverty than any country in history? Do I get criticized because I say that? That’s the truth. So that is the fact. End of discussion.”

    Well, no. And by the way, saying “end of discussion” is kind of an authoritarian way to debate.

    It's at the Dispatch which has started to paywall some of its articles. I haven't bitten the bullet on that yet, but I'm leaving my options open.

  • Mythbusting from Eric Boehm at Reason: No, Trump Didn’t Cut the CDC’s Coronavirus Budget. No, People Aren’t Blaming Corona Beer for the Disease.

    During Tuesday's Democratic primary debate, several candidates—including former Vice President Joe Biden, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D–Mass.)—accused the Trump administration of cutting key funding from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) that impaired America's readiness for a pandemic.

    There is plenty to critique about the way the Trump administration has handled the outbreak so far (Mike Pence as virus czar? Really?), but this attack is inaccurate. Trump has proposed budget cuts for the CDC in each of his budgets since taking office, but Congress never approved those proposals. Trump's most recent budget plan calls for a 16 percent cut to the CDC, but that budget has yet to be approved by Congress. It's fair to say Trump has tried to defund the CDC, but it's inaccurate to say that he has succeeded—or that those fictitious cuts have affected the agency's ability to respond to COVID-19.

    While we're at it, Trump didn't call Coronavirus a hoax either. (Although it doesn't help when Trump calls any criticism of his administration a "hoax". Not everything you don't like is a "hoax", Donald.)

  • At National Review, Steve Hanke unveils the newest iteration of his Hanke Misery Index: World's Happiest Counties.

    The human condition lies on a vast spectrum between “miserable” and “happy.” In the economic sphere, misery tends to flow from high inflation, steep borrowing costs, and unemployment. The most surefire way to mitigate that misery is through economic growth. All else being equal, happiness tends to blossom when growth is strong, inflation and interest rates are low, and jobs are plentiful.

    Many countries measure and report these economic metrics regularly. Comparing them, nation by nation, can tell us a lot about where in the world people are sad or happy.

    Steve only looks at the relevant economic numbers, which is fine. No spoilers, but I was somewhat surprised at the five "happiest" countries, and the US position on the list.

  • And, from AEI's Mark J. Perry, a cool Animated chart of the day: Recorded music sales by format share from 1973 to 2019.

    Bottom line: I have a bunch of media that's gonna wind up in a landfill somewhere, someday.