URLs du Jour


  • Daniel J. Mitchell deems this 2020’s Tweet of the Year.

    Not bad. Dan could be right about this. Click over for more from him.

  • Jacob "I'm not obsessed or anything" Sullum writes at Reason: Trump Blames Everyone but Himself for His Defeat.

    Donald Trump's presidency provided a rich trove of examples for my annual review of the year's highlights in blame shifting. The 2020 edition focuses on the question Trump has been trying to answer for nearly two months: Why did he lose the presidential election?

    By Trump's account, it was not because voters preferred Joe Biden. Rather, Trump was denied a second term by a long list of malefactors who delivered a phony victory to Biden or ratified that outcome. These criminal conspirators and after-the-fact accessories included:[…]

    … and there follows (1) Dominion Voting Systems; (2) Venezuela, Cuba, and China; (3) George Soros and the Clinton Foundation; (4) State Election Officials; (5) The 'Fake News' Media; (6) Republican Politicians; (7) Attorney General William Barr; (8) Judges; (9) The Supreme Court. Did Trump miss anyone?

    Well, yeah:

    The only person Trump has not blamed for his defeat is the one who apparently alienated enough voters to secure Biden's victory. The personal traits Trump has vividly displayed since the election—vanity, dishonesty, irresponsibility, and recklessness—go a long way toward explaining why that happened.

    Leaving out, inexplicably, laziness.

    It bears repeating: despite Biden winning the national popular vote by about 7 million votes, if Trump had been able to shift just 42,918 votes his way in three states (Wisconsin, Arizona, and Georgia), he would have won. (And a lot of people would have totally freaked out about that, but…)

  • Power Line's Steven Hayward appends a question mark to his headline, I'm not sure it's appropriate: Get Ready for the “Climate Emergency”?.

    It has been widely noted that many of our government leaders seem to like the air of crisis and the exertion of emergency power that the COVID pandemic has enabled. And there has been open support among the climatistas applying the kinds of strictures used to battle COVID to climate change as well. The superficiality of this parallel will be lost on lots of people—after all, how well are the lockdowns and mark-wearing mandates working?

    Thus we are starting to hear calls for proto-President Biden to declare climate change to be a national emergency when he takes office:

    And that link goes to a Bloomberg article documenting that claim. With the obligatory note that Trump used a similar tactic: declaring an "emergency" to fund part of his border wall.

    As for "many of our government leaders" liking "crisis": true. But a dismaying number of our fellow citizens seem to love it too.

  • You won't often see a Cato author advocate that Our Federal Government spend more money. So click over to see William Yeatman hatch A Proposal to Pay for the Modernization of Congress.

    Earlier this month in the Washington Post, George Will took aim at the Congress’s institutional weakness. In his first two paragraphs, he empties both barrels:

    On Jan 3, the 111th Congress will convene. It’s not clear why.

    Presidents make war without congressional involvement. The declare “emergencies” with Congress’s permission, “repurposing” monies for projects did not authorize. The Constitution vests in Congress the power “to regulate commerce with foreign nations,” but Congress has vested presidents with the power to utter “national security,” thereby justifying, on metal imports from Canada, a military ally. And on washing machines. Really. And the power to disburse billions to compensate farmers for injuries a president inflicts by initiating a trade war. Congress thinks it is setting immigration policy, but presidents can substantially alter it by invoking “enforcement discretion.” The Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act of 1974 requires Congress to pass a budget resolution by April 15, but it rarely does … Sixty‐​four percent of members of the 116th Congress have never served under a regular budget and appropriations process.

    Hear, hear! These are the same criticisms we’ve been leveling at Congress. In The Case for Congressional Regulatory Review, I elaborate on our legislature’s decline, the causes of which are too involved to broach in this post.

    Yeatman doesn't actually advocate for an increase in overall spending. (Spoiler.) He advocates cutting the Executive Branch's exorbitant spending on its own PR (the "EPA, for example, employs 165 public relations specialists")and redirecting some of that on Congressional staff. Which (cross your fingers) could act as a check/balance on executive power.

  • On an issue somewhat related to the "Tweet of the Year" above: Scott Sumner notes that it's not only the delay in getting Covid vaccines approved: Nice vaccine; pity there's no distribution mechanism.

    Many people are horrified by the prospects of introducing the profit motive into health care. Thus they oppose paying kidney donors, even though it would save tens of thousands of lives. They oppose price gouging on masks or vaccines, even though it would save many lives. They oppose challenge studies for vaccines, even though it would have brought us a vaccine much sooner, thus saving many lives.

    Instead, we end up with a government controlled health care regime, where decisions are made by slow and cumbersome bureaucracies.

    In a libertarian society, the pandemic might already be essentially over. That’s not to say that libertarianism is necessarily precisely “optimal”, as indeed there is a market failure aspect to pandemics, due to the external effects of infection. Yet despite the theoretical case for government intervention, in reality it does much more harm than good.

    Scott's post will rub a lot of people the wrong way. The one's who think we have a "right" to health care.

Last Modified 2020-12-31 6:29 AM EDT