URLs du Jour

2021-03-06

The Pic du Jour is from 2012. Yes, gasoline prices really were that high back then. Any guesses about where they're going in our green future?

  • Drew Cline (at the Josiah Bartlett Center) writes on Merrimack Station, coal power and moral responsibility. Making a general point from a specific example:

    A recent New Hampshire Public Radio story about New Hampshire’s last remaining coal-fired power plant offers a great example of how left-wing activists enjoy an unwarranted ability to frame journalistic narratives, particularly on energy issues.

    “New Hampshire’s coal-fired power plant, the last of its kind in New England not set to retire, will now remain online through at least 2025, despite calls from climate change activists for it to close,” NHPR reported.

    To see how this framing elevates the activists’ position, just apply it to other stories involving non-leftist protesters.  Imagine public radio stories written this way…

    • “New Hampshire’s remaining abortion clinics remain open despite calls from anti-abortion activists for them to close.”
    • “Democrats raise taxes despite calls from anti-tax activists for tax cuts.”
    • Schools remain closed for in-person instruction despite calls from parents, pediatricians, and epidemiologists that they open.”

    Activists on the political left are treated by the media as morally and factually correct by default. Their complaints, protests and demands are accepted as morally serious and intellectually rigorous without question.

    Yes. It's very much the water we swim in these days, and it's been going on so long that we no longer notice that we're all wet.


  • In case you haven't noticed, Eric Boehm points it out: The ‘COVID Relief Bill’ Is Mostly an Expensive Bundle of Politically Motivated Giveaways.

    As the Senate prepares to take a final vote on President Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill, it's time to be honest about one thing.

    This isn't a COVID-19 relief bill. We should stop calling it that.

    It's true this bill is moving through Congress at the same time that COVID-19 relief is sweeping the country. With the number of new cases, hospitalizations, and deaths falling all across the country while vaccination totals soar, it feels like the end of the pandemic could be right around the corner. Biden said this week that vaccine supply will be sufficient to cover all adult Americans who want a shot by the end of May. Some states are lifting economic lockdowns and behavior restrictions. Sweet, sweet relief is coming.

    But let's be very clear about this: It is not coming from Congress.

    … but don't worry. If you have a Democrat CongressCritter (as I do) they'll be happy to take credit for the coming relief.

    $4/gal gasoline, not so much.


  • Andrew Stuttaford chronicles yet another front opened in the War on Success: Warren’s Wealth Tax & the Return of Feudalism.

    Once the principle of a wealth tax is conceded, and the tax has been introduced, Warren’s thresholds will probably be cut, and will certainly be eroded by inflation. They will also be copied at the state level. That will add to the burden paid by the very rich, but, I suspect that in the states that introduce wealth taxes (or near equivalents, such as the suicidal unrealized capital-gains tax being proposed by some in New York) the thresholds will be much lower. In addition, it should be remembered that all homeowners already pay real estate taxes, which are a form of wealth tax, even if only levied on a relatively small portion of (for the rich) their assets.

    What’s more, many of those who do not have to pay the wealth tax(es) will be subjected to intrusive paperwork requirements to prove that they have not crossed the threshold where the tax becomes due.

    As I wrote last year (on the topic of a possible wealth tax in California):

    A tax on wealth is also an attack on privacy. To start with, all those subject to the levy will have to list everything they own. More than that, I suspect that those who might be liable might, if only as a precautionary measure, feel compelled to furnish the state with a schedule of their assets, a process that we can be sure will, in due course, be repeated further and further down the rich list.

    If there is one constituency that will appreciate the introduction of a wealth tax, it is made up of fans of the panopticon state.

    Note that Your Federal Government already demands every little financial detail that might apply to your income tax liability. A massive intrusion on privacy, but (again) that's the water we swim in, we don't noticed we are (and are being) soaked.


  • Daniel Mitchell has Five Notable Takeaways from the 2021 Index of Economic Freedom. (The Index itself is here, and you'll want to check that out too.

    Spoiler: the US is number 20. Behind a whole bunch of countries you wouldn't expect we'd be behind. Behind a whole bunch of countries the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave should not be behind.

    Anyway: Dan's number five takeaway:

    5. Donald Trump did not deliver more economic liberty. When I point out Trump’s mixed performance, some people accuse me of being a curmudgeonly libertarian who unrealistically demands perfection.

    Well, I am curmudgeonly and I am a libertarian, but I’m not alone in noticing Trump’s shortcomings. As you can see from the Heritage Foundation’s data for the United States, we have less economic liberty now than when Trump took office.

    [graphic elided]

    The bottom line is that Trump was no Ronald Reagan. On economic issues, he wasn’t even a Bill Clinton.

    A shame, really.