URLs du Jour

2021-03-15

Michael Ramirez has our Eye Candy du Jour:

[Just print more money]

  • My local (Sunday) paper, Seacoast Sunday, paints the free money falling from the sky as if it came from finding a very rich leprechaun's pot o' gold. On the front page, Kyle Stucker's article is headlined Monthly checks will aid most NH, Maine parents. First para:

    Local advocates, social service providers and elected officials say the new monthly child tax credit checks coming to New Hampshire and Maine parents under the new $1.9 trillion federal COVID-19 relief plan President Joe Biden signed Thursday will have profound impacts on struggling families.

    Quoted are the left-leaning Center on Budget and Policy Priorities; Deb Anthony, executive director at Gather, the Seacoast’s largest hunger relief organization, who chirps "I think it’s a great idea"; Senator Shaheen (D-NH); Representative Pingree (D-ME); Representative Pappas (D-NH); … and, well, you get the idea. It's a free lunch! The bill will never arrive! Not a single voice even intimating hey, you think there might be a problem here?

    It's not the first "news" article in my paper that could have been written by the Democratic National Committee. And I doubt it will be the last.


  • Cato's James A. Dorn is relatively sober about it: Congress Should Not Expect a Miracle from Monetary Stimulus.

    Monetary policy can only do so much: it cannot permanently increase the wealth of a nation. That is the lesson from economic history. In the short run, the Fed can affect real variables like output and employment by expansionary monetary policy, but trying to use monetary stimulus as the primary vehicle to move the economy forward is an invitation for price inflation in the longer run.

    In enacting President Biden’s $1.9 trillion relief bill, Congress should not expect a miracle. The risk is that as the Fed buys a larger share of the federal debt, inflation could increase—if there is an excess supply of money. Although policymakers are focused on the near term, it would be irresponsible to assume that most of the impact of the monetary stimulus will show up in real economic growth rather than higher inflation.

    That last link goes to (Democrat) Larry Summers, who's more than a little alarmed at the volume of the money printers going brrrr.


  • Ah, but unrestrained spending isn't the Democrats' only bad idea. Jacob Sullum has an entry for our overflowing "Unsurprising" pigeonhole. Dianne Feinstein’s Latest ‘Assault Weapon’ Bill Is Just As Illogical As All the Previous Ones.

    Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D–Calif.) yesterday introduced an "updated" version of her proposed ban on "military-style assault weapons," invoking "domestic terrorism" as a justification. "We're now seeing a rise in domestic terrorism," she says, "and military-style assault weapons are increasingly becoming the guns of choice for these dangerous groups." Yet her bill, which so far has attracted 34 cosponsors in the Senate, makes no more sense as a response to terrorism than it does as a response to mass shootings.

    The Assault Weapons Ban of 2021, like the Feinstein-sponsored 1994 ban that expired in 2004, would prohibit the manufacture and sale of numerous arbitrarily defined firearms, including some of the most popular rifles sold in the United States. It lists "205 military-style assault weapons" by name and also covers other guns with features Feinstein does not like. It would ban any semiautomatic rifle that accepts a detachable magazine and has "a pistol grip," "a forward grip," a folding or telescoping stock, "a grenade launcher," "a barrel shroud," or "a threaded barrel."

    As usual: there's pointless concentration on cosmetic features that have no relation to a weapon's deadliness.

    Both my state's senators, Shaheen and Hassan, are listed as cosponsors of this stupid bill.


  • Another one for our "Unsurprising" category: Kevin D. Williamson (in an NRPLUS article, sorry) detects Free Speech in a Bind. He notes that Germany has a policy of abridging free speech on the grounds of streitbare Demokratie ("militant democracy"); other countries do similar things.

    In the United States, we have a First Amendment that is supposed to prevent that sort of thing, and it works most of the time. But not all of the time: The Obama administration assassinated a U.S. citizen it labeled “the Osama bin Laden of Facebook,” and then after the fact cooked up a preposterous rationale for its actions. Left-wing activists have raised the possibility of prosecuting or banning Fox News on the grounds that it incited the January 6 assault on the Capitol. Democrats in elected office have pressured cable companies to dump Fox News and other right-wing content. Kamala Harris and Xavier Becerra made mincemeat of the First Amendment in California, as Andrew Cuomo and his minions did in New York. And though the main actors in the United States are generally corporate rather than governmental, we now routinely disappear books, websites, and other kinds of speech, usually political, on public-safety grounds.

    I wrote a book about the intersection of streitbare Demokratie-type thinking with mob politics, in which I argue that the public-safety rationale, to the modest extent that it is ever legitimate, will always be abused. The temptation to simply define one’s political opponents out of the political bounds is too great. On Monday, public safety demands the prohibition of Mein Kampf, and on Tuesday it demands the prohibition of books that take a dissenting line on transgender issues.

    KDW notes that Amazon's banning of Ryan Anderson's book is probably beneficial to Anderson; he estimates the publicity caused by the ban has caused "thousands more copies" of the three-year-old book to be sold.

    But it's that old "seen/unseen" thing. What we won't see are the publishers who decline to bring out "politically risky" books. Which may have been the intent all along: get those heretics to STFU.


  • So enough pessimism for today. Virginia Postrel points out that Women's Liberation Started With Job-Killing Inventions.

    As the many mothers who’ve left their jobs to cope with pandemic remote schooling can testify, “free” household labor isn’t really free. It always entails the opportunity cost of what you could otherwise be doing.

    But women’s domestic tasks get short shrift in the history of labor-saving technology because historically much of that work received no direct monetary compensation. “We are all familiar with our grandmothers’ adage, ‘A woman’s time is nothing,’” wrote an essayist in 1870, lamenting how little inventive effort was going toward easing women’s domestic burdens. Whether by unpaid housewives or poorly paid servants, the work still had to be done.

    Virginia notes the history and effect of unglamorous, liberating inventions: the grist mill, the spinning mill, the rotary presses, the sewing machine, the washing machine, synthetic fibers. As is always the case with her, unexpectedly interesting.


Last Modified 2021-03-16 5:11 AM EDT