URLs du Jour

2021-05-06

  • I Wouldn't Bet On Them Understanding, Though. J.D. Tuccille presents the Looming Budget Catastrophe in Pictures So Simple Even Congress Can Understand. And I'll just grab the pictures myself:

    [CBO Deficit Graph]

    [CBO Debt Graph]

    Clicking either graph will take you to a Congressional Budget Office "infographic" page where there is more catastrophic stuff. (And the graphs are interactive there.)

    J.D.'s bottom line:

    There really are limits to how much governments can spend without inflicting pain on the people suffering under their mismanagement. Not that the people elected to Congress and the White House have shown any signs of comprehension or concern.

    Given that these are people capable of running for public office without feeling any apparent sense of shame, is it possible that they're just too stupid to understand our reports? you can imagine CBO economists asking one another as they tossed around the idea for the recent infographic. Does anybody have any crayons?

    And so we end up with pretty pictures illustrating a very unattractive fiscal situation. Maybe drawings can finally deter elected officials from their outrageous spending habits where detailed reports have failed to attract their attention.

    I agree that elected officials are bad. But they are responding to incentives. Specifically, their need to get re-elected. And to do that, they need to appeal to voters who demand stuff without paying for it.


  • Is Liz Cheney Really The Problem Here? Steve Hayes says no: Kevin McCarthy's GOP is Tired of Hearing the Truth.

    In a private appearance in front of a small crowd at Mar-a-Lago in late April, former President Donald Trump pointed supporters to the phony recount taking place in Maricopa County, Arizona, and insisted once again that he won the 2020 presidential election.

    “Let’s see what they find. I wouldn’t be surprised if they find thousands and thousands and thousands of votes, so we’re going to watch that very closely. After that, we’ll watch Pennsylvania and we’ll watch Georgia, and you’re gonna watch Michigan and Wisconsin, and you’re watching New Hampshire—they found a lot of votes up in New Hampshire just now, you saw that, because this was a rigged election,” he said. “Everybody knows it.”

    The election wasn’t rigged, of course, and while Trump’s monomaniacal insistence that it was has convinced a majority of Republican voters, most congressional Republicans understand that Joe Biden is the rightfully elected president.

    I think that's probably true. And "most congressional Republicans" seem too spineless to deliver that unpleasant truth to their constituents. You get booed! Nobody likes that, especially pols whose egos crave adulation.

    Trump's New Hampshire reference is to the election audit in Windham (Commie Radio link, sorry). Trump's claim that "they found a lot of votes up in New Hampshire just now" is unsurprisingly reality-challenged: shortly after the election—six months ago—a hand recount of Windham's ballots found about 300 more votes for four Republican House candidates (each) than the machine-tabulated election night results.

    If anyone knows what happened for sure, they ain't talking. But the conspiracy theorists are pretty sure it Proves Something.


  • Stop Saying That. Both Trump and Liz Cheney have used the term "THE BIG LIE" (yes, in caps) in recent days. That's playing the Nazi card, a lazy rhetorical tactic. And (perhaps worse) not even accurate. See the Jewish Virtual Library's Joseph Goebbels On the “Big Lie”.

    “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”

    This is an excellent definition of the “Big lie,” however, there seems to be no evidence that it was used by Nazi propaganda chief Joseph Goebbels, though it is often attributed to him.

    Also see Wikipedia.


  • "The Holy Roman Empire was Neither Holy, Nor Roman, Nor an Empire. Discuss." Veronique de Rugy channels Coffee Talk's Linda Richman: Biden's Environmentally Friendly Infrastructure Plan Won't Help Infrastructure or the Environment.

    The Biden administration has made the fight against climate change a central part of its $2 trillion infrastructure plan. This legislation, if it ever sees the light of day, would shovel more than $100 billion of subsidies toward boosting the market for electric vehicles, as well as updating the country's electric grid to make it allegedly more resilient to climate disasters.

    All of these "investments" sound well and good on paper, but if you genuinely care about the environment, don't hold your breath for any real progress. For one thing, Biden's plan is mostly a giant handout to corporations that are already heavily investing in infrastructure. It's also a gift to unions, most of which will do nothing to encourage the type of activities the president claims to support, and they'll make the cost of producing infrastructure more expensive, so we'll probably see less of it.

    Vero goes on to note that a truly "green" plan would be funded by user charges that would moderate demand for carbon. Instead…


  • We're Number Five! Chris Edwards has produced one of those state ranking studies I'm such a sucker for: Best and Worst States for Entrepreneurs.

    My new Cato study examines state and local regulations that create barriers to startup businesses. It looks at occupational licensing, marijuana laws, alcohol licensing, minimum wages, rules on home‐based businesses, and much else. It ranks the 50 states based on an index of 17 variables. The table shows the overall results.

    In Edwards' rankings, New Hampshire is behind only Georgia, both Dakotas, and Colorado. (But if we legalized pot…)

    Still, when you look at the rest of New England, we come out looking like Galt's Gulch: Massachusetts is #34, Vermont is #37, Maine is #39, Rhode Island is #41, and Connecticut is in a solid last place.

    Not that it matters, but Middlesex County (NJ) has been running ads on WBZ TV (Boston) trying to entice tech business to abandon Massachusetts and come on down. (Sample).

    Entrepreneurs: Cato ranks New Jersey in forty-ninth place. Don't believe TV ads, even the ones during Jeopardy!


  • Not Quite "Greed Is Good", But Acceptable. David Harsanyi says Profit Margins Save Lives.

    The New York Times reports that “Pfizer Reaps Hundreds of Millions in Profits From Covid Vaccine.”

    When you see the word “reaps” in the headline, it usually suggests something more devious than merely “earned.” Hollywood rarely “reaps” money. Walmart “reaps.” Solar-panel makers do not “reap.” Oil companies “reap.” The more useful you are to society, it seems, the more likely you are to reap.

    And pharma giant Pfizer reaped revenues of $3.5 billion in the first three months of 2021, estimated to generate around $900 billion in profits. All the company had to do was create a safe drug that effectively alleviated the threat of the most deadly virus we’ve faced in over a century — one responsible for hundreds of thousands of American deaths and a cost of trillions in economic damage — and then manufacture and dispense hundreds of millions of doses in the shortest span of any vaccine ever created.

    So, naturally, progressives want to punish Pfizer.

    I read Atlas Shrugged back when I was 17 or so. May be time to reread.