URLs du Jour

2021-05-14

[Amazon Link]

  • Science Is (Finally) Real. Joel Zinberg is among the many spreading the belated news: The CDC Finally Does the Obvious.

    Calling Captain Obvious. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has now stated what has been clear to anyone following the scientific literature for the past few months: People who are two weeks past being fully vaccinated against COVID-19 do not need to wear masks indoors or outside, and need not maintain physical distance.

    While the CDC once again invoked its mantra that it is “following the science,” as recently as last night, CDC director, Dr. Rochelle Walensky advised everyone to wear masks indoors, even if they were fully vaccinated. It is unclear what changed overnight. Most likely, it was nothing new, just the accumulated evidence that the COVID-19 vaccines are over 90 percent effective in stopping viral transmission, even for the common variants, that convinced the hyper-cautious agency that vaccinated people are protected from infection and are unlikely to transmit the virus to others.

    I'm looking forward to the time when the UNH Librarians climb down off their desks, from which they've been screaming "Eek! A mouse! And also Covid!" for the past 14 months.


  • Ha. Via Instapundit, a Tweet from Ian Miles Cheong:

    Maybe a lot of Minneapolitans aren't laughing. But (hey) it's democracy, you voted for these bozos (and bozettes).


  • You Don't Have To Be Crazy To Be A Progressive, But It Helps. Lee Siegel writes at City Journal on The Paranoid Style in Progressive Politics.

    The other day I found myself staring at this headline in the New York Times: “GOP Focuses on Polarizing Cultural Issues in Drive to Regain Power.” For a moment, I thought the article would, in a commonsense way, explore how Republicans were confronting the polarizing cultural issues that had been created by liberals. That is to say, I thought the article would be about the hardball nature of American politics.

    Instead, it presented Republican opposition to explosively controversial questions like packing the Supreme Court, defunding the police, and giving legal status to illegal immigrants as part empty cynicism, part mental imbalance. The reporter, Carl Hulse, portrayed the Republican resistance to such extreme Democratic initiatives as a determined effort to appease the “conservative base.” That’s a phrase that has become a Democratic mantra signifying chthonic forces of disorder, and it has the effect of halting in its tracks any political argument or debate.

    The "Republicans pounce" headline seems to have been retired. (Even back in 2017, the Urban Dictionary noted it.) The new hotness is "Republicans seize"!


  • It's Not Hard To Figure Out Why. Elizabeth Nolan Brown would like to point out some malpractice among politicians (expected) and the lazy/compliant media: The Gender Gap in Pandemic Job Losses Has Been Wildly Exaggerated.

    For more than a year, the U.S. has been flooded with gloomy headlines and dire predictions about women and work. "The pandemic is devastating a generation of working women," opined one Washington Post writer in February. Citing data showing that 2.5 million women dropped out of the workforce since the COVID-19 pandemic began, Vice President Kamala Harris said "the pandemic has put decades of the progress we have collectively made for women workers at risk."

    Harris called it a "national emergency"—albeit one that could be fixed by greenlighting the Biden administration's coronavirus spending plan.

    And so the narrative typically goes: women's employment prospects are in crisis; the way out is passing the Democrats' preferred economic policies. (See Matt Welch in Reason's June print issue for more on this rhetoric.)

    But the magnitude of this gender gap has never been as great as many have made it out to be. And recent data cast further doubt on the "she-cession" narrative. At the end of April 2021, the unemployment rate for women was slightly lower than the unemployment rate for men. And the women's labor force participation rate had recovered almost as much as the men's rate had.

    Exaggerating a problem to push for hasty legislation? That's pretty standard, but way too many people fall for it.


  • Speaking of Captain Obvious… Megan McArdle says Unemployment benefits are holding back the economic recovery.

    For months, economic indicators were turning green. Employment was roaring back, gross domestic product was growing at a sizzling 6.4 percent annual pace, consumer confidence had returned to pre-pandemic levels. Then, suddenly, a flashing red light: Friday’s jobs report suggested that the U.S. economy added a mere 266,000 jobs in April, well below what analysts had anticipated.

    I mean, really well below; given the pace of covid-19 vaccinations and declining caseloads, forecasts had been closer to 1 million new jobs. It was, Axios primly noted, “the biggest miss, relative to expectations, in decades.”

    The problem isn’t employers, who are raising wages in their efforts to fill a record number of openings. Anecdotally, business owners and managers tell reporters and surveys that they can’t get people to come in for interviews, much less show up for work. This might have something to do with how generous the federal government has made unemployment benefits — so generous that they exceed the value of working for about half of the unemployed.

    Also (to be fair) constant fearmongering from "experts" doesn't help either.


  • Want To Bet On That, Vero? Veronique de Rugy thinks Uncle Sam's Lack of Leadership on Debt Cannot Be Ignored. Well, maybe it can't be ignored for long. But some folks will try for as long as they can.

    I'm always amazed to hear people say that the national debt doesn't matter because interest rates are low. Yet, it's a common refrain on the left and sometimes on the right. The next step in that line of thinking is that if accumulating debt is so cheap, we shouldn't think twice about spending more today without offsetting it with additional taxes or spending cuts. That's wrong.

    Debt is the symptom of too much spending. One unfortunate aspect of talking about the problem of accumulating too much debt (as opposed to too much spending) is that it opens the door to arguments that we should raise taxes to pay down the debt. So, let me say this from the start: In my opinion, the only acceptable way to address the debt that results from too much spending is to cut the said spending. It's not only the right thing to do but also the most effective way to actually reduce the debt-to-GDP ratio, as a large body of academic literature has shown.

    If anyone wants a list of suggested spending cuts, see Vero.


Last Modified 2021-06-03 9:17 AM EDT