URLs du Jour

2021-09-10

[Amazon Link, See Disclaimer]

  • Politician's Syllogism alive and well. Philip Klein is one of the numerous people pointing out little problems with the Dodderer-in-Chief's latest: Biden Vaccine Mandate and Employer Complications.

    In our editorial, we addressed the legal issues raised by President Biden’s sweeping mandate that all private businesses with 100 or more employees require workers either get vaccinated, or produce a weekly negative test. Andrew McCarthy separately argued that the order is fundamentally unconstitutional. Beyond the serious legal and process issues raised by using a rarely invoked OSHA emergency authority to deputize private businesses to prod 80 million Americans into getting vaccinated, there are serious practical questions. And one of the problems with bypassing the typical regulatory process is that those tasked with implementing these requirements will have no opportunity to weigh in on the potential complications.

    Just to think of a few complications, under this order, businesses will now have to set up a system for monitoring who has been vaccinated and who has not. They will also have to facilitate weekly testing for those who choose not to be vaccinated, and keep track of the negative tests. Who pays for the tests? What happens in the time that workers are waiting test results? This remains unclear as of now.

    And he goes on with other matters that are "unclear as of now."

    It almost makes me wish I were in a position to engage in civil disobedience. Maybe I'll go out and lick some doorknobs.

    The Politician's Syllogism, in case you haven't heard:

    1. We must do something.
    2. This is something.
    3. Therefore, we must do this.

    I watched Biden's speech yesterday. (It pre-empted local news.) I've become, at last, an old man that yells at the TV. Especially when he took credit for things he had nothing to do with.


  • This woman should have never been let near the levers of power. Specifically, Senator Elizabeth Warren. From the Daily Signal, her latest tilt toward Big Sisterism: Warren Asks Amazon to Ban Products With ‘COVID-19 Misinformation’.

    Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., is urging Amazon to remove books and other products that spread “COVID-19 misinformation” from its online marketplace.

    Warren identified a variety of products that are among the top results when consumers search for certain items and books about COVID-19 in a letter sent Tuesday to Amazon CEO Andy Jassy. The products promote “false and misleading” conspiracy theories about the coronavirus, Warren alleges in the letter.

    It would be, of course, totally unconstitutional for the government to ban books.

    Isn't it nearly as bad for a government official (one who's taken an oath to support and defend the Constitution) to nag a company into doing that dirty work for her?

    It hasn't been that long since she proposed breaking up Amazon (and other firms). That's the stick that puts some oomph behind her "request".

    Noting the obvious: Amazon sells Mein Kampf; Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-Tung; Foundations of Leninism (by one J. V. Stalin). Those three authors alone probably piled up tens of millions of victims. Shouldn't Warren start with those before worrying about the relatively puny death toll from Covid misinfo?

    And finally: Amazon unfortunately should have seen this coming when they decided to stop selling When Harry Became Sally. They have only themselves to blame.


  • Because we live in Cloud-Cuckoo Land. Peter Suderman makes an observation that, honestly, everyone should be making: Medicare Is About To Run Out of Money. Democrats Want To Make the Program Cost Even More..

    To understand the implications of Democrats' current plans for expanding federal health care programs, it's useful to start with some context from the biggest federal health care program that currently exists: Medicare.

    Last week, Medicare's board of trustees produced their annual report on the program's fiscal health. That report contained some expected yet nonetheless alarming news: Medicare's hospital insurance (HI) trust fund, itself a kind of accounting fiction, will be insolvent in just five years. Starting in 2026, the HI fund, which covers inpatient hospital services, will be depleted.

    The program will have to rely on the HI fund's incoming revenues, essentially operating on a cash flow basis—and there won't be enough cash. In 2026, the HI fund will only cover about 91 percent of its bills. In the years that follow, that gap will only grow larger. So without changes to the program's financing, doctors, hospitals, and other medical providers will face rapidly reduced payments from the program, with ensuing ripple effects on both the wider economy, roughly a sixth of which revolves around health care services, and on the provision and availability of health care.

    The "solution", such as it is, will be to delay even talking about this until it becomes a "crisis". And we all know about those…


  • [Amazon Link, See Disclaimer] They lead to big honking sea monsters. Bryan Caplan writes on Liberty's Crisis Crisis and some prescience:

    I often remember the parting words of Robert Higgs’ Crisis and Leviathan:

    [W]e do know something – at least abstractly – about the future.  We know that other great crises will come.  Whether they will be occasioned by foreign wars, economic collapse, or rampant terrorism, no one can predict with assurances.  Yet in one form of another, great crises will surely come again… When they do, governments almost certainly will gain new powers over economic and social affairs… For those who cherish individual liberty and a free society, the prospect is deeply disheartening.

    That’s what Higgs said back in 1987, over a third of a century ago.  And how right he has been!  The Nineties were almost crisis-free; indeed, the collapse of Communism ended the forty-year crisis of the Cold War.  Ever since, however, we’ve had one exasperating crisis after another: 9/11, the Iraq War, the Great Recession, and ISIS, followed by Covid-19, the crisis that puts all the others to shameI maintain, of course, that the chief problem in each crisis has been government’s hysterical overreaction.  Verily, the cure is worse than the disease.  Still, that doesn’t change the fact that the net effect of these crises has been awful.

    As someone who, like Higgs, cherishes individual liberty and a free society, the retrospect has been deeply disheartening.  But at least Higgs psychologically prepared me to see people panicked and freedom trampled.  What I failed to anticipate, however, was the effect of crises on the liberty movement itself.

    It hasn't been pretty, Bryan points out. The "liberty movement" tends to have a significant number of Leviathan apologists for every new incursion on freedom.

    Sad. We're probably doomed.