URLs du Jour

2022-07-29

  • Or even admit that you were wrong? My snarky tweet in response to our state's junior US senator:

    No response from Maggie, not that I was expecting one. A perennial pet peeve of mine is legislation that promises noble goodies, but nevertheless sticks around after failing to deliver them. (Remember Obamacare "bending the cost curve"?)


  • I think that's the way to bet. David Harsanyi has his own prediction: Democrats' high-spending 'Inflation Reduction Act' will do the opposite.

    The first thing to remember about the reconciliation bill Sens. Joe Manchin and Chuck Schumer agreed to Wednesday is that despite its utterly preposterous name, it has absolutely zero to do with inflation. The Inflation Reduction Act is crammed with the very same spending, corporate welfare, price-fixing and tax hikes that were part of Build Back Better — long-desired progressive wish-list agenda items. Pumping hundreds of billions into the economy will do nothing to alleviate inflation. The opposite.

    Let’s also remember the Democrats’ deflection on inflation last year — claiming it was “transitory” and “no serious economist” is “suggesting there’s unchecked inflation on the way” and so on — was all part of a concerted political effort to ignore the problem long enough to cram through a $5.5 trillion iteration of their agenda. And when inflation suddenly became non-transitory and politically problematic, the Biden administration argued that more spending would relieve inflation. It doesn’t care about the economy, as long as dependency is being expanded.

    And, yes, here's Harsanyi's bottom line: "The Inflation Reduction Act is to inflation what the Affordable Care Act — which doubled premium costs — was to health-care insurance."


  • And though the news was rather sad, well, I just had to laugh. Steve Landsberg sings an oldie: I Heard the News Today, Oh Boy. In its entirety:

    I’m getting a little tired of presidents of the United States repeating things that could only be spoken by an idiot or a liar, and then trying to intimidate people out of contradicting them.

    The latest (though of course not the most egregious) offender is one Joseph R. Biden, who told the country today that he can raise corporate income taxes without imposing any additional tax burden on anyone who earns less than $400,000 a year. Because in the United States of America, nobody with an income under $400,000 owns any stocks or mutual funds. And if you disagree, he’ll stare you in the face and repeat himself. Like I said, this is getting old.

    Also, a bonus comment, not mine: "Aside from managers, employees, customers, and shareholders, it doesn’t raise taxes on anyone."


  • I expect more of the same. How about you? Let's see what Veronique de Rugy expects, specifically: What to Expect from Washington's Latest Industrial Policy.

    Industrial policy is making a comeback. For those of you under the age of 50, this is just another term for corporate welfare — a lovely name for the unlovely practice of a government granting subsidies, protective tariffs and other privileges to politically influential industries or companies. It's often done in the name of some lofty goal such as strengthening national security or ensuring that America is a leader in the "industries of the future." But the outcome is always the same: wasteful, unfair, unsuccessful and unjustified. Oh, and it invariably grows the budget deficit.

    The latest form of industrial policy is Congress's CHIPS Act of 2022, a bill meant to subsidize the semiconductor industry by channeling taxpayer money to build up domestic production capacity and combat feared Chinese computer-chip supremacy.

    I expect other industries will soon be lining up to the trough. Because "fairness" demands…


  • Instead of insulting our intelligence, what could Congress do instead? Here's a suggestion, via David French: Stop Screwing Around and Pass the Electoral Count Reform Act.

    I want to begin with a question I’ve asked before. What if Mike Pence had said yes? What if the history of January 6 was very different, Pence had agreed with the John Eastman memos arguing that he enjoyed a tremendous amount of discretion in counting Electoral College votes, and he either declared Trump the winner outright, throwing the election into the House of Representatives, or sent it back to the states for the state legislatures to decide which electors were valid?

    America probably would have survived that moment, but the key word there is probably. Does Trump leave the White House? If the Supreme Court intervenes, does he care? Do we see a situation in which Chief Justice Roberts swears in Joe Biden while a MAGA judge swears in Trump for his “second term”? What do state governors do? Does federal law enforcement intervene? What about the military?

    Mike Pence saved us from all this chaos, and he deserves our gratitude. But he never should have been put in that position, and we have an opportunity to fix the prime legal reason why he was. The primary blame, of course, rests with the depraved corruption of Donald Trump and his cadre of loyalists. The secondary blame, however, rests with the Electoral Count Act, an absolute mess of a statute.

    French goes on to note how the ECA is a "playpen for bad actors" and how the proposed reform legislation coming out of the Senate actually fixes things. (Even though it's "bipartisan", often a warning flag of lousiness.)

    But a number of House Democrats are saying "not so fast". And it's raising the possibility that any meaningful reform will be doomed.


  • I bet you've been wondering. Or maybe not. Andrew C. McCarthy explains Why the DOJ Is Taking Its Time on January 6 Probe.

    The New York Times bewails the comparative snail’s pace of the Justice Department’s reported investigation of former president Trump and his advisers in schemes to overturn the result of the 2020 election.

    Seems prosecutors are so “apparently plodding and methodical” that they frustrate . . . well, it’s not exactly clear who is frustrated except for the Times and its fellow partisans. For all its rebuking of the former president’s tactics, the paper has adopted his “people are saying” schtick for broaching topics that are of more interest to the Times than to most people. In truth, besides Democrats, the January 6 committee controlled by Democrats, and the media allies of Democrats, no one is wondering whether or why the Justice Department’s investigation is lagging behind the committee’s.

    As I pointed out over the weekend: The committee, by adopting a slick, television-production approach that suppresses such inconveniences as cross-examination and opposing perspectives, has managed, in the eyes of some, to create the illusion of a detective story constantly turning up new revelations. In the real world, though, millions of people watched the Capitol riot as it happened and were quite familiar with Trump’s appalling conduct in the weeks leading up to it, as well as his failure to act during the hours of the uprising. Then, the nation watched for several weeks as Trump was impeached by the House and tried in the Senate over this episode. Despite its TV-drama presentation, the committee’s summer episodes have not altered our basic understanding of January 6.

    McCarthy's bottom line: " It may seem quaint, but the “plodding and methodical” Justice Department needs proof of a crime before it may properly act."

    Well, that's the theory, anyway. With Merrick Garland at the helm, I wouldn't bet a pile on that.