URLs du Jour


[Amazon Link, See Disclaimer]

  • It's a scam perpetuated by sociopathic liars. But other than that, though, it's fine. As described by Eric Boehm: The Inflation Reduction Act Will Reduce Budget Deficits. Barely. Warning: math involving big numbers ahead.

    Start by comparing the bill's promised deficit-reduction efforts with how other recent efforts by Congress and the Biden administration have inflated the budget deficit.

    When looking at the impact of legislation on the federal deficit, projections always take into account the next 10 years of federal spending and expected revenue—in other words, that $300 billion reduction created by the bill is the expected total amount over the next decade. That sounds like a lot of money—and it is!—but it looks a lot smaller when you stack it up against other bills Congress has passed in recent years. According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the 10-year deficit has increased by about $2.4 trillion since President Joe Biden took office, thanks to items like the American Rescue Plan, the bipartisan infrastructure package, and this year's budget omnibus bill.

    So, rather than looking at the Inflation Reduction Act as a $300 billion reduction of future budget deficits, it's probably more accurate to describe it as a plan to actually pay for about $300 billion of the estimated $2.4 trillion that Congress has agreed to borrow in the past 18 months.

    In short, we'd still need seven more bills like the Inflation Reduction Act just to cover the rest of Biden's spending binge—and that's before we start trying to pay for the rest of the $6 trillion in borrowing that Congress did during the COVID-19 pandemic.

    The real effect (and, I assume, the actual motive) is to suck money and decision-making power out of private hands, and place it in the hands of politicians. And (for the second day in a row) we quote the late P. J. O'Rourke, who called it back in 1991:

    [Amazon Link, See Disclaimer]

  • And then there's just the plain old waste. The sorta-pseudonymous "Antiplanner" keeps track of the choo-choos: Amtrak Carried 84% of Pre-Pandemic [Passenger-Miles]. Almost back to normal!

    […] this is Amtrak’s best performance since the pandemic began. Of course, Amtrak is losing a lot more money than it was losing before. Amtrak’s fiscal year begins on October 1, and in fiscal year 2022 to date, it has lost $1.66 billion, almost double the $842 million it lost in the same period in 2019. In June 2022 alone, Amtrak lost $193.1 million, more than twice the $86.1 million it lost in June 2019.


    Why is Amtrak losing so much more than in previous months when its ridership is up? The answer seems to be that its expenses have increased by much more than its ridership. Although Amtrak operated 10 percent fewer train miles in June 2022 than in June 2019, it spent 32 percent more doing so, which means that its cost per train-mile grew by 46 percent. Whether due to increased labor costs or simply that Congress is giving Amtrak too much money, Amtrak costs are clearly out of control.

    With President Wheezy in charge, who could have seen that coming?

  • And you should not pretend to believe them. Kevin D. Williamson's "Tuesday" newsletter takes a bold stand: Big Lies Matter.

    (That's the current headline; the <title> on the page is: "Lying Is Free, Until It Isn't. Then It Gets Expensive". Also true.)

    One of the most damaging legacies of the Trump era is that much of the Republican Party — and a tragically large share of the conservative movement that sustains it — has come to believe, mistakenly, that bullsh** is the path to power.

    The thing is, it isn’t. It is easy to play make-believe with willing marks in an age of hermetically sealed social-media echo-chamber discourse, but actually lying successfully to people who aren’t already inclined to play along is pretty hard — and expensive, both in economic and reputational terms.

    The actual political record of the Trump coalition should show the weakness of the bullsh** strategy. Donald Trump and his personality-cult politics managed to win one election, defeating a singularly toxic, corrupt, exhausted, used-up Hillary Rodham Clinton, a previously failed candidate so inept and feckless that she seemed to have forgotten the most elementary basics of politics, like how to go out and ask for votes. What followed that Pyrrhic victory was a rout of historic proportions: The inept Trump team failed to get any major legislation through Congress on the president’s hallmark issues during the time when Republicans controlled both houses, and then Republicans proceeded to lose control of the House and the Senate before handing the presidency over to the Democrats — a reverse trifecta not seen since Herbert Hoover and the Great Depression. Trump himself became one of only ten elected presidents to seek a second term and lose — underperforming his immediate predecessors Barack Obama, George W. Bush, and Bill Clinton, along with such figures as Richard Nixon (reelected in a 49-state landslide in 1972) and Woodrow Wilson. The Republican Party is in disarray, positioned to forfeit: a Senate race in Pennsylvania to a hobbled stroke victim after nominating Mehmet Oz, a television quack and Turkish citizen who did not live in the state before seeking the office; the Pennsylvania governor’s race, after letting Democrat money help kook-fringe conspiracy nuts nominate a kook-fringe conspiracy nut as the GOP candidate; a Georgia Senate seat after nominating crackpot celebrity Herschel Walker, who seems to have more children than Rehoboam. In Arizona, Republicans have nominated conspiracy kooks for governor, the Senate, secretary of state, and attorney general. The scene in Michigan is much the same.

    I own and have read KDW's book Big White Ghetto, so I'm pretty sure some National Review policy demanded that "bullshit" be asteriskized. (There should be a word for that, but I don't know what it is. I'm sure it's not "asteriskized".)

  • Unless your only memory of it is the show with Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. David Harsanyi says: We Have No Reason To Trust The FBI.

    The day before Donald Trump beat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election of 2016, The New York Times’ Paul Krugman claimed that the FBI—along with “Russian intelligence”—had “rigged the election.” Election denialism is perfectly acceptable behavior on the left. Krugman blamed the “rigged election” on “people within the F.B.I.” who, he asserted, “clearly felt that under Mr. Comey they had a free hand to indulge their political preferences,” by which he meant the investigation into Clinton’s email server. One can imagine the tenor of Krugman’s rhetoric if the investigation had been launched by the administration of Mitt Romney or George W. Bush or signed off on by AG Robert Bork.

    Is it still the case that investigating a candidate for wrongdoing is “rigging” an election? Yesterday, Merrick Garland’s DOJ raided the home of a former president, and likely future presidential candidate, in a case regarding “potential mishandling of classified documents,” according to The Washington Post. Is that really it? We have long been told that “mishandling of classified documents” isn’t a serious crime.

    I don't want to play the Stalin card, so I'll go with Beria: "Show me the man and I'll show you the crime." I assume that's on a poster placed somewhere in Christopher Wray's office.

  • A University Near Here spokesperson said something non-embarrassing! That's nice to say for once. And he did it in NHJournal: 'Babies On Board' in New Hampshire.

    New Hampshire is one of the best states in America for having a baby, ranking high in the latest WalletHub analysis for overall baby-friendliness.

    The news must be getting around, as New Hampshire is currently experiencing a baby boom according to the University of New Hampshire’s Kenneth Johnson, Senior Demographer at the Carsey School, and an Andrew Carnegie Fellow.

    “New Hampshire had an increase in births of 7 percent in 2021 compared to 2020,” Johnson said. “This is one of the largest percent increases in the U.S. for the year. Births rose from 11,791 in 2020 to 12,615 in 2021.”

    The news is mixed, however:

    “All of New Hampshire’s population increase over the past several years is due to the fact that more people move into the state than leave it,” Johnson said.
    So come on in, Free Staters.