I Liked the O'Jays Version Better

Just to be clear, he's talking about taking some people's money by force, then giving it … most of it, anyway … to other people.

What, you want the song instead? Yeah, me too.

Briefly noted:

  • Did Elizabeth Warren ever see a problem that giving the government more arbitrary and massive power wouldn't solve? So far she's batting 1.000, and Christian Britschgi has her latest effort: Elizabeth Warren, Jamaal Bowman Want To Give Lina Khan the Power To Impose Rent Control on the Whole Country.

    Progressive Democrats in Congress, led by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D–Mass.) and Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D–N.Y.), are urging the White House to marshal all available organs of the regulatory state to impose rent control on the entire country.

    A letter authored by the two, and signed by 50 members of Congress, proposes seven actions of varying radicalism and legality that President Joe Biden could take to cap rent increases.

    "We urge your Administration to pursue all possible strategies to end corporate price gouging in the real estate sector," reads the January 9 letter to Biden. "Simply put, the rent is too high and millions of people across this country are struggling to stay stably housed as a result."

    I looked to see if any New Hampshire critters were among the signatories, and was (slightly) relieved to not find any.

  • That's not to excuse them entirely. Because they (Shaheen, Hassan, Pappas, Kuster) are dedicated to spending all the money they can get their hands on, plus a lot more. Veronique de Rugy diagnoses: The Debt-Ceiling Fight Is a Symptom of Congress’s Disease.

    As you probably know, though, we will only default on the debt ceiling if Treasury doesn’t prioritize paying interest and principal on the Treasury debt before any other payments. Obviously, a default would be terrible, and prioritizing payments will come with some pain. And there’s a part of me that thinks that past Congresses, by voting to spend trillions of additional borrowed dollars, implicitly agreed to raising the debt ceiling whenever the debt nears the limit.

    But these considerations don’t imply that the debt ceiling should be raised without a commitment to alter, at least a little, our currently unsustainable fiscal course. And they certainly don’t mean the debt ceiling should be abolished.

    But my more fundamental gripe is this: Where were these people who are upset about the debt-ceiling fight on the countless occasions when Congress ignored its own budgetary rules? Where was the indignation over irresponsible members of Congress keeping the government financed with awful omnibus bills or continuing resolutions?

    Where were the outraged commentaries when Congress failed repeatedly, year after year, to operate under regular order? A few years ago, Brookings Institution economist William Gale published a book in which he wrote that “Congress designed (the current budget) process in 1974. Since then, in only four years has it passed all the appropriations bills for discretionary spending on time.” In other words, for decades congressional Republicans and Democrats failed to do their most basic job: passing a budget on time, according to the rules, and via annual appropriations approved by majorities of the House and the Senate.

    As a group, neither Republicans nor Democrats are profiles in courage here.

  • Jesse Singal is well-known for his skeptical looks at psychological/social fads. I'm impressed that the New York Times even allows him to ask this question in its pages: What if Diversity Trainings Are Doing More Harm Than Good?.

    Diversity trainings have been around for decades, long before the country’s latest round of racial reckoning. But after George Floyd’s murder — as companies faced pressure to demonstrate a commitment to racial justice — interest in the diversity, equity and inclusion (D.E.I.) industry exploded. The American market reached an estimated $3.4 billion in 2020.

    D.E.I. trainings are designed to help organizations become more welcoming to members of traditionally marginalized groups. Advocates make bold promises: Diversity workshops can foster better intergroup relations, improve the retention of minority employees, close recruitment gaps and so on. The only problem? There’s little evidence that many of these initiatives work. And the specific type of diversity training that is currently in vogue — mandatory trainings that blame dominant groups for D.E.I. problems — may well have a net-negative effect on the outcomes managers claim to care about.

    Back in my days working at the University Near Here, our workplace training did a fine job of developing my eye-rolling muscles.

  • Ever wonder if your house was killing you? Kevin D. Williamson has your answer, bunkie: Of Course Your House Is Killing You.

    There’s nothing as bad for you as living well.

    Here’s a nice memory: My wife and I are in Aspen, sitting by a fire that is a little bigger than it really needs to be, drinking a nice Margaux; the dachshund is tuckered out from hiking up the mountain earlier in the day and is fast asleep with her belly turned toward the fire. Dinner is simmering in the kitchen. 

    Horrors, all, of course: There’s getting there, to begin with, and the dose of radiation you get every time you fly (“aircrew have the largest average annual effective dose of all US radiation-exposed workers”) added to the extra radiation you get just from being in the mountains (“calculations based on data from NCRP reports show that the average level of natural background radiation (NBR) in Rocky Mountain states is 3.2 times that in Gulf Coast states”), the magnificent fireplace (“Wood-burning fireplaces: Not such a hot idea”) that makes the emissions from the gas range look like the purest oxygen in one of those weird Japanese oxygen bars by comparison, the Margaux (“Even a Little Alcohol Can Harm Your Health,” the New York Times warned last week), the sweet little puppy (“pet dander can potentially be harmful to your respiratory system”), the bacteria-laden spice rack in the kitchen, the steak

    You know what's inevitably, 100% probability, gonna kill you? Being alive in the first place.