Do You Even Know How Impeachment Works, Bro?

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About our Amazon Product du Jour: If Biden were impeached and convicted tomorrow, we'd suddenly find ourselves with … well, I'm sure anyone reading this knows what the Constitution dictates.

But still. President Kamala might be chastened in her activism. For example, she might give up on "student loan" forgiveness. It's full speed ahead for President Wheezy, though. Despite being court-rejected once, his motto seems to be Try, Try Again. From Liz Wolfe's news roundup:

Handouts to voters: Though his first attempt at student loan forgiveness was struck down by the Supreme Court in June of last year (Biden v. Nebraska), President Joe Biden apparently feels called to try again. If this attempt went through, it would—to his mind—not only lift the shackles of decades of debt from a chunk of the voting public, but also possibly compel people, filled with newly grateful spirits, to vote for him. So you can understand why he'd be so persistent.

That doesn't make it good policy. The new plan, which would affect roughly 30 million, uses a different mechanism than last time—it expands programs that already exist, and targets those who have high loan balances due to interest—but it would still be to our collective detriment.

"First, the plan takes aim at borrowers who have seen their balances climb due to unpaid interest, seeking to cancel up to $20,000 of accrued interest for all borrowers," reports Reason's Emma Camp. "For borrowers enrolled in an income-driven repayment plan (IDR) making up to $120,000 a year, or $240,000 a year for couples, the Education Department plans to forgive all accrued interest."

The WSJ Editorial Board also is laughing (perhaps to keep from crying) about Biden’s Student Loan Howlers. See if you get a chuckle from:

But the White House economists say even more debt relief is needed because the wage premium for workers with degrees hasn’t increased commensurately with college sticker prices. “Rapid and unforeseeable rises in prices and declines in college wage premia have contributed to decades of ‘unlucky’ college-entry cohorts,” the report says.

So students who chose expensive degrees that haven’t led to gainful employment are merely “unlucky.” And because employers don’t appropriately value their degrees, the government must subsidize these poor graduates.

And, eventually, those subsidies will, on net be borne by taxpayers who didn't get subsidized.

But—hey!—maybe they'll qualify for a different subsidy!

That's supposed to be a joke right there. After all, didn't Bastiat claim that “Government is the great fiction through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else"?

I'm sure that Biden, deep down, believes that, and believes it to be a good thing.

But it's not just tame White House economists emitting the howlers. At AEI, Beth Akers calls out an equally-tame MSNBC analyst: Maddow Spreads Misinformation on Student Loan Cancellation.

Last night, progressive television pundit Rachel Maddow took jabs at Republicans concerned with President Biden’s latest effort to cancel student debt. But her jabs were actually sucker punches. She took advantage of the public’s being uninformed on the issue of student debt to spread misinformation, aimed at scoring partisan points and defending Biden’s indefensible vote-buying scheme by disguising it as compassionate policy.

In a bombastic rant against the potential legal challenges to Biden’s plan, Maddow argued that

Republicans are suing to make sure that Americans have to pay more in student loans, to make sure that you have to pay more interest to banks on your student loans. That is what they are offering America in this election year. Isn’t that what America most needs? For banks to make more money off people who took out loans to go to college?

The truth is that nobody is profiting off these loans. The reforms made to the program over the last decade have let borrowers off the hook to such an extent that the portfolio of loans is now a huge loser. And the banks have absolutely nothing to do with it. It’s the taxpayers who finance these loans to students and it’s the taxpayers who are on the hook when lawmakers like President Biden let them off the hook to repay them. 

Akers thinks Maddow is looking for a likely scapegoat. I'm doubtful she's that smart.

Also of note:

  • Peter J. Wallison looks at a too-likely outcome: Trump’s Ukraine Sellout.

    So why does Trump oppose US support for Ukraine? He has said nothing specific enough to call a plan, but the statements he has made would effectively end the policy that the United States has followed toward the Russia since the end of WWII. That policy is to oppose Russia’s expansion into Europe, even under implicit Soviet, and later Russian, threats of nuclear war. Every president, Democrat and Republican, from Truman through Kennedy, Reagan, the two Bushes, Clinton, and Biden has made this clear. Donald Trump is the first person with a shot at the presidency who has offered the opportunity for Russian territorial expansion—and this essentially for nothing.

    Trump has said that he would end the Ukraine War in one day. That, of course, is the usual empty Trumpian boast, but it’s feasible only if the US stops all military assistance to Ukraine, and Ukraine gives up much of its traditional territory it has now reclaimed from Russia. In other words, Trump would allow the military weakening of Ukraine—to such an extent that it would have to surrender at least some of its territory.

    Moreover, this policy of weakness toward Russian aggression will send a signal to others that the United States—the world’s principal advocate for territorial integrity since WWII—cannot be relied upon for support against another country’s turning a territorial dispute into an armed invasion.

    Well, good luck with that.

  • Why so glum, chum? We are beset with MSM claims about Joe Biden's rosy economy. Jim Geraghty drops some truth bombs, describing How Joe Biden Lost the War on Inflation and the Broader Economy.

    You don’t have to look far to find columnists who are absolutely befuddled that Americans rate the economy — and President Biden’s economic record — so poorly despite data that, at first glance, suggest the U.S. economy is sitting pretty. Gallup, Pew, CNN, the Washington Post, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal — they’re all asking variations of the same question: “Why isn’t the growing economy helping public perception of Biden?”

    Readers of this newsletter know that part of the answer is that the president is older than dirt and we’ve had a policy of de facto open borders for three years, which shapes voters’ perceptions that Biden is hapless and ineffective. But on the economy, I think it’s obvious that lots of Americans feel like they get bad news every time they go to the grocery store. Or when they see lots of part-time-job opportunities, but fewer options for full-time jobs with benefits. Or when they fill up their gas tank. And maybe even their statements for their 401(k) or retirement accounts don’t seem as bright and cheery after a long bout of runaway inflation.

    Economic problem one: Grocery bills.

    Earlier this month, the Wall Street Journal looked at how inflation has changed the price of groceries since 2019 — our pre-pandemic sense of “normal” prices for food and household staples.

    There's more at the link. Including: declining full-time work, gasoline prices. Geraghty also points out that the rising stock market is great, it doesn't matter much when you sell some stock to buy groceries, only to discover…

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    The great Haidt debate continues. We've looked at Jonathan Haidt's recent claims and recommendations in his new book, The Anxious Generation here, here, and here. Today, he retreats to his substack to defend his claims: Yes, Social Media Really Is a Cause of the Epidemic of Teenage Mental Illness.

    For centuries, adults have worried about whatever “kids these days” are doing. From novels in the 18th century to the bicycle in the 19th and through comic books, rock and roll, marijuana, and violent video games in the 20th century, there are always those who ring alarms, and there are always those who are skeptics of those alarms. So far, the skeptics have been right more often than not, and when they are right, they earn the right to call the alarm ringers “alarmists” who have fomented a groundless moral panic, usually through sensational but rare (or non-existent) horror stories trumpeted by irresponsible media.

    But the skeptics are not always right. I think it is a very good thing that alarms were rung about teen smoking, teen pregnancy, drunk driving, and the exposure of children to sex and violence on TV. The lesson of The Boy Who Cried Wolf is not that after two false alarms we should disconnect the alarm system. In that story, the wolf does eventually come.

    Counterpoint comes from Haidt's friend and onetime co-author, Greg Lukianoff, who describes My First Amendment concerns with ‘The Anxious Generation’. Amidst much praise:

    While his proposals appear on the surface to be aimed only at minors, in reality, they would implicate the rights of adults, too. What’s more, minors do have free speech rights, even if the breadth of those rights aren’t exactly the same as those of adults. I also think broad government interventions often create more problems than they solve and have a tendency to start in a sphere that seems limited but then expands. Lastly, I believe a good rule of thumb is to try the options that pose the least potential for abuse first.

    I think Lukianoff is correct here. General rule: there's are few social problems that government regulation can't make worse. But see what you think.