Monday, July 25, 2016

McArdle: Democratic Machine Chose Clinton Long Ago. But Why?

Eli,

Lots to agree with in Megan McArdle's piece today, including this:

The Democrats chose Clinton. Indeed, her party actively beat back alternatives, funneling all the money and the attention to Clinton, who brought all the well-known Clinton baggage with her, and sadly, did not bring any of her husband’s charm, charisma, or skill at working an audience.

The GOP has a lot to answer for, nominating a racist know-nothing to be President. Why would the Democrats nominate just about the only person in the world who could lose to a racist know-nothing? Well maybe Bernie would lose to him as well. But that makes the question even more befuddling. What in the world is going on with the Democrats that the two candidates they like most were a completely unlikable, ethically challenged harpy or a self-avowed socialist?

Bill

We are still doomed.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

War on America

Eli,

From the Washington Post: (https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2015/11/23/cops-took-more-stuff-from-people-than-burglars-did-last-year/)

"Here's an interesting factoid about contemporary policing: In 2014, for the first time ever, law enforcement officers took more property from American citizens than burglars did."

Civil asset forfeitures began as a tool for the War on Drugs. It morphed into this Frankenstein. Not our only Frankenstein, unfortunately. The War on Terror resulted in drone attacks on American citizens, legalized assassinations, bulk data collection of our phone records and continued infringement of multiple rights enumerated in the Constitution.

War on Poverty, War on Terror, War on Drugs, War on Crime. War on America. 

Now your congresswoman has declared War on Mosquitos. Not joking. 

Bill

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Clinton v Trump

Eli,

My 16 year old daughter on our horrible choice:

At least Clinton sounds like a reasonable person. Trump sounds like a 10-year old screaming into an X-Box.

Bill

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Fanciful Thinking

Eli,

Parts of this were interesting, like this:

Whether you agree with the adoption of Medicare and Medicaid in 1965 or not (there are plenty of arguments that these were not the best ways to expand coverage to the poor and the elderly), it is indisputable that both programs poured enormous sums of new money into the health-care system and dramatically raised demand for services.

Not surprisingly, increased demand without a corresponding growth of supply resulted in rising prices. This is axiomatic in any market, but it seems to have taken the experts by surprise.
And that, it seems to me, is the problem with almost any proposals made about health care including the recent proposal by President Obama to add a public option to the ACA and Bernie's idea of Medicare for all. There is plenty of evidence, going back thousands of years, in different cultures, geographies, and political systems that if prices are reduced, and supply doesn't increase, prices will increase. And that is exactly what most politicians are proposing, in one way or another, for medical care: mandating lower prices for consumers and thinking somehow that won't have an impact on demand and/or supply. It really is quite an extraordinary assumption and one contradicted by thousands of years of evidence.

It's the same type of fanciful thinking on the minimum wage, or mandated family leave, or renewable fuel standards. If the government says the minimum wage shall double, demand for labor will decline. Period. Even the proponents of the minimum wage, like you, know this because if you really thought the increase in the minimum wage had NO impact on labor demand you would raise the minimum wage to $20/hour or $50K per year. Heck, mandate wages have to be $300K per year. In the fanciful world of politicians where increased prices have no impact on demand, we would all be wealthy at the stroke of a pen. Mandated family leave will raise labor prices and lower labor demand. Period. Increasing renewable fuel standards raises fuel costs. Period.

If you say to me, I'm going to eliminate the price mechanism in health care and ration care via waiting times and/or eliminating payment for certain care, at least you would be honest. Or if you say, I think the minimum wage is one of equity and I'm willing to hurt some in order to help others, that would be honest.

But that isn't what is proposed, and instead we get fundamentally dis-honest arguments about health care, trade, immigration, energy and labor from Clinton, Trump and Obama.


Bill

Monday, June 13, 2016

Humourless Sanctimoniousness

Eli,

Saw this about your favorite columnist. His dishonesty is the reason I stopped reading him a few years ago.

Bill