Yglesias on Trump’s Tariffs

Matt Yglesias explains why DJT’s proposed tariffs are inefficient, will raise prices and are bad for consumers – in effect a highly regressive tax.

“Most studies indicate that the price of Trump’s tariffs have been primarily born by American consumers (American Action Forum, Cato Institute, Tax Foundation)…So it’s really worth saying that whatever you make of industrial policy, what Trump is suggesting is not a remotely strategic approach to national economic development. If anything, Trump’s entire trade agenda — not only these tariffs, but things like his 2020 effort to score a giant sale of soybeans to China — is geared around de-industrializing the United States and turning us into a primary commodity exporter…The right’s intellectual trajectory on these topics is somewhat alarming. Everyone in DC understands that Trump did not come up with this policy proposal based on any kind of detailed study of the issue. Unless it benefits him personally, Trump just pulls ideas out of his ass because he likes the vibe.”

2024-02-06T18:04:21-05:00February 6th, 2024|HomeRecommended|

David French on the Case for Disqualifying Trump

• An excellent essay by David French on why there is a legitimate case for disqualification based on the 14th amendment appears in the NYT here. An excerpt:

“This is where we are and have now been for years: The Trump movement commits threats, violence and lies. And then it tries to escape accountability for those acts through more threats, more violence and more lies. At the heart of the “but the consequences” argument against disqualification is a confession that if we hold Trump accountable for his fomenting violence on Jan. 6, he might foment additional violence now.

Enough. It’s time to apply the plain language of the Constitution to Trump’s actions and remove him from the ballot — without fear of the consequences. Republics are not maintained by cowardice.”
2024-01-04T19:48:37-05:00January 4th, 2024|HomeRecommended|

Another good one from Krugman

• Krugman on the current state of things, writing in the NYT:

“You may have heard about the good economic news. Labor force participation — the share of adults in today’s work force — is actually slightly higher than the Congressional Budget Office predicted before the pandemic. Measures of underlying inflation have fallen more or less back to the Federal Reserve’s 2 percent target even though unemployment is near a 50-year low. Adjusted for inflation, most workers’ wages have gone up.

For some reason I’ve heard less about the crime news, but it’s also remarkably good. F.B.I. data shows that violent crime has subsided: It’s already back to 2019 levels and appears to be falling further. Homicides probably aren’t quite back to 2019 levels, but they’re plummeting.

None of this undoes the Covid death toll or the serious learning loss suffered by millions of students. But overall both our economy and our society are in far better shape at this point than most people would have predicted in the early days of the pandemic — or than most Americans are willing to admit.

For if America’s resilience in the face of the pandemic shock has been remarkable, so has the pessimism of the public.”


2024-01-01T14:09:05-05:00January 1st, 2024|HomeRecommended|

Vaccines and Childhood Mortality

• From Bill Gates’ end-of-year Gates Notes newsletter:

“My favorite innovation story, though, starts with one of my favorite statistics: Since 2000, the world has cut in half the number of children who die before the age of five.

How did we do it? One key reason was innovation. Scientists came up with new ways to make vaccines that were faster and cheaper but just as safe. They developed new delivery mechanisms that worked in the world’s most remote places, which made it possible to reach more kids. And they created new vaccines that protect children from deadly diseases like rotavirus.”

2023-12-19T17:44:57-05:00December 19th, 2023|HomeRecommended|

WashPo Photoessay on the Damages Done by Assault Weapons

• Look upon it and despair at our inability to offer a direct solution like banning assault weapons – or even magazine sizes.  Instead, we offer “prayer” platitudes or claim it’s “a mental health problem” (which of course we also don’t deal with adequately).

Thank you, Washington Post, for offering this still-sanitized lesson in the reality of the destroyed human lives caused by mass shootings using assault weapons. See:  A rare look at the devastation caused by AR-15 shootings

2023-12-11T18:33:44-05:00December 4th, 2023|HomeRecommended|

More on the Existential Danger of DJT

• I’m with Brian Klaas on this one – he talks about how we have so normalized DJT’s unhinged ravings (and fear amplifying them) that little media attention is given to how much of a threat he is to democracy, the rule of law, and social order.  Read his essay The Case for Amplifying Trump’s Insanity.   An excerpt:

“Bombarded by a constant stream of deranged authoritarian extremism from a man who might soon return to the presidency, we’ve lost all sense of scale and perspective. But neither the American press nor the public can afford to be lulled. The man who, as president, incited a violent attack on the U.S. Capitol in order to overturn an election is again openly fomenting political violence while explicitly endorsing authoritarian strategies should he return to power. That is the story of the 2024 election. Everything else is just window dressing.”

2023-11-25T19:12:42-05:00November 25th, 2023|HomeRecommended|

Wallace-Wells on McLean and Nocera’s The Big Fail

David Wallace-Wells does a pretty good takedown of some of the theses presented in Bethany McLean and Joe Nocera’s“The Big Fail: What the Pandemic Revealed About Who America Protects and Who It Leaves Behind” – especially the ones in the clickbait-titled, New York Magazine excerpted “Covid Lockdowns Were a Giant Experiment. It Was a Failure.” Wallace-Wells often disagrees, and has data to back up his arguments.

2023-11-20T16:26:02-05:00November 16th, 2023|HomeRecommended|
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