Best of 2017

Donald Trump Is The First President To Turn Postmodernism Against Itself Like other utopian visions that seek to remake human beings into something alien to their nature, however, it is incapable of compromise, and thus lends itself to hypocrisy and fanaticism.…

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The Rest of the Apple

Upgrades tend to use more power as new features are introduced. To conserve the battery power of older phones, Apple reduced the processing speed, assuming a small difference in processing speed would be more tolerable and less noticeable than a battery that drained too quickly.  This is hardly the sinister motive or forced obsolescence the conspiracy mongers attribute.

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Policy and Attitude

“President Trump’s governance this year has been more conservative than that of George W. Bush or even Reagan. He has slashed the bureaucracy, cutting regulations at a maniacal clip. He has inserted constitutionalist appellate judges at a historic rate. He’s cut taxes. He’s looked to box in Russia in Ukraine while building up our alliances in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, and Israel. He’s ended the individual mandate and he’s cut taxes.”

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A Better Solution to Citizens United

“Those who remain concerned about the issue of money in politics may be focused on the wrong tool.  What disturbs the proper representation is not money as much as restrictive ballot access laws.  Super pacs control the money but still lack the access and thus must use the parties as their vehicles.”

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The Irony of American Leadership

From Victor Davis Hanson
“we need to take a deep breath and concede that sometimes past mellifluous appeasement is more dangerous than present flamboyant deterrence — just as the sober and discreet can be more adroit in warping the Constitution through distortions and corruptions of the Justice Department, the IRS, the FBI, and the FISA courts than are the profane and rambunctious.”

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Hard Headed and Soft Hearted

from the Remnant Podcast Episode 14
Jonah Goldberg and Arthur Brooks
The ideal quadrant for Brooks is to be heard headed and soft hearted. Seek policies to help the unfortunate, but be realistic that work is important, long term dependency is soul stifling, and perverse incentives make the problem worse.  Articulate limits, stop demagoguery, and be realistic about human nature. 

As Paul Ryan said, “Don’t let the safety net become a hammock.”

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The Counterproductive Estate Tax

by Henry Oliner
The estate tax is less of a transfer from the rich to the poor than it is a transfer from one group of wealthy to other wealthy special interests.  The great beneficiaries of estate taxes are tax lawyers and accountants, insurance companies, and wealthier businesses who use the pressure of the estate taxes to acquire other firms and grow larger.

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How the Modern Economy Mutes Keynes

by Henry Oliner
The obsessive focus on demand also proved misplaced.   Demand and supply ebb and flow in ways far too organic to be managed by central planning. Periods of innovation create new demands.  New products precede their demand and subsequent manufacturing technology continuously turns luxuries into commodities.

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Why Social Media is a Sucker for Bad Reporting

The point is that the subject is much more complicated than most are willing to accept. Even the most respected journalists are seduced more by the political angle than accuracy and open mindedness.  This travesty is multiplied thousands of times on the social media by the lazy who read for confirmation rather than information.

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ACA’s Death Toll

from the WSJ
“But new data shows that mortality rates have also increased, suggesting the policy may contribute each year to 5,400 premature deaths of Medicare patients with serious heart conditions. “

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Tax Thoughts 2017 12 21

The Democrats must be in a catch 22 with this bill; the limitation of state income and property taxes will more than offset the lower STATUTORY rates and many of the wealthiest will see an EFFECTIVE tax increase. Most of the benefits go to the middle and lower tax brackets.

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Entitlements for the Non Poor

“The data reveal just how far entitlements have departed from their original purpose of providing a measure of security from economic destitution among the elderly, the disabled, and the unemployed and to alleviate poverty among the general population. In 2015, 62 percent of recipient households, encompassing over 100 million U.S. residents, had incomes that were above the poverty line prior to the receipt of assistance. “

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Five Best Reads of 2017

Out of dozens of books read in 2017 these are the five I found most worthwhile.

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Freedom and Equality

“Nature smiles at the union of freedom and equality in our utopias. For freedom and equality are sworn and everlasting enemies, and when one prevails the other dies. “

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Benign Neglect

Kevin Williamson at National Review- “A great deal of what’s best about the modern world is the result of nerds messing around in their garages: Google, the modern automobile business, rock ’n’ roll. Thank goodness nobody took it seriously enough to try to regulate it, manage it, and direct it — which would only have deformed it.”

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Flawed vs Corrupt

“He regards Mr. Trump as deeply flawed but Ms. Clinton as deeply corrupt. There’s a difference. Mr. Buckley, a law professor at George Mason, uses the term “corruption” in its classic sense: the use of governmental power to enrich oneself. By that definition, given the revelations about Ms. Clinton in such books as Peter Schweizer’s “Clinton Cash” (2015), which detailed the ways in which certain extremely wealthy people purchased access to the secretary of state, Ms. Clinton is a fine instance of corruption at its unsavory worst.”

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The Other Friction Costs

While tax relief is in the spotlight, we have underestimated the other friction costs, the regulatory growth that wastes valuable economy growing and job creating resources. The stock market boom happened because the beating stopped.

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The New Challenge of a Growing Economy

Most do not realize that we have not yet paid the bill for the recession and the Obama spending. Obama depended on the Keynesian multiplier to stimulate the economy. It failed because too many other friction costs counteracted it; including higher taxes, increased regulations, and a generally unfriendly business climate in DC. Even without these friction costs, the benefit of the multiplier is limited. 

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Defiling the Government Faith

“But the truth is that, with or without Trump’s reign of chaos, the 20th-century project of enlightened and comprehensive statism is not sustainable for the long run. The welfare programs are drying up and their plans have constantly proven unviable and unworkable. We live in a world in which the miracles of the private commercial sector are all around us, while the failures of statism are everywhere present as well.”

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Progressive Wolf Mongering

“In other words, in our polarized times, finding the proper sense of proportion might be among your greatest patriotic duties. Save your fury for a real crisis. “

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