From Henry Hazlitt’s Economics in One Lesson, we learn that “the whole of economics can be reduced to a single lesson, and that lesson can be reduced to a single sentence: The art of economics consists in looking not merely at the immediate but at the longer effects of any act or policy; it consists in tracing the consequences of that policy not merely for one group but for all groups.” Let us begin with a simple illustration: the 18 minimum wage hikes that will take place next Monday on January 1.
As a result of 18 state laws mandating that minimum wage workers will get paid $0.35 (in Michigan) to $1 an hour (in Maine) more on January 1, a young teenage worker named Alex working full-time at a small neighborhood pizza restaurant in Maine would make $160 in additional income every month (ignoring taxes). Alex would spend that additional monthly income of $160 at local merchants on items like food, clothing, footwear, Uber rides, movies, computer games, and electronics items. The local merchants who receive that $160 from Alex’s additional spending now have additional income and profits every week, and they can spend some of that additional income and profits on goods and services. Alex’s additional monthly income, therefore, ripples through the local Maine economy with an amazing multiplier effect that almost magically increases spending and income throughout the local economy. The pro-minimum wage crowd points to these many positive income effects from Maine’s pending $11 an hour minimum wage and Alex’s additional income, and many might even suggest that a minimum wage far above $11 an hour would create even greater and more positive benefits for workers like Alex and the local merchants who would be the beneficiaries of an even higher minimum wage. For example, EPI suggests that a $15 an hour federal minimum wage would lift wages for 41 million American workers.
But let us take another and closer look at the situation. The minimum wage crowd is at least right in its first conclusion about Alex’s spending, which is just a small part of the much larger $5 billion in additional wages and spending EPI estimates for next year. The public policy of artificially raising wages through government fiat will mean more business and billions of dollars in greater sales revenues for local merchants around the country. The local merchants will be no more unhappy to learn of the magical spending from 18 minimum wage hikes in 2018 than an undertaker to learn of a death.
However, we haven’t yet considered the situation that will now face hundreds of thousands of merchants and small business owners next year, including Alex’s boss – Mrs. Alice Johnson who owns the small pizza restaurant in Bangor where Alex works. As a result of Alex’s good fortune to receive $160 in extra income every month (and nearly $2,000 during the entire year) as a result of government fiat, his boss and sole-proprietor Alice Johnson now has $160 less every month (and $1,920 for the year) because she has to pay Alex out of her own income or profits. The Johnson family now has to cut back on their household spending by $160 every month that they would have spent on food, clothing, Uber rides and electronics products at local merchants. Alex’s gain of $160 each month comes at the direct expense of the Johnson family, who are now worse off in the same amount that Alex is made better off. (And if Mrs. Johnson employs more minimum wage workers than just Alex, she and her family are worse off by $160 per month, and $1,920 per year, for each worker.) If we consider that Alex and the Johnson family are a part of the same local community in Bangor, the community’s income hasn’t changed – rather, there’s only been a transfer of income of $1,920 per year from the Johnson family to Alex; but no net gain in community income, wealth, jobs, or prosperity has been achieved.
For the entire state of Maine, the $80 million in higher wages that EPI’s estimates next year as a result of the $1 an hour increase in the state’s minimum wage have to come from somewhere or someone. And that “somewhere” or “someones” are the thousands of local merchants in Maine like Mrs. Johnson who will be made collectively worse off by $80 million in 2018.
The people in the pro-minimum wage crowd think narrowly of only two affected groups from minimum wage hikes: Alex, the minimum wage worker, and the merchants that gained his business from his artificial increase in income. The minimum wage advocates forget completely about the third parties involved, namely small business owners and their families like the Johnsons in Maine, and the local merchants that now lose their business because the labor costs for small businesses have been artificially increased by government fiat. Minimum wage advocates will easily see Alex’s increased income and spending because it is immediately visible to the eye and easy to calculate ($5 billion next year according to EPI, and $144 billion annually if the federal minimum wage is increased to $15 an hour). They fail to see the lost income and subsequent reduction in spending by the Johnson family that otherwise would have occurred – because it’s less visible and harder to calculate.
The minimum wage example above exposes an elementary fallacy about its alleged positive income effects. Anybody, one would think, would be able to avoid that fallacy after a few moments thought. Yet the minimum wage fallacy, under a hundred disguises, is the most persistent in the history of economics. It is more rampant now than at any time in the past. It is solemnly reaffirmed every day by great captains of industry, by labor union leaders, by editorial writers and newspaper columnists, by progressive politicians and progressive think-tanks, by learned statisticians using the most refined techniques, and even by professors of economics in our best universities who sign statements in support of the minimum wage. In their various ways, they all perpetuate the minimum wage fallacy.
The minimum wage supporters see almost endless benefits despite the economic destruction that characterizes minimum wage laws. They see miracles of multiplying prosperity, increased income, and more jobs coming from minimum wage hikes, a form of economic magic enacted in state capitals, by city councils, and the federal government. But once we trace the long-term effects of such public policy on all groups in the economy, and analyze both what is seen and what is unseen, we should easily understand that the minimum wage cannot, and will not, have overall positive effects. At best it can only transfer income from one group (business owners like Mrs. Johnson above and/or their customers in the form of higher prices) to another group (low-skilled, limited-experienced workers), but with no net gain. It’s an ironclad law of economics that to stimulate one group with public policies like the minimum wage, protective tariffs, or farm subsidies, another group in the economy has to be equally “un-stimulated.” In the case of the 18 increases next week in state minimum wages, the EPI’s estimate of $5 billion in additional wages will stimulate low-skilled workers next year by the exact same amount that it will “un-stimulate” merchants, businesses, business owners and their families in those 18 states – by $5 billion.
When one considers all of the long-term effects on all groups that would result from minimum wage laws: the economic distortions, the misallocation of resources, the loss of employment opportunities for low-skilled workers and the lifetime consequences of not gaining work experience at an early age, and the businesses that close or are never opened, one can only come to one conclusion: the minimum wage law is a very bad and very cruel public policy that makes local communities and the entire economy overall much worse off, not better off.
MP: Groups like EPI that support increasing the minimum wage do a great job of addressing the benefits of higher wages to low-skilled workers, but then completely ignore the costs of those artificial wage increases. That is, they never answer the most important question of all, posed above: Where will the $5 billion in additional annual wages from the 18 minimum wage hikes next year come from?
For example, in a 60-page document released earlier this year by EPI’s senior economic analyst David Cooper, “Raising the minimum wage to $15 by 2024 would lift wages for 41 million American workers,” there is extensive coverage on every page of the estimated benefits of artificially higher wages ($144 billion annually) to various workers by demographics (age, gender, race/ethnicity, education, family status, children, geography, etc.) that would result from a $15 an hour federal minimum wage. But you won’t find a single sentence in the 60-pages of text that explains where the $144 billion will come from if the federal minimum wage is increased to $15 an hour!
There’s not a single mention in the EPI report of the word “business” except for a reference to a $15 minimum wage “spurring greater business activity and job growth.” There’s also not a single mention of what should be relevant terms like “higher prices,” “labor costs,” “profits,” “adjustments” or “reduced hours” that would give us some idea of the costs of a $15 an hour minimum wage, who pays those costs (businesses), and how those higher costs will offset the benefits. And that’s the essence of the “blessings of the minimum wage fallacy” that EPI has fallen prey to — a $15 minimum wage sounds like good public policy only when you count all of the blessings (benefits) to workers while ignoring the costs to businesses.
Bottom Line: We learned from Bastiat and Henry Hazlitt that broken windows and other forms of destruction can’t increase a community’s overall income, employment, and economic prosperity. Likewise, neither can the 18 minimum wage hikes scheduled to take place on Monday have overall, positive net economic benefits next year. Any public policy looks good when you look merely at the immediate effects, but not the longer effects; when you consider the consequences for just one group (workers in the case of the minimum wage) but for all groups (businesses), and only emphasize the benefits (to workers) while completely ignoring the costs (to employers). But that’s not sound economic logic or objective economic analysis on the part of groups like EPI; rather it’s pure partisan political advocacy for an economic fallacy that violates the ironclad law of economics described above. Or as Milton Friedman described it in 1966, support of the minimum wage is “monument to the power of superficial thinking.”
Update: As Not Sure points out in the comment section, there is an additional cost to employers when the minimum wage increases because of the 7.65% payroll tax imposed on employers for Social Security and Medicare. Therefore, the $5 billion in higher wages next year for minimum wage workers would actually cost their employers $5.3825 billion.
There is some debate over whether immigration enforcement has an effect on crime. Sites like Reason.com argue that immigrants are not any more likely to be criminals than citizens are. Others point out that advocates like the writers at Reason pull a fast one by conflating legal and illegal immigrants.
The US Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security have released a report with some hard numbers.
Summary of Findings
A total of 58,766 known or suspected aliens were in in DOJ custody at the end of FY 2017, including 39,455 persons in BOP custody and 19,311 in USMS custody.
Of this total, 37,557 people had been confirmed by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to be aliens (i.e., non-citizens and non-nationals), while 21,209 foreign-born people were still under investigation by ICE to determine alienage.
Among the 37,557 confirmed aliens, 35,334 people (94 percent) were unlawfully present. These numbers include a 92 percent unlawful rate among 24,476 confirmed aliens in BOP custody and a 97 percent unlawful rate among 13,081 confirmed aliens in USMS custody.
This report does not include data on the foreign-born or alien populations in state prisons and local jails because state and local facilities do not routinely provide DHS or DOJ with comprehensive information about their inmates and detainees. This limitation is noteworthy because state and local facilities account for approximately 90 percent of the total U.S. incarcerated population. DHS and DOJ are working to develop a reliable methodology for estimating the status of state and local incarcerated populations in future reports.
Let’s run some back-of-the-envelope calculations, why don’t we?
So, 58,766 in custody are known or suspected to be aliens. Some 64% of these have been confirmed to be aliens. Of this number, 94% are here illegally. This is thought to represent 10% of the foreign-born population. If the percentages of foreign-born, aliens, and illegal aliens are similar in state and local prisons (not sure why they wouldn’t be), then it would seem to follow that around 13% of prisoners in the country are illegal aliens.
One of the memes floating around claims that 1% of the population of the US is in prison, which would work out to roughly 3.3 million people. That would mean some 430,000 prisoners in the US are illegal aliens. If we divide that into the 20 million estimated illegal aliens, that’s a bit over 2%. This would mean an illegal immigrant is twice as likely to be in prison as a lawful resident.
People are welcome to bring in bigger envelopes if they like.
Bastiat explains the call for laws that restrict peaceable, voluntary exchange and punish the desire to be left alone by saying that socialists want to play God. Socialists look upon people as raw material to be formed into social combinations. To them – the elite – “the relationship between persons and the legislator appears to be the same as the relationship between the clay and the potter.” And for people who have this vision, Bastiat displays the only anger I find in The Law when he lashes out at do-gooders and would-be rulers of mankind, “Ah, you miserable creatures! You who think that you are so great! You who judge humanity to be so small! You who wish to reform everything! Why don’t you reform yourselves? That task would be sufficient enough.”
It makes one a smaller target in places like Chicago.
Walter Williams looks at who’s responsible for the vast majority of lost black lives:
Let’s throw out a few numbers so we can put in perspective the NFL players taking a knee during the playing of the national anthem. Many say they are protesting against police treatment of blacks and racial discrimination. We might ask just how much sense their protest makes.
According to “The Washington Post,” 737 people have been shot and killed by police this year in the United States. Of that number, there were 329 whites, 165 blacks, 112 Hispanics, 24 members of other races and 107 people whose race was unknown. In Illinois, home to one of our most dangerous cities — Chicago — 18 people have been shot and killed by police this year. In the city itself, police have shot and killed ten people and shot and wounded ten others. Somebody should ask the kneeling black NFL players why they are protesting this kind of killing in the Windy City and ignoring other sources of black death.
Here are the Chicago numbers for the ignored deaths. So far in 2017, there have been 533 murders and 2,880 shootings. On average, a person is shot every two hours and 17 minutes and murdered every 12 1/2 hours. In 2016, when Colin Kaepernick started taking a knee, Chicago witnessed 806 murders and 4,379 shootings. It turns out that most of the murder victims are black. Adding to the tragedy is the fact that Chicago has a 12.7 percent murder clearance rate. That means that when a black person is murdered, his perpetrator is found and charged with his murder less than 13 percent of the time.
Similar statistics regarding police killing blacks versus blacks killing blacks apply to many of our predominantly black urban centers, such as Philadelphia, Baltimore, New Orleans, St. Louis and Oakland. Many Americans, including me, see the black NFL player protest of police brutality as pathetic, useless showboating. Seeing as these players have made no open protest against the thousands of blacks being murdered and maimed by blacks, they must view it as trivial in comparison with the police killings. Most of the police killings fit into the category of justified homicide.
NFL players are not by themselves. How much condemnation do black politicians, civil rights leaders, and liberal whites give to the wanton black homicides in our cities? When have you heard them condemning the very low clearance rate, whereby most black murderers get away with murder? Do you believe they would be just as silent if it were the Ku Klux Klan committing the murders?
What’s to blame for this mayhem? If you ask an intellectual, a leftist or an academic in a sociology or psychology department, he will tell you that it is caused by poverty, discrimination and a lack of opportunities. But the black murder rate and other crime statistics in the 1940s and ’50s were not nearly so high as they are now. I wonder whether your intellectual, leftist or academic would explain that we had less black poverty, less racial discrimination and far greater opportunities for blacks during earlier periods than we do today. He’d have to be an unrepentant idiot to make such an utterance.
So what can be done? Black people need to find new heroes. Right now, at least in terms of the support given, their heroes are criminals such as Baltimore’s Freddie Gray, Ferguson’s Michael Brown and Florida’s Trayvon Martin. Black support tends to go toward the criminals in the community rather than to the overwhelming number of people in the community who are law-abiding. That needs to end. What also needs to end is the lack of respect for and cooperation with police officers. Some police are crooked, but black people are likelier to be victims of violent confrontations with police officers than whites simply because blacks commit more violent crimes than whites per capita.
For a race of people, these crime statistics are by no means flattering, but if something good is to be done about it, we cannot fall prey to the blame games that black politicians, black NFL players, civil rights leaders and white liberals want to play. If their vision is accepted, we can expect little improvement of the status quo.
Before the question, how about a few statistics? The 20th century was mankind’s most brutal century. Roughly 16 million people lost their lives during World War I; about 60 million died during World War II. Wars during the 20th century cost an estimated 71 million to 116 million lives.
The number of war dead pales in comparison with the number of people who lost their lives at the hands of their own governments. The late professor Rudolph J. Rummel of the University of Hawaii documented this tragedy in his book “Death by Government: Genocide and Mass Murder Since 1900.” Some of the statistics found in the book have been updated here.
The People’s Republic of China tops the list, with 76 million lives lost at the hands of the government from 1949 to 1987. The Soviet Union follows, with 62 million lives lost from 1917 to 1987. Adolf Hitler’s Nazi German government killed 21 million people between 1933 and 1945. Then there are lesser murdering regimes, such as Nationalist China, Japan, Turkey, Vietnam and Mexico. According to Rummel’s research, the 20th century saw 262 million people’s lives lost at the hands of their own governments.
Hitler’s atrocities are widely recognized, publicized and condemned. World War II’s conquering nations’ condemnation included denazification and bringing Holocaust perpetrators to trial and punishing them through lengthy sentences and execution. Similar measures were taken to punish Japan’s murderers.
But what about the greatest murderers in mankind’s history — the Soviet Union’s Josef Stalin and China’s Mao Zedong? Some leftists saw these communists as heroes. W.E.B. Du Bois, writing in the National Guardian in 1953, said, “Stalin was a great man; few other men of the 20th century approach his stature. … The highest proof of his greatness (was that) he knew the common man, felt his problems, followed his fate.” Walter Duranty called Stalin “the greatest living statesman” and “a quiet, unobtrusive man.” There was even leftist admiration for Hitler and fellow fascist Benito Mussolini. When Hitler came to power in January 1933, George Bernard Shaw described him as “a very remarkable man, a very able man.” President Franklin Roosevelt called the fascist Mussolini “admirable,” and he was “deeply impressed by what he (had) accomplished.”
In 1972, John Kenneth Galbraith visited Communist China and praised Mao and the Chinese economic system. Michel Oksenberg, President Jimmy Carter’s China expert, complained, “America (is) doomed to decay until radical, even revolutionary, change fundamentally alters the institutions and values.” He urged us to “borrow ideas and solutions” from China. Harvard University professor John K. Fairbank believed that America could learn much from the Cultural Revolution, saying, “Americans may find in China’s collective life today an ingredient of personal moral concern for one’s neighbor that has a lesson for us all.” By the way, an estimated 2 million people died during China’s Cultural Revolution. More recent praise for murdering tyrants came from Anita Dunn, President Barack Obama’s acting communications director in 2009, who said, “Two of my favorite political philosophers (are) Mao Zedong and Mother Teresa.”
Recall the campus demonstrations of the 1960s, in which campus radicals, often accompanied by their professors, marched around singing the praises of Mao and waving Mao’s Little Red Book. That may explain some of the campus mess today. Some of those campus radicals are now tenured professors and administrators at today’s universities and colleges and K-12 schoolteachers and principals indoctrinating our youth.
Now the question: Why are leftists soft on communism? The reason leftists give communists, the world’s most horrible murderers, a pass is that they sympathize with the chief goal of communism: restricting personal liberty. In the U.S., the call is for government control over our lives through regulations and taxation. Unfortunately, it matters little whether the Democrats or Republicans have the political power. The march toward greater government control is unabated. It just happens at a quicker pace with Democrats in charge.
From City Journal:
Net neutrality advocates have it backwards.
Aaron M. Renn
November 29, 2017
Major Silicon Valley companies and their supporters are outraged that the FCC is poised to repeal the Obama administration’s so-called net neutrality regulations—but if anyone should be subject to regulation in the name of preserving a free Internet, it’s them. As FCC chairman Ajit Pai put it, Silicon Valley social-media giants like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube “are a much bigger actual threat to an open Internet than broadband providers, especially when it comes to discrimination on the basis of viewpoint.”
In 1996, Congress passed the Telecom Act to establish regulations for the dawning Internet era. Rather than treating Internet service providers, or ISPs—companies, like Verizon or Comcast, that provide the web service in your home or office—as it had treated the telephone company, Congress decided that ISPs should be exempt from the regulatory morass. An ISP was classified as an “information service.” Under the Obama administration, the FCC, looking to ensure “net neutrality,” reclassified ISPs as telecom providers.
The basic idea of net neutrality makes sense. When I get a phone, the phone company can’t decide whom I can call, or how good the call quality should be depending on who is on the other end of the line. Similarly, when I pay for my cable modem, I should be able to use the bandwidth I paid for to surf any website, not get a better or worse connection depending on whether my cable company cut some side deal to make Netflix perform better than Hulu.
The problem for net neutrality advocates is that the ISPs aren’t actually doing any of this; they really are providing an open Internet, as promised. The same is not true of the companies pushing net neutrality, however. As Pai suggests, the real threat to an open Internet doesn’t come from your cable company but from Google/YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, and others. All these firms have aggressively censored.
For example, Google recently kicked would-be Twitter competitor Gab out of its app store, not for anything Gab did but for what it refused to do—censor content. Twitter is famous for censoring, as Pai observes. “I love Twitter, and I use it all the time,” he said. “But let’s not kid ourselves; when it comes to an open Internet, Twitter is part of the problem. The company has a viewpoint and uses that viewpoint to discriminate.” (Twitter’s censors have not gotten around to removing the abuse, some of it racist, being hurled at Pai, including messages like “Die faggot die” and “Hey go fuck yourself you Taliban-looking fuck.”)
Google’s YouTube unit also censors, setting the channel for Prager University to restricted mode, which limits access; Prager U. is suing Google and YouTube. YouTube has also “demonetized” videos from independent content creators, making these videos ineligible for advertising, their main source of revenue. Much of the complaining about censorship has come from political conservatives, but they’re not the only victims. The problem is broad-based.
Yet sometimes Silicon Valley giants have adopted a see-no-evil approach to certain kinds of content. Facebook, for instance, has banned legitimate content but failed to stop Russian bots from going wild during last year’s presidential election, planting voluminous fake news stories. Advertisers recently started fleeing YouTube when reports surfaced that large numbers of child-exploitation videos were showing up on supposedly kid-friendly channels. One account, ToyFreaks, had 8 million subscribers—making it the 68th most-viewed YouTube channel—before the company shut it down. It’s not credible that YouTube didn’t know what was happening on a channel with millions of viewers. Other channels and videos featured content from pedophiles. More problems turned up within the last week. A search for “How do I . . . ” on YouTube returned numerous auto-complete suggestions involving sex with children. Others have found a whole genre of “guess her age” videos, with preview images, printed in giant fonts, saying things like, “She’s only 9!” The videos may or may not have involved minors—I didn’t watch them—but at minimum, they trade on pedophilic language to generate views.
And yet, these are the same companies—censoring anodyne political channels like Prager University, while letting their sites be used for child exploitation and Russian propaganda—that want to lecture the FCC on net neutrality. Silicon Valley companies want to regulate ISPs even as they continue to benefit from their own special legislative exemptions from regulation and liability—including Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which protects companies like YouTube from liability for the content posted on their sites.
It should come as no surprise that another key net neutrality backer is the porn industry. Pornographic videos at “tube” sites like PornHub generate massive traffic and eat up tons of bandwidth. It would be entirely appropriate for ISPs to put these sites at the bottom of the priority list for network traffic, or make them pay up. Valid reasons exist to prioritize one kind of traffic over another.
Net neutrality is a ploy from Silicon Valley companies to hobble the only entities—the ISPs— powerful enough to push back against their Internet hegemony, by tangling up those ISPs in federal red tape. To date, there’s been little to no abuse by ISPs that net neutrality would have addressed; Pai is right that it should be repealed. Further, Congress and the FCC should immediately launch investigations into the censoring practices of Silicon Valley social media giants, which cut off the public’s access to content that they find politically objectionable.
Described as the founder of Fascism, he’s certainly one of the founders of the movement.
Wikipedia has an article on him, which has “multiple issues”. This article also leads to a “fascism portal” with collected pieces on the subject.
His thought definitely has roots in Marxist and Hegelian philosophy. This may be a problem for those who are determined to assert that Fascism is absolutely, positively, right-wing.
George Will used to write columns backed by excellent analysis. Lately, I’ve started to wonder if he’s losing it.
Will bases his claim that Trump is the worst president in American history on his endorsement of Roy Moore for the Senate. Will has nothing to say about any policy decision, legislative proposal, or presidential appointment Trump has made.
Read any competent historical analysis of a presidency, though, and you will find the focus squarely on policy, legislation and, to a lesser degree, appointments. Senatorial endorsements won’t even be a footnote.
Thus, Will’s column cannot be taken seriously. Even if it were possible to give so low a rating to a president after only eleven months, it could not be done without an analysis of the substance of that presidency. Will’s column is devoid of such analysis. It smacks of hysteria.
Andrew Johnson is the president Will says Trump has replaced at the bottom of the heap. Like Trump, Johnson was an unpleasant fellow.
However, the disdain in which history holds Johnson isn’t based primarily on personal characteristics. Johnson was on the wrong side of one of the most momentous issues in American history — Reconstruction. James Buchanan — my nominee for worst president ever — botched the events that led to the Civil War.
Will cites nothing in Trump’s presidency remotely comparable to the failings of the Johnson and Buchanan presidencies. Rather, as noted, he relies almost entirely on the Roy Moore endorsement.
Will calls Moore a “credibly accused child molester.” These are weasel words.
What does it mean to be “credibly accused” of misconduct that allegedly occurred 38 years ago with no witnesses other than the accuser and the accused? It means that the accusation is not a physical impossibility or contradictory on its face and that it can’t be disproved (because it happened 38 years ago and there were no witnesses). That’s all.
A credible accusation is not necessarily a true accusation. It is an accusation that can be believed or disbelieved. If all of my witnesses who gave credible testimony had been believed, I would never have lost a case.
Bill Clinton was truthfully accused of sexual misconduct while in office and credibly accused of rape. Under Will’s analysis — divorced as it from substantive presidential policy — why would Trump’s endorsement of Moore support a claim that Trump is a worse president than Clinton?
Will cites “the Everest of evidence” against Moore. But nearly all of that mountain consists of evidence that Moore dated teenagers. That’s bad form, but not criminality. Will makes no attempt to show that it should disqualify Moore from holding public office.
Does merely endorsing someone who, when he was in his early 30s, dated teenagers make Trump a bad president? If so, why wouldn’t John Tyler be worse? In his mid-50s, he began courting a teenager who, two years later, became his second wife.
Will cites Moore’s removal from the Alabama Supreme Court for refusing to follow dictates of the U.S. Supreme Court. Here, Will is on firmer ground.
Moore’s refusals are disturbing and arguably “disqualifying” (as Will says) when it comes to holding public office. If Trump himself defied court orders, we would find ourselves in a constitutional crisis, and the claim that Trump is our worst president would be more plausible. But merely endorsing a Senate candidate who defied court orders doesn’t get us to that point.
Indeed, Andrew Jackson was said (erroneously) to have defied a Supreme Court ruling. Though this claim was once widely credited, it never caused historians to rate him our worst president.
Will’s column is marred by his unwillingness to consider why a president might endorse an unsavory candidate for the Senate. It’s easy for a pundit to say that Roy Moore is unfit for the Senate and therefore should not be supported.
But a president has an agenda to enact and nominees — including, quite likely, a Supreme Court Justice in the case of this president — to get confirmed. A president should therefore weigh the demerits of a Senate candidate from his party against the harm to his substantive agenda — i.e., the harm to the United States, as the president sees it — of having the Senate seat in question fall into the hands of the opposing party. Especially where, as here, that party frequently votes with unanimity against the most important parts of the president’s agenda.
It’s one thing to say that Trump erred in this weighing process. It’s another thing — an absurd one — to make this error (if that’s what it was) the centerpiece of a claim that Trump, eleven months into his presidency, is our worst president ever.
Pundits judge. Historians judge too, but first they try to understand. Will’s attack on Trump is that of an irate pundit, not a historian or even a pundit displaying historical sense.
In that same year Don McLean wrote “American Pie”, Ayn Rand wrote “The Culture of Envy”, some of which is included here. Miss Rand never lived to see her diagnosis of the 60’s generations bloom and grow for forty years.
But with no end in sight, Miss Rand sure hit the nail on the head.
Envy is regarded by most people as a petty, superficial emotion, but still covers so inhuman an emotion that those who feel it seldom dare admit it exists, even to themselves.That emotion is: hatred of the good for being the good.
(You may recall me writing on this subject in May, 2010, “Rules for Innocents“, they hate you because of who you are.)
This is the great hidden truth about Obamacare. It was never a program for improved medical coverage. It was a program for redistributing wealth by force from the healthy to the sick. It did this by forcing nonmarket risk pools, countering the whole logic of insurance in the first place, which is supposed to calibrate premiums, risks, and payouts toward mutual profitability. Obamacare imagined that it would be easy to use coercion to undermine the whole point of insurance. It didn’t work.
And so the Trump executive order introduces a slight bit of liberality and choice. And the critics are screaming that this is a disaster in the making. You can’t allow choice! You can’t allow more freedom! You can’t allow producers and consumers to cobble together their own plans! After all, this defeats the point of Obamacare, which is all about forcing people to do things they otherwise would not do!