URLs du Jour

2021-09-19

  • Eye Candy du Jour is from a Heritage.org article: "8 Things You Need to Know About Democrats’ Tax Increase Bill." Which is fine, good, you should read it, but it also has a good graphic:

    [Fair Share]

    Save this for the next time anyone says they just want to "ask the rich to pay their fair share of taxes." Show them this. Ask: does that look "fair" to you? What would it have to look like to be "fair"?

    Let me know how that goes.


  • But I suspect it's not really about "fairness". And neither does Kevin D. Williamson, as revealed in an NRPlus (sorry) article: Grifters Push Demagogic Rhetoric on Tax Policy.

    The thing to keep in mind is, none of the half-bright grifters really means it.

    If you will forgive an over-egged metaphor, our contemporary Republicans and Democrats are not opposite poles of the political planet but a binary star system, both orbiting the same point: the pursuit of money, power, and status. They are, in fact, so fundamentally similar that without the cultural cues that are today the main means of political communication, it would be impossible to tell them apart.

    Consider the apparatchik of the moment, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and her big night at the Met Gala. To say that it was in bad taste to wear a white dress emblazoned with the words “Tax the Rich” to a party with a $30,000 cover charge misses the point — the New York Democrat was in costume, like Lil Nas X in his C-3PO outfit and Kim Kardashian dressed as what she is thinking about. The issue isn’t raising revenue for federal programs. The issue is that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez looks good in white — it is her color, as you can tell from her many white dresses, her white Tesla, and her white neighbors. (Of course she lives in an apartment building called “Agora at the Collective,” straight out of Stuff White People Like.) She holds an elected office, but mainly she is a celebrity and a social-media influencer. Of course she likes a party. Of course she likes having her picture taken. Why wouldn’t she?

    She can wear her “Tax the Rich” dress all she likes, because Wall Street has Senator Chuck Schumer around to make sure that doesn’t happen. Senator Schumer talks as good a class-war game as any other blossom in that half-organized bouquet of bungholes he calls his political party. But, somehow, he never gets around to acting on it. Donald Trump would have been delighted to sign into law a trebling of tax rates on private-equity firms and their “carried interest” — like all deadbeats with poor credit, he instinctively detests bankers and anybody who reminds him of a banker.

    KDW is equally merciless with a "conservative" grifter, Dan Bongino, who is "the talk-radio goofus who has taken over the late Rush Limbaugh’s old time slot." I wouldn't have known unless he told me.


  • If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen. If you can't stand the smell… you might want to skip over this item. Chris Edwards has an analysis of the finally-released Democratic Tax Plan.

    House Democrats are moving ahead with a huge bill to raise taxes on businesses and individuals, increase welfare handouts, and micromanage numerous industries. It is a complex proposal that would increase taxes $2.1 trillion over 10 years with 66 provisions and would distribute tax breaks and spending with another 79 provisions.

    The following table is my summary of the bill based on the official estimates. The bill would raise $2.073 trillion in taxes, distribute $1.202 trillion to infrastructure, green, and safety net programs, and leave $871 billion in higher taxes to be used for other spending in the overall Democratic agenda. Of the $1.202 trillion, 43 percent is tax cuts and 57 percent is spending through refundable tax credits.

    And more details at the link. It's nice to see that some Democrats are getting reluctant to vote for this steamer, but I fear the result will be a "bipartisan compromise" that's in the range of "nearly as bad" to "even worse".


  • Other than that, though, they're great! Ronald Bailey points out another feature of that monster bill: Biden’s Drug Price Controls Would Make Americans Sicker and Shorten Their Lives.

    Part of the way that the Biden administration and congressional Democrats want to pay for their $3.5 trillion social welfare "infrastructure" plan is by forcing pharmaceutical companies to lower the prices they charge the government for their medications. Democrats argue that benchmarking the prices paid for certain prescription drugs to prices paid by other developed countries will offset around $500 billion in government spending over the next ten years. Voilá—one-seventh of their infrastructure plan would be paid for.

    First, I have been highly critical of pharmaceutical industry shenanigans such as paying off would-be competitors to delay introducing generic versions of their patented drugs and making minor tweaks to the formulations of their drugs as a way to drag out their patent protection beyond the 20 years they are granted. Some of the Biden administration's proposals are aimed at fixing those problems. So far so good.

    However, imposing price controls on drugs is central to Democrats' plan to "save" $500 billion as a way to finance their massive new bill. Congress is supposed to authorize the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to negotiate prices for medications with pharmaceutical companies. "An effective negotiation policy must establish criteria for market failure, define a fair price, provide the Secretary with tools and guidelines to negotiate a fair price, and incentivize pharmaceutical companies to participate in the negotiation process," states the HHS comprehensive plan. In addition, the negotiated (controlled) prices would not just be limited to government purchases, but also to commercial distributors and insurers.

    Doesn't the FDA kill enough people already?


  • Non-surprise of the week. Thomas Spence (president of Regnery Publishing) drops a truth bomb on promoters of an upcoming event: ‘Banned Books Week’ Isn’t Actually Interested in Banned Books.

    The annual ritual known as Banned Books Week rarely involves books that have been banned in any meaningful sense. Begun in 1982 and endorsed by such mainstream organizations as the American Library Association and PEN America, this gimmicky promotion caters primarily to those who believe that schoolchildren should have access to anything bound between two covers without the interference of those busybodies we call parents.

    But this year, for the first time in the 40-year history of Banned Books Week, writers and publishers face the threat of real book-banning. Strangely enough, the sponsors of Banned Books Week have nothing to say about it.

    Amazon and the American Booksellers Association come in for criticism. Spence notes that the victims of the actual/wannabe censors will be the would-be readers of the would-be books that won't see the light of day because publishers are afraid of getting yanked from Amazon's virtual shelves.


  • Do you want fries … sorry, I mean pommes frites with that? Jonah Goldberg highlights a small outrage everyone else is ignoring (but to be fair, there are lots bigger outrages): Haute Cuisine and Warped Priorities.

    Which brings me to the James Beard Awards. These are the Oscars of the food world. That’s not my description, it’s basically the group’s unofficial motto. From the Washington Post:

    The organization that doles out the prestigious annual awards has retooled its criteria and now will also base decisions on whether candidates have shown a “demonstrated commitment to racial and gender equity, community, environmental sustainability, and a culture where all can thrive.” The James Beard Foundation, which administers the awards, also announced a slate of other changes aimed at diversifying its judging committees—a move it ultimately hopes will lead to a more diverse group of winners—and screening for potentially problematic chefs taking the industry’s top honors.

    I think this is horrible. Oh, I have no problem with diversifying judging committees and all that stuff (though the devil is in the details). But the idea that food should be graded on the chef’s political commitments is gross. I say this regardless of what those political commitments are. When I was in college, Domino’s was very controversial because its owner gave to pro-life causes. Some people refused to order from Domino’s because they didn’t like his politics. Some people ordered from Domino’s because they liked his politics. But most people ordered—or didn’t order—pizza from Domino’s for reasons that had nothing to do with politics. What I can’t imagine is anyone saying, “You know Domino’s is the best pizza” because of their politics.

    We badly need awards issued without regard to political attitudes, race, sex, etc. It's not just movies and food. Hugos? Edgars?