URLs du Jour


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  • It's as if nobody expected it to actually work. A question more people should be asking, from Matt Weidinger: Where are the millions of jobs Democrats promised their $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan would create?

    President Joe Biden and congressional Democrats proudly promised that their $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan would create millions of new jobs this year.

    For example, on February 3, White House economists issued their take on the American Rescue Plan, stating: “Moody’s Analytics projects that the President’s Plan will bring the economy to full employment a full year earlier than a baseline without additional fiscal stimulus. This is significant because it’s a difference of 4 million jobs in 2021.” Congressional Democrats followed suit, with Speaker Nancy Pelosi stating on February 26 during House debate on the legislation that “if we do not enact this package, the results could be catastrophic,” including “4 million fewer jobs.” And the day after he signed the plan into law, on March 12 President Biden dialed up the job creation claims, suggesting that “by the end of this year, this law alone will create 7 million new jobs. (Applause.) Seven million.”

    Weidinger notes that the CBO estimated that 6.2 million jobs would have been "created" without passage of the "American Rescue Plan". And so far we haven't got that.

    And of course, we're also promised millions of new jobs by the next spendapalooza, Build Back Better.

  • Let me count the ways. Veronique de Rugy describes Why Federal Paid Leave Program Would Be a Bad Deal for Many Workers.

    The nonsensical coverage of the debate over paid leave continues. Apparently, opposing a federal paid leave program is the equivalent of being anti-family or pro-suffering, or so we're told. We rarely get information about the full consequences of such a policy.

    What kinds of employment leave options do workers use the most? Who exactly doesn't have paid leave currently? Are there legitimate reasons for an employer not to provide it? Or, would a government program target only those workers who do not currently have employer-provided paid leave? These are some of the questions that are rarely asked by those who insist that our government impose a sweeping new program.

    Let me try. On average, 15 percent of workers will take paid family or medical leave annually. As the Heritage Foundation's Rachel Greszler noted in congressional testimony, "Surveys show that virtually all workers who have a need for leave take it, and nearly three out of every four who take leave receive full or partial pay."

    And more at the link. An honest accounting of costs and benefits would be poisonous to this legislation.

  • They work hard to earn your distrust. Glenn Greenwald hosts Leighton Woodhouse, who describes How the Corporate Media Launched a Disinformation Campaign to Protect Fauci.

    By now you’ve surely heard about Anthony Fauci and his laboratory beagles, but in case you haven’t, it goes like this: For forty years, Fauci, as the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), has funded gruesome experiments on animals. Beagles in particular are one of the favored species for these experiments, because of their docile and people-pleasing nature, which makes for less hassle for the humans who subject them to pain and suffering. In one of these NIAID-funded experiments, in Tunisia, sedated beagles’ heads were put into mesh bags with swarms of starved sand flies, who fed on the live dogs.

    The other thing you may have heard is that the story is just another right-wing conspiracy theory. You may have heard this from The Washington Post, from any of a number of self-proclaimed “fact checkers,” or maybe even from the globally renowned Beacon of Honesty David Frum of The Atlantic.

    I’ve been reporting on this story for the past few weeks. In fact, I’ve been reporting it as closely as anyone, if not more so. It’s been an extremely educational experience for me, but not because I was unfamiliar with the industry of animal experimentation, or NIAID’s leading role within it. What’s been educational is seeing up close and first-hand how the mainstream media constructs and deploys a brazen misinformation campaign.

    Woodhouse covers this story on his own substack too. It would be nice to see this story evaluated by folks who weren't in the reflexively pro-Fauci media.

  • You keep using that word… I don't think it means what you think it means. Nate Hochman looks at the recent blithering from Stephen Colbert, who asserts Overturning Roe Shows ‘We Don’t Live in a Democracy’

    On Thursday, The Late Show’s Stephen Colbert launched a diatribe against Roe v. Wade’s potentially imminent demise at the hands of the Supreme Court. Pointing to statistics showing that Americans oppose overturning Roe, Colbert said: “So if it is this unpopular, why is everyone saying it’s gonna happen? Well, I don’t want to get too technical, but . . . what’s the word . . . we don’t live in a democracy.”

    “We don’t live in a democracy.” Huh.

    Let’s get this straight. Nine unelected judges overturning abortion laws in almost every state in the Union is “democracy,” but the same judicial institution handing decision-making power on the issue back to the democratically elected legislatures in said states is anti-democratic.

    Hochman goes through the uncontroversial history of Roe, and concludes:

    It’s beginning to seem like “democracy” just means “progressives getting what they want.”

    I'd only quibble about the "beginning" bit.

  • Betteridge's Law of Headlines seems to apply. At UnHerd, Tom Chivers wonders: Should Big Pharma be destroyed? They are not above doing some underhanded stuff:

    But pharma bad behaviour is not new. For example: there’s a thing in patent law called “evergreening”. It’s most famously used by big pharma companies who don’t want their expensive drugs to reach the end of their 20-year patent and become available as a generic, so they develop a very slightly different version of the same drug and get a new patent on that.

    Venlafaxine is an antidepressant, marketed as Effexor. As it neared the end of its patent, the manufacturer developed a new version – desvenlafaxine, marketed as Pristiq. Desvenlafaxine is what the body naturally breaks venlafaxine down into; your liver takes the venlafaxine and metabolises it into desvenlafaxine. It is also either less effective or no more effective than the original.

    The patent for Effexor expired in December 2008; Pristiq entered the market in early 2009. By 2014, Pristiq was the second most prescribed antidepressant in the US, despite being “a slightly worse version of an older antidepressant with no proven advantages that also costs fifteen times as much”. (A month’s supply of Effexor at the time cost $20; a month’s supply of Pristiq cost $300.)

    More antics at the link, but (spoiler alert) Chivers says Big Pharma should not be destroyed. But we should really look into dinking the intellectual property laws that they use for the dirtiest tricks.

    And I note that my monthly antidepressant medication expenses (mostly Franzia and Sam Adams) typically run more than Effexor, but a lot less than Pristiq.