URLs du Jour

2022-04-07

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  • Glitches get stitches. James Freeman reports on a recent White House appearance by the guy who urged us not to underestimate Joe Biden's ability to … um … foul things up: Biden and the ObamaCare ‘Glitch’

    One can easily guess why Mr. Obama wasn’t a frequent Trump guest but why has it taken until now for Mr. Obama to visit his former vice president? It’s difficult to say for sure but Tuesday’s event was billed as a celebration of 12 years of the Affordable Care Act, which Mr. Obama signed in March 2010. Yet Team Biden decided to mark the event by promoting its new plan to fix a “glitch” in ObamaCare.

    No, “glitch” was not a term that Mr. Biden simply blurted out after unwisely agreeing once again to deliver public remarks. Even in prepared documents, the White House refers to its plan to fix the “family glitch” in the Affordable Care Act. Allegedly the law does not subsidize family insurance plans enough.

    It was not, of course, a "glitch". As the WSJ editorialists point out elsewhere, that's the way the Obamacare law was written. It was a conscious decision, not a blunder or a typo. Biden's proposal to "fix the glitch" is an attempt to make more people government-dependent by executive fiat.


  • It's Opening Day! And the Red Sox game down in the Bronx has already been postponed, sigh. But Matt Welch has an article about a (serious?) proposal to nationalize the national pastime: Major League Baseball: Don't Nationalize it, Privatize it!

    The New York Times Wednesday probably won the MLB preseason hate-clicks derby by publishing a Matthew Walther op-ed under the headline, "Baseball Is Dying. The Government Should Take It Over." It's at least semi-satirical, so not worth getting exercised over (beyond the basic responses of "No it isn't," and "No it shouldn't"), but both the essay and the spectacle of an ambivalent Opening Day are timely reminders that much of what plagues the sport is not solvable by government, it emanates from government.

    It's weird that baseball would still require rescuing, given that Congress as recently as 2018 passed the Save America's Pastime Act (see how semi-satire works?). That law, which probably never could have been passed as a standalone bill, was actually crammed into a must-pass omnibus spending whatever, and as such is a fine example of what happens when you mix government with baseball.

    Sold both by gullible congresscritters and arms-twisted Minor League Baseball (MiLB) owners as the last, best hope for maintaining small-town professional ball, the act in fact was something closer to the opposite: a way for bottomless-pocketed Major League Baseball (MLB)—which pays for, and dictates terms to, the captive feeder leagues—to use the threat of franchise-contraction for a federal exemption from labor laws, so that minor leaguers could continue being paid as low as $1,100 a month for their seasonal work.

    Matt makes a thoughtful argument for ending government subsidies for MLB.


  • Nevertheless, she persisted. Specifically, persisted in lying. Liz Wolfe takes a different Liz to task: Elizabeth Warren's Wealth Tax Would Hurt More Than Just the 'Tippy Top'

    When running for president in 2020, Elizabeth Warren championed trustbusting and Medicare for All, the Green New Deal and regulation of big banks. But her plan's pièce de résistance was a proposed "2-cent" tax on "ultra-millionaires." She chirped that it would fall only on the "tippy-top," that tiniest fraction of 1-percenters who have accumulated the most wealth in America. Taxing the wealth of the tippy-top isn't just a Warren concept, though. Just last week, President Joe Biden announced the newest rendition of his budget, which calls for a wealth tax on households worth more than $100 million.

    "A family with a net worth of more than $50 million"—or the richest 75,000 households—would "pay a 2% (or 2 cents) tax on every dollar of their net worth above $50 million and a 6% (or 6 cents) tax for every dollar above $1 billion," Warren said. The $3.75 trillion in revenue she hopes to bring in with this tax over the next 10 years would be key to how she plans to pay for other items on her big-government wish list, like canceling student debt and free universal pre-K and Medicare for All.

    The good folks at the Reason Roundtable podcast this week made the valid point that Biden's proposal wouldn't raise a lot of money in relation to the overall budget.

    But it would establish the massive infrastructure necessary to do the obvious next step: lower the "wealth" threshold to capture ever more cash from the not-quite-so-rich.


  • Big news: I disagree with Kevin D. Williamson! I think he must have had a bad day, because his complaint is tough to take seriously:

    Airlines are, of course, run by the dumbest people in all of capitalism — about this there is no serious debate — but the new announcements from American Airlines are in a special category: “This flight,” the nice lady says in that sickly sweet recorded Pepto Bismol voice, “is on its way to one of our many destinations.”

    Now, that's pretty funny. Apparently that boilerplate announcement been around for at least a few months:

    But "run by the dumbest people in all of capitalism"? Kevin, my friend, that's a competition that would have a lot of candidates for first place.

    And I'd simply point to U.S. Air Carrier Safety Data. Flying in America is arguably safer than sitting on your couch at home. (Tornadoes! Floods! Wildfires! Meteorites!) Certainly over the past few years far more people have been killed driving to and from airports.

    I don't think the "dumbest people in all of capitalism" could run businesses with that record.