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  • Reason's Nick Gillespie asks the musical question: Should Paul McCartney and Other Billionaires Be 'Abolished'?.

    As left-wing populists and progressives ascend in the Democratic Party, they are laying down new dogma, none more heartfelt than the idea that billionaires are evil, rotten, and not to be tolerated. For the Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warrens, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortezes of the world, billionaires are what witches were to Salem congregationalists and kulaks were to Lenin: a threat to they system that must be eliminated.

    Ocasio-Cortez's economic policy adviser Dan Riffle has changed his Twitter name to "Every Billionaire Is a Policy Failure." Lefty blogger Tom Scocca declares "Billionaires are bad. We should presumptively get rid of billionaires" (he graciously adds, "they may go on living...[but] they must not be allowed to possess a billion dollars"). A research director at the proggy Roosevelt Institute says simply, "We do not need billionaires."

    Don't worry. Nick's answer to the question is "No". Might even be "Hell, no!"

    But this reminds me of an important point made by Noah Rothman on a recent episode of Jonah Goldberg's podcast: US progressives seem to be moving en masse away from advocating "restorative justice" to "retributive justice".

    I.e., from "let's help the oppressed" to "let's eat the rich."

    That can't be good, can it?

  • At the American Institute for Economic Research, Veronique de Rugy asks and answers the burning question: Is President Trump, in his heart of hearts, really Against Government Coercion? Not So Much.

    As we saw on Tuesday night when he delivered his second State of the Union address, he couldn’t care less about small-government policies. To be fair, he delivered a bunch of lines that sound good to libertarians and free market conservatives. For instance, I can’t say my heart didn’t beat a little bit faster when he said: “America was founded on liberty and independence — not government coercion, domination and control. We are born free, and we will stay free.”

    The problem is that for a guy who claims to be against government coercion, he certainly goes out of his way to guarantee that our future will be filled with government coercion.

    For instance, during his very long speech, Trump never even mentioned the debt, which has reached $22 trillion, or the annual budget deficits, which are heading surely and permanently over the $1 trillion mark. While past Republican presidents may not have been fully honest about their commitment to fiscal responsibility, they at least felt that it was important to maintain the appearance of caring.

    In addition: his advocacy of mandatory paid leave and trade war. For Veronique, his deregulation initiatives, corporate tax rate cuts, etc. do not balance out to net-liberty.

  • Here in New Hampshire, Granite Grok's Steve MacDonald notices the latest local bad (but also stupid) news: NH Dems Pass Bill To Create $80K+/Year Job to Enforce Licensing That Collects $12,100/Year. (It's tattoos.)

    This legislation crams the art of tattoo, body piercing or branding under the Granite State’s crowded umbrella of professional licensure and certification. For a State with a Live Free or Die nickname, we regulate the crap out of occupations. Some of the most mundane professions are required to dump a small fortune in time, cash, and training to appease their regulatory overlords. Just to run a business.

    This Institute for Justice report ranks the states on burdensome occupational licensing laws. New Hampshire isn't the worst, but it's far from the best.

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    Randal O'Toole wrote a book about passenger rail, Romanace of the Rails. (Amazon link at right, the $6 Kindle price seems like a steal.) At Cato, he defends his thesis against a claim that high-speed rail works in Europe and Asia, so why not here? No, Passenger Trains Don't Work in Europe & Asia Either.

    Both Europe and east Asian countries are highly celebrated for building high-speed rail lines. But these efforts have to be judged by their results. Are they making money or at least covering their operating costs? Are they attracting people out of their cars or airplanes? Are doing anything other than putting their countries deeply in debt?

    The answers to all of these questions are “No!” Spain and Italy are jeopardizing their entire economies by going so heavily into debt for high-speed rail. A case can be made that Japan’s economic stagnation since 1990 is due to that country’s continued construction of subsidized high-speed rail lines. Despite growing high-speed rail systems, air travel in Europe and auto travel in Asia are both growing much faster than rail travel.

    I should probably put Randal's book on the TBR list.

  • And the Google LFOD Alert rang for the sad story (as reported by the AP): New Hampshire court upholds women's topless conviction.

    Adam Levine can rip his shirt off during the Super Bowl LIII halftime show. But women can’t go topless while sunbathing in Laconia, N.H., according to the highest court of this New England state whose motto is “Live Free or Die.”

    Warning: a picture of one of the perpetrators at the link. I'm a pretty libertarian guy, but … some people should keep their tops on just for esthetic reasons.

  • And my local paper, Foster's Daily Democrat has an LTE from onetime NH legislator Phyllis Woods, who points out: New Hampshire like New York on abortions.

    If you were appalled and outraged at the joyous celebrations that took place upon the passage of the New York law that allowed for unrestricted abortion throughout all nine months of pregnancy, right up to the time of birth, you might be surprised to learn that New Hampshire got there first.

    I experienced déjà vu when seeing the disgusting display of glee as I recalled the same happening here in the New Hampshire House back in 2000. As a Dover representative, a bill that I sponsored to ban partial-birth abortion was narrowly defeated by less than a handful of votes. The chief opponents of the ban, who worked diligently to defeat the bill, were given beautiful long-stemmed roses by pro-abortion advocates who were delighted that their "right" to kill a baby in the very process of being born, was protected.

    To this day, in this Live Free or Die state of New Hampshire, we remain one of only seven states which has no restrictions on abortion on demand throughout all nine months of pregnancy, and in a country that is one of only four in the world that allows unrestricted abortion up until birth.

    "Live Free or Die" implies you're given the option to choose. Which the babies are not offered.

Last Modified 2024-01-24 6:41 AM EDT