I Thought Foo Fighters Was Already a Parody Band …

… but the great Remy can bring this off anyway:

Briefly noted:

  • The WSJ editorialists describe How America Soaks the Affluent.

    President Biden releases his fiscal 2024 budget next week, and he said this week he will again propose a tax increase so that everyone pays their “fair share.” That makes this a good moment to look again at who pays what in income taxes compared with their actual income.

    The Internal Revenue Service recently released its income and tax statistics for 2020, and they show the top 1% of earners paid 42.3% of the country’s income taxes. That’s a two-decade high in the share of taxes the 1% pay.

    I think that a president uttering the phrase "fair share" should be an impeachable offense. It means what it always means: "more".

    The Tax Foundation's analysis of the IRS 2020 tax stats is here.

  • A non-padlocked G-File from Jonah Goldberg explains that Being Is Not a Substitute for Doing. Okay, you probably knew that. After reporting that soon-to-be-ex-mayor of Chicago claims to have been treated "unfairly"::

    So who, exactly, was treating her unfairly? And how did that amorphous unfairness lead to her failures and her ouster? Would a heterosexual white male have had an easier time fighting crime and dysfunction? How so?

    I ask because these are good questions. But I also ask because I think one of the problems afflicting politics these days is the assumption that “being” something is more important than, or a substitute for, doing something—specifically doing your job.

    Take it out of politics for a second. It’s great to have a surgeon or engineer who “shares your values,” or who “looks like you” as the pollsters put it. But most reasonable people don’t put such criteria at the top of their list of qualifications when looking for a surgeon or engineer. 

    “Sure, he cut off the wrong leg, but he was the first Sri Lankan American Jewish surgeon in America. So that’s gotta count for something!” 

    “It’s a shame the bridge collapsed thanks to faulty design, but at least the passengers in those crushed and burning cars can take solace in the fact that they got to drive over a bridge designed by a good Christian.”

    Now, I understand that politics is different from other vocations. Representation matters to voters in the way it doesn’t—or shouldn’t—to medical patients or employers. And there’s nothing inherently wrong with that. In a democracy, voters can take into account anything they think is relevant, and inclusiveness is a perfectly defensible value. But there’s a difference between saying that representation—ethnic, sexual, cultural, religious, whatever—is important and saying that it’s more important than other qualifications and concerns.

    On a related note:

  • George F. Will explains, if necessary: Why ‘Buy American’ is misguided and, alas, full of bipartisan appeal.

    “Buy American,” like protectionism generally, can protect some blue-collar jobs — but at a steep price: A Peterson Institute for International Economics study concludes that it costs taxpayers $250,000 annually for each job saved in a protected industry. And lots of white-collar jobs are created for lawyers seeking waivers from the rules. And for accountants tabulating U.S. content in this and that, when, say, an auto component might cross international borders (U.S., Canadian, Mexican) five times before it is ready for installation in a vehicle.

    In the usual braying-and-pouting choreography of the State of the Union evening, members of the president’s party leap ecstatically when he praises himself, and members of the other party respond sullenly, by not responding. This year, however, something unusual happened when President Biden vowed to “require all construction materials used in federal infrastructure projects to be made in America.” A bipartisan ovation greeted his promise to reduce the purchasing power of tax dollars spent on infrastructure projects by raising the cost of materials.

    This will mean more borrowing, not fewer projects. Federal spending is not constrained by a mere shortage of revenue. So, Biden was promising to increase the deficit. And this policy, which elicited red-and-blue bonhomie in the State of the Union audience, also will give other nations an excuse to retaliate (often doing what they want to do anyway) by penalizing U.S. exporters of manufactured goods.

    Yet another seen/unseen case for Detective Bastiat. Biden seems to be showing that he can be even worse than Trump in this area.

  • Peter Suderman describes how Decades of Subsidies Made the Basics of Middle Class Life Too Expensive.

    Perhaps the simplest way to diagnose the problem with American politics right now is that it is out of touch. Democrats and Republicans have spent the better part of the last decade arguing about partisan peccadillos and culture war obsessions, while middle-class concerns have languished. And thus a new movement has risen mostly but not exclusively on the technocratic center-left, intent on refocusing liberal politics in general and Democratic politicians in particular on workaday economic concerns.

    This movement has many strains and individual obsessions, but it is united by a shared thesis: The basics of middle-class life—especially but not only housing, education, and health care—have become too expensive, and politicians should seek to remedy this via policy interventions.

    Their ask is for politicians to focus more on policies intended to make it easier for nonpoor, nonwealthy Americans to afford what amounts to a consensus middle-class lifestyle: a home, access to health care, quality schooling for the kids. They want the American Dream, more or less, and they want most ordinary families to be able to afford it.

    Suderman analyzes a few cases where the "I'm from the government, and I'm here to help" paradigm has really screwed things up: higher ed, health care, zoning.

  • [Amazon Link]
    (paid link)
    Since I read Hate Crime Hoax by Wilfred Reilly (Amazon link at right), I was not at all surprised to hear this news out of Caltech East: LGBTQ slurs found at MIT done by students protesting school’s new pro-free speech efforts.

    Massachusetts Institute of Technology students behind flyers and chalkings recently found at the school that included slurs against LGBTQ people were protesting the university’s emerging policies in support of free speech.

    The incident came in the wake of a two-month-old MIT faculty resolution that defends freedom of speech and expression — even speech some find “offensive or injurious.”

    A Feb. 23 memo from MIT administrators stated flyers posted across campus and some chalking outside a school entrance “contained slurs directly targeting the LBGTQ+ community.”

    MIT’s bias response team investigated, the memo added, and determined “the messages were put up by students choosing to use extreme speech to call attention to and protest what they see as the implications of” several new pro-free speech policies and efforts at the school.

    "Hate crime hoaxes: not just for stoking racial animosity any more."

Last Modified 2024-01-14 4:25 AM EDT