We Had To Prevent People From Voting For Him In Order To Save Democracy

Also of note:

  • We're Number 17! Cato has issued a new edition of its Human Freedom Index. It contains data for 2021.

    The United States ranks 17th on the index with its rating falling over time. In 2000, it ranked 7th. Not all countries deteriorated compared to 2000, the first year for which we have sufficient data. Taiwan (in 12th place) and Estonia (5th place) notably increased their level of freedom, for example.


    The tragic loss of freedom in Hong Kong—symbolized by the sham trial of Jimmy Lai that began there this week—is a dramatic example. As part of its crackdown on the traditional liberties of the territory, the Chinese regime has jailed the dissident billionaire for having advocated in favor of free expression and other basic rights.

    The complete (PDF) report is here. Read it (and weep, if you're so inclined).

    Taiwan, as noted, is in twelfth place. China may fix that someday.

  • In other good news… Phil Gramm and Mike Solon point out that Social Security Was Doomed From the Start. History lesson:

    Americans imagine that the Social Security benefits they are promised belong to them. That’s by design. In 1935, President Franklin D. Roosevelt promised to use “compulsory contributory annuities” to set up a “self-supporting system for those now young and for future generations.” Senate Finance Committee Chairman Pat Harrison (D., Miss.) repeated that claim during debate over the Social Security Act: “The annuity system will give to the worker the satisfaction of knowing that he himself is providing for his old age.”

    Yet two years later, FDR’s Justice Department successfully argued before the Supreme Court that Social Security payroll taxes weren’t reserved for future retirees. “These are true taxes, the purpose being simply to raise revenues,” assistant attorney general Robert Jackson asserted in his brief to the justices. “The proceeds are paid unrestricted into the Treasury as internal revenue collections, available for general support of the Government.”

    The two leading presidential candidates continue to pretend that we can just keep kicking the can down the road.

  • The Kraken remains unreleased. Jacob Sullum's syndicated column headline is (as usual) very long: Giuliani Never Puts Up, but He Never Shuts Up Either: The Former Trump Lawyer Could Have Avoided a Massive Defamation Verdict by Presenting His 'Definitively Clear' Evidence of Election Fraud.

    In a recent CNN poll, 71% of Republicans said Joe Biden "did not legitimately win enough votes to win the presidency," and 41% said there was "solid evidence" to support that conclusion. Last Friday, a federal jury in Washington, D.C., gave those Republicans 148 million reasons to think again.

    Former Trump campaign lawyer Rudy Giuliani could have avoided that ruinous defamation verdict if he had "solid evidence" to support his assertion that two Georgia election workers helped Biden steal the presidency. But as usual, Giuliani claimed to have proof of massive election fraud that he inexplicably could not share. Giuliani never puts up, but he never shuts up either.

    Also in the "never purs, nor shuts, up" category is Donald J. Trump. From Commie Radio a few months back: Trump cancels press conference on election fraud claims, citing attorney advice

    Former President Donald Trump now says he won't be holding a news conference next week to unveil what he claims is new "evidence" of fraud in Georgia's 2020 presidential election — even though no fraud has ever been substantiated — citing the advice of lawyers as he prepares to face trial in two criminal cases that stem from his election lies.

    No compelling evidence of the wide-scale fraud Trump alleges has emerged in the two-and-a-half years since the election in Georgia or elsewhere, despite Trump's baseless claims. Republican officials in the state have long said he lost fairly and three recounts there confirmed President Joe Biden's win.

    Please feel free to neglect the gratuitous, but also obligatory, disclaimers about Trump's baseless claims and unsubstantiated allegations. But do wonder why Trump has suddenly started following legal advice.

    Donald, if you had followed decent legal advice, you wouldn't be in most of the trouble in which you find yourself.