John Goodman’s Commentaries
At his ill-fated press conference last week, President Biden threw out a challenge to his Republican critics. Biden said, “Think about this: What are Republicans for? What are they for? Name me one thing they’re for.” Asked what his agenda would be if Republicans regained control of Congress, Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell replied that it was “a very good question. And I’ll let you know when we take it back.”
Is that the best response the GOP can muster? What about being for no inflation, no shortages, no more lockdowns, safe neighborhoods, secure borders, energy independence and a foreign policy that doesn’t confuse our allies and embolden our enemies?
Most people are really bad at personal, financial planning. The people who make these mistakes are not just ordinary folks. They include highly educated, sophisticated people – including virtually all economists and Wall Street analysts. They almost certainly include you, the reader. So why do so many people get so many things wrong?
It’s the one thing that both the left and the right agree on: Democracy is being threatened as never before. The problem: Each side thinks the threat is coming from the other side. Evidence suggests that it is the threat from the left that should be the most worrisome, however. From using the FBI to spy on their enemies to using the IRS to release individual individual tax returns to criminalizing political differences and trying to imprison their opponents – it’s the anti-Trump forces that threaten to turn us into a banana republic.
n a short period of time, we have had some remarkable accomplishments. Here is a brief summary.
The Build Back Better proposal is a 2,466-page bill with a realistic price tag of $4.7 trillion. Although it appears to be dead on arrival in the Senate, its backers hope to revive most of it. John Goodman says there are good reasons to hope they fail.
One reason is drug price controls. With lower returns to new drug development, there will be fewer lifesaving drugs. University of Chicago economist Tom Philipson estimates that the resulting loss of life would be 31 times as great as Covid-19 to date.
In most places the state employee health plan is one of the largest, if not the largest, health plan in the state. So, state legislators who want to reform health care should start with the one plan over which they have a great deal of direct control.… Another reform that is long overdue is the elimination of certificate-of-need (CON) laws, which create huge regulatory obstacles to newcomers who want to open a hospital or a nursing home, a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center or even an ambulance service. Studies show that CON laws raise costs and lower quality. For that reason, 15 states have repealed all, or almost all, of them.
Human beings are by nature tribal. We are tribal because our ancestors were tribal. Our ancestors were tribal because tribalism had evolutionary survival value. Fifty thousand years ago, our ancestors lived in small communities of about 150 people. These tribes competed with other tribes for resources, and the competition was often violent and brutal. Loyalty to one’s own group and hostility to members of other groups was a valuable characteristic in tribal combat.
More preschool services mean the country has to have less of everything that’s not preschool. More homecare means less of everything that’s not homecare. More free college means less of everything that’s not college.
European countries do this sort of thing with broad-based taxes on wages and consumption. After paying taxes, people have less money to spend on other stuff. The Biden administration, however, wants to pretend that people can have a bundle of new services and keep on consuming as they did before.
The only thing that will reduce the consumption of other stuff under the BBB agenda is higher prices – what ordinary people call inflation.
Robbing Peter to pay Paul is something almost all governments routinely do. And they have been doing it for years. If you haven’t seen a good argument for it, that’s because government theft is so fully ingrained in our way of life that no one thinks a justification is needed.
Congressional Democrats are proposing to spend an enormous amount of taxpayer dollars on what the New York Times calls a “cradle to the grave” addition to U.S. social welfare. When budgeting shenanigans are ignored, the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget estimates that the full cost is not the $3.5 trillion that has been widely advertised, but at least $5.0 trillion and possibly as much as $5.5 trillion.