Archive for the ‘Quick Hits’ Category

Quick thoughts on a Monday. Springtime is the best season. By far. The first day of sundress season should be a national holiday.

Ahhhhh Sweet Spring

Anyone care to argue any of these claims?

1. The American health system has been broken for a long time.

2. This bill won’t improve quality of service.

3. It won’t decrease prices to patients.

4. It won’t decrease costs to doctors and hospitals.

5. It won’t reduce the deficit. It will follow ignominious history.

6. It isn’t constitutional.

7. The six-month enactment period will give lawyers for all conceivable parties AMPLE time to scout for plaintiffs, jurisdiction shop, and draft briefs and motions. This will lead to a period of litigation, lasting anywhere from three years to a decade.

8. If the Republicans do win control of either the House or the Senate, a bill will be introduced to repeal this law within the first two months of the new Congress.

9. Reihan Salam will be right: “Coming soon: the Democratic Dolchstoss strategy: “Of course it didn’t work. It was a moderate Republican bill! What we really need is …”

On Intrade, the prop bet that Republicans control the House after November has gained about 43% in just over a year. Given that, it’s bizarre that liberals are still haunted by the specter of libertarianism.

I watched the Maryland – Michigan State game in Baltimore in a bar full of Maryland fans, and it was heartbreaking. On State’s last possession, the clock didn’t start for about a half second. The buzzer beater went up with .4 on the clock. Brutal.

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H.L. Mencken

“The kind of man who demands that government enforce his ideas is always the kind whose ideas are idiotic.”

A Mencken Chrestomathy

(H/t Don Bourdreaux)

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Berkeley, California reduces trash so much that the city’s sanitation revenue model falls apart. I applaud the effort by the citizens. I’ll be interested to see how much the rates jump.

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This weekend Peter Somerville and I will continue our abbreviated twitter debate on the concept of noblesse oblige in a long form. I’ll post the results here, but those interested in social cohesion, cooperation, coercion and social obligations are welcome to submit questions, thoughts and suggestions in the comments. We’ll get to them if possible.

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More Polls than BadaBing

Matt Yglesias gets snarky from CPAC.

I know, I was shocked too.

Recently Matt has been consistently tweeting some variation on this theme:

You would never guess from these CPAC speeches that most Americans think Obama’s doing a good job:http://bit.ly/F3IzuA

I’ve only seen him cite Gallup polls. Putting aside the technically-right-but-overstated “most” (52% = mandate! YES WE CAN!), Gallup has regularly been the poll where the president performs best.

Rasmussen uses much more detailed and accurate methods and pegs him much lower, but we all know how evil and biased and … Republican! Rasmussen is.

How to explain the recent CNN poll that pegs him at either 44% or 49%, depending on how the question is phrased?

Personally I distrust all of the polls, there are too many variables. Revealed preferences are more instructive than stated preferences anyway. And I think the signal that powerful democrat incumbents, Chris Dodd, Evan Bayh, et al, are dropping like flies says a lot more than a random sample of a thousand people.

Moving away from Matt to progressives generally, there’s an interesting contradictory dichotomy in the progressive mind. On the one hand there’s a belief that elites can direct society/government/the economy, while on the other, that apathetic submission to mob-rule democracy is an unqualified good.

Update – 2/19: Demonstrating this contradiction, this morning Matt tweets (without citing):

Outraged by plan to ram legislation through congress through majority vote — what happened to democracy?

On the one hand he’s arguing for mostly uniformed or poorly informed, non-technocratic majoritarian rule, on the other apparently bipartisan elite consensus.

(Aside, I don’t mean to rag on Matt unfairly, his tweets are just consistently interesting and revealing, and often very funny. I especially enjoy his basketball insights. An example of a tweet that made me laugh:

People with many different ideological points of view think I suck, demonstrating my centrist wisdom.

Fair enough.)

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Matt Yglesias:

Gregg concerned that CFPA might do too much to achieve social justice: http://bit.ly/cxqNJE

Thomas Sowell (quoting, I believe, from his recent four part column on fairness which I have only had time to skim):

“Fairness as equal treatment does not produce fairness as equal outcomes.”

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Question for the commentariat:

Is the distribution of wealth to the needy through taxes morally superior to distribution through charity? Why or why not?

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