Monthly Archive: March 2016
Donald Trump and Ted Cruz are awful.
THE other day, I got an email from a 21-year-old college senior about sex — or perhaps more correctly, about how ill equipped she was to talk about sex. The abstinence-only curriculum in her middle and high schools had taught her little more than “don’t,” and she’d told me that although her otherwise liberal parents would have been willing to answer any questions, it was pretty clear the topic made them even more uncomfortable than it made her.
So she had turned to pornography. “There’s a lot of problems with porn,” she wrote. “But it is kind of nice to be able to use it to gain some knowledge of sex.”
I wish I could say her sentiments were unusual, but I heard them repeatedly during the three years I spent interviewing young women in high school and college for a book on girls and sex. In fact, according to a survey of college students in Britain, 60 percent consult pornography, at least in part, as though it were an instruction manual, even as nearly three-quarters say that they know it is as realistic as pro wrestling. (Its depictions of women, meanwhile, are about as accurate as those of the “The Real Housewives” franchise.)
In recent weeks, hearing Trump talk, I’ve realized that his economic worldview is entirely coherent. It makes sense. He is not just a rent-seeker himself; his whole worldview is based on a rent-seeking vision of the economy, in which there’s a fixed amount of wealth that can only be redistributed, never grow. It is a worldview that makes perfect sense for the son of a New York real estate tycoon who grew up to be one, too. Everything he has gotten — as he proudly brags — came from cutting deals. Accepting the notion of a zero-sum world, he set out to grab more than his share. And his policies would push the American economy to conform with that worldview.
Many economists and political scientists now think that the United States economy has shifted, over the past few decades, toward one in which a higher proportion of the economy comes from so-called rents: Wall Street’s maneuvering through the regulatory process, ‘‘free-trade’’ deals whose thousands of pages of rules wind up proscribing winners and losers. The left, right and center of the economics profession all agree that reducing rent-seeking behavior, and improving overall growth, is essential if we want to ‘‘make America great again.
In just the last week, we’ve seen new chatter about the possibility that Donald Trump could put the House in play for Democrats, as non-partisan analysts, giddy liberals, and even some anguished Republicans have...
It’s time for a new political party with an old name.
Enlisting the help of supporters Florin Popescu distributed 60 tonnes of chicken to voters in an attempt to win another term as a council leader in local elections dating back to 2012 before he...
But the council soon made its motive clear. At the very same meeting, the council voted to disbar its biggest foe: Gabriel Galanda. The Native American attorney, with offices in Seattle’s Wedgwood neighborhood, has...
There are, of course, a great many trade-offs when moving to a cashless society — just as there was when we moved from barter to cash. Personally, I have greatly benefitted from the convenience and automatic tracking of electronic banking, automatic deposit, and debit cards; I have also spent more than one aggravated afternoon on the phone with my bank, creditors, and credit agencies after having my identity stolen. You might find this trade-off to be good or poor, and I would certainly empathize either way. Where I get hung up, however, is when this tradeoff is presented as simply another reason to live in fear of a democratic government. What I find telling about McArdle’s worries, and why I think of her post as being a textbook example of Online People-ism, is the drilled down focus of that particular anxiety.
First off, while it’s true that the government can overreach and take you money in a cashless society, it’s also true that they can too in one that isn’t cashless. If you don’t believe me, ask Clyde Ross.
It is also true that I might someday get myself into the government’s crosshairs to the point where they feel they need to cut me off from all of my assets. If that’s the case, however, the least of my problems is going to be how easy or difficult it is for them to do so. I’m not Alex Jones, and I don’t have a secret plan in place to take my cash and bullion and stay off the grid for the rest of my life. If the government erroneously believes I have been running drugs, have killed my neighbors, or have scammed them out of $100,000 in taxes, probably best I confront them sooner rather than later.