Is the Patient Dead? Or Is he Frankenstein’s Monster?

Ted Poe, R-NC, and a House member of the Freedom Caucus, has quit the group, uttering these words among others:  “saying no is easy, governing is hard.”  This was in reference to the Caucus’s opposition to the American Health Care Act, which was pulled by Paul Ryan before a vote.  Poe says he wants to be more effective as a senator by finding common ground with Democrats as well as other Republicans.  I am certain that my view on Poe’s… Continue Reading ››

The Core Problem of Common Core.

I suppose it is time to write about Common Core again, in light of the recent withdrawal of a former Bush administration pro-Common Core staffer, Hanna Skandera, from consideration as an assistant secretary for the Department of Education.  This blog is not about her specifically, though she is a member of one of the Common Core testing organizations, PARCC (Partnership of Assessment of Readiness for Colleges and Careers).  Rather I am concerned about the incredible confusion that has set in… Continue Reading ››

Amazing how honest politicians are when they are no longer in office!

Earlier this week we heard with great candor from former Democratic presidential candidate and U.S. Senator Bob Kerrey, expressing dismay at the Trump budget.  Why?  Cuts in the EPA?  Cuts for Big Bird and PBS?  No.  Senator Kerrey is concerned about Mr. Trump’s unwillingness to do something about our biggest budget challenge–the runaway growth of entitlements, specifically Medicare and Social Security.  Sen Kerry laments that we’re on track to increase those two programs by $80B next year.  As Kerry says,… Continue Reading ››

An Entertaining Way to Learn About Contemporary US Capitalism

I have discovered a very good way to learn about a topic is to read about something related – the topic serves as a foundation or is always in the background. For example, a good way to learn about the rise of the Nazis in the inter-war period in Germany is to read about something else that happened in Germany during the same time period. I had this experience with Erik Larson’s In the Garden of Beasts. A consistent day-by-day… Continue Reading ››

The New Executive Order: “Here Comes the Judge”–Again

Once again a Federal district court judge has issued a nationwide Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) prohibiting enforcement of the president’s new executive (EO) order temporarily suspending entry into the United States of non-citizens living outside the United States for a period of 90-120 days, with waivers possible for defined exceptions.  The EO identified six nations as targeted by its provisions.  The reasons stated were the possibility or likelihood that these nations were producing or would produce terrorists.  I have reproduced… Continue Reading ››

Update on the American Health Care Act

I want to provide a brief update on the American Health Care Act bill in the House.  I also want to add a bit more analysis.  Currently the bill has been passed out of two House committees.  Democrats are trying to slow it down but aren’t likely to be successful.  But if it makes it to the Senate, it faces stiff opposition from Democrats and from more conservative Republicans who see the bill as a compromise and not what was… Continue Reading ››

The Deep State: How Deep Is It?

“The Deep State”–what is it?  Is it real?  Is it fiction?  If it is real, is it dangerous?  To what extent is it harmful?  This is a fascinating subject, perhaps partly because we all love a conspiracy theory, true or not.  I will suggest that this one has a basis in reality.  But I also want to be careful not to overstate my case.  I hope to address these questions below. The term “Deep State” was coined to describe a… Continue Reading ››

The Saudis are learning the economics of perfect competition–Price equals Marginal Cost.

Oil took a dive south again this week, going below $50/barrel yesterday.  As we’ve discussed before, the American “fracker” is now the marginal supplier–ready to turn on the spigots at the first sign of a higher price.  In an introductory Econ course, we’ll review what is often called “perfect competition,” or more appropriately, a price-taker market.   One of the central tenets of this model is that it will be characterized by price equaling the marginal cost.  So if the marginal… Continue Reading ››

Democracy: Is It Over-hyped? Or Overdone?

I noticed a poll taken the other day in connection with Fox News (unfortunately I did not catch the purveyor of that poll, perhaps Fox itself).  Whether the methodology was right or not, I don’t know but it found that 50% of people polled opposed the elimination of the Obamacare insurance mandate, while 48% supported its elimination.  If that reflects the public opinion generally, then we may have reached Alexis de Tocqueville’s “tipping point” in relation to democracy.  In a… Continue Reading ››

A New Beginning or Obamacare Lite?

The House of Representatives has now publicly rolled out its “Repeal and Replace” bill for the elimination of Obamacare and a new health care law.  President Trump seems to like it, while Democrats, predictably, hate it, though I cannot see how they have had time to read it, and some Republicans, such as Rand Paul, have called it “Obamacare Light” because it still contains too much welfare statism.  The bill, to be marked up soon enough, is to its credit,… Continue Reading ››

Quote of the Week!

“Blame is much easier to understand than causation, more emotionally satisfying, and more politically convenient.” –Thomas Sowell