Trump’s Follies: Ethical? Legal? Impeachable?

My Bereans colleague Mark Smith wrote a blog post the other day that has irritated some people and made others quite happy.  In this post, I hope to irritate both sides of the Donald Trump “crisis.”  By now, we have all read or heard about President Trump’s misdeeds, or alleged misdeeds, depending on your perspective: firing FBI Director James Comey, “giving” classified information to Russia, and lately, inviting Comey to the White House before he was fired and then pressing… Continue Reading ››

Trump and the Consciousness of Guilt

Vincent Bugliosi was a famed criminal attorney. He prosecuted Charles Manson and defended a handful of clients accused of murder. He documented his exploits in Helter Skelter, And the Sea Will Tell, and other true crime tales. In his book Outrage, Bugliosi turned his gaze toward the O.J. Simpson trial, particularly the failure of the prosecution. Bugliosi claimed, grandiosely, he could have convicted Simpson with only a legal pad and a closing argument. Bugliosi’s critique of Simpson’s prosecutors was very… Continue Reading ››

Predicting socialist policies lead to disaster is like shooting fish in a barrel

In a response to a recent post on the need for us to pray for the poor people of Venezuela, one poster suggested the problems weren’t socialism, but over-dependence on one export–oil.  And since the price of oil has dropped so dramatically, that has caused the problems.  While that is a superficial reason, one has to look at deeper reasons as to why they were overly dependent upon oil, and we also must examine why the oil industry in Venezuela was… Continue Reading ››

Democracy: Embrace or Re-think?

I recently finished a book by Jason Brennan entitled Against Democracy (Princeton University Press, 2015) that I found intriguing.  It might not sound glamorous but I think the topic is timely in light of our American love of democracy in its various forms, whether direct or representative.  I don’t want to leave the impression that Brennan is some sort of either anarchist on the one hand or totalitarian or monarchist on the other.  Rather what he does is pose a… Continue Reading ››

Venezuela is starving, please pray

From today’s WSJ, Venezuela is starving (gated).  No political economy discussion really needed here.  The socialist experiment is turning Venezuela into North Korea, with all the attendant misery. This is potentially going to be worse than Syria. This is an unmitigated, albeit predictable, disaster.   No need to discuss the issue as to why, just pray for these poor people.  May God have mercy on them.

Puerto Rico Bankruptcy–is bankruptcy ever a good thing?

Puerto Rico is trying to use a bankruptcy provision approved last year to ameliorate its $123B debt.   Now this is important for many reasons but I just want to focus on one.  This bankruptcy, and the potential of stiffing the bondholders, will be beneficial in the long run.  Why?  I mean, we all think people should pay their debts, don’t we?  So why shouldn’t Puerto Rico? I think the concept of Odious Debt applies here.  Politicians will often promise… Continue Reading ››

Speech: Its Value and Its Limits

Several incidents have occurred recently at American colleges and universities that raise the question of where freedom of speech is headed today.  Now let’s be clear.  Not all speech is morally acceptable if we are serious about our Biblical commitments.  Private Christian universities have good reason sometimes to create conditions for edifying and pure expression of faculty and students.  In addition private schools also have the legal right to restrict the opposite kind of expression–I daresay, even the obligation.  However… Continue Reading ››

Trumpian Tax Triumph?

Mr. Trump unveiled his tax plan earlier this week, and there was something for almost every conservative to like.  Our current obscene corporate tax rate of 39% is the highest among industrial nations (only exceeded by Chad and the UAE), but doesn’t yield all that much revenue, so Mr. Trump proposes drastically reducing it to 15%.   As shown in the figure above, that would put the U.S. slightly more competitive than the average country, instead of being the most… Continue Reading ››

ESPN and Politics

ESPN laid off more than 100 staffers yesterday, ranging from SportsCenter anchors to frontline reporters. Here is a running list of those who lost their jobs. The internet, to put it mildly, was interested. #ESPN was trending on Twitter yesterday. SI.Com ran two stories on the layoffs, including a behind-the-scenes view of what happened and how the news was received. Clay Travis, of Outkick the Coverage, has covered this story and predicted these results for some time. His write-up is… Continue Reading ››

Does capital capture all the productivity gains of our modern economy, with labor getting nothing? A short case study in how to deal with competing claims

Thanks to our frequent critic Mr. Adams, we have the opportunity to think about how we deal with “facts” that go against everything we know to be true.  When the latest scientific study comes out claiming that global warming is happening (despite no warming in the last 20 years), or that the minimum wage actually doesn’t cause any negative effects, or almost any other competing claim (especially in the social sciences), how do we assess it?  We don’t want to… Continue Reading ››