Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America are glad to see New Yorkers souring on Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez despite her glowing media coverage and roll their eyes at her explanation for her dip in popularity. They also question the journalistic integrity at Reuters after reporter Joseph Menn held on to a story about Beto O’Rourke’ being a member of the hacker group “The Cult of the Dead Cow” until after his loss to Texas Sen. Ted Cruz. And they argue that long shot candidates like New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, who attracted a measly six supporters to his last event, should quit crowding the field and let more experienced and recognizable candidates fight it out.

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A Return to Economic Liberty

 

Earlier this month, I delivered the opening address to the Federalist Society’s National Student Symposium dedicated this year to the topic of the “Resurgence of Economic Liberty.” Economic liberty refers to the ability of individuals to sell their goods and services, or to buy goods and services from others, on whatever terms and conditions they choose. This regime of freedom of contract assumes that voluntary trade is mutually beneficial, and that its externalities are typically positive: the increased wealth and happiness of the trading partners increases the opportunities for trade for others. The theory of economic liberty does not allow the threat or use of force. Nor does the theory tolerate acts of monopolization. At the peak of laissez-faire, both of these practices were rigidly prohibited. Notably, both the antitrust law and the law of rate regulation were appropriately part of the laissez-faire system.

Economic liberty was constitutionally protected until the New Deal. One major landmark of that period was Lochner v. New Yorkthe now much-reviled 1905 Supreme Court decision that struck down a New York law that limited the hours employees in some bakeries could work to ten hours per day and no more than sixty hours per week. The court held that the law did not protect the “health or safety, morals or general welfare” of the employers and employees, and infringed on their economic liberties, which were protected by the Due Process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

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Don’t Let Terrorists Ruin the Internet

 

As of late Friday, it was still incredibly easy to access video of the New Zealand terror attack. Only a bit of searching found it still available on Facebook, where the massacre was first live-streamed before going viral on other social media platforms such as Twitter and YouTube. The gunman wanted amplification, and he got it. It was even easier to find the shooter’s rant, infused with white supremacy and deep familiarity with the online world and associated subcultures.

Not that tech companies aren’t trying to counter it. Indeed, they have every incentive to — both in the name of human decency and as companies already under tremendous pressure for inadequate content moderation. But a fast as the videos are pulled down, they are reuploaded. The platforms, despite cutting-edge AI and thousands of human moderators, are again proving “no match for the speed of their users; new artificial-intelligence tools created to scrub such platforms of terrorist content could not defeat human cunning and impulse to gawk,” writes Charlie Warzel in The New York Times.

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The Microsoft Myth: We Shouldn’t Assume More Antitrust Will Give Us More Tech Innovation

 

Sen. Elizabeth Warren argues that if Washington breaks up Big Tech — and more aggressively reviews acquisitions going forward — the result will be more competition and thus more innovation than would occur otherwise. Just look at history. As the Democratic presidential candidate explains in a blog post:

The government’s antitrust case against Microsoft helped clear a path for Internet companies like Google and Facebook to emerge. The story demonstrates why promoting competition is so important: it allows new, groundbreaking companies to grow and thrive — which pushes everyone in the marketplace to offer better products and services.

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Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America argue that Beto O’Rourke running for president is actually a good thing because it will either show media infatuation can get you elected or burst O’Rourke’s hype bubble. They are also concerned by the alarming rise in mental health disorders in teens that is linked to social media use. And they also give Elizabeth Warren a molecule of credit for defending capitalism, only to watch her then say markets don’t work for health care or education.

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Plunder at Love Field

 

The road to deregulation is often marred by unanticipated pitfalls. Yet such is the case in a saga over airline deregulation in the Dallas-Fort Worth market. The story begins over forty years ago, and its final chapter is now being played out in the courts. In 1978, Congress decided to abolish a hoary New Deal agency, the Civil Aeronautics Board, which was created by the Civil Aeronautics Act (1938) to determine routes and to set prices for airline passenger traffic throughout the United States. But the New Deal law’s price setting powers were quickly used by airlines to suppress competition among themselves, so that interstate fares were consistently higher for short hauls than intrastate fares were for longer ones.

The deregulation movement of the late 1970s had its intended consequence of hastening competition among airlines. But it also created a backlash in one market, Dallas-Fort Worth, located in the backyard of then-Speaker of the House Jim Wright. Wright feared that vigorous competition to the new Dallas/Fort Worth airport (DFW) would come from the Love Field airport, the home of the upstart Southwest Airlines, which was now poised for the first time to expand operations into the interstate market. Wright thought that flights from Love Field would reduce the air traffic at DFW, which in turn would reduce the revenues needed to fund the debt service on DFW bonds. So in 1979, he induced Congress to pass the Wright Amendment, which perversely restricted all flights out of Love Field outside of Texas and four contiguous states—Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, and Oklahoma—to aircraft that had 56 or fewer seats.

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Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America welcome a Politico report showing that even if liberals soaked “the rich” they wouldn’t come anywhere close to paying for single-payer health care or the Green New Deal. They also shake their heads as testimony from former FBI attorney Lisa Page suggests the FBI was considering whether to recommend a federal charge against Hillary Clinton over her mishandling of classified emails but the Justice Department made it clear it had no intention of pursuing the case. And Jim offers his hilarious assessment of climate change activists refusing to have children until the world gets serious about climate change.

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Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America are a bit surprised by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff signaling they don’t plan to pursue impeachment of President Trump unless there’s a bipartisan consensus for it. They also look on sadly as New York City’s exorbitant taxes and hard left policies leave the city careening towards bankruptcy. And they crack a few pop-culture jokes but also weigh in on the serious issues as celebrities and elites around the country are charged with bribing colleges and universities to admit their kids under false pretenses.

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Elizabeth Warren’s Wrongheaded Plan to Break Up Big Tech

 

An encouraging result of Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s mega-ambitious plan to break up Amazon, Alphabet-Google, and Facebook is her interview with The Washington Post tech reporter Cat Zakrzewski. At the end of the Q&A, Zakrzewski asked the Democratic 2020 contender, “How do you avoid unintended consequences on innovation if you break the companies up?” To which Warren replied, “I think what we have right now is the unintended consequence. The giants are destroying competition in one area after another.”

This is good. Warren allows for unintended consequences when implementing public policy. Little of the activist feverishness about a Big Tech breakup has acknowledged their existence or that of trade-offs. More should be expected of policymakers. Conceding the reality of both provides a starting point for debate. That said, Warren seems oblivious to the potential unintended consequences or trade-offs of her proposal.

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Hello podcast fans, young and old, big and small and welcome to this edition of the Harvard Lunch Club Political podcast, number 215(!!!) the Irredeemable AOC edition of the show with your lost-soul hosts, east coast radio guy Todd Feinburg and west coast AI guy Mike Stopa. Each week we bring to you the meat, the core, the essence of the political scene with cutting insight, guffaw-inducing humor and a pinch of profundity.

This week we bring you the infamous Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, the big AOC, the woman of the hour. It is the sunset of capitalism and the dawn of a new human stewardship of the sacred space-travelling temple that we call planet Earth. It is a moment of renewal, it is a platform so sincere that the trees will be hugging us back. AOC forever!

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Working on Taxes- How do you want to be taxed?

 

I need a mental break from preparing my taxes and the usual dread of having to wade through what seems like hundreds of little problems involving old papers filed away somewhere, lost passwords, and kluge software. Partly as an escape and partly out of concern that the whole system is out of control, I have […]

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Use it or lose it

 

“The end of the government’s fiscal year usually brings an orgy of spending as agencies look at their budgets, see extra cash lying around, and figure they’d better use it all up or risk getting cut in the future.” This quote from the Washington Examiner is nothing new, I don’t know why it’s even news. […]

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Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America are glad to see former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg decide not to run for president in 2020 but groan as he vows to spend huge sums of money to move the world “beyond carbon” in the next decade. They also fume as Hillary Clinton finds yet another pathetic excuse for losing to Donald Trump in 2016. And they react with disgust as the federal budget deficit jumps 77 percent in the first four months of Fiscal 2019 compared to last year – and because neither party and most Americans have no interest in addressing our debt and deficit crisis.

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Latin American Coin News; Or, It’s Not Enough Just To Note The Abundance Of Sacajawea Dollars In El Salvador

 

It had been years since I bought any Great Courses CDs, but they were having one of their price-chopper promotions so I spent $20 on something about the Vikings. The lecturer is Dr. Kenneth Harl of Tulane University, and I had already been pleased with his talks on the Crusades and on Ancient Civilizations of […]

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Economics 101 in Labor and Housing Markets

 

A few simple premises of economic theory have the power to generate a wealth of powerful and instructive insights. Nowhere is that more true than with the law of supply and demand, which starts with two basic assumptions: as the price of a good increases, so does the supply—and as the price increases, the demand starts to fall. In an unregulated market, when the downward-sloping demand curve crosses the upward-sloping supply curve, the market is in equilibrium—the point where supply meets demand at a given price.

The only task for a government under this austere model is to make sure that various contracts, whether for labor, housing, or any other good/service are fully enforced, while leaving the terms of those agreements to the parties themselves. Happily, this system of freedom of contract is self-regulating, so that the price or wage of particular goods and services can quickly adjust to changes in supply or demand, or both. A dynamic market thus always moves to reestablish an equilibrium in the face of unanticipated external changes.

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Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America applaud Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley’s decision to not run in 2020 but ask if his announcement was really necessary since very few Americans have any idea who he is. They also take a deep breath of fresh air as Texas Rep. Dan Crenshaw gives a clear and calm defense of conservative principles that is often missing from our public dialogue. And Jim notes the Clinton era ends in a whimper as Hillary officially states that she will not run for president in 2020.

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Note to Democrats: Businesses Do Not Want to Have to Beg for the Privilege of Creating Jobs

 

The Governor of New York is disappointed that Amazon was unwilling to play the game of New York politics like a proper corporate courtesan.

“I do believe Amazon should have stayed and fought the opposition,” Cuomo said in a Tuesday radio interview. “It was a vocal minority opposition. Seventy percent of the people support Amazon.”

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Well, Well …. Well!

 

Well … what do you know about this? How about this?

I wanted to use the outstanding headline from the National Review article appearing today by Dr. Victor Davis Hanson, but this is a Rico conversation about this article so I felt that that would be too much of a copy and paste. Therefore, I went with my reaction to this article as the title for this conversation. Here is the esteemed Dr. Hanson’s article title …

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Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America lament the Democratic derailing of the Born Alive Act that would have required doctors to provide care for babies who survive failed abortions. They also defend Univison’s Jorge Ramos as he is detained in Venezuela after confronting Venezuelan Dictator Nicolas Maduro over his violent and corrupt record. And they are frustrated by Bernie Sanders offering very weak criticism of the Maduro regime while he often passionately condemns American business.

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Basically, the Green New Deal Costs All the Money

 

The econ team at American Action Forum, led by former CBO Director Douglas Holtz-Eakin, take a shot at looking how pricey a Green New Deal might be. And, you know, it’s pricey. From the report:

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