Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. Senate Approves USMCA

 

On Wednesday, Trump signed “phase one” of a China trade deal that increases agricultural exports to Beijing. Thursday, the US Senate passed the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement by an 89-10 vote.

The House sat on the USMCA for months, distracted as it was by Russia, Trump’s tweets, World War III, Ukraine, Net Neutrality killing the internet, recognizing Jerusalem which destroyed the middle east, Jussie Smollett, the wholesale slaughter of the Kurds (well, those not already dead from Net Neutrality), and Greta Thunberg’s sailboat. Despite being controlled by Democrats, the trade bill passed the House 385-41. Now it awaits the President’s signature.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Let’s Stop Pretending Bernie Sanders Wants to Duplicate Scandinavia

 

Bernie Sanders supporters are quick to make clear that their guy doesn’t want to turn America into Cuba or Venezuela or the old Soviet Union. By “democratic socialism,” the US senator from Vermont means Scandinavia, more or less. And what’s wrong with that? The Nordic nations are pretty nice. Even President Trump has conceded that Norway produces a quality immigrant.

But does Sanders really want to import Scandinavian “socialism?” He brags that his universal health-care plan eliminates patient cost-sharing. But Scandinavia has it. Sanders wants to raise a lot of revenue through heavy taxes on business and investment. Scandinavia doesn’t. Sanders has a big problem with billionaires. Scandinavia doesn’t. Indeed, as I have written, “The egalitarian Nordic nations have as many billionaires, relatively, as the US and more concentrated wealth, at least as measured by the share of wealth controlled by the top 10 percent.”

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Time to Reset the Doomsday Clock of ‘Late Capitalism’

 

The famous Doomsday Clock — it’s a key visual motif in the Watchmen graphic novel and television miniseries — was created by Manhattan Project scientists as a metaphor to suggest how close mankind might be to global catastrophe, originally atomic war. And over the subsequent seven decades, it seems like we’ve typically been pretty close to disaster. The clock was set at seven minutes to midnight in 1947, and it’s averaged between five and six for more than 20 years. Midnight always looms.

Similarly, so does the end of capitalism. It’s always quite late, apparently. The sun is always setting. German economist Werner Sombart coined the phrase in the early 20th century, and European socialists popularized it during the Great Depression when it probably seemed about 30 seconds to midnight for capitalism. But things were darkest before the dawn. Capitalism survived, flourished, and spread across the globe. And even small doses generated near wondrous improvement.

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Border Disputes and Gas Fields in the Eastern Mediterranean

 

A quick update for y’all. A lot of natural gas has been discovered under the waters of the Eastern Mediterranean. Just this month, Israel has started production in the fields it claims. These fields should meet 100 percent of the needs of Israel, plus allow for exports. Another fr*cking miracle! Israel has been cooperating with Greece, Cyprus, and Egypt and the plan was to export to Europe via undersea pipeline through waters claimed by Greece south of Crete.

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Who knew you could have so much fun talking about Elizabeth Warren? Join Jim and Greg as they wade into Warren’s accusation that Bernie Sanders told her two years ago that a woman couldn’t get elected president. They also shake their heads as Warren promises to cancel a lot of student loan debt on her […]

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Abundant, Limited Resources

 

This article by Spencer Jakab at the Wall Street Journal leaves me unsure of whether to laugh or rant. I agree with Jakab that the regular burning of unprofitable natural gas at some oil wells is a problem, but for different reasons. First, an introduction:

Even as more and more gas gets supercooled and shipped around the world in expensive, liquefied form, an estimated 5.1 trillion cubic feet of gas was flared world-wide in 2018, according to The World Bank—equivalent to the combined consumption of France, Germany and Belgium.

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Lots of Friday fun on today’s Three Martini Lunch! Join Jim and Greg as they celebrate the Dow Jones crossing 29,000 for the first time on Friday and enjoy an economy that is staying stronger than many experts predicted. They also slam Pete Buttigieg for suggesting the doomed Ukrainian airliner was “caught in the middle […]

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Is Borden Milking the System?

 

The demand for cow milk in the US has been decreasing since the 1970s. Europe and Australia are similarly affected by the popularity of milk substitutes, like almond milk and soy (for people who prefer to drink their beans). Consequently, milk prices have dropped to attract customers. Producers have yet to replicate their successful “Got Milk?” campaign from the 1990s.

At the same time, Borden, a major dairy producer, claims raw milk costs have risen along with transportation costs and other expenses. Employee pensions are due, though at least not all workers are unionized.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. California Wrecks Its Gig-Economy

 

The economic law of unintended consequences should serve as a cautionary note for anyone wishing to enact lofty, far-reaching social legislation. The intended purpose of such legislation is typically laudable: It is often to protect disadvantaged groups unable to fend for themselves against potential exploiters. But such legislation backfires by ignoring its unintended consequences. No legislative initiative in the realm of economic and social relationships can advance the position of a protected class unless it also imposes costs on the groups with which it does business. Stressing the intended consequences ignores the countermeasures to which other groups will resort to minimize the impact of the legislation. In the end, by shrinking the economic pie, both sides are left worse off.

This proposition is particularly relevant in labor contracting, where the language of exploitation is never far from the lips of today’s most aggressive reformers. Exhibit A is the fighting words of Lorena Gonzalez, a progressive Democratic assemblywoman from the San Diego area who, in September 2019, led the successful drive for the passage of Assembly Bill 5 (AB5). That legislation is now reshaping the California economy for the worse by forcing the reclassification of many independent contractors as employees.

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Communist China Gets a Lesson in Free Markets

 

But do they understand that the effects of their policy are due to the operation of a (relatively) free market? Here is a quote from an article in the Wall Street Journal, titled “Tesla says China output hits target.”

…in China, electric-vehicle sales in the country have been cooling rapidly since the government reduced most subsidies at the end of June.

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Ben Burgis recently argued in Arc Digital that a 175% federal minimum wage increase was a good idea. He is incorrect. It is a very bad idea and his own argumentation is highly unpersuasive. But if he is right then he’s created a bigger problem here for many standard leftist policies. Because if the minimum […]

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Oh man, it’s media day in our year-end Three Martini Lunch awards and Jim and Greg are holding nothing back. Specifically, they look at the stories the mainstream media covered far too much, the ones they conveniently ignored because they didn’t fit their narrative, and what they saw as the best stories of 2019. More

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Jim and Greg conclude the Three Martini Lunch Award season by announcing their choices for person of the year and turncoat of the year. They also make their fearless predictions for 2020. More

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Being interested in architectural design, I came across this topic (shared by a fellow traveller) and found it very artistically beautiful (and even mores in nighttime photos). https://www.realtor.com/news/unique-homes/mansion-violin-shaped-pool/ However, (depending on your news source) when comments were allowed, they inevitably had those who roughly stated how horrible it was to spend on such a thing […]

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More year-end awards today! Jim and Greg embark on the second half of their six-episode saga known as the 2019 Three Martini Lunch Awards. Today, they offer up their selections for the best political idea, worst political idea, and boldest political tactics for the year. More

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We hope you had a wonderful Christmas and we’re glad to have you back as we return to our prestigious Three Martini Lunch Awards. Today, Jim and Greg discuss the worst scandals of 2019, which Jim choosing a foreign policy mess and Greg opting for a domestic one. Next, we sift through a ton of […]

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While winding down before Christmas celebrations begin in earnest, I have been playing a park simulator. Jurassic World: Evolution is among this month’s “free” games on Xbox Live. It’s basically like designing and operating a zoo, only the exhibits are more likely to break free and eat the guests. After learning the ropes at the […]

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Pull up a stool and join Jim and Greg as they offer the second installment of their prestigious year-end awards. Today they remark on the political figures they’re most sorry to see pass away in 2019. They also share their choices for rising political stars and the political figures who appear to be fading into […]

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To say it’s been an eventful year in politics would be a massive understatement. So it’s time to start deciding the best and worst of 2019 and today, Jim and Greg begin handing out the their Three Martini Lunch Awards. In this first installment, they offer their individual selections for Most Overrated Political Figure, Most […]

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