Relevant and even prescient commentary on news, politics and the economy.

Should Democrats rally around Harris?

It appears that the democratic nomination contest is wrapped up.  People are voting with their wallets.  Pelosi and Obama at one point appeared to favor some kind of competitive process, but Pelosi has evidently thrown her support behind Harris.  Potential rivals are all standing down. Ezra Klein is still making the case for an abbreviated […]

This is not going to blow over.  It’s time for Biden to step aside.

Biden has been slightly behind Trump in the polls for months.  Still, until now it was easy enough to discern a plausible path to victory.  Democratic voters disappointed with Biden would gradually return to the fold as the choice between Biden and Trump became clear.  Memories of inflation would fade.  Trump would say outrageous things.  […]

The case for a national unity ticket

Will Biden drop out?  Should he?  What then? To run or not to run So far Biden seems determined to stay in the presidential race.  He and his campaign have worked hard to tamp down any talk that he might step aside.  Yet there is a reasonable chance he will step aside, especially if his […]

The debate

The long term effect of the debate may be small, but the race is at best a tie, and I just don’t see how Biden can turn it around.  I’m not saying he should drop out or that his candidacy is doomed.  He still may be the Dems best bet.  Maybe the outcry about his […]

The picayune approach to statutory interpretation and the war on the regulatory state:  the case of bump stocks

Imagine that Congress wants to address some social or economic problem by prohibiting certain undesirable acts.  One approach Congress can take is to specifically describe the undesirable behavior and prohibit it.  This approach sometimes works well – it is the basis of traditional criminal law – but it has two great disadvantages.  First, in many […]

How can getting food into Gaza be up for debate?

From the NYT: I am not sure what the claim is here.  If the idea is that Hamas will get political credit if people do not starve, this is a totally unacceptable reason to withhold food.  Maybe the worry is that Hamas will gain political leverage by monopolizing the distribution of food aid and distributing […]

Changing Israel’s self-destructive course

Israel is on a dangerously self-destructive course.  The brutality of the Gaza campaign is antagonizing allies and making it difficult for regional players to continue normalizing relations.  The prospects for a durable peace are dimming at the same time that the policy of military supremacy that provided a modicum of security over the past two […]

Elections are about trust, blame, and identity.  Here’s how to use that against Trump.

According to one well-known theory of electoral competition, voters care about policies, and candidates pick policies to maximize their appeal to voters.  This suggests that campaigns will try to appeal to the median voter.  There is obviously something to this model, and this year, as always, it is a safe bet that each side will, […]

Are the conservative Justices playing politics?

Probably, and that’s bad for straightforwardly political reasons.  Arrogant, naively moralistic Justices would be much less effective. Last week the conservative court preserved access to the critical abortion drug mifepristone.  But they relied on a procedural technicality and thus preserved their ability to limit use of the drug after the upcoming election.  Refusing to reach […]

Is the Taylor Swift ERAs tour in the UK inflationary?

Tyler Cowen links to an article suggesting that Taylor Swift’s upcoming concerts in London may boost inflation and delay an interest rate cut by the Bank of England. I am not a macroeconomist, but color my skeptical.  For one thing, a short blip in the demand for hotel rooms in London will likely increase room […]