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

The political costs of racial preferences

Donald Trump had a rally this weekend in Arizona: Former President Donald Trump on Saturday claimed that white people are being discriminated against and sent to the “back of the line” when it comes to receiving COVID-19 vaccines and treatment. Speaking during a rally in Florence, Arizona, Trump alleged that coronavirus vaccines and treatments are being unfairly […]

Maximalism and the perils of pandering

What are leading Democrats trying to accomplish with their current push on voting rights?  It’s far from clear.  One approach to voting rights reform would have been to reach out quietly to Republicans and to try to negotiate a limited bill that could win bipartisan support.  Biden could express optimism that reasonable Republicans would come […]

Yes, externalities are real – we’re all paying for Ivermectin

Some libertarians oppose vaccine mandates by claiming that unvaccinated people only impose costs on themselves. However, as I noted in an earlier post, we’re all paying for the vaccine hesitancy stirred up on the right. From JAMA (footnotes omitted): Findings suggest that insurers heavily subsidized the costs of ivermectin prescriptions for COVID-19, even though economic […]

Rationing Paxlovid based on race and ethnicity

The United States is currently recording over 700,000 new cases of Covid-19 per day and the number is rising rapidly.  Fortunately, vaccines are quite effective at preventing severe disease, and Pfizer’s anti-viral drug, Paxlovid is remarkably effective at preventing death and severe illness from Covid-19.  However, only 265,000 courses of Paxlovid are expected by the […]

The soft anti-vaxxness of the Great Barrington Declaration

I have pointed out many times that libertarian critics of lockdowns and vaccine mandates often promote vaccine hesitancy by downplaying the effectiveness of vaccines and exaggerating their risks and the benefits of natural immunity. I had assumed that this anti-vax angle was a later addition to the libertarian playbook, a response to vaccine mandates and […]

Biden, bipartisanship, and the January 6 attack

I just read the transcript of Biden’s address on the anniversary of the attack on the Capitol, which has gotten generally favorable reviews.  I thought the speech highlighted an inconsistency in Biden’s approach to politics that has served him poorly.  Biden has emphasized bringing the country together, working with Republicans, and returning the country to […]

Liberals did not polarize the pandemic

Via Brad DeLong: Berlinski understates her case. The notion that liberals claim to “follow the science” and conservatives claim to do something else (what exactly?) is wrong.  Everyone appeals to science in a pandemic.  Conservatives claim that the science favors their preferred policies, and that people who disagree with them are corrupt, incompetent, or even […]

How to spot libertarian Covid-19 propaganda: one week of bad faith at the Brownstone Institute

Almost everything wrong with the libertarian approach to covid policy has been on display at the Brownstone Institute recently:  misrepresentation of facts, misdirection, revisionist history.  The bad faith is almost beyond belief, except, well, it’s exactly what we have come to expect from the fine libertarians at Brownstone.  The 6 essays I discuss here were […]

Russell Baker

Also at dinner tonight, we discussed funny essays.  My contribution was a famous piece called Francs and Beans by New York Times columnist Russell Baker, which begins like this: As chance would have it, the very evening Craig Claiborne ate his historic $4,000 dinner for two with 31 dishes and nine wines in Paris, a […]

Snarky reviews

Tonight at dinner we discussed snarky reviews, which brought back memories. I was raised in New York City, which was usually fantastic, at least when it wasn’t terrifying.  One of the great things about it was the music.  I saw Lou Reed at the Bottom Line in 1976 or so.  And a few years later […]