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

More disinformation about COVID policy in New Zealand

I have a piece up at Science Based Medicine responding to criticism of New Zealand’s zero COVID policy by Jay Bhattacharya, an author of the Great Barrington Declaration and an uncompromising critic of COVID restrictions.  Here’s the intro: Bhattacharya’s most compelling argument is that the zero COVID policy led to an increase in non-COVID mortality […]

Russia is truly f*cked

I’m not talking about the current military situation or the ongoing destruction of the Russian armed forces; to be clear I hope Russia suffers a crushing defeat at the hands of the Ukrainians.  I’m referring to the damage that the Ukraine war is doing to Russian society.  This damage is immeasurable:  extreme levels of political […]

Committing to Ukraine

We need to make a long-term commitment to Ukrainian victory.  Jack Watling: Given that offensive operations to liberate occupied territories are likely to run through 2023 and are dependent upon Western aid, it is important that Ukraine’s international partners stop periodic announcements about specific lists of equipment and instead articulate a longer-term commitment to structural […]

How should economists criticize Biden’s actions on student loans?

There has been a lot of criticism of Biden’s student loan forgiveness among economists and policy journalists.  And the criticism is not limited to libertarian types, but extends to many economists who clearly care about debt relief, progressivity, and improving the quality and accessibility of higher education but who are nonetheless very critical of the […]

Here’s how Democrats can leverage abortion and Social Security in 2022

Data for Progress has new polling showing that Social Security is very popular, and that Social Security messaging helps Democrats in a generic ballot poll.     The DFP polling comes on the heels of recent comments from Republican politicians about cutting, sunsetting, or privatizing Social Security. So in theory Social Security looks like a good […]

COVID and the case for non-pharmaceutical interventions

The use of non-pharmaceutical interventions has been a source of persistent controversy during the COVID pandemic.  Opposition to NPIs was the motivating impulse behind The Great Barrington Declaration (GBD), which called for an immediate end all “lockdowns” and the use of “focused protection” to “protect the vulnerable”.  The GBD was trumpeted by the American Institute […]

Ivermectin, redux

The conceit of the article on ivermectin by Hooper and Henderson I discussed in my prior post is that medical authorities – mostly the FDA, but also Merck, the maker of ivermectin – are wrongly denying that ivermectin is an effective treatment for COVID.  They raise some issues that are worth discussing.  For example, they […]

Libertarians and medical misinformation:  the case of ivermectin

A 73-year-old woman died of COVID because she got caught up in conspiracy theories and medical misinformation.  NPR has the details: When Stephanie caught COVID-19 just before Thanksgiving of last year, her daughter Laurie suggested that she get help. “She was really not feeling well, and I was like, ‘Just go to the doctor,’” Laurie […]

The uses and limits of bipartisanship

Many Democrats seem to view bipartisanship as a trap for naïve centrists.  This view is understandable given the way Republicans play political hardball.  But the right response to hardball is to use bipartisanship strategically, the way Republicans do, not to eschew it altogether. There are several advantages to pursuing bipartisan agreements.  First, many people hate […]