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

No Bumper Crop in 2020

No Bumper Crop in 2020 We took a trip this weekend, driving 180 miles each way on I-5 through Oregon and Washington State.  We kept our eyes peeled for bumper stickers relating to the upcoming election but counted only three for Trump and an amazing zero for Biden. I’ve never seen anything like this before […]

Voting in a Time of Covid: A Question about Judicial “Originalism”

Voting in a Time of Covid: A Question about Judicial “Originalism” The originalist theory of legal interpretation holds that judges, in reviewing the implementation of a statute, should be guided by the “plain meaning” of its language at the time it was adopted.  This is in opposition to the notion of a “living law”, whose […]

A Framework for Coronavirus Policy

A Framework for Coronavirus Policy There are two general ways to reduce the transmission of the virus.  One is “engineering”, changing the physical environment, the other is “social”, changing behavior to keep people distant from each other.  Under engineering, we can include not only physical partitions, UV lighting and ventilation, but also mask-wearing and other […]

Why Trump Is in Trouble

Why Trump Is in Trouble Trump is staggering.  He’s plunging in the polls, and his behavior has become erratic and unhinged.  I don’t mean he’s being crude, infantile and wrapped in a world of fantasy—he’s always like that.  Rather, I see him as suddenly incoherent, fumbling with threats and catchphrases as if he were locked […]

Conspiracy Theories: How to Pick Out the Plausible Ones

Conspiracy Theories: How to Pick Out the Plausible Ones This is an age of rampant conspiratorialism.  Bill Gates is behind the pandemic because he wants to shoot you full of vaccines.  No wait, it’s all those 5G cell towers.  Or maybe it’s bioterrorism from China.  Or just a hoax perpetrated by international capital to undermine […]

A Compromise on Liability

A Compromise on Liability So Mitch McConnell and the senate Republicans want blanket employer liability protection as the price of another round of economic support.  They have this leverage because Democrats kept postponing their agenda until they were the only ones with a list of things they wanted to spend money on. (This illustrates classic bargaining theory […]

Woke Is Reactionary: The Small Business Lending Edition

Woke Is Reactionary: The Small Business Lending Edition We live in a drastically unequal society.  Everywhere you look you will find injustice, constraint and exploitation.  Being a member of a racial or other minority increases the odds you will end up on the short end, so what should we do about it?  There’s a progressive […]

Reopening Isn’t Reopening—It’s Cutting Off Unemployment

Reopening Isn’t Reopening—It’s Cutting Off Unemployment Donald Trump, cheering on his “warriors” who demand that states lift their lockdown and distancing orders (where they have them), would have you believe this is about bringing the economy back to life so ordinary people can get their jobs and normal lives back.  Elitist liberals who work from home and have country […]