I agree with much of what David Stockman says about Obama’s plan to bomb ISIS operatives. (HT Gene Epstein) A slice:
And let’s be clear. The President’s so-called “counter-terrorism” campaign—-that special kind of violent eruption which isn’t a “war”—-is not really about punishing some barbarians who have beheaded two innocent Americans and who have also recruited perhaps a dozen not so innocent Americans to join their blood-thirsty ranks. Civilized adults just do not start a war on the other side of the world on account of such thin gruel, as horrific as the actions involved might be.
Indeed, based on his stated reasons for war—beheadings and venomous rhetoric—Obama is on the same slippery slope that Woodrow Wilson stood on when he sent two million American GIs into the senseless slaughterhouse of northern France. It was to vindicate the freedom of Americans to sail into war zones, even on armed belligerent ships, he said.
In the cold light of history, Wilson’s misbegotten crusade in behalf of an utterly untenable principle accomplished nothing more than to prolong a war which was already over in the spring of 1917 due to the mutual exhaustion and bankruptcy of both sides; and in so doing, he spawned the Bolshevik tyranny in Russia, the punitive peace treaty of Versailles, the revanchist evil of Nazi Germany and the world wars and cold wars which followed.
Spurious correlations. (HT Greg Mankiw)
Almost everything FDR did to jump-start growth retarded it. The rise in the minimum wage kept unemployment intolerably high. (Are you listening, Nancy Pelosi?) Roosevelt’s work programs like the Works Progress Administration, National Recovery Administration and the Agricultural Adjustment Administration were so bureaucratic as to have minimal impact on jobs. Raising tax rates to nearly 80 percent on the rich stalled the economy. Social Security is and always was from the start a Madoff-style Ponzi scheme that will eventually sink into bankruptcy unless reformed.
The most alarming story of economic ignorance surrounding this New Deal era was the tax increases while the economy was faltering. According to economist Burt Folsom, FDR signed one of the most financially devastating taxes: “On April 27, 1942, he signed an executive order taxing all personal income above $25,000 [rich back then] at 100 percent. Congress balked at that idea and later lowered it to 90 percent at the top level.” The New Dealers completely ignored the lessons of the 1920s tax cuts, which just a decade before had unfurled an age of super-growth.
GMU Econ PhD candidate Abigail Hall explains how foreign intervention means more domestic intervention. (And she points us to important work on this topic that she’s doing with my colleague Chris Coyne.) Here’s her conclusion:
Governments often utilize rhetoric of freedom and liberty to justify foreign interventions. This supposed commitment to higher ideals is indicated by the names the U.S. government has assigned to recent foreign military interventions—Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Falcon Freedom, and so on. Despite this rhetoric, it may be the case that foreign interventions do more harm to freedom than good. Foreign interventions change the fundamental structure of the system intended to protect us from government suppression. These changes are likely to erode, not protect, our liberties.