Jon Murphy responds  to Barry Ritholtz’s dismissal  of my claim  that ordinary Americans in 2016 are materially richer than was John D. Rockefeller in 1916. (I hope to offer soon my own response to Ritholtz, as well as to some others who raise objections.)
My colleague Bryan Caplan, over at EconLog, summarizes his informed assessment of the claim that economic development over the long run is a function of people’s ancestry . Bryan’s assessment of this claim is unfavorable.
Bob Higgs understands the reality of politics . A slice:
So, what possible intelligence can voters exercise in casting their ballots? They can vote in accordance with the appeal a particular candidate’s promises hold for them, but relying on candidates to carry out their promises would be childishly foolish. Anyone who pays the slightest attention to politics knows that politicians are inveterate liars; many would sooner lie than speak truthfully even if the truth did not thwart their purposes, because lying would be more congenial to their true, dishonest character. Thus, voters can do nothing more than throw ideological darts, casting their ballots for the candidate who makes the most appealing noises, has the handsomest face, or displays peacock-like the most fabulous partisan posturing.
To perceive any fixed and reliable link between what the candidates promise and what they deliver in office would be wildly counterfactual. Politicians have no more backbone than an earthworm. Even if they could not be bought—and most obviously can be—they are constantly at auction for rent, and the bidding never ceases. Thus, we can count on them with complete confidence in only one regard: their mendacious shilly-shallying.
William Dupre explains that Uncle Sam, in insisting on Apple’s ‘cooperation’ in extracting private information from an iPhone, is trying to protect its brand no less than is Apple in its refusal to ‘cooperate.’