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Arnold Kling reflects on Jews and communism.

The Cato Institute files an amicus brief in support of protecting property-owners’ Fifth amendment rights under the Takings clause – protection that benefits all of society.

Emma Camp reports on Biden’s latest lawless and unjust attempt to bestow unearned benefits on people who owe on their student loans. Two slices:

On Thursday, the Biden administration announced a new plan to enact large-scale student loan forgiveness, this time by targeting borrowers experiencing financial “hardship.”


Ironically, the Biden administration’s “permanent solutions” to the student loan crisis will likely only end up making the problem worse. While supporters of the proposal say it would provide necessary relief for borrowers unlikely to pay their loans back, providing blanket forgiveness to those struggling to pay their loans back would likely end up incentivizing universities to hike prices and encouraging students to enroll in expensive programs.

If students know that they can have their loans forgiven as long they prove financial hardship, it will directly incentivize prospective borrowers to take on huge balances for dubiously valuable degrees. In turn, colleges can assure students that taking on tens—or even hundreds—of thousands of dollars in loans is a wise choice. After all, the government has promised to step in should repayment become burdensome.

David Masci says that Trump and Biden both are “agents of chaos.” A slice:

Setting aside policy and politics, the fact that the last two administrations have been so chaotic speaks to how much more performative the presidency has become in recent years. Since we don’t have a monarch, presidents have always been more than mere chief executives. But the Trump and Biden administrations have taken to new heights the prioritization of superficial gestures and pandering over the sound execution of sound policies.

Trump, of course, ran against elites, and so whenever he appointed people with any demonstrated competence and experience, he soon unceremoniously dumped them or humiliated them until they left in anger and frustration. It’s clear that providing bread and circuses to his supporters trumped doing his job.

Meanwhile, Biden has pandered to the far-left wing of the Democratic coalition, which helps explain his border and Middle East policies. To put it another way, he’d rather fail to advance vital American interests than be called a xenophobe or an Islamophobe.

Freddie Sayers and Konstantin Kisen wonder what’s happened to Tucker Carlson.

The Wall Street Journal‘s Editorial Board warns of the dangers of taxing unrealized wealth gains. A slice:

The state’s [Vermont’s] top tax legislator has spent recent weeks pushing bills that would dial up taxes on high earners. The biggest reach is a proposal to tax the paper gains from assets above $10 million. The plan would slap Vermont’s 8.75% top income-tax rate on half of those gains. That means a family whose business gains $3 million in value could owe $131,000, even if they don’t take out a single dollar of cash.

Like levies on capital gains, the new tax would cut into investment returns and leave well-off Vermonters less reason to deploy their money in wealth-producing investments. Unlike a capital-gains tax, the wealth tax would create a mess of confusing estate appraisals and endless disputes with the revenue department.

This is why no state currently taxes unrealized gains, but the author of the Vermont plan says the novelty is the point. “Given the state of our national politics, it really is up to states to be moving these things along,” said Ways and Means Committee Chair Emilie Kornheiser last year. Lawmakers in 10 states are working on wealth taxes this year, and she wants the progressive Green Mountain State to be first to enact one.

Vermont is a popular haven for escapees of the punitive taxes in New York and Boston, and GOP Gov. Phil Scott has made the modest suggestion that a wealth tax might drive these newcomers out. Alas, Ms. Kornheiser has an answer for that one. Before introducing the bill, she brought in a Cornell sociologist to debunk the “myth” of millionaire tax flight. Never mind the masses leaving the Northeast for Florida and Texas. Relying on sociology explains a lot about progressive tax policy.

Peter Suderman is no fan of Madame Web.

Bob Graboyes asks: “Do song lyrics more closely resemble fine poetry or vapid greeting cards?”

Jay Bhattacharya tweets:

If you are a US federal worker or contractor and your job involves censoring your fellow Americans, please consider whether you have really made worthwhile choices about how to use your talents and time. Why not choose to do good instead?