03 Jul 2018


Piketty, Potpourri, Shameless Self-Promotion 9 Comments

==> At IER, I discuss Doug Ford’s election (in Ontario). He ran on a platform promising to roll back cap-and-trade.

==> Sorry if I already pushed this: In the latest Contra Krugman I go solo and talk about the economics of climate change policy.

==> FEE’s Blinking Lights award, given this year to Nelson Nash.

==> I haven’t had time to read this carefully, but Ilya Somin doesn’t think “enforcing the existing law” requires breaking up families, contrary to the Trump Administration’s claims (at least its initial claims before the revamp).

==> Rob Bradley gives a list of some failed climate doomsaying.

==> Jacob Huebert has been traveling in Austro-libertarian circles for years so I was very pleasantly surprised to see he was one of the lawyers behind the recent union ruling.

==> Conservatives ruin everything!

==> The submissions are in for the Contra Contest 2018!

==> I chime in at Scott Alexander’s blog. Topic: Piketty.

9 Responses to “Potpourri”

  1. guest says:

    LOL @ Conservatives ruining everything.

    “The Citizens United campaign finance case, for instance, was decided on free-speech grounds, with the five-justice conservative majority ruling that the First Amendment protects unlimited campaign spending by corporations.”

    No they didn’t:

    Story of Citizens United v. FEC, The Critique ‌‌ – Lee Doren

    Annie Leonard (from her video that Lee Doren is critiquing): “In that case, five members of the Supreme Court decided that it’s unconstitutional to put any limits on how much money corporations can spend influencing elections.”

    Lee Doren: “That’s not true; That’s not the holding in this case. Which makes this critique so frustrating.

    “This case did not say that corporations and unions could give an unlimited dollar amount to candidates. What it did talk about was whether the government could ban electioneering communications based on the person, groups of people, or entities communicating the message.”

    Again, from the article:

    “The government, the majority said, has no business regulating political speech.”

    That’s correct.

    • Harold says:

      I am not sure what you mean. Are you saying that the court ruling had nothing to do with dollar amount, but one effect of the ruling is that the dollar amount is unlimited?

      • Andrew says:

        In the US, there are limits on how much a person can donate to a political candiate’s campaign but there are no limits on how much can be donated to other political organizations. So you could only donate a maximum of $2700 to Hillary Clinton’s campaign, but you could donate any amount you want to an independent organization running ads in support of Hillary Clinton, so long as that organization does not take direction from the Clinton campaign.

      • guest says:

        Under the Constitution, the government is prohibited from making laws that stifle speech. The dollar amount associated with that speech is irrelevant.

        People have a right to speak. They do not have a right to have the government handicap others who have the resources to communicate more effectively than others.

      • Harold says:

        Would it be correct to say that the ruling was not based on dollar amounts, but one effect of the ruling is that there is no limit to how much money corporations spend influencing elections?

        • Andrew says:

          No, I don’t think so. The 1st Amendment guarantees us freedom of speech in the United States. So, the government cannot prevent us from spending money to amplify our voices, even when we choose to talk about elections. But there are still activities that influence elections that are completely illegal or have spending limits.

          If you changed “influencing elections” to “voicing political opinions” then your statement would be correct.

          • guest says:

            Right. The whole point of prohibiting the government from hindering the free expression of ideas is to make it possible for speech to influence elections.

            The American government was designed to operate slow and with deliberation so as to give cooler heads a chance to prevail.

            It’s not supposed to be “practical” as the Left imagines that word to mean. It’s designed to protect the innocent from the government, itself.

            Because the Founders understood that it’s far worse for the government to decide for itself what is, or is not, a “practical” matter and in need of immediate action, than to suffer the occasional, isolated instances of criminal activity not dealt with by government.

            (A lot of the problems we have, today, would go away if the government would just leave people alone to trade with people as they see fit.

            (Take poverty, for example. There are zoning regulations and building codes that prevent would-be entrepreneurs from repurposing their property for profit.)

          • Harold says:

            “If you changed “influencing elections” to “voicing political opinions” then your statement would be correct.”

            How about “attempting to influence elections?”

            • Andrew says:

              “Attempting to influence elections via political speech” and you have a deal.

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