Read it and weep

1. Bad monetary policy produces inflation and/or recessions. But the greatest cost of bad monetary policy is that it leads to bad policies in other areas, including wasteful fiscal stimulus, protectionism, bank bailouts and price controls. In China, an overly restrictive monetary policy has led the government into a project involving the purchase of large quantities of homes. Here’s Bloomberg:

China is considering a proposal to have local governments across the country buy millions of unsold homes, people familiar with the matter said, in what would be one of its most ambitious attempts yet to salvage the beleaguered property market.

2. Freedom to travel is under threat:

Conservative legal groups are already drafting model legislation to prevent pregnant women from traveling for abortions by legally penalizing anyone who helps them, a strategy used by the state of Texas in one of its abortion bans, which allows anyone in the U.S. to sue those who assist women with abortions—and be rewarded with a bounty paid by the state.

3. Dani Rodrik has an interesting article on China’s program of subsidies for green technology:

China’s green industrial policies have been responsible for some of the most important wins to date against climate change. As Chinese producers expanded capacity and reaped the benefits of scale, the costs of renewable energy plummeted. In the space of a decade, prices fell by 80% for solar, 73% for offshore wind, 57% for onshore wind, and 80% for electric batteries. These gains underpin the creeping optimism in climate circles that we might just be able to keep global warming within reasonable bounds. Government incentives, private investment, and learning curves proved to be a very powerful combination indeed.

With the IRA, America already has its own version of China’s green industrial policies. The law provides hundreds of billions of dollars in subsidies to facilitate the transition to renewables and green industries. 

Who could possibly object to a highly successful program that is now being copied by the US government? You guessed it–the Biden administration:

On a recent trip to China, US Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen warned China directly that the US would not stand by in the face of China’s “large-scale government support” for industries such as solar, electric vehicles, and batteries.

4. Taiwan understands China far better than does the US government. It also has more to fear from the Chinese government. And yet, even Taiwan understands the futility of banning TikTok.

About 80 miles from China’s coast, Taiwan is particularly exposed to the possibility of TikTok’s being used as a source of geopolitical propaganda. Taiwan has been bombarded with digital disinformation for decades, much of it traced back to China.

But unlike Congress, the government in Taiwan is not contemplating legislation that could end in a ban of TikTok.

AFAIK, Russia does not own any major social media used in the US. And yet I see pro-Russian propaganda all over the internet. Tiktok is not the issue.

5. The Libertarian Party seems to have pulled back from the brink by choosing a respectable candidate over the sort of hard right figure preferred by the Mises Caucus. Here’s Reason:

Oliver, a 38-year-old gay man from Atlanta with socially tolerant and pro-immigration views, delivered a passionate response after Trump’s speech to the convention on Saturday. Now, he will get to spend the next six months competing directly against Trump and President Joe Biden, two men more than twice his age. After winning on Sunday, Oliver promised to keep pressing a message that neither major-party candidate is likely to offer.

“I will continue to bring a hopeful and positive message of liberty to both those who consider themselves libertarian and those who don’t know they are libertarian yet,” Oliver promised in his victory speech. . . .

Oliver’s victory on Sunday night was a blow to the Mises Caucus, the right-leaning faction that took control of the Libertarian Party at the 2022 convention and that had orchestrated Trump’s appearance at the convention. That faction’s preferred candidate was Rectenwald.

6. I’ve focused on arguments against Trump, but Matt Yglesias points out that it’s possible to construct some pretty creative pro-Trump arguments:

7. Martin Wolf has an excellent piece on the rising threat of nationalism. He concludes as follows:

In 1939, the poet WH Auden wrote of what he judged “a low dishonest decade”. How will ours look in 2029?

8. There’s no such thing as public opinion, example #329:

9. Back in the summer of 2021, I predicted that the public’s mood would sour even as the economy improved:

There’s always a price to pay for unsustainable good times, and thus I expect the public’s mood to turn sour in the fall and winter, even as employment recovers—indeed because employment recovers.  Someone has to do all those crappy jobs.

Now it’s becoming conventional wisdom:

Never forget that you heard it here first.

10. I am currently reading an old novel by Melville, entitled Omoo. This comment at the end of chapter 6 caught my eye:

But it is a curious fact, that the more ignorant and degraded men are, the more contemptuously they look upon those who they deem their inferiors.

Suppose you brought Melville to the year 2024, showed him each candidate’s speeches, and asked him who he thought would win the votes of “white trash”. What would he predict?

11. The funniest thing about this Youtube clip is that Trump forgot to lie. Normally he’d just lie, like when they asked him if he would release his taxes. In this case he was so freaked out by the name “Epstein” that he forgot to lie.

12. When Biden makes a patriotic speech on D-day extolling the virtues of democracy, Trumpistas whine that he’s being “political”. I guess that’s because in their view “everyone knows” that Trump hates democracy, so any discussion of its virtues is, ipso facto, a slap at Trump.

I’m going to have so much fun blogging during Trump’s second term!!



22 Responses to “Read it and weep”

  1. Gravatar of Sara Sara
    9. June 2024 at 00:51

    Freedom of travel was already restricted by the left wing gangsters, who had the audacity to tell you your business was “non essential”

    Texas is not “restricting travel.” You do have the right to leave the state and change your residency. This is the problem with the illiberal summners. They want one law for thee, another for me.

    If you are a resident of Texas, you must follow Texas law. Do you no understand the concept of a republic? Just because you visit New York, doesnt mean you’re a new york resident. You are a non resident traveling in new york. Big difference.

    And Biden’s comments about the greatest generation wanting to pick a fight with Russia was disgusting. No, the greatest generation would not support NATO expansion, sending billions to Ukraine, etc. We know that, because the few surviving veterans of that era have publicly lamented the decline of freedom in America, stating the country was “unrecognizable” and “not what they fought for”, to the extent that they openly support Donald John Trump.

  2. Gravatar of Arilando Arilando
    9. June 2024 at 01:15

    I doubt we will ever get any kind of coherent explanation from people like Martin Wolf why opposing mass immigration is somehow anti-democracy.

  3. Gravatar of Edward Edward
    9. June 2024 at 01:51

    Everything you claim the republicans are going to do, your buffoons have already done.

    You claim Trump will use lawfare; that’s what you’re doing.
    You claim Trump will stop freedom of movement; you already did that.
    You claim he’s going to start WWIII; you’ve tried very hard to do that yourself in the last four years.
    You claim he’s going to be a dictator. Biden and Obama’s executive orders surpass the number of executive orders of all other presidents combined. Basically, if your party doesn’t get their way, they pass an “executive order” or invoke mandates under an “emergency.”
    You claim he’s going to ban TikTok; you banned TikTok.

    You have severe TDS. Just admit it. Go see a doctor. Get some chill pills.

  4. Gravatar of Ricardo Ricardo
    9. June 2024 at 03:22

    “Large-scale government support”

    The government shouldn’t be involved in the market. No subsidies.

    “I see pro-russian propaganda all over the internet.”

    Where do you see it? Why don’t you show the exact quote that you are referring to. Let’s analyze it.

    1. Nato expansion is not propaganda. It’s a fact.
    2. Ukrain corruption is not Russian propaganda. The radical left NYT even wrote that Ukraine was corrupt. It’s not a secret. The NYT wrote many articles covering the neoNazi Azov battallion from 2013 to 2021. They only stopped reporting after the war started.

    In China, their version of TikTok displays chinese news. In the U.S. they promote radical left wing influencers. We’re in a cold war, and if it was a cold war with Russia your warhawk attitute would have led to a nuclear war. But because the cold war is with your beloved China, and because you have this certain devilish fascination with top-down, stakeholder style government (i.e, WEF), you purposefully, and somewhat maliciously, downplay the threat. 30,000 Chinese, military age, all men, have come through the Mexican border. Recently, Chinese agents were arrested on a military base in the United States. If a Russian agent had been arrested on a military base, you’d be writing article after article about how Russia is a serious threat.

    But not when it’s the CCP.

  5. Gravatar of Sean Sean
    9. June 2024 at 12:44

    Better arguments

    1. It was a mentally ill women’s made up fantasy
    2. It may be a misdemeanor. I am not sure. 95% of your readers have done the same thing. Wrote something down in excel that was not correct. The other 5% have never had a job.

    3. They were patriots protesting that got out of line

    On the convicted felon part it’s not that we still wouldn’t want a convicted felon in the old sense. We don’t want a drug dealer, a pedo, etc. NYC degrades the meaning of felon to be whoever we don’t like.

  6. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    9. June 2024 at 14:02

    Sean, Sure, it was a misdemeanor. But what makes you feel the need to make up excuses for this utterly disgusting human being, who has committed more crimes than I can count?

    And what makes these hysterical anti-Trump people think he likes grabbing women by the genitals? I cannot imagine. Seriously, even if I agree with a politician on the issues, I feel no need to excuse all his crimes. Why the personality cult? I don’t get it. Is it so unpleasant to be rational?

    And the Jan. 6 mob deserves to rot in prison. His promise to pardon them is reason enough to vote against him—as if there aren’t 100 other reasons.

    BTW, drug dealing should be legal. Here in California we have lots of legal drug dealers. Trump is far worse than a drug dealer. He’s a traitor.

    “We don’t want a drug dealer, a pedo, etc.”

    This is kind of funny given Trump’s reputation for liking younger girls. To be clear, I couldn’t care less about his personal life (or Biden’s), or his Epstein association. It’s just a funny point to bring up in his defense.

  7. Gravatar of Solon of the East Solon of the East
    9. June 2024 at 15:14

    The record of cooperation and yet also subsidization of industry in many Asian economies is an interesting topic.

    China, Japan and especially Singapore, are not really free market as much as they are pro business. The distinction between free enterprise and government in Singapore is especially blurry, but then the more one reads about Japan or China, the more that seems blurry there too.

    I have to say this pro business and yet not free market approach seems to work—but only in relatively homogenous Asian societies.

    As for the national debt, the Japan approach might work. The central bank acquires much of the debt.

  8. Gravatar of Solon of the East Solon of the East
    9. June 2024 at 15:17

    PS Something tells me Biden will eke out a victory. Trump is losing appeal, not because of the court cases, but his personality.

    I think RFK2 is an interesting prospect.

  9. Gravatar of Alexander Turok Alexander Turok
    9. June 2024 at 16:46

    6. Do you actually believe Trump assaulted big fan of the Apprentice E. Jean Carroll?

    11. Epstein conspiracism is QAnon for college graduates. It’s always vaguely gesturing toward a smoking gun that’s never produced.

  10. Gravatar of msgkings msgkings
    9. June 2024 at 16:58


    I watched the clip in #11, he didn’t forget to lie. He said he’d release it then backtracked some when he got spooked (as you noted) once he realized it wasn’t like the other questions.

    So when he said he’d release it he lied, then did the wishywashy nonsense to cover for when he doesn’t release it.

  11. Gravatar of Sean Sean
    9. June 2024 at 17:22

    New low for Scott. Literally just said drug dealers are worse than Trump. These are guys choosing to sell fentanyl. We can all debate whether drugs should be legal, but these people are choosing to specifically sell a drug they know will result in deaths of 120k Americans.

    I support Trump because he’s good at his job.

    The only crime Trump has been convicted of (despite statute of limitations in a hostile court) is something I do everyday at work like every other white color worker.

    Business records can be include literally anything. A Skype message amongst co-workers counts. Telling a co-worker I hope you have a nice day (when you don’t) would be guilty of that charge.

  12. Gravatar of Sean Sean
    9. June 2024 at 17:23

    Scott – also if he is guilty of real things then why don’t you cite the real things.

    He is a little vile, but he has impeccable judgement and perhaps we need his personality now.

  13. Gravatar of msgkings msgkings
    9. June 2024 at 18:22


    The problem with trolling like you are doing is you are going too far. You have to keep it plausible or your audience will just dismiss you as a clown. Saying Trump has ‘impeccable judgement’ is a good example of bad trolling.

    Won’t even get into the rest of your Trump love, I know there’s no point with MAGA types.

  14. Gravatar of steve steve
    9. June 2024 at 19:36

    My favorite story about the Texas abortion travel law is the guy who threatened to report his ex-wife for leaving the state to get an abortion if she didnt agree to have sex with him and do his laundry. The laundry part just cracks me up.

    More seriously, Texas still refuses to clarify the abortion law leaving it vague so that hospitals and doctors dont really know what is legal.


  15. Gravatar of steve steve
    9. June 2024 at 19:47

    Dang, forgot. Per Statista, number of executive orders per president.

    Reagan-381 (48)

    Bush 2- 291 (36)

    Obama-276 (35)

    Trump-220 (55)

    Biden- 130 (43)

    Note that for Trump that was over only 4 years, 3 1/2 for Biden. Second number is average per year. FDR had the most at 3,721.


  16. Gravatar of Sean Sean
    9. June 2024 at 21:52

    Even Jamie Dimon has said Trump had good judgement. Things were good under him.

    I am 100% not trolling.

    1. He warned Germany on defense spending and building their economy on exporting to Germany and importing Russian energy.

    2. He got monetary policy right in 2018 when he told Powell to cut while Powell was hiking. Turned out the economy had more juice in it and inflation was too low.

    3. Abraham Accords

    4. Operation Warpspeed

    5. Immigration

    6. China

    7. Even if grab him by the pussy stuff isn’t that bad when you consider the west is anti-natalist and collapsing in population.

    I realize some people live in bubbles. And being told truth is indistinguishable for them versus trolling

  17. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    9. June 2024 at 22:06

    Sean and Alexander, When Trumpistas show a complete lack of reading comprehension, a complete inability to understand what I am saying, how do you think that makes me feel about their arguments? You are not helping your cause.

  18. Gravatar of J. Pinnock J. Pinnock
    10. June 2024 at 00:19

    Over-the-top, exaggerations, about Donald Trump’s physical appearance and personality, or taking his statements out of context will not help you win the election.

    If you fear DJT, or Boris Johnson, or Marine La Pen, then stop helping them win. If you treated Trump fairly and attacked his policies, instead of calling his supporters terrorists, or creating false narratives that oddly compare him to Hitler your party would do much better.

  19. Gravatar of Lizard Man Lizard Man
    10. June 2024 at 04:52

    8. I was surprised that 42% of GOP voters still held to their beliefs that convicted felons should be barred from high political office. Given the crap that they would take from friends and family if they shared that opinion, that seems like a really high number to me and an indication that maybe there is public opinion. The info moved my priors closer to there being meaningful public opinion beyond mere partisanship or cults of personality.

  20. Gravatar of Tacticus Tacticus
    10. June 2024 at 08:02

    Sean, Germany was building their economy on exporting to Germany?

    Sexual abuse is good because… it will increase the population?

    Are you okay?

  21. Gravatar of Eharding Eharding
    10. June 2024 at 08:12

    Sumner; the 2021 ICP results are out; do you trust these results (Russia having half the price level of China and as of 2024 having a larger economy than Japan, Argentina being nearly as rich as Chile, Italy being more nearly as rich as Britain/France than Spain/Portugal, etc.)? I feel the 2017 results are more reliable.

  22. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    10. June 2024 at 08:21

    Pinnock, The fact that Trumpistas like you feel that non-stop lying is the only way to win an argument, makes me even more contemptuous of your views (if that’s even possible.)

    I never said any of the things that you claim I said.

    Harding, Sounds fishy.

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