An essay at The Hill on what to make of market volatility, from Dec 31. Now that two weeks have passed, I can post the whole thing. I add some graphs too. (Though at the rate things are going any forecast will have been proved wrong in two weeks!) What’s causing the big drop in the stock market, and the bout of enormous volatility we’re seeing at the end of the year?
“It’s a lot easier to act presidential than to do what I do,” President Trump told a Tampa audience this summer. He’s wrong, and it may have real-world implications if he invokes federal “emergency” statutes to unilaterally build a Mexican border wall.
About four years ago, President Obama flew to California and joined Governor Jerry Brown and US Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer in a visit to a parched Central Valley town to discuss the state’s extreme drought and water shortage.
“Just as we used to tell people, ‘Go west — that’s where things are opening up, growing, dynamic,’” said Jack Goldstone, public policy professor at George Mason University, “I will say to people, ‘Go South,’ because for the next fifty years, Africa is going to have… critical impact on the growth of the [global] economy.” To address this economic opportunity and the challenges to governance arising from it, five Africa experts gathered at the Hoover Institution’s Hauck Auditorium for a “Governance in an Emerging New World” panel on Africa’s development.
The old anti-Semitism was mostly, but not exclusively, a tribal prejudice expressed in America up until the mid 20th century most intensely on the right. It manifested itself from the silk-stocking country club and corporation (“gentlemen’s agreement”) to the rawer regions of the Ku Klux Klan’s lunatic fringe.
In his biographies of the Roman emperors, Suetonius describes a conversation between Vespasian and his son Titus, who disapproved of his father taxing the urine that tanners and other industries collected from public restrooms: “When Titus found fault with him for contriving a tax upon public conveniences, [Vespasian] held a piece of money from the first payment to his son’s nose, asking whether its odor was offensive to him. When Titus said ‘No,’ he replied, ‘Yet it comes from urine.’”
Military History is rarely out of the news in Russia, and this month it was announced that a new Army Cathedral there will have its front steps made out of melted-down tanks seized from the Germans in the Great Patriotic War of 1941–45. President Vladimir Putin, whose pet project this is, has raised 1.8 billion roubles (£20.9 million, $26.8 million) for a three hundred-foot high brand-new Main Cathedral of the Armed Forces in Patriot Park, a military theme park 40 miles from Moscow.
With President Trump in the Oval Office, liberals who sought broad national powers during the Obama years have discovered the virtues of federalism. On issues from immigration to the environment to drug policy, they rely on states’ rights to chart a path at odds with that of Washington, D.C.
As so often, “South Park” saw it coming. In “The Last of the Meheecans”— which first aired back in October 2011 — the obnoxious Cartman joins the US Border Patrol, only to find himself facing the wrong way as hordes of disillusioned Mexican workers seek to flee the economically depressed United States back to Mexico.
A funny thing has happened to Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi, and other Democrats on their way to opposing President Trump’s border wall. They’ve forgotten their own past. Time and again, Democrats have voted to fund border security. And, just a few weeks ago, they agreed to spend nearly $2 billion toward construction of the very physical barrier that President Trump has repeatedly called for.
I got a nice note from Sam Peltzman this morning about my WSJ piece on my teacher and his colleague Harold Demsetz.
I responded to Sam that I had a great Demsetz story to tell him that involved him. I’ll tell that and then I’ll tell one that Harold told at the June 1 and 2, 2012 Harold Demsetz Conference that UCLA held.
My former colleague at the Naval Postgraduate School Jonathan Lipow posted something on Facebook that I think deserves wider readership. We don’t see eye to eye on everything and we don’t even see eye to eye on what’s in his Facebook post. But he says it well and makes some valid points.
When you receive your paycheck and look at the withholding for federal, state and sometimes city taxes, along with Social Security and Medicare, you probably don't think you're underpaying governments and want them to take more. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio believes that if you have played by what used to be called "the rules" and are making a decent living, taking care of yourself and your family and not relying on government, your taxes should be increased.
Ben Bernanke got a big laugh from economists in Atlanta on Jan. 4. A few minutes after Janet Yellen said, “I don’t think expansions just die of old age,” he replied, “I like to say they get murdered.” All right, not that funny. But the nerdy repartee between the past two Federal Reserve chairs at the annual meeting of the American Economic Association reveals how central bankers think about recessions—and says something about how likely it is that the U.S. will tip into one over the next year.
[Subscription Required] President Trump on Monday said that China is feeling the pain from U.S. tariffs, boding well for a trade deal, but talks so far between the two nations haven’t yielded concrete results.
Like everyone else on Lawfare, I was struck by the recent New York Times story about the FBI opening a counterintelligence investigation into President Trump after he fired former FBI Director Jim Comey. It adds to my unease, not about President Trump but about the FBI.
You wouldn’t think that a defense of reason, science, and humanism would be particularly controversial in an era in which those ideals would seem to need all the help they can get. But in the words of a colleague, “You’ve made people’s heads explode!” Many people who have written to me about my 2018 book Enlightenment Now say they’ve been taken aback by the irate attacks from critics on both the right and the left. Far from embracing the beleaguered ideals of the Enlightenment, critics have blamed it for racism, imperialism, existential threats, and epidemics of loneliness, depression, and suicide.