Really Unimpressed

Earlier we wrote that we were unimpressed by Ron Kind’s vote against Nancy Pelosi as he called for new leadership for House Democrats.  We hadn’t seen who he voted for.  Several members voted present but Kind voted for John Lewis.  As far as new leadership it is a poor signal since John is a month (and a bit) older than Nancy.  Both John and Nancy have been members of Congress since 1987.

Ron’s call for new leadership falls flat.  We hope he takes it seriously because both parties could use it.  We are really unimpressed but still hopeful.



Our local Democrat Congress Critter, Ron Kind, voted against Nancy Pelosi in the Speaker of the House race.  Of course, Nancy won.  Ron’s office said:

“My first priority has always been standing up for Wisconsin, and the values that Wisconsinites hold. I thank Nancy Pelosi for her years of service to the House of Representatives and the Democratic Party, but I believe it is time for new leadership that moves Wisconsin — and America — forward,”

Ron might be trying to signal that he is not with Nancy and the Democrats as they lurch leftward.  There are two problems with his signal.  First, it is a meaningless vote because Nancy was going to win anyways.  Second, he offers no alternative other than to quote the Wisconsin Motto, forward.  It looks like signals without meaning.  We await the serious stuff to see what Ron will do.

Not A Surprise

We saw a link to this on Facebook.  We don’t know if the study is bona fide or not but the analysis is another one of those surprises that does not surprise anyone that actually thinks about the question.  Perhaps the 44th president was surprised.  The study was comparing the longevity of women that owned horses to those who didn’t.  It doesn’t mention men.

By the end of the study, they found surprising results. Women who owned a horse lived for 15 years longer. This result was true for women of different ages and nationalities. The scientists even looked at data from 50 countries to see if the results were accurate. It turns out that owning a horse is extremely good for your health. [Emphasis added]

Well, we are pretty sure that owning a horse implies wealth and exercise.  Both of those things are good for your health.  Charles Murray has shown the connection between wealth and health and Coming Apart.  The connection between excise and health seems obvious.  It is not the horse.  It is the horse that is a proxy for other things.  For example, we predict that almost all horse owners have a dog.  The dog is equally unlikely to be the cause of longevity.  If you want to live longer walk up the stairs instead of buying a horse.

Hating The Donald

We were wandering around the Internet.  First we went to Tyler Cowen’s Marginal Revolution site. Tyler is a serious economist.  Wikipedia tell us that:

He was ranked #72 among the “Top 100 Global Thinkers” in 2011 by Foreign Policy Magazine “for finding markets in everything.”[4] In a 2011 poll of experts by The Economist, Cowen was included in the top 36 nominations of “which economists were most influential over the past decade.”

He said that Christopher Lebron at the Boston Review had the best review of Black Panther.  We are interested in the movie and want another review.  Armond White has never been very helpful for us.  Armond is too worried about philosophy and has too many reference to movies we haven’t seen.  We want to know if the movie is entertaining.  We thought the Greatest Showman was a really entertaining movie.  We were shocked at how good it was after so many poor movies recently.  Interestingly, the preview from the star and director suggests that they wanted to make an entertaining movie.  Perhaps it is not hard to make an entertaining movie if that is your goal.

Tyler does say the review is via Hollis Robbins but we think he should read it to link to it.  Here is part of the first paragraph of Christopher’s review:

This is a tall order, especially in the time of [The Donald], who insists that blacks live in hell and wishes that (black) sons of bitches would get fired for protesting police violence.

We wonder what somebody would need to say about a political figure to have it be a bad review?  We don’t know much about the Boston Review.  They might think it crucial that they signal their hate of The Donald to their audience.   We are, however, disappointed in Tyler.  He should understand the importance of  rhetoric.

Sexual Harassment

We saw a comment in the WSJ that we need to address.  We have avoiding the topic because it is too complex.  The function goes something like this: Our Anger (OA) = f(number of offenses, type of offenses, dates of offenses, credibility of complaints, power relationships, R or D, private sector or public sector, etc).  We find it too confusing to get involved because we don’t know any of the values of the parameters.  Sometimes we don’t even know the sign.

But when the WSJ said this:

The status quo ante on serious sexual harassment—which is to say, a lot of men got away with it—is over. The new status quo is that it will not be tolerated.

Based on the evidence to date it might be true in the private sector where there have been many firings but it doesn’t seem to be true in the public sector.  Of course, we can argue about the modifier serious but it seems that Al, Tom, and Roy were all involved in serious stuff to us although it would depend on how you judge OA.  Two of them are still office holders and the other is still a candidate.  Unless all three are dismissed shortly we would conclude that the status quo ante has not changed.

Funny But Biased

The WSJ and the WSJ Editorial Page are quite different.  The Editorial Page is conservative to libertarian while the rest of the paper is not.  A report on Congressional spending by Kristina Peterson and Nick Timiraos has a classic example.  In discussing how the increase spending will be divided they say:

On spending, major sticking points have yet to be resolved, including how much of that sum will have to be offset by cuts elsewhere in the budget, and how the additional funding will be divided between defense and nondefense spending, aides said. Republicans generally want more money to go to defense, while Democrats have argued that any increase in spending should be fairly divided. [Emphasis added]

We wonder what Kristina and Nick think is a fair division?  Since we already know the answer to that question (Nancy Pelosi will tell them what is fair), we are more interested why Kristina and Nick didn’t cover entitlements in a story on Congressional spending.


Tax Reform: Serious And Not

The editors at the WSJ and Kevin Williamson at NRO show the two sides of conservative discussion of tax reform.  The latter is serious while the former is not.

The editors are all about rates.  It seems, but is not clear, that they are talking about personal rates and they certainly don’t care much about the deficit:

In an ideal world, the Senate deal would create room for tax cuts of $2.5 trillion or more. That’s at least how much more revenue the government would get if the economy returned to its historic growth rate of 3% a year from the Obama era’s 2%.

Kevin, on the other hand, recognizes the challenges that the Congress faces.  We have a significant deficit.  We have escalating entitlement costs.  We need to have dynamic scoring but tax cuts are not self-financing.  He reports (with comments) that:

President Trump’s preferred policy would reduce the top rate to 35 percent, while congressional Republicans have aimed at 33 percent, along with modest reductions in other brackets and, possibly, a large reduction in the corporate tax rate. Our corporate tax rate is one of the world’s highest on paper, but the effective rate — what corporations actually pay — is on average unexceptional, though it varies significantly from industry to industry and firm to firm.

We favor reductions in the corporate tax rate because of the variation that Kevin notes.  Corporations do things because of tax rates.  Those industries that face higher rates take actions like tax inversions to avoid them.  Rather than try to outlaw such inversions we should make the USA a tax haven so corporations and their profits come here.  It is also a reason why we favor lower corporate rates rather than immediate expensing.  We hope that the Congress takes a serious look at tax reform and make it into law.