Veronique de Rugy from Creators Syndicate Creators Syndicate is an international syndication company that represents cartoonists and columnists of the highest caliber. en Sun, 18 Apr 2021 03:57:06 -0700 Veronique de Rugy from Creators Syndicate 22aef2a6748ffb4853c2e0a9127654d1 Just Because It's Said by Joe Doesn't Make It So for 04/15/2021 Thu, 15 Apr 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>While President Joe Biden's administration doesn't seem to need an excuse to spend money, two recurring arguments for his gigantic $2.3 trillion infrastructure proposal are that our roads and bridges are "crumbling" and that modernization would generate economic growth and jobs &#8212; hence its name, the American Jobs Plan. But none of this clever marketing makes any of these claims true.</p> <p>Let me start by pointing out that, to the extent that people think about roads and bridges when they hear the word "infrastructure," they should know that only $621 billion of the $2.3 trillion is for transportation &#8212; and of that sum, only $115 billion is for repairing roads and bridges. The rest of the bill is mostly a handout to private companies that already invest heavily in infrastructure. These subsidies will come with federal red tape and regulation and hinder job creation, not bolster it.<p>Updated: Thu Apr 15, 2021</p> 510945adb957b8ff876cc5b66fd72e9b Biden's Crony Anti-Infrastructure Plan for 04/08/2021 Thu, 08 Apr 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>"A crony anti-infrastructure plan" is, sadly, the best description of the Biden administration's proposed $2.3 trillion infrastructure plan. It's insanely expensive and unnecessary, especially coming, as it does, on top of last year's fiscal insanity.</p> <p>Over the past year, our leaders have spent $6 trillion in bailout and COVID-19 relief funds. They've driven local, state and federal government spending up to 43.5% of GDP, meaning that we're already in financial trouble. Now they want to top it off with trillions more of wasteful spending, describing it as "infrastructure" spending, which arguably everyone likes. But once you look at what's in the bill, you realize that the label is mere marketing for more handouts to politicians' friends and payments for pet projects.<p>Updated: Thu Apr 08, 2021</p> 545a2296a05d382354887c2886ea50d5 On Biden, Betrayal, Burdens and Bunk for 04/01/2021 Thu, 01 Apr 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Politicians betray their campaign promises all the time. So, it's no surprise to see President Joe Biden go back on his word that, in spite of his plan to significantly hike taxes to pay for a portion of a massive increase in spending, nobody earning less than $400,000 annually would suffer a tax increase. But this flip-flop is just the tip of the iceberg.</p> <p>During the presidential campaign, then-candidate Biden declared that if someone makes less than $400,000, they wouldn't face any tax hikes. His campaign website reinforced this promise: "Joe Biden will not raise taxes on anyone making less than $400,000. Period." The president recently reiterated his promise on "Good Morning America" when he said, "Anybody making more than $400,000 will see a small to a significant tax increase," and "You make less than $400,000, you won't see one single penny in additional federal tax."<p>Updated: Thu Apr 01, 2021</p> 36228bb0fcaf62cf94c39a5b8441ab07 History Tells Us That Wealth Taxes Don't Work for 03/25/2021 Thu, 25 Mar 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>With Democrats now in control of the House, Senate and White House, many of the most significant policy battles of the next two years will be determined by intraparty fights within the Democratic Party's various factions.</p> <p>Although not a moderate in any meaningful sense, President Joe Biden has always positioned himself strategically at the center of his party. Nevertheless, his defeat of the party's left wing in the last presidential primary won't be the end of a populist insurgence. Sadly, one fight will be between those, such as Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, who want to raise taxes significantly, and those who, like Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., want to raise taxes even more significantly.<p>Updated: Thu Mar 25, 2021</p> 7520f9a9b9bcf0f63704064277d4ed43 Biden Stays the Course on Trump's Immigration, Trade and Industrial Policies for 03/18/2021 Thu, 18 Mar 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Several of my friends have expressed relief now that Joe Biden is president and Donald Trump is gone. They no longer have to watch the news constantly, declaring that they know "the country is now in good hands."</p> <p>There's no way to defend Trump's poor behavior and insulting style. Yet, there is more to a president than his decorum. <span class="column--highlighted-text">And on at least three signature Trump policies for which he'll be remembered the most, often with dread, the similarities between Biden and Trump are unsettling.</span><p>Updated: Thu Mar 18, 2021</p> 564fe6b7edddda2a6349f0f33ad2dd61 On the Pursuit of Tyrannical Policies and Zero-Risk Societies for 03/11/2021 Thu, 11 Mar 2021 00:00:00 -0800 <p>A lot has been said about the harm to people resulting from government lockdowns imposed in the name of fighting COVID-19. However, lockdowns aren't the only misguided policies that we've had and continue to endure because of this pandemic. In fact, we will suffer many tragic effects from the pandemic-induced changes long after lockdowns are lifted and the coronavirus is endemic.</p> <p>The case against lockdowns is pretty well established. In fact, contrary to accusations issued by lockdown advocates, one doesn't have to believe that COVID-19 isn't a serious disease to oppose lockdowns. Nor does one have to make the claim that doing nothing would have worked wonders in controlling this nasty virus. All you have to show is that lockdowns do not control the spread of the virus any better than less-draconian alternatives. <span class="column--highlighted-text">In fact, when all costs are considered, such as the short- and long-term health, educational and psychological harms the lockdowns caused, their costs far exceed their benefits.</span></p> <p>It's also hard to avoid the label of tyrannical policy today when still talking about lockdowns a year into this pandemic. Many academic studies about their lack of effectiveness and enormous evidence of their harms are available, yet lockdowns aren't fully lifted, and many schools still aren't opened. It's particularly frustrating since it has become obvious that those protesting the lifting of these policies &#8212; aside from the politicians who directly or indirectly benefit from them &#8212; are the wealthier and politically connected people who are less affected by lockdowns than most.<p>Updated: Thu Mar 11, 2021</p> 60a89c15f07cbecb9df9da887e957e86 Earmarks Expose Self-Serving Politicians, Distract Us From Bigger Problems for 03/04/2021 Thu, 04 Mar 2021 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>A fight is brewing over bringing back earmarks &#8212; provisions that are inserted into spending bills by individual members of Congress to send money to politically favored entities in their districts. There has been a moratorium on earmarks since 2011. </p> <p>Those who want the return of earmarks claim the practice smooths out the budget process and fosters bipartisanship. Others insist that the return of earmarks would mean a surge of wasteful giveaways to special interest groups and congressional corruption. While both sides have valid points, this debate continues to distract us from the fact that the federal government is excessively big and, even without earmarks, spends money on things that it should never spend it on.<p>Updated: Thu Mar 04, 2021</p> 184c6b3aa506b615b41b720968282a05 Don't Overlook Minimum Wage's Negative Effects for 02/25/2021 Thu, 25 Feb 2021 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>In his autobiography, "Up From the Projects," the late economist Walter Williams explained his move away from the belief that minimum wages help the poor. His change of heart on the topic began when one of his UCLA professors asked him whether he cared more about the intentions behind the minimum wage or its effects.</p> <p>Williams devoted much of his professional career to studying minimum wages and documenting their negative effects, particularly on young Black people. While Williams had the good sense to learn that good intentions alone are insufficient to produce good public policy, many others have failed to learn this lesson. <p>Updated: Thu Feb 25, 2021</p> c3a5e716b9de063a563342e1565d61fd Never Let a Good Manufactured Crisis Go to Waste for 02/18/2021 Thu, 18 Feb 2021 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>A seemingly effective way for politicians to justify our need for their services is to fabricate or exaggerate a problem, promise to fix said problem with a new program or lots of spending and then claim victory in the form of public acclaim and reelection.</p> <p>A good example of this behavior is President Joe Biden's Build Back Better plan, which reflects a tweet by then-candidate Biden that he does "not buy for one second that the vitality of American manufacturing is a thing of the past." <p>Updated: Thu Feb 18, 2021</p> 3c0815c592e37a3be32fda347af448f4 Romney's Family Security Act Redistributes Wealth, Creates Distortions, Grows Government for 02/11/2021 Thu, 11 Feb 2021 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, recently introduced a universal child allowance in an effort to reform federal welfare programs. That goal is worthy, but his means would be counterproductive.</p> <p>For all intents and purposes, he's proposing a kid-centric version of entrepreneur and aspiring politician Andrew Yang's "basic income." According to Romney's summary of his own plan, "The Family Security Act would provide a monthly cash benefit for families, amounting to $350 a month for each young child, and $250 a month for each school-aged child."<p>Updated: Thu Feb 11, 2021</p> e1f6cbd04b0a4205dbe6b42815d19000 It's Groundhog Day All Over Again in Washington for 02/04/2021 Thu, 04 Feb 2021 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>One of the recurring themes after the election of Joe Biden to the presidency has been that it would bring a radical change from Donald Trump's presidency. To be sure, these men have very different backgrounds and personalities. However, when it comes to public policy, in many areas, Biden is decisively following in Trump's footsteps.</p> <p>I'm not the only one to notice. The Babylon Bee, a satirical newspaper, joked, "In a stunning repudiation of Trump's COVID plan, Biden has announced he will throw out masking, vaccinations, and travel bans and replace them with masking, vaccinations, and travel bans." To be fair, the federal government thankfully has only limited room to act in a centralized and national way to respond to the pandemic, which means that adjustments will only be made at the margin.<p>Updated: Thu Feb 04, 2021</p> bf0fd76bfc1ec344495d7c1dd3fa307c Democrats Have No Excuse Not to Reform the Criminal Justice System for 01/28/2021 Thu, 28 Jan 2021 00:00:00 -0800 <p>Democrats now have the luxury of a unified government. Controlling the House of Representatives, the Senate and the White House gives them an opportunity to do many things they have claimed to care about but have complained about being blocked by Republicans. And so, this opportunity is also one for others to hold Democrats accountable if they don't actually do what they insist they wish to do.</p> <p>Reforming our criminal justice system is a good place to start. During last summer's demonstrations to protest the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, demands were voiced for racial equality and police reform. Democrats such as Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and then-Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., never missed an opportunity to eagerly support the crowds demanding change.</p> <p><span class="column--highlighted-text">Now that Democrats are in power, it's time to act.</span> They could change some of the rules that lead to over-criminalization, excessive reliance on punitive enforcement, and mass incarceration. While most criminal justice policy is set at the state level, the federal government can play an important role in reform. Starting with this issue has the advantage of being an uncommon area where Republicans and Democrats have successfully worked together in the past. The bipartisan nature of this effort would also send a strong signal that this administration is serious about unity and that President Joe Biden's promises of reconciliation made during his inauguration speech weren't just political posturing.<p>Updated: Thu Jan 28, 2021</p> 2fefe147d49c713b204ceb53da6590c3 Joe Biden's Plan to Build the United States of Italia for 01/21/2021 Thu, 21 Jan 2021 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>With his policy announcement about another COVID-19 relief bill, President Joe Biden declares loud and clear that he will not shy away from spending blowouts and fiscal irresponsibility. For the most part, his proposed plan is nothing more than a way to use the current crisis to deliver on Democrats' longtime dream to explode the size and scope of the federal government.</p> <p>The objective of the $1.9 trillion plan is noble enough: stimulate the economy, provide relief to Americans and combat the pandemic. But noble doesn't always mean good. <span class="column--highlighted-text">As they say, the road to hell is paved with good intentions. I would add political expediency to that expression.</span><p>Updated: Thu Jan 21, 2021</p> 8031937d17a165d3059e8435c36fad0f Don't Hate the Political Players; Hate the Political Game for 01/14/2021 Thu, 14 Jan 2021 00:00:00 -0800 <p>Many Americans are very upset that President-elect Joe Biden will replace President Donald Trump. For most of them, it's not that they will miss Trump's unconventional and often unacceptable behavior. Instead, it's that they fear that the size and scope of government will grow so fast that it will permanently change the country they love.</p> <p>And this fear has intensified with the defeat of two Republican senators in the Georgia runoffs, resulting in Democrats regaining control of the Senate.</p> <p>At the margin, such a worry is justified. With 50 Democratic senators and control of both the House of Representatives and the White House, more policies that would have never seen the light of day when Republicans were in power, such as much more unwise COVID-19 relief, will potentially get through.<p>Updated: Thu Jan 14, 2021</p> 7023b86febff9f003039d7be75a670a6 Even Governments Can Make New Year's Resolutions for 01/07/2021 Thu, 07 Jan 2021 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>It's the beginning of a new year. It's almost the beginning of a new presidential administration, too. In theory, now is a perfect time for some resolutions: to start fresh, fix the mistakes of the past or do what we never got around to doing. In that spirit, I offer some advice to the Biden administration; Congress; and state and local governments.</p> <p>State and local governments should reopen schools. That many schools are still not providing in-person instruction is unforgivable. We've known for months now that in many scenarios, in-person instruction poses little risk to children, their teachers and their communities. Indeed, in Germany, school closures were not associated with reduced transmission of COVID-19. <p>Updated: Thu Jan 07, 2021</p> 08a5c17d8557b2b1fd8839bafe1378f5 Tevi Troy's 'Fight House' Holds Valuable Lessons for a Biden Administration for 12/24/2020 Thu, 24 Dec 2020 00:00:00 -0800 <p>President Donald Trump and President-elect Joe Biden are quite different from each other. It is obvious in their personalities and in their policy positions. So, we can reasonably assume that their White House management styles will also be radically different. One thing is for sure: No matter how the new administration is managed, there will be some internal conflict.</p> <p>That's one of the many lessons I learned from Tevi Troy's 2020 book, "Fight House: Rivalries in the White House from Truman to Trump." The book was named one of the best political books of 2020 by The Wall Street Journal. Troy is a historian who has written many books about the presidency. This one is particularly entertaining, though, at times, disheartening. While many of us have shaken our heads in disapproval and dismay at the open chaos and infighting in Trump's White House, Troy reveals some of the other epic battles in the modern White House.</p> <p>The reasons behind the fights are numerous. Some were the product of Cabinet members butting heads with White House staff. There were, for instance, the intense conflicts that occurred during the Kennedy presidency between then-Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson and the president's brother-slash-attorney general, Robert "Bobby" Kennedy. The two men hated each other and would sometimes end up not speaking. There were other noteworthy conflicts in the Kennedy White House.<p>Updated: Thu Dec 24, 2020</p> 2bf55adbef0e533fdba3bc5c7a689072 Continuing Education During COVID-19 for 12/17/2020 Thu, 17 Dec 2020 00:00:00 -0800 <p>There's no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted childhood education. In many countries, kids have physically returned to school. In others, schools were never closed. Yet in the United States, many public schools have been closed since March, yielding disastrous results for millions of kids. While scientific data say it's safe to bring them back, incentives in the school systems are such that many kids continue to be locked up at home rather than receiving a proper education.</p> <p>A school's main role is to educate children. They can feed low-income children and supply day care for working parents, but these benefits are secondary to providing a quality education to <i>all</i> enrolled children.</p> <p><span class="column--highlighted-text">The fact that children and their taxpayer parents are consumers in this scenario should guide the decisions made by superintendents and school boards. But that hasn't been the case since the start of this pandemic.</span><p>Updated: Thu Dec 17, 2020</p> 74521ebe2a461a494650f222e1caa037 Assessing Trump's Experiment With Protectionist Trade Policies for 12/10/2020 Thu, 10 Dec 2020 00:00:00 -0800 <p>With President Donald Trump soon departing Washington, now is a great time to assess his protectionist trade policies. From tariffs to his hectic bullying of other governments to renegotiate trade agreements to his support for American export subsidies, the Trump years were more than infuriating on trade matters; they were destructive.</p> <p>This harsh conclusion is no surprise to those of us who understand international trade. We realized from the start that the president's trade philosophy is the mercantilist one that Adam Smith debunked nearly 250 years ago. </p> <p>For instance, Trump believes that the success of U.S. trade policy is best gauged with a trade-balance scorecard &#8212; the notion that trade deficits are bad and trade surpluses are good. For this reason, he believes that the ultimate benefit of trading lies in the amounts that we export, while imports are to be feared and kept to a minimum. But Trump's understanding is backward. After all, exports are what we produce for foreigners, while imports are what foreigners produce for us.<p>Updated: Thu Dec 10, 2020</p> 0f05b831cf50ea1165a0d04cdd71fb0c Speaking up for the Voiceless Victims of the COVID-19 Pandemic for 12/03/2020 Thu, 03 Dec 2020 00:00:00 -0800 <p>Americans are well versed in the consequences for physical health from COVID-19. Newspapers brim daily with scary headlines alarming us of any risk that it might pose, no matter how minor or remote. But there are other nasty and less often discussed consequences brought on by this pandemic and by our collective reaction to it &#8212; whether that's due to people locking themselves up at home out of fear of encountering others or government-ordered lockdowns.</p> <p>These consequences deserve our attention. They are real and poignant, and they disproportionately affect society's least powerful. Victims of the current pandemic response have little political or economic voice. So, let me speak for them:</p> <p>They are the small-business owners who have seen their businesses destroyed by the lockdowns. They are the owners of restaurants and small shops that never reopened, even when the lockdowns were partially lifted.<p>Updated: Thu Dec 03, 2020</p> f5715122c13323e34d09ce2af1ad4c28 Giving Thanks and Maintaining Perspective, Even in a Pandemic for 11/26/2020 Thu, 26 Nov 2020 00:00:00 -0800 <p>Every Thanksgiving, we make a conscious effort to give thanks. This year, even in the midst of a pandemic, I'd encourage you to be genuinely grateful for everything you may take for granted. There is still so very much.</p> <p><span class="column--highlighted-text">Let's be thankful that we continue to do so much better on a global scale. </span>Dwelling on apocalyptic headlines might lead some to think otherwise, but a new book by Reason's science correspondent Ronald Bailey and the Cato Institute's senior fellow Marian Tupy shows that this pessimism is unwarranted. In "Ten Global Trends Every Smart Person Should Know," they outline 78 improving global and U.S. trends that should put a smile on everyone's face. </p> <p>For instance, you learn that conservation efforts are growing, in part because the share of land devoted to agriculture is shrinking, and the share of wildlands and oceans that are preserved is on the rise.<p>Updated: Thu Nov 26, 2020</p>