Fiscally I'm A Right-Wing Nutjob, But On Social Issues I'm Fucking Insanely Liberal
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It’s Going to Be Okay

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A lot of people in this country feel like this right now:

1

Or this:

2

Or even this:

3

I feel ya.

It’s a lot to take in. President Trump. The guy who said all those things over the last 18 months is our president, and the most powerful person in the world, for the next four years. Four years is a long time. At the end of which, there will be another Donald Trump campaign. This is someone we’re going to have to get used to.

A lot of people are scared right now, for a lot of reasons.

But at this very moment, there are also a lot of Americans who feel like this:

4

Or this:

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Or this:

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Those people aren’t scared about what happened last night—they’re elated, and relieved, and grateful.

And though it probably feels unintuitive to most readers of this blog, it turns out that there are just as many people who are thrilled by last night’s election as there are people who are devastated by it. For every single American who voted for Hillary yesterday and who watched last night’s events unfold in horror, there’s another American out there who rejoiced. It’s a 1-to-1 ratio.

Hillary supporters are going to go through a bunch of stages of grief before they finally reach acceptance. I’ve already gone through about nine stages myself—and I’ve come out of them with two main thoughts:

1) This is not as bad as it seems.

2) This is a moment for reflection.

Let’s discuss #1 first. Reading the internet throughout the night, I saw Hillary supporters saying a lot of pretty dramatic things, and I think we all need to take it down just a notch. Some examples of things I’m seeing:

“I’m moving to Canada.”

You and I both know your ass isn’t going anywhere. First of all, Canada doesn’t want you. Secondly, this is still a great country you should be proud of. More on that in a bit.

“She won the popular vote. This system is so fucked.”

Yup. The system is dumb. But if Hillary lost the popular vote and won the electoral vote, you’d be fine with it. You can’t protest a system only when you lose.

“We’ll never have a female president.”

I don’t believe that for a second and I don’t think you do either. Hillary didn’t lose because she’s a woman. She lost because Hillary is bad at campaigning and because Trump had a message that resonated with a lot of people and she didn’t. The country is unbelievably ready to elect a woman as its president and I wouldn’t be surprised if it happens in the next election or the one after. And it’ll be so awesome whenever it happens.

“Trump has no idea how to be a world leader.”

He sure does not. But think of it this way: the US executive branch needs to have expertise in about 1,000 things, and no president comes into office as an expert in more than a tenth of those things. The president’s job is to bring in a large team of experts to fill in the 90% that he or she doesn’t know about. For Trump, maybe that number is 98% instead of 90%. But our executive branch will be run by a large group of people, not just Trump, and as a whole they’ll have all the expertise of any other administration. Sure, the president has a lot of say and does have a significant amount of individual power, and that’s a bit  mildly terrifying when it comes to Trump—but I’m encouraged by both his experience running a large, complex company and his surprisingly adult choice of Pence as a running mate. I’d predict that President Trump is all about surrounding himself with experts who know very well how to run the executive branch.

“Holy shit the Supreme Court.”

If you care passionately about socially liberal values, this is a fair thing to be super upset about. But it’s also kind of an expected reality. Bush Sr. appointed two justices. So did Clinton. So did Bush Jr. So did Obama. And it’s historically unusual for one party to hold the White House for more than two terms, so history shows that we’re kind of in line for a couple conservative justices. There will be another liberal in office before too long who will appoint more liberal justices. Yes, the whole Merrick Garland thing was maddening if you’re a social liberal, but overall, the fact is that you live in a democracy where half of the people are socially conservative—so this is reality. Look at the bright side—Trump isn’t especially socially conservative, so his appointees may not be either.

“RIP America.”

America didn’t die. In fact, what happened last night is America being very much alive. Half the country felt ignored and angry and disenfranchised and they wrested control of the government from the people they felt ignored by. That’s how democracy works. It’s an uncomfortable compromise where half the country is appalled by who the president is at all times. Obama’s elections made tens of millions of people feel the same way.

Now granted, this is an unusual case. Trump is extra appalling. So much so that much of his own party is appalled by him. That’s unusual. But it’s not unusual where it counts—he got about the same number of votes as Hillary and ended up winning pretty big in the electoral college. That makes him no less legit a president than anyone in the past.

Secondly, a bigger point: no one person has the power to RIP America, no matter what they do. America is bigger than you or me, and America is much, much bigger than Donald Trump. America is a 320-million-person melting pot, run by a government made up of thousands of people working within a twisty, convoluted set of branches, ruled by a 240-year-old instruction booklet that specifically makes it impossible for any one dick to ride a wave of populist anger into a position where he can RIP America. America is un-RIP-able, at least by the hands of any president.

America survived a civil war, slavery, two world wars, a handful of crippling recessions, 9/11, and a whole lot of really shitty presidents—and it’ll survive Donald Trump.

“But Trump can still do a huge amount of damage.”

Yes he can. And that sucks. But every president can do a lot of damage, and many of them do, and we’re still standing. And remember, the president is seriously limited in what he can do without the approval of other parts of the government, so he’s unlikely to be able to carry out anything that crazy.

On the plus side, it’s a little simplistic to assume that every idea Trump has is terrible. Trump has some good ideas and some refreshing ideas. He may be very good in some areas. He’s nerve-wracking for sure, but let’s look at the full picture.

“Easy for you to say, white male blogger. I’m brown and I don’t feel safe here anymore.”

Here’s what I’ll say to that:

This country had your back yesterday and it’ll have your back tomorrow. America isn’t the president and it’s not the government—it’s 320 million people, and those people haven’t changed. Almost every ethnicity of American was at some point in the role of unwelcome immigrant, and I think there’s a deep ethos of acceptance that pervades everything—an ethos Donald Trump can’t touch. Sure, there are plenty of racists and xenophobes—the US is a troubled place when it comes to race, religion, and ethnicity—but I don’t see Trump’s election as proof that there’s some growing people-phobia trend happening. Which reminds me of another thing I keep seeing:

“I hate everyone who voted for Trump—those stupid, racist, xenophobic fucks.”

Again, that’s a pretty simplistic way to look at things. This election was about much more than the really nasty things Trump said during the campaign. First of all, Trump won in areas where Obama was strongest among white voters—i.e. people unracist enough to vote for a black president. Secondly, Trump did surprisingly well with Latino voters. This isn’t as simple as the media portrays it to be. Trump did say shameful things, and he definitely won over some very hateful people by doing so. But he also stood for a lot more than just those things. In many people’s minds, he stood for hope and change—the same exact thing Obama stood for for millions of voters in 2008.

People vote for hope and change when they’re in pain. When I watched the election last night, I didn’t see a bunch of assholes voting to be hateful, I saw a bunch of people going through a lot of suffering hoping for something better.

Which is why, if you’re a Hillary supporter, in addition to this being a time for disappointment and frustration, it should also be a time for reflection. Half your country voted for Trump. Over 50 million people—people with kids and parents and jobs and dogs and calendars on their wall with piano lessons and doctors appointments and birthday parties written in the squares. Full, three-dimensional people who voted for what they hope will be a better future for themselves and their family.

So yeah, we’re gonna have to look at Trump’s face a lot for a bunch of years, and that’s a shame. that sucks. And he might do some really shitty things. And it’s fair to be really upset about having a guy like Trump representing you in the world and worried about how the country will fare under his administration. But if we want to make the best of this, we need to ask a question: Why did those 50 million people vote for Trump?

Trying to get to the bottom of that question will help us learn from the past and get better.

And remember—this is hardly the first time half of America has been apoplectic about the lunatic they just elected as their president. And we’ve always survived. And we will here too.

___________

Want to feel hopeful? Read about Elon.

Or

something much bigger than all of this.Or watch this video

bunnies .

___________

If you’re into Wait But Why, sign up for the Wait But Why email listand we’ll send you the new posts right when they come out. It’s a very unannoying list, don’t worry.

If you’d like to support Wait But Why, here’s our Patreon page.

The post It’s Going to Be Okay appeared first on Wait But Why.

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smilerz
22 days ago
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Chicago or thereabouts
popular
22 days ago
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4 public comments
mxm23
9 days ago
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No. This is not okay. This is not politics as usual. It's not that the wrong candidate won, it's that he's a horrible despicable person and the country voted for him anyway. This piece, while written with good intentions I'm sure, seeks to normalize something that is distinctly abnormal. Not okay.
San Rafael, CA
lsmike
22 days ago
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Mike@third-interval.com
Machesney Park, Illinois
jimwise
22 days ago
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Yes, this, mostly.
bce
23 days ago
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.

Spot the Problem

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Google searches from the United Kingdom.

EU

Hat tip: Catherine Rampell on twitter.

The post Spot the Problem appeared first on Marginal REVOLUTION.

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smilerz
161 days ago
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Prince, R.I.P.

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As all or most of you know by now, Prince has passed away.  I don’t listen to him nearly as much as I did in the eighties, but songs such as “When Doves Cry,” “Dirty Mind,” “Glam Slam,” “Starfish and Coffee,” and (most of all) the acoustic, CD-single version of “Seven” still stick in my mind, among others.  I think his “dirty little secret,” if you will forgive the pun, is that once you get past the first album he wasn’t much of a true Dionysian, but rather a playful polyglot who assumed various poses.  Most of all I was impressed by his urge to create, and how strong and how internal that drive seems to have been.

The post Prince, R.I.P. appeared first on Marginal REVOLUTION.

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smilerz
225 days ago
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Heartwarming Libertarian Story

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From Bretigne Shaffer.

Essentially, the DTMC [Detroit Threat Management Center] has done what libertarians like Murray Rothbard and David Friedman have long been saying could be done: They have turned the provision of public safety into a profitable business model, and they have done it in some of the worst neighborhoods in the country. The results have been incredible: According to Brown, crime has dropped dramatically in the areas where they work, and all without the loss of life to their staff or anyone else.

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smilerz
255 days ago
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[Ilya Somin] The Constitution does not require the Senate to give judicial nominees an up or down vote

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The U.S. Supreme Court building (Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg)

The U.S. Supreme Court building (Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg)

At a recent press conference, President Obama claimed that the Republican-controlled Senate has a duty to vote on his nominee to replace Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, who passed away on Saturday:

President Barack Obama on Tuesday vowed to pick an indisputably qualified nominee for the Supreme Court and chided Republicans who control the U.S. Senate for threatening to block him from filling the pivotal vacancy.

Obama told senators he has a constitutional duty to nominate a new justice after Saturday’s death of conservative Justice Antonin Scalia and reminded them of their constitutional obligation to “do their job” and vote to approve or reject his nominee….

“I’m amused when I hear people who claim to be strict interpreters of the Constitution suddenly reading into it a whole series of provisions that are not there,” Obama said.

“The Constitution is pretty clear about what is supposed to happen now,” Obama, a former constitutional law professor, told a news conference at the close of a two-day meeting with leaders from Southeast Asia.

I. What the Constitution Says.

The Constitution is indeed clear on this issue, but not in the way the president suggests. Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution states that the President “shall nominate, and by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, shall appoint ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, judges of the Supreme Court, and all other officers of the United States, whose appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by law.” Notice that the Senate is not required to give its “advice and consent.” Rather, its consent is a prerequisite to enabling the president’s nominee to take up his or her office.

Article II, Section 2 does not lay out any specific procedure by which the Senate can refuse its consent. It does not indicate whether it must do so by taking a vote, or whether it can simply refuse to consider the president’s nominee at all. However, Article I, Section 5 states that “Each House may determine the rules of its proceedings.” That power includes the rules for considering judicial nominations, as well as all other Senate business. Thus, so long as the Senate has established rules that allow it to refuse to vote on a nominee, it can do so – just as it can refuse to vote on bills, treaties, or any other business that comes before it.

This interpretation of the text is consistent with years of practice. Both Democrats and Republicans have often blocked judicial nominations by filibustering them or otherwise preventing them from coming to a vote. In one well-known case, the Democrats held up George W. Bush’s nomination of Miguel Estrada to the DC Circuit for over two years, until he was finally forced to withdraw without ever getting a vote of any kind. They did so because they had concerns about Estrada’s judicial philosophy – exactly the same reason why Republicans might end up blocking Obama’s Supreme Court nomination today.

Historically, most such refusals to vote involved nominations to the lower courts rather than the Supreme Court. But the Constitution does not establish different rules for Supreme Court nominations as opposed to lower court ones. Any procedure that is constitutional for the latter is also permitted for the former. Blocking a Supreme Court nominee may be unwise, irresponsible, or politically risky. It may be worse behavior than blocking a lower court nomination. But it is not unconstitutional.

In July 2007, Senator Charles Schumer – then, as now, a leading Democratic spokesman on judicial confirmation issues – argued that the Senate “should not confirm a [Bush] Supreme Court nominee EXCEPT in extraordinary circumstances.” He was willing to use the filibuster to prevent a vote, if necessary. Reasonable people can disagree about the soundness of Schumer’s negative assessment of Bush’s likely appointees. But the Senate had every right to adopt the approach he advocated.

Although the Constitution does not require it, the confirmation process might well work better if the Senate adopted rules that require a timely vote on every judicial nomination. Like Jonathan Adler, I would welcome a bipartisan deal along those lines. But unless and until such an agreement comes into force, senators of both parties have every right to use the existing rules to block Supreme Court nominations. Neither can reasonably be expected to accept unilateral disarmament.

II. Why Senators have the Right to Consider Nominees’ Judicial Philosophy.

In deciding whether to block a nomination, senators also have every right to consider the nominee’s ideology and judicial philosophy, not just his or her professional qualifications. Nothing in the Constitution forbids such consideration. Responsible senators can and should scrutinize an attribute that might well have a major effect on the nominee’s future performance on the bench.

No one explained this point better than then-Senator Barack Obama, in his speech defending his vote against the confirmation of Justice Samuel Alito in 2006 (Obama had previously advocated filibustering the nomination, so it would not come to a vote at all):

There are some who believe that the president, having won the election, should have complete authority to appoint his nominee and the Senate should only examine whether or not the justice is intellectually capable, and an all-around good guy. That once you get beyond intellect, and personal character, there should be no further question as to whether the judge should be confirmed.

I disagree with this view. I believe firmly that the Constitution calls for the Senate to advise AND consent. I believe that it calls for meaningful advice and consent that includes an examination of a judge’s philosophy, ideology, and record.

Objections to the nominee’s judicial philosophy led Obama to oppose Alito’s nomination and advocate a filibuster, even though he had “no doubt that Judge Alito has the training and qualifications necessary to serve” and conceded that Alito “is an intelligent man, and an accomplished jurist.”

Lest readers think I have come around to then-Senator Obama’s position only now when it is convenient to do so, I should point out that I said much the same thing back in 2007, during the Bush administration, when I supported Senator Schumer’s views on the subject. I will be happy to say it again during the next administration.

Senators cannot reasonably expect a nominee whose judicial philosophy matches their own in every way, and they should not let it be the only factor in their decision. But it would be a mistake to ignore this extremely important aspect of a nominee’s record.











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smilerz
289 days ago
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[Jonathan H. Adler] Is there a libertarian case for Bernie Sanders?

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Andrew Kirell at the Daily Beast poses the question. The Niskanen Center’s Will Wilkinson provides an answer:

The libertarian case for Bernie Sanders is simply that Bernie Sanders wants to make America more like Denmark, Canada, or Sweden . . . and the citizens of those countries enjoy more liberty than Americans do. No other candidate specifically aims to make the United States more closely resemble a freer country. That’s it. That’s the case.

Of course, it’s not that simple. As Wilkinson adds:

The biggest problem with my particularist, data-first libertarian argument for Bernie Sanders is that Bernie Sanders doesn’t seem to actually understand that Denmark-style social democracy is funded by a free-market capitalist system that is in many ways less regulated than American capitalism.

Or as Wilkinson wrote a few months ago:

The lesson Bernie Sanders needs to learn is that you cannot finance a Danish-style welfare state without free markets and large tax increases on the middle class. If you want Danish levels of social spending, you need Danish middle-class tax rates and a relatively unfettered capitalist economy. The fact that he’s unwilling to come out in favor of either half of  the Danish formula for a viable social-democratic welfare state is the best evidence that Bernie Sanders is not actually very interested in what it takes to make social democracy work. The great irony of post-1989 political economy is that capitalism has proven itself the most reliable means to socialist ends. Bernie seems not to have gotten the memo.

In other words, “democratic socialism, according to Bernie Sanders’ superannuated understanding of it, may have a dash too much Venezuela in it.” Yup.

Chicago’s John Cochrane comments:

Yes, Denmark scores much above the US on ease of doing business indices. An interesting case. A welfare state is not necessarily a politicized regulatory state, with strong two-way political-industry capture. The latter may be more dangerous economically. Those who wish to eat golden eggs have an incentive to let the Goose grow fat.











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smilerz
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