BEN WEINGARTEN

Reader. Writer. Thinker. Commentator. Truth Seeker.

Category: Economy (Page 1 of 5)

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Where Democracy Really Does Die in Darkness

In the Trump era, members of the mainstream media have fashioned themselves as tribunes of the people and arbiters of truth. “Democracy dies in darkness,” warns the Washington Post; the New York Times intones, “Truth. It’s more important than ever.”

With the election of a Republican president, the media have rediscovered constitutional government. Suddenly, executive power must be constrained again. Checks and balances are all the rage. Federalism and states’ rights are no longer racist “dog whistles,” but essential antidotes to a domineering central government.

And yet, while the media clang their alarms about how Donald Trump is supposedly turning America into a fascist dictatorship, they largely neglect the fact that democracy really is dying in other parts of the world. I explore this phenomenon, and the dire consequences the media has been tellingly blacking out from Turkey, to Hong Kong and Venezuela in a new piece at City Journal.

You can also listen to me discuss this topic at length during a radio interview with WNTK New Hampshire’s Keith Hanson here below:

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My Dennis Michael Lynch Appearance on Immigration: ‘America Isn’t Just an Economic Entity’

On Monday 2/8, I sat in as a guest on Newsmax TV’s DML Unfiltered.”

During the episode, we had the chance to discuss several points including a supposed stand-down order given to border patrol agents and America’s immigration policies more broadly, the useful idiots being produced by America’s education system and what Donald Trump (or other Republicans) have to do to defeat Hillary Clinton.

You can watch the relevant clips below.

Immigration

America’s Useful Idiots and Our Education System

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My Interview With Pacific Research Institute President Sally Pipes on ‘The Way Out of Obamacare’

Check out my interview on behalf of Encounter Books with Pacific Research Institute President Sally Pipes in connection with her newly released broadside The Way Out of Obamacare.

During the interview, which you can listen to below, Sally and I discuss the current and future perils awaiting America’s healthcare system under President Obama’s signature piece of legislation, how progressive healthcare policy has caused regressive consequences, what “single-payer” healthcare looks like and why Ms. Pipes thinks we are headed down that road, the Pipes plan to fix America’s healthcare system, her cameo in Michael Moore’s “Sicko” and much much more:

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My GenFKD Series on Misleading Government Economic Statistics

The first of my two posts for GenFKD on the misleading economic statistics our government peddles are now available:

My friend George Rasley over at ConservativeHQ did a write-up on my piece on the flawed U-3 “headline” measure of unemployment, which would lead Americans to think that the economy is rip-roaring given that the unemployment rate has fallen to 5.0%.

Thomas Lifson at American Thinker followed up on my piece as well in a post titled “Obamanomics explained in one chart.”

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Government Thinks You’re Too Dumb To Try Crowdfunding

Over at The Federalist, I write about how the SEC is subverting perhaps the only piece of pro-market legislation passed during the Obama administration in the so-called “crowdfunding” component of the JOBS Act.

This bill was supposed to democratize startup funding by allowing you and I to invest in the next Uber. Instead, in its implementation of the law, the SEC is completely undermining that aim and discouraging companies from availing themselves of crowdfunded equity altogether.

Here is a taste of the piece:

Market participants in crowdfunding would invest in companies with varying levels of disclosure on varying terms based upon risk-reward payoffs they deem appropriate. In fact, while startups are loathe to provide detailed information on their operations, some companies would voluntarily provide more robust disclosures to entice greater investment on more company-friendly terms, thereby creating a potential race to the top without government coercion.

Moreover, market participants are perfectly capable of determining for themselves how much money they should invest in speculative startup ventures. Americans are free to spend as much as we want on everything from doughnuts to liquor and lottery tickets. Investing in startups may provide only marginally better odds than the latter; at the very least it has the upside of leaving us thinner and sober. Why should government leave us free to choose on how we spend on some things, but not others?

Read the whole thing here.

 

Featured Image Source: JoBlo.

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‘Inequality’ Does Not Cause ISIS, Or How Our Western Materialist Worldview is Killing Us

Recently, world-renowned French socialist economist Thomas Piketty proffered the argument that “inequality” is the cause of ISIS.

While it may not be surprising given that Piketty’s life work has been dedicated to studying inequality (and arguing that to eradicate it we ought to tear down the capitalist system), Piketty revealed a critical insight about the Western elite: It believes global jihadism is attributable to materialist factors.

I challenge this thesis in my latest piece over at the indispensable City Journal titled Did Inequality Cause ISIS?, and argue that in order to effectively combat the global jihad, we must look at the world through the same prism as Islamic supremacists, not the materialist one apparently subscribed to by our entire foreign policy Establishment, including but not limited to the Obama administration (see “jobs for jihadis”).

Also, the great Dan Bongino spoke about my piece during his Conservative Review podcast. Listen starting at 21:13 below:

 

Featured Image Source: LiveLeak screengrab.

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Shocking But True: The New York Times Has Editors Who Oppose Jobs for Illegal Immigrants!?

Jim Epstein’s bombshell reporting for Reason magazine — which poked holes in the New York Timesviral multi-part series on supposed systemic underpayment, exploitation and abuse of primarily young Asian and Hispanic nail salon workers in New York — finally received a response from the Times‘ public editor Margaret Sullivan.

Much can and will be written about what may be the latest chapter in the annals of journalistic malfeasance, this one allegedly consisting of shoddy and/or one-sided reporting in order to meet a favored narrative. And this is no small aside mind you, as as I have argued many times, today narrative is omnipotent — it trumps all else including truth.

But it was a line in Sullivan’s response on behalf of the Times tangential to the nail salon story that might have proved the most shocking revelation of all.

Sullivan wrote:

The [New York Times] editors [involved with the nail salon investigation] objected to many elements of Mr. Epstein’s reporting, including his apparent defense of practices that allow undocumented or illegal immigrants to work in salons.

Could these editors of the New York Times actually be saying what I think they are saying?

The Times opposes jobs for illegal immigrants?

Has the long march for social justice halted?

What in the name of “Pinch” Sulzberger is going on?

Then again, to be fair, Ms. Sullivan does assert that she is particularly heartened when the Times takes up the causes of the “poor and voiceless.” Sullivan also notes that “The [nail salon] series and its author, Sarah Maslin Nir, had admirable intentions in speaking for underpaid or abused workers.”

Assuming that the Times pursues such stories according to actual journalistic standards — following the facts as opposed to shaping some and omitting others to form a predetermined narrative — this would be all well and good. Surely journalism is in part about exposing injustice.

But it appears that the Times feels no such compassion let alone empathy for those incurring significant harm by government due to regulation.

As Sullivan writes:

Until now, The Times has not responded to that [Reason’s] series because editors believe they defended the nail salon investigation fully when they responded to Mr. Bernstein’s complaints, and because they think the magazine [Reason], which generally opposes regulation, is reporting from a biased point of view.

But is not the Times reporting from a biased point of view to the degree to which it feels that by mere dint of a publication’s general opposition to regulation, its reporting is thereby illegitimate or ought to be ignored? What about making the voice of the hyper-regulated heard?

There are millions of other victims of the powers that be who remain voiceless thanks to the Times‘ political bent.

In an ideal journalistic world, victims of all types would be heard, and their stories told based on truth, not narrative.

Featured Image Source: Wikipedia Commons.

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The Massive Tower that Donald Trump is Building in Jeb Bush’s Head

On Monday 10/26, I sat in as a guest again on Newsmax TV’s “The Daily Wrap.”

During the episode, we had the chance to discuss a variety of issues including the travesty that is the IRS scandal and the lack of recourse for its victims, staggering new numbers about the perilous state of our economy as reflected in the percentage of Americans making under $30,000 per year, Donald Trump’s recent attack on Ben Carson, and Trump’s persistent needling of Jeb Bush and the massive Trump tower he is currently constructing in Bush’s head.

You can watch the show in full, along with some particularly pertinent clips below.

Full Episode

The Massive Trump Tower that “The Donald” is Constructing in Jeb Bush’s Head

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Thomas Nast (1840-1902). Two Great Questions. 1871. Museum of the City of New York. x2011.5.533.

My Interview With Jay Cost on ‘What’s So Bad About Cronyism?’

Check out my interview for Encounter Books with Jay Cost of The Weekly Standard on his new broadside What’s So Bad About Cronyism?:

 

Featured Image Source: Thomas Nast (1840-1902). Two Great Questions. 1871. Museum of the City of New York. x2011.5.533.

When Progressive Policies Cause Creative Destruction

Be sure to check out my latest article over at The Federalist, where I examine the collision course we are on between technological advancement/automation and progressive policies that are ironically causing technological advancement/automation to accelerate, low-skill progressive voters be damned.

Here’s a taste:

For years now, we have seen headlines foretelling a doomsday scenario in which mass numbers of Americans are thrown out of work, replaced by computers, robots, and other time-saving, liability-minimizing machines. Human capital is not static, and not all process changes will happen all at once. Different industries evolve at different speeds, and human beings are adaptive. Yet it is only natural that businesses need continually seek ways to lower costs to profit and survive, and automation is a key means by which to do so.

In an age in which the “deadweight loss” attributable to taxes, compliance, and hyper-regulation is massive, automation will become far cheaper than having to hire, train, and pay severance to human beings. Since regulation is the mother of innovation, so artificially high costs from other forms of government intervention will force businesses to innovate by first replacing full-time workers with temporary ones, and eventually with cost-effective machines that do not require health and welfare benefits and pensions.

This presents an interesting conundrum for a Progressive coalition that relies in part upon the very poor. To the degree to which large-scale Progressive reforms like Obamacare and the recently popular $15 minimum wage raises the cost of doing business, the move to automate will only accelerate, hurting most those lower-skilled, generally poorer constituencies, which happen to be politically Progressive. This “creative destruction” will be an unwelcome development to many manual laborers, a betrayal to the Progressive political class.

Read the whole thing here.

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