Grant Babcock on Trump:
I ran into an old classmate on the train to work this morning. As we were catching up, he said he wondered if libertarians were excited at the prospect of a Donald Trump presidency. It was a bubble-bursting moment for me, a reality check. My friend is a smart and generally well-informed person–which leads me to worry a lot about what less smart, less well-informed people might think.
There are a few libertarians who like Trump, but these generally don’t so much like his policies as they like who he makes angry: “the establishment.” Don’t get me wrong–I hate “the establishment” (for lack of a better word) as much as anyone. But there are things that are worse than the status quo, and among the libertarians I know–and I know a lot of libertarians–the consensus is that a Trump presidency would be the worst thing to happen to America in decades. We don’t relish the possibility of a Clinton presidency–she’s a warmonger, she’s power-hungry, and she’s a slimeball of a politician–but she’ll be bad within the window of generally accepted badness that we already live with. I don’t want to play down how bad what we already live with is, but all evidence suggests that none or almost none of the ways Trump would be different represent improvements from a libertarian perspective.
It’s hard to pin down Trump’s positions but what we do know is all bad. He’s anti-trade. He advocates political violence. He panders to the worst tribal instincts of the electorate. He’s pro-eminent domain, for goodness sake. He’s a strongman in the model of a Mussolini or a Hugo Chavez. He’s not a libertarian, and for the most part libertarians shouldn’t and don’t like him.
To be perfectly clear: most libertarians are absolutely terrified of a Trump presidency.
Again: most libertarians are absolutely terrified of a Trump presidency.
I will probably be voting third party this election, but if you held a gun to my head and forced me to choose between Trump and Clinton, I would break my finger bashing the button for Clinton.
Trevor Burrus explains why Big Tobacco loves the new FDA e-cig regulations.
From Michael Lind’s lips (fingers?) to God’s ears:
The withering-away of industrial unions, thanks to automation as well as offshoring, will liberate the Democrats to embrace free trade along with mass immigration wholeheartedly. The emerging progressive ideology of post-national cosmopolitanism will fit nicely with urban economies which depend on finance, tech and other industries of global scope, and which benefit from a constant stream of immigrants, both skilled and unskilled.
While tomorrow’s Republican policymakers will embrace FDR-to-LBJ universal entitlements like Social Security and Medicare, future Democrats may prefer means-tested programs for the poor only.
“In the expensive, hierarchical cities in which Democrats will be clustered, universal social insurance will make no sense. Payroll taxes on urban workers will be too low to fund universal social insurance, while universal social benefits will be too low to matter to the urban rich. So the well-to-do in expensive, unequal Democratic cities will agree to moderately redistributive taxes which pay for means-tested benefits—perhaps even a guaranteed basic income—for the disproportionately poor and foreign-born urban workforce. As populist labor liberalism declines within the Democratic party, employer-friendly and finance-friendly libertarianism will grow. The Democrats of 2030 may be more pro-market than the Republicans.