1. It was recently announced that US debt would exceed 100% of GDP and that the 25 ppt surge in debt was the largest annual leap since the 1790s. This news provoked statements of serious concern by neither party and consternation among nobody, because...

wsj.com/articles/u-s-d…
2. ...none of the dire predictions debt hawks made about what would happen when we crossed this line have come true -- no interest rate spike, no inflationary spiral, no loss of confidence in the dollar. And austerity seems 100% wrong in a pandemic. But..

nytimes.com/2020/08/21/bus…
3. ...conservatism used to entail worrying about worst-case scenarios, which would have been helpful pre-pandemic. And we still face the political problem of raising funds for needed public investments in the face of rising debts

brookings.edu/research/fisca…
4. My @NiskanenCenter colleagues point out that Baumol's cost disease means spiraling prices of the most labor-intensive & highly regulated services -- incl child care, health care & education -- can pressure politicians into more anti-market actions

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baumol%27…
5. So @hamandcheese has announced a new Niskanen fiscal policy initiative to explore structural market reforms aimed at eliminating regulatory capture and exposing cost-diseased sectors to robust innovation and competition. Stay tuned...

niskanencenter.org/announcing-the…

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More from @RuleandRuin

31 Aug
1. My NYT piece on QAnon compared the current conspiracy to the John Birch Society in the '60s but argued the GOP & conservative movement condemned the latter while Trump embraced the former. This is part of a wider historical and political debate...

nytimes.com/2020/08/25/opi…
2. ...as seen in @jonathanchait's piece that came out the same day, on the "burn it all down" debate about whether a post-Trump GOP is worth saving. Jon sees conservatism as the real problem -- it hasn't been corrupted by Trump b/c it was always corrupt

nymag.com/intelligencer/…
3. Specifically, the idea that William F. Buckley Jr expelled the JBS from conservatism is the movement's foundational myth: "This small and seemingly esoteric point of historical interpretation is the root of the intellectual right’s systemic inability to face up to its problem"
Read 14 tweets
15 Feb 19
1. Arguments have closed in the Harvard Asian-American admissions case. I used to enjoy writing about meritocracy but now it has become a dreadful, stomach-churning subject that I usually try to avoid
nbcnews.com/news/asian-ame…
2. I covered meritocracy while writing about Kingman Brewster's reform of Yale admissions in the '60s. I believe it was brave & necessary to admit talented students from all backgrounds in place of the traditional clientele of advantaged WASP males...
archives.yalealumnimagazine.com/issues/99_12/a…
3. But it was also in Yale's self-interest since new opportunities were opening up for women/minorities while society's top jobs required more IQ; as an "intellectual investment banker" Brewster knew the old WASP elite was the equivalent of low-yield bonds
nytimes.com/1964/04/11/arc…
Read 16 tweets
18 Dec 18
1. How should the left think about the right? The past week brought 4 examples of different approaches. Start with George Packer's historical overview of "The Corruption of the Republican Party"...
theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/…
2. Packer's a smart guy. He's correct that the actions of the GOP-controlled state legislatures in MI & WI are textbook political corruption and a disgrace to US democracy, as well as further confirmation that Scott Walker has always been toxic
newrepublic.com/article/118145…
3. He's also correct that the GOP acts this way because it's the product of an ideological movement rather than traditional coalition-based politics; even when in power, the conservative-dominated GOP usually behaves as a permanent insurgency rather than a governing party
Read 20 tweets
9 Oct 18
1. My Politico article critiquing liberal historians of conservatism provoked far more negative, ad hominem responses than anything I'd ever written. Prudence would dictate I not revisit the subject, but I can't help poking the bear, or at least asking... politico.com/magazine/story…
2. Did we learn anything from this? At the least I wish I had, titular provocations aside, more explicitly emphasized that our understanding of conservatism *has* been enhanced by many of those liberal histories, some of which I mentioned in this thread:
3. And although Twitter is a medium of anger, it has room for civil (and even educational) exchanges like the one I had with the distinguished NYU historian @TomSugrue, even when considerable disagreement remains:
Read 24 tweets
4 Oct 18
1. @DouthatNYT is right, we're insufferable, but here's my take on Brett Kavanaugh. I was a year behind him at Yale, knew him slightly and considered him a frat bro & unfriendly jock wannabe. So what does l'affaire Kavanaugh say about the meritocracy? nytimes.com/2018/10/03/opi…
2. I was at Yale across three decades as undergrad, grad student & faculty, and also wrote a book on Meritocracy 1.0, as it happened at Yale in the '60s. The focus of The Guardians is Kingman Brewster Jr., Yale president from 1964-77 & uber-WASP reformer amazon.com/Guardians-King…
3. Hindsight: the mid-'80s was an odd time at Yale, a mix of fading '60s liberal idealism, '70s hedonism, & oncoming '80s conservatism. Many students drank way too much (me included) & I'm ashamed I didn't question more of the cultural attitudes of the era vox.com/culture/2018/9…
Read 21 tweets
11 Sep 18
1. I used to be a TNR columnist, so when I heard the mag was doing a takedown of my Politico piece on histories of conservatism, I worried a little. Fortunately, TNR is no longer what it was: newrepublic.com/article/151127…
2. I appreciate Jeet Heer's praise for my book on moderate Republicans, but he doesn't seem to have read it because the views he ascribes to me are more or less the opposite of what I believe. Start with the idea that I "lamented" the new wave of scholarship on conservatism...
3. Why would I lament that? I was calling 20 years ago for academic historians to study conservatism seriously. I'm delighted with the results. If Politico had let me, I would have offered a gallery of superb histories, for ex. Nikki Hemmer on con media: amazon.com/Messengers-Rig…
Read 21 tweets

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