He said “if public health professionals sign off, then I will not hesitate and I would encourage others to do so.”

But if they *don’t* sign off on it, then he’d be hesitant — and who wouldn’t?
The vaccine thing is like the least-hard question.

If the vaccine is legit then you’ll have Dr Fauci out front on the podium and the Canadian, British, German, etc. governments clamoring to get it. If it’s just Trump ranting about plasma, it’s fake. We’ve seen this.
The most likely scenario, I think, is this:

There’s a pretty steady drip of good vaccine news in any given week and in late October some piece of genuine good news will just get relentlessly overhyped by Trump with no actual doses available.

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More from @mattyglesias

15 Sep
Since this came up in several podcasts as well as @felixsalmon’s review, I clearly should have addressed it in the book. But.

Does the fact that Europe has lower birth rates than America refute the idea that a more family friendly welfare state would lead to more kids?

… in general that’s not how you do causal analysis.

Obviously a huge driver of the US/European fertility gap is that Americans are more religious. Relatedly, Americans say they want more babies than Europeans do.

But Americans have fewer kids than we say we want.
The idea in the book is that if we did more to meet the financial burdens of raising children (a bunch of specific ideas about how to do this in the book), then Americans would come closer to fulfilling their fertility desires.
Read 6 tweets
13 Sep
Yesterday I said with regard to @pareene’s take about making things work that to improve bus service we need to make government more technocratic & less responsible to people who yell at community meetings.

@kdrum said unpopular ideas will still get voted down. Let me explain.
Most bus routes in the US stop very frequently.

If you identify low demand stops and remove them, the bus can run faster and because it runs faster it can also run more frequently. A faster, more frequent bus is more useful so more people will ride it.

Good stuff!
And because more people are riding the bus, the system has more revenue. If some routes are overcrowded you can add even more service. Or else if crowding isn’t an issue, you can cut fares.

No reason to think any of this would be unpopular, but...
Read 5 tweets
11 Sep
After 9/11 we created a Department of Homeland Security as a “Something Must Be Done” response, but DOJ didn’t want to give up the FBI, the actual lead counterterrorism agency, so DHS got immigration agencies instead — in retrospect a fateful development.
DHS was supposed to have some kind of counterterrorism mandate, but the actual agencies under its auspices was a weird grab-bag of things that mostly weren’t about terrorism.

Immigration and border enforcement were close enough that they could be reconceptualized that way.
At the same time, the IIRIA law passed five years earlier had created a weird situation.

It was still relatively easy to sneak across the US-Mexico border but now basically impossible to “get legal” and regularize your status no matter how integrated into the US you became.
Read 4 tweets
7 Sep
A lot of things have happened that have surprised me on one level or another but the big one is that a year ago I’d have said a Trump-led United States was at risk of a panicky overreaction to something like this not a response that just amounts to the power of positive thinking.
Like okay Trump “didn’t listen to the experts” and lies constantly and other Trumpy things.

But in the early days he also didn’t actually ban travel from China. He did nothing when Northern Italy was clearly full of virus. No centralized quarantine. Just let everyone leave NYC.
He embraced anti-maskism rather than dunking on the experts for getting this wrong and becoming the most zealously pro-mask person in the world. He let revenue-hungry universities he hates reopen. He didn’t try to use the pandemic as a pretext to ban protests.
Read 4 tweets
31 Aug
This is a common view of the history of the conservative movement, but I think it obscures more than it reveals and there’s always been a symbiotic relationship between the elite right and the fever swamps.
My friends @daschloz and @sam_rosenfeld have PhDs and everything and made this case last year and I find their view persuasive.

One factor worth considering is that the conservative legal movement — which is the most highbrow and respectable form of conservative politics — is one of the most pro-Trump wings of the right, precisely because of their shared hostility to electoral democracy.
Read 4 tweets
29 Aug
I think the CHAZ situation usefully helped illustrate the extent to which the crime-deterring function of police is largely separate from their investigatory function.

That said we should try to solve more crimes!
There was a good study last year showing that police departments dedicate fewer detective-hours to trying to solve non-fatal shootings than fatal ones, and consequently solve them at lower rates.

We could (and imo should) try to solve more crimes.

I think the literature pretty convincingly supports a vision of law enforcement that features more diverse departments doing fewer stops & using less force and spending more time walking around & more time investigating crimes.
Read 4 tweets

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