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Juneteenth: The Latest Effort to Balkanize the U.S.
Monday June 21, 2021 | William J. Watkins, Jr.

Thanks to Joe Biden, a unanimous U.S. Senate, and 415-14 vote in the House, we have a new federal holiday: Juneteenth. The holiday celebrates the day that the Union forces arrived in Galveston, Texas, and announced that the town’s slaves were free pursuant to the Emancipation Proclamation. Various groups on the Right are urging Americans to embrace the new holiday. For example: Kay C. James at the Heritage Foundation, Zuri Davis at Reason, and Dan McLaughlin at National Review. What could be wrong with celebrating freedom for those who were in bondage? Absolutely nothing. But celebrating the freedom of individuals to chart their own course and to enjoy equal rights under a color-blind Constitution is alien to the new holiday. Juneteenth became a holiday to focus Americans on so-called “systematic racism” and to use past injustices to encourage a progressive agenda. James, Davis, and McLaughlin are merely useful idiots for Leftists. They ignore the real purposes behind the holiday to our detriment. (more…)

Who really won Peru’s presidential election?
Monday June 21, 2021 | Alvaro Vargas Llosa

We will probably never know how many votes Keiko Fujimori obtained in one of Peru’s most polarized presidential elections in recent history and whether her rival, Pedro Castillo, who seems close to being declared the winner by the country’s electoral body, would have obtained the most votes in the absence of irregularities that are the object of intense dispute.  The third-time pro-business candidate, and daughter of jailed former strongman Alberto Fujimori, is running behind Pedro Castillo, the dark-horse candidate who admires Latin America’s socialist autocrats and was placed at the head of the ticket by the leader of a Marxist-Leninist organization who could not run himself for legal reasons, by a razor-thin margin in a vote count that has turned into high drama since the June 6 election. (more…)

California’s Vaccine Lottery is a Sucker Bet
Friday June 18, 2021 | K. Lloyd Billingsley

As ABC News reports, California has selected the first 15 winners of a $50,000 grand prize as part of the state’s “Vax for the Win” program. The lottery is part of Gov. Newsom’s $116.5 million effort to persuade people to get vaccinated. Ten Californians who got at least one vaccination split a $15 million pot and vaccinated Californians will be automatically entered for chances to win $50,000. The first winners have yet to be identified, and some Californians have a problem with the lottery approach. Professor Uri Gneezy of UC San Diego thinks the lottery sends the wrong message, that the vaccination might be risky. He would prefer gift cards for those getting vaccinated, which would promote spending at local businesses, “especially given the money comes from California’s taxpayers.” Professor Gneezy has a point, but the messaging problem has another side. (more…)

“Amtrak Joe” Tries to Resuscitate California’s Zombie Bullet Train
Thursday June 17, 2021 | Craig Eyermann

President Joe Biden is well known for having a choo choo fetish. It’s little surprise he wants to expand the already heavily subsidized Amtrak passenger rail service. If he’s successful, today’s toddlers will come to know why their grandparents came to reject the inconvenience of commuting between cities by rail. Aside from the unique combination of extremely high infrastructure costs, extremely high operating costs, and extremely low demand by commuters that make passenger rail unattractive as an investment, today’s passenger trains are also slow. Joe Biden knows this, so he is promoting faster passenger rail service.

What we’re really doing is raising the bar on what we can imagine. Imagine a world where you and your family can travel coast to coast without a single tank of gas on a high-speed train close to as fast as you can go across the country in a plane.

Tax Havens, or Intergovernmental Competition
Wednesday June 16, 2021 | Randall G. Holcombe

President Biden and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen have convinced the other G-7 countries to implement a 15% minimum global corporate tax rate. The argument in favor is that some countries (the linked article names Ireland) are establishing themselves as tax havens–lowering their tax rates to attract businesses from higher-tax countries. Another way to view countries offering lower tax rates is that this is the result of intergovernmental competition. Countries want to attract businesses, and lower tax rates is one way to do this. Ireland’s low corporate tax rate is one of the policies that have produced the nation’s high rate of economic growth. Normally, economists (and politicians) argue that competition is beneficial because it disciplines companies to provide good products to people at low prices. The exception is government, where they argue that competition is bad. They seem to like it when Wal-Mart offers customers everyday low prices, but when Ireland does the same for its taxpayers, it’s called a race to the bottom. (more…)

Pandemic Unemployment Fraud Tops $400 Billion
Tuesday June 15, 2021 | Craig Eyermann

In early 2020, state governments across the country reacted to the arrival of the coronavirus epidemic by imposing lockdowns. By forcing businesses to close and ordering residents to stay at home, their aim was to “flatten the curve” and limit the spread of Covid infections. It was supposed to be for just 15 days, but turned into months. It didn’t take long for the politicians’ lockdowns to crush the nation’s economy. As soon as lockdown measures were mandated by state governments, they threw their economies into deep recession. Millions of Americans lost their jobs. Millions of Americans needed unemployment benefits. (more…)

Federal Judge Draws Fire for Striking Down California Assault Weapons Ban
Tuesday June 15, 2021 | K. Lloyd Billingsley

“A stone cold ideologue. He is a wholly owned subsidiary of the gun lobby of the National Rifle Association.” That was California Gov. Gavin Newsom on federal judge Roger Benitez, who recently overturned California’s longstanding ban on “assault weapons.” Second Amendment advocates might find the “ideologue” description puzzling.

As we noted, in 2019 the Cuban-Born Benitez, an appointee of George W. Bush, struck down a California law that banned high-capacity rifle magazines, arguing that it prevented law-abiding citizens from defending themselves against violent criminals. Attorney general Xavier Becerra complained directly to Benitez, who reversed his own ruling. So much for the judge’s contention that “individual liberty and freedom are not outmoded concepts.” (more…)

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