Why did Twitter and Facebook suppress the New York Post after it published the Biden emails, but not the New York Times after it published the Trump tax return info?

Catching up a bit here on the news… “Twitter Won’t Let The New York Post Tweet Until It Agrees To Behave Itself” (Forbes):

Twitter TWTR +1.2% has kept the Post’s official Twitter account locked since Thursday, the Post says, when the newspaper shared several tweets about its story on Hunter Biden that has been increasingly called into question.

On Thursday, Twitter blocked sharing of the Post story and said the piece violated several of its rules, including a prohibition on sharing personal information and hacked materials. Facebook also reduced distribution of the Post report, but the brunt of conservative displeasure over the social media sites’ limiting access to the Post story fell on Twitter.

The New York Times published information that it says came from Donald Trump’s personal tax returns (but they haven’t published the actual returns so we can’t see for ourselves?). Yet the NYT wasn’t banned by Twitter or Facebook. Aren’t personal tax returns “personal information” and/or “hacked materials”?

I’m sure that there is a justification for how the banning of the Post is consistent with the celebration and approval of the Times, but I wonder what it is!

Related (some NY Post stories you won’t see in the NYT):

Full post, including comments

How will Amy Coney Barrett rule on the big question for 2021?

Readers: How are the Amy Coney Barrett hearings going? Did she truly sit through five (5!) hours of opening statements on Monday? Why couldn’t she have been resting at the Trump Hotel while the politicians talked about themselves?

This video shows that Judge Barrett’s daily driver is a Honda Odyssey minivan. Have the senators therefore questioned her on the big question for 2021: should we loyal Honda owners jump ship to the new Sienna minivan?

If you can live with seven seats, the top-of-the-line Siennas feature these Gulfstream-style recliners:

An expensive option? The Court disagrees! The entire top trim Sienna costs less than a single FAA-certified seat for a business jet.

How about this grille?

For comparison, the 2021 Toyota Avalon:

And the Audi e-tron (electric!):

Who decided that we needed cars with huge grilles?

Circling back to the Supreme Court nominee, let’s check my Facebook feed… From a Democrat who fled Manhattan:

A woman who hates women for the Supreme Court; it’s great, she can join a black man who hates black people (tap dancers get the bad rap but Clarence Thomas IS the ultimate Uncle Tom) and sit with the white guy majority who hates everybody. Bye-bye civil rights, bye-bye civil behaviour. Voting T-rump is the greatest act of self-hatred (and planetary destruction) currently available. Unmasked rage disguised as pride; wear it well. My absentee ballot has been counted in Maine.

From a righteous computer programmer:

I don’t know what Barrett will do once she’s seated on the Supreme Court. But it’s perfectly clear to me what the man who nominated her expects her to do. And it’s perfectly clear to her, as well.

(i.e., even after she gets her lifetime job, her thoughts and actions will be determined by a man)

From Maskachusetts Congresswoman Katherine Clark:

#AmyConeyBarrett says she doesn’t have an agenda. But she does have a record—and it stands as an affront to women’s health and rights.

From a divorced mom, part of the most reliable Democrat voting bloc, over a YouTube of Senator Klobuchar’s opening statement:

Please Vote. We can’t just stand by. We have to turn out. #vote2020 #vote

(but her friends are mostly in coastal elite states that are already 100 percent guaranteed to vote for Presidents Biden and Harris!)

From a university employee who describes herself as a “cat person, voter”:

This is not a drill. If Barrett is named to the Supreme Court, I and millions of others will lose access to health care.

(she needs some tips from folks who arrive via caravan over the southern border! Show up at the hospital, don’t give an address, and say “I’m undocumented”!)


  • NYT headline: “Barrett, Declining to Detail Legal Views, Says She Will Not Be ‘a Pawn’ of Trump” (i.e., the nominee talked about people who are and aren’t pawns of the evil mastermind Trump); NYT article body: “I would certainly hope that all members of this committee would have more confidence in my integrity than to think that I would allow myself to be used as a pawn to decide this election for the American people,” she said. (i.e., no mention of Trump specifically!)
Full post, including comments

Should I vote for ranked-choice voting?

The first of my five mail-in ballots has arrived. 3 out of 7 candidates are Democrats running unopposed. The remaining 4 races are 100 percent guaranteed to be won by Democrats. A potential contest: Question 2 is whether to adopt ranked choice voting.

As someone whose political beliefs are most aligned with the libertarians, a last-choice party in a nation where people want a planned economy (my 2012 document after watching both the Republican and Democrat candidates promise that government would create jobs, ensure fair wages, etc.), is this for me? I could vote for a libertarian candidate and then also pick a second choice from a party that has a chance in a country whose citizens want government to cater to their every need? Yet in a Massachusetts general election it is almost inconceivable for a non-Democrat to win. So how can this have any practical effect?

The “Independent Women’s Law Center” opposes this question. We don’t know what people identifying with the remaining 50+ genders say. Wikipedia says that Estonia had something like this, but abandoned it in 2001. As government in Estonia is radically more efficient than here in the U.S., that’s a strike against the idea.

Readers: What do you say about this proposal?

Update, 10/16: a friend highlighted “The Ancient Greeks Teach Us The Perils of Ranked Choice Voting”, by a political science professor:

As this list [of supporters] makes clear, RCV supporters fall overwhelmingly into two (mostly overlapping) categories: Democrats and groups whose members vote heavily for Democratic candidates; and groups that (Libertarians aside) have practically no chance of winning elections even under RCV, except at the local level. Given Massachusetts’s status as a heavily Democratic state (the state’s congressional delegation consists solely of Democrats, who also have long held a substantial supermajority in the legislature), Democrats have little to fear from losing elections to Republicans as a result of RCV. Rather, they need to court members of left-liberal fringe groups, as well as public-employee unions, to ensure that they turn out to vote — knowing that those groups’ supporters would almost surely make the Democratic candidate, at worst, their second-choice candidate, further guaranteeing the defeat of any Republican contender.

Full post, including comments

Swedish scientist and expert on coronavirus endorses Joe Biden

A young Swedish scientist who predicted the worldwide shutdown of schools and universities as early as September 2019 and who has deep experience with the coronavirus has endorsed Joe Biden to be the head of state in a country in which she does not live:

“The upcoming US elections is above and beyond all that. From a climate perspective it’s very far from enough and many of you of course supported other candidates. But, I mean…you know…damn! Just get organized and get everyone to vote #Biden,” the [Swedish scientist] tweeted.

(source: New York Post)


  • the Great Barrington Declaration (Swedish science rewritten for an American and British audience)
  • April 2020 video from Johan Giesecke, a Swedish MD/PhD (former chief scientist of the European CDC) whose predictions seem to have been accurate for the U.S. (lockdown will yield a delay) and China (lockdown will squash the virus… until the next lockdown)
Full post, including comments

American physicians: The healthiest people live in police states

The New England Journal of Medicine has endorsed Joe Biden (without mentioning him by name) in “Dying in a Leadership Vacuum”. Once we get over the shock that a group of physicians support the political party that made it illegal for Americans to refrain from purchasing insurance policies that make payments to physicians, what are these doctors/editors actually saying?

the United States leads the world in Covid-19 cases and in deaths due to the disease, far exceeding the numbers in much larger countries, such as China. The death rate in this country is more than double that of Canada, exceeds that of Japan, a country with a vulnerable and elderly population, by a factor of almost 50, and even dwarfs the rates in lower-middle-income countries, such as Vietnam, by a factor of almost 2000.

We know that we could have done better. China, faced with the first outbreak, chose strict quarantine and isolation after an initial delay.

This is consistent with what the Swedish MD/PhDs said, i.e., that lockdowns could work in a police state. But how was Donald Trump supposed to arrogate police state powers to himself? Supposedly, only state governors had the ability to terminate Americans’ First Amendment rights to assemble, terminate children’s rights to go to school, etc.

(Why cite Vietnam? Laos and Cambodia have had zero deaths! See “Vietnam miracle escape from Covid may be down to ‘natural immunity'” (Telegraph) for a report on Oxford professors poking into this question)

The unkindest cut of all:

Yet our leaders have largely chosen to ignore and even denigrate experts.

(But Trump can just say that he wants to follow the 15,000ish doctors and MD/PhDs who say that shutdown is the wrong policy. Sunetra Gupta, Oxford professor, doesn’t qualify as an “expert”? Martin Kulldorff, professor of medicine at Harvard, is not an “expert”?)

To minimize COVID-19 deaths, therefore, what we really need is a police state that can take dramatic muscular action unfettered by a written constitution. This reminds me of Looking at Covid-19 death rate is like the old saying “An economist is someone who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing”?

Is asking an epidemiologist whether to keep schools and playgrounds open like asking your accountant whether you should buy a dog? Yes, the expert can give you a bit of insight (“my other clients with dogs spend $4,000 per year on vet, food, and grooming”), but not a life-optimizing answer.

In this, the NEJM simply ignores its own content, e.g., “The Untold Toll — The Pandemic’s Effects on Patients without Covid-19” Shutting down every other part of society in order to focus on COVID-19 necessarily results in a lot of deaths. “The COVID-19 shutdown will cost Americans millions of years of life” (The Hill) takes a stab at calculating the cost.

Maybe this is a good window into what would have happened if technocrats had been allowed to run the White House!

(Separately, if you work at a hospital or medical school, one fun thing to do is listen for when a physician criticizes Donald Trump for trying to stem the tide of undocumented low-skill migrants. Most of these folks eventually end up on Medicaid and/or have children who are on Medicaid, thus becoming revenue sources for physicians. Then ask “Should a Swiss, German, French, English, or Taiwanese doctor who is fluent in English be able to come over here and practice?”)


Full post, including comments

Does anyone know a former Trump voter who is now a Biden-Harris fan?

A friend’s Facebook post:

Nate Silver’s project 538 gives odds for Trump vs. Biden as 17 vs 82 … I am not a glorified data scientist with a bunch of other data scientists developing predictive models for me, but I dare to make a risky prediction contradicting Nate Silver’s. My “data model” is pretty simple, it is based on very subjective observations that I know/observed quite a few people who didn’t vote for Trump in 2016, or even voted for Clinton, and who are planning to vote for Trump now. And I am yet to encounter one, just ONE case when someone who voted for Trump in 2016 is going to vote for Biden. It looks like a very one-directional flow of votes.
Of course, it is very subjective and prone to some selective bias – thus I am curious if someone-somewhere knows ANYBODY who voted for Trump in 2016 and is going to vote for Biden now.

As there is nobody here in Maskachusetts who will admit to having voted for Trump, I want to bounce this question to the readers in other states, preferably swing states. (Nobody’s vote matters here, since the candidates are either running literally unopposed (no other choice) or practically unopposed (outcome already known).)

Has anyone met a person who said “I voted for Trump in 2016, but now I prefer the prospect of President Biden/Harris”?

Maybe the real answer is that nobody changes party affiliation and the only reason elections have different outcomes is turnout?

Full post, including comments

What did I miss in the VP debate?

The World’s Best Infrastructure (TM) here in Maskachusetts was unequal to a cold front passing through and therefore we, along with 200,000 other residents, lost power prior to the Vice Presidential debate. What did I miss?

Checking the transcript

The very first question seems to rest on false premises.

Senator Harris, the coronavirus is not under control. Over the past week, Johns Hopkins reports that 39 states have had more COVID cases over the past seven days than in the week before. Nine states have set new records. Even if a vaccine is released soon, the next administration will face hard choices. What would a Biden administration do in January and February that a Trump administration wouldn’t do? Would you impose new lockdowns for businesses and schools in hotspots? A federal mandate to wear masks?

Yet we were informed months ago by the NYT that the federal government did not have the power to shut down or reopen a state, that only a state governor could do these things (and therefore nobody should listen to the Orange Man in the White House).

Harris’s very first response seems to be untrue: “The president said [coronavirus] was a hoax.” (AP: “In fact, Trump pronounced Democratic criticism of his pandemic response a hoax.”)

Harris says that the virus is airborne:

And here’s the thing, on January 28, the vice president and the president were informed about the nature of this pandemic. They were informed that it’s lethal in consequence, that it is airborne, that it will affect young people and that it would be contracted because it is airborne. And they knew what was happening, and they didn’t tell you.

If so, how could any politician or policy beat this virus? Unless each American retired to an individual bunker until a European or Asian pharma company developers a cure or vaccine, how would Americans have avoided an infection that is truly airborne? From a set of graphs of infections versus mask mandates:

This does not look like a chart of humans being in charge!


But I want the American people to know that from the very first day, President Donald Trump has put the health of Americans first. Before there were more than five cases in the United States, all people who had returned from China, President Donald Trump did what no other American president had ever done. And that was he suspended all travel from China, the second largest economy in the world. Now, Senator Joe Biden, Biden opposed that decision. He said it was xenophobic and hysterical, but I can tell you, having led the White House Coronavirus Task Force, that that decision alone by President Trump bought us invaluable time to stand up the greatest national mobilization since World War II. And I believe it’s saved hundreds of thousands of American lives. Because with that time we were able to reinvent testing. More than 115 million tests have been done to date

A buttload of tests were done at the White House, right? And everyone there got coronavirus. How have tests helped? Also, how does the Federal government get credit for “the greatest national mobilization since World War II”? Shouldn’t Zoom, AWS, Verizon, and Comcast get this credit? Who would have imagined that the Internet and these services could scale up to Americans sitting at home on video chat 50 hours/week?

More from Pence:

But when you say what the American people have done over these last eight months hasn’t worked, that’s a great disservice to the sacrifices the American people have made.

Is it obvious that the sacrifices that Americans have made have done anything more than prolong the epidemic? The death rate here is higher than in “give the finger to the virus” Sweden (COVID-19 deaths by country). Plus we have the millions of life-years lost to the shutdown (delayed health care, poverty, lack of education, long-term unemployment, alcoholism, drug addiction, depression/suicide, etc.). Trump was an early Church of Sweden adherent, until Americans desperate to cower in place rejected his advice to sweep up and move on. Now Pence and Trump will say that they crushed the virus?


Because the reality is that we’re going to have a vaccine, Senator, in record time, in unheard of time, in less than a year. We have five companies in phase three clinical trials. And we’re right now producing 10s of millions of doses.

My Russian IFR students say that their parents back in Russia have already had a COVID-19 vaccine (CNN). If the American vaccine is months or years later than the Russian one, how is that “record time”?

(Separately, when will the Russians give us a common cold vaccine? I have gone through enough Sudafed this month to start my own meth lab and enough other people are sick here in sanitized-and-masked Boston that the meth labs are converting their product back into Sudafed…)

Later in the debate, Pence noted that “China is to blame for the coronavirus.” I.e., maybe the U.S. can’t direct whom the virus infects, but the Chinese can. When does the virus get to be in control? (see also, the Chinese response to this idea)


We now know Donald Trump owes and is in debt for $400 million.

Can this be correct? Here in our electricity-free town, we provide sanctuary undocumented migrants who can afford a two-acre lot and a $1 million house to be constructed on said lot. If the final property is worth $2 million and there is a mortgage for $1 million, do we say “The virtuous migrant is in debt for $1 million” or “The virtuous migrant has accumulated assets of $1 million”? By Harris’s standards, nearly every commercial real estate developer and owner in the U.S. is insolvent.

Here’s a tough question!

Senator Harris, the Biden Harris campaign has proposed new programs to boost the economy and you would pay for that new spending by raising $4 trillion in taxes on wealthy individuals and corporations. Some economists warn that could curb entrepreneurial ventures that fuel growth and create jobs. Would raising taxes for the recovery at risk?


On day one, Joe Biden will repeal that tax bill. He’ll get rid of it. And what he’ll do with the money is invested in the American people. And through a plan that is about investing in infrastructure, something that Donald Trump said he would do. I remember hearing about some infrastructure week. I don’t think it ever happened. But Joe Biden will do that. He’ll invest in infrastructure. It’s about upgrading our roads and bridges, but also investing in clean energy and renewable energy.

Won’t all U.S. corporations then be acquired by Irish, English, Canadian, and Swedish companies so that the profits can be brought back to lower-tax jurisdictions? Any given basket of assets has to be worth more to an Irish conglomerate that pays 12.5 percent in tax than to a U.S. entity that will pay 45 percent federal and state corporate tax, right?

Also, if the U.S. is the world’s least efficient country in terms of building infrastructure (example: NYT), why does it make sense to take $trillions away from private investment and pour it into government-run projects?

Why do we need upgraded roads if Americans are going to be cowering in place for the next few decades (even if we beat coronavirus, there will be additional viruses right behind it, no? And Americans have generally developed an aversion to contagion that only hiding in a bunker can address)?


If you come from a family that makes less than $125,000, you’ll go to a public university for free.

So anyone who earns more than $125,000 and has college-age children will cut back on hours and/or try to push compensation into a four-year deferral program so as to earn exactly $124,999 per year? (See Fast-food economics in Massachusetts: Higher minimum wage leads to a shorter work week, not fewer people on welfare for how this has worked at the lower end of the American wage scale.) See also “Biden Affirms: “I Will Eliminate Your Student Debt”” (Forbes): “I’m going to eliminate your student debt if you come from a family [making less] than $125,000 and went to a public university.” and “Under his plan, Biden would forgive all undergraduate federal student loan debt for borrowers with annual incomes under $125,000 who attended public colleges and universities, as well as historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and private minority-serving institutions (MSIs).” (should everyone who owes on student loans and falls into these categories stop making payments now in hopes of relief in 2021? President Harris will forgive debt, not provide a refund for absurd amounts already paid, right?)


And Joe Biden wants to repeal all of the tariffs that President Trump put into effect to fight for American jobs and American workers

If we’re going to all sit on our butts at home while Europeans and Asians are back to work, why do we want tariffs? If U.S. manufacturing is effectively shut down by governors’ orders, what industry are we protecting from hard working foreigners?


Joe Biden will not raise taxes on anyone who makes less than $400,000 a year. He has been very clear about that. Joe Biden will not end fracking. He has been very clear about that.

But if corporate tax rates are cranked by up (except for Apple, Google, Facebook, and the other big Democrat donors who can stuff their money into Irish and Dutch sandwich structures that would once again start working), isn’t that essentially a tax increase on any U.S. resident who owns shares in U.S. corporations? (see Harvard professor Mankiw’s analysis of how an individual’s total tax rate depends also on corporate tax)

And why not end fracking? Aren’t we trying to be green?


You yourself said on multiple occasions when you were running for president that you would ban fracking. Joe Biden looked his supporter in the eye and pointed and said “I guarantee, I guarantee that we will abolish fossil fuels”.

(See also “World’s largest solar plant goes online in China”, selling power at about 5 cents/kWh for a capital investment of roughly what it costs to build a mile of subway track in New York City).

A bizarre question, about Pence’s religious beliefs:

This year we’ve seen record-setting hurricanes in the south. Another one, Hurricane Delta is now threatening the gulf. And we have seen record-setting wildfires in the West. Do you believe, as the scientific community has concluded, that man-made climate change has made wildfires bigger, hotter and more deadly? And it made hurricanes wetter, slower and more damaging?

What difference does it make what Pence believes? A person who believes that humans have changed the climate could still be unmotivated to do anything about it, e.g., saying “We’ll let the Chinese and German engineers deal with that in 50 years when technology is better” or “It’s a shame, but the U.S. is a shrinking percentage of the world economy, so India and China will be in control of this going forward.”

A remarkable argument about hurricane frequency ensues between the moderator, confident regarding “science” despite having no scientific education, and a politician with no scientific education. Eventually a second politician with no scientific education weighs in on climate modeling.

Harris on foreign policy:

So, you know Joe is – I love talking with Joe about a lot of these issues, and you know, Joe, I think, he said, quite well. He says, you know, ‘Foreign policy: it might sound complicated, but really it’s relationships there – just think about it as relationships. And so we know this, in our personal, professional relationships – you guys keep your word to your friends. Got to be loyal to your friends. People who have stood with you, got to stand with them. You got to know who your adversaries

Full post, including comments

Why can’t Michael Bloomberg run a fleet of abortion buses?

“The Case for Accepting Defeat on Roe” (NYT, Sunday, by a law professor):

Maybe it is time to face the fact that abortion access will be fought for in legislatures, not courts.

In “Unpregnant,” the HBO bildungsroman released this month, the plot revolves around a 17-year-old heroine who travels from Missouri to Albuquerque — a road trip of 1,000 miles — because that’s the nearest place she can get an abortion without parental consent. Watching it made me recall a conversation with a feminist friend, who shocked the hell out of me last year by saying that progressives were too focused on protecting Roe v. Wade.

Why? The argument is that we currently have the worst of both worlds. We’ve basically lost the abortion fight: If Roe is overturned, access to abortion will depend on where you live — but access to abortion already depends on where you live. At the same time, we have people voting for Donald Trump because he’ll appoint justices who will overturn Roe. Maybe it is time to face the fact that abortion access will be fought for in legislatures, not courts.

Saint RBG’s flirtation with heresy:

So what should we do now? Often forgotten is that R.B.G. herself had decided that Roe was a mistake. In 1992, she gave a lecture musing that the country might be better off if the Supreme Court had written a narrower decision and opened up a “dialogue” with state legislatures, which were trending “toward liberalization of abortion statutes” (to quote the Roe court). Roe “halted a political process that was moving in a reform direction and thereby, I believe, prolonged divisiveness and deferred stable settlement of the issue,” Justice Ginsburg argued. In the process, “a well-organized and vocal right-to-life movement rallied and succeeded, for a considerable time, in turning the legislative tide in the opposite direction.”

The billionaires trying to cleanse American politics from the filth of Republicanism could, for a tiny fraction of what they’re spending to defeat the hated Trumpenfuhrer, purchase and operate a fleet of buses painted with “Bloomberg’s Abortion Caravan” on the side. Have the buses continuously tour the U.S. and anyone who wants an abortion can hop on to be driven to, for example, Maskachusetts. We have abortion on demand up to 24 weeks; abortion of a “fetus” after 24 weeks available in the sole discretion of a single physician concluding that “a continuation of her pregnancy will impose on [the pregnant woman] a substantial risk of grave impairment of her physical or mental health.” (And, for maximum logical consistency, we also require insurance companies to ladle out $millions to preserve the life of a “baby” born at 21 or 22 weeks!)

Also from the law professor… If Allah wills it, future Americans who aren’t aborted will be paying taxes at higher rates (but we promise that the higher rates will apply only to those deemed “rich”)…

I’m still reluctant to embrace the “overrule and move on” strategy, but moving on may be our only choice. And if abortion stops playing such a role in presidential elections, then Democrats may fare better with the 19 percent of Trump voters who have bipartisan voting habits and warm feelings toward minorities; we know 83 percent of them think the economy is rigged in favor of the rich and 68 percent favor raising taxes on the rich.

Once their presidential vote is not driven by Supreme Court appointments, how many might decide to vote on economic issues? And what greater tribute could there be to R.B.G. than both a legislative restoration of abortion rights, and a new Democratic Party that can win — not just by a hair but by a landslide?

Readers: What do you think? Democrats say that the want to provide abortions to more people (not “more women” because men can get pregnant and nurse babies as well) and Democrats have $billions at their disposal. If practical access to abortion is their sincere goal, why aren’t they already using these $billions, combined with Chinese diesel and electric bus technology, to provide practical access to abortion everywhere in the U.S.?


Full post, including comments

Ancient Spartans wouldn’t have been surprised by our elderly politicians

In “History of the Ancient World: A Global Perspective”, Gregory Aldrete translates the name for the legislature of Ancient Sparta, the Gerousia, as “the old guys.” Membership was limited to citizens who had attained their 60th birthday (also to those who identified as “men”). A Spartan transported in a time machine to 2020 might say “this looks familiar”!

The description of “democracy” in Ancient Athens, on the other hand, is tough to reconcile with the modern experience. Legislators were selected at random from those with full citizenship (sortition). The typical citizen could expect to be selected once or twice during his lifetime (again, only those Athenians identifying as “male” were eligible).

[Separately, the example of Sparta seems to support the idea that sexual orientation can be taught. From the course notes:

During the last 5 years of school, [teenage boys] were encouraged to form a homosexual relationship that served as a kind of mentoring program.

It seems that sexual relationships were encouraged between the older and younger men in the syssitia [men’s club] on the grounds that if your fellow soldier was also your lover, you would be less likely to run away in battle.

The professor describes male membership in the LGBTQIA+ community as almost universal in Sparta. (See also “Status of homosexuality in ancient Sparta?” and “Teaching 5th graders who vs. whom in an LGBTQ+ world”).]

Full post, including comments

Increasing percentage of American political funding from those who didn’t earn the money?

The folks who are the most irredeemably Republican are small business owners. The folks who embrace the new Democratic Socialism and the general concept of bigger government are a mixture, but one of the wealthiest components of that mixture has been people who inherited money. People who didn’t have to work for the money don’t seem nearly as worried about the negative effects of government restrictions on the market, e.g., minimum wage (make it illegal for those with low skill levels to work), more lavish welfare handouts (make it irrational for those with low/medium skill levels to work), and higher taxes (make it less attractive for anyone to work additional hours).

A classic example of inherited wealth is Laurene Powell Jobs. The person who made the money is Steve Jobs, not noted for his charitable inclinations or support for politicians. The woman who inherited the money, however, is all-in on one of the Democrats’ big goals. Her Emerson Collective‘s #1 “Priority” is increasing low-skill immigration the U.S. Steve Jobs might have been concerned that higher taxes to fund welfare benefits for low-skill migrants and their children would make it tougher for Apple to compete with rivals in China, for example. Laurene Powell Jobs, however, won’t be similarly constrained.

[Promoting low-skill immigration makes sense from her personal perspective (as it does for most elite Americans). She’s spending the wealth that her late husband accumulated through a charity and therefore won’t have to pay any taxes, regardless of what the rates might be. Regardless of the level of low-skill migration, her own lifestyle won’t change too much. How likely are the new arrivals to be able to afford a home anywhere near one of hers? Is it conceivable that she’ll have to wait for health care if the resulting larger population clogs up the health care system? How many in the next caravan of Hondurans to cross the border earn enough to compete with her for private jet transport and hangar space?]

The U.S. has always had citizens who were rich via inheritance and politically active. What’s relatively new, however, is the phenomenon of people who are rich via divorce litigation. Due to the no-fault divorce revolution of the 1970s, there are now a huge number of people who can spend money that a spouse-turned-defendant earned. Like folks who inherited money, therefore, they have zero personal experience with what it takes to build and run a successful business.

What’s an example of this new force in politics? Karla Jurvetson obtained financial independence by suing her husband Steve Jurvetson, a venture capitalist also known for having sex with a variety of cash-hungry young women. And in the 2020 election… “Mystery Warren super PAC funder revealed; Karla Jurvetson, a California physician, gave $14.6 million to Persist PAC in February.” (Politico):

In the last weeks of Warren’s struggling presidential bid, a super PAC called Persist PAC hastily formed and then swooped into Nevada, South Carolina and Super Tuesday states to run over $14 million in ads trying to resuscitate Warren’s campaign. Warren was in trouble after third and fourth place finishes in Iowa and New Hampshire.\Jurvetson is one of the biggest donors in the Democratic Party and has spoken openly about what she feels is her obligation to support female candidates. “I feel like it’s our moral duty, if we’re not going to run ourselves, to support the women who are brave enough to put their name on the ballot,” she told the Mercury News in 2018. Jurvetson also hosted a fundraising luncheon for Warren in 2018 — before the Massachusetts senator disavowed in-person fundraising events altogether during her presidential run.

Through a spokesperson, Jurvetson declined to comment on her involvement in Persist PAC, which only collected a half-million dollars from other sources in February, according to a new campaign finance filing. Warren did not respond to a request for comment.

In other words, this single divorce plaintiff was the source of 96 percent of Warren’s PAC money.

Maybe the age of enthusiasm for the Bernie Sanders platform (even if ultimately delivered by Joe Biden and other Democrats) is partly due to the fact that an increasing portion of the money in politics is coming from people who didn’t earn it?

Very loosely related, from the BBC:

Full post, including comments