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Suppressed Data Trends

One thing you notice when engaging in public policy discussions is the misuse of statistics in a particular way: truncating a timeline of data, to focus almost exclusively on short-term trends rather than a more meaningful long-term (“secular”) accounting of trends. For example, you will often see proponents of state

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, #PayGo, austerity, spending

PayGo Piffle

Republicans are especially good at deficit spending. Give them control of the presidency and both houses of Congress, and watch the money flow! It happened under George W. Bush, and now under President Donald Trump. But note: the Democrats have gained control of the House of Representatives. We might see

James Madison, quote, freedom, war, warfare

Madison on Perpetual War

“Of all the enemies to public liberty war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes; and armies, and debts, and taxes are the known instruments for bringing the

Pence, Vice President, sleeping, transparency, negotiations

Full Frontal Negotiations

Last week’s political circus reached a new level of Big Top. Or three rings, as President Donald Trump hosted two Democratic leaders in the White House, debating border security and government shutdown — in public. House Minority Leader, soon-to-be Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer

Nancy Pelosi, term limits

Mrs. Term Limits?

Do politicians oppose term limits on principle? For the answer to be yes, we would first have to explain to them what principles are. Sure, politicians adamantly oppose term limits that cut against their self-interest, i.e. apply to them. But they are often for term limits . . . when

Trump, Santa, NAFTA, trade

Christmas Is Coming

When I was a kid, every December day was like a rocket-launch countdown ’til Christmas. Republicans in the House of Representatives have fewer days to tick off: the days remaining to do something before Democrats take over. Days left in session? Eight. We know what Trump wants them to do:

No-Study Politics

The 200-plus “youth activists” who stormed House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s offices (see yesterday’s Common Sense) were protesting Pelosi’s leadership on climate issues. Soon-to-be Representative Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) was there to encourage Pelosi to listen to them. “We need a Green New Deal,” Ocasio-Cortez informed her natural constituency, journalists, “and we

trap, socialism, democratic socialism

More of the More

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s triumphant entry into Washington, DC, as a United States Representative-Elect, is quickly proving a cautionary tale for Democrats. She’s an enthusiastic socialist. Or “progressive,” to use the preferred euphemism. And thus Democrats see her as a fresh breeze to air out the stodgy, musty chambers of . .

Peru, term limits, Trump

Trump Should Look to Peru

Democracy can degrade into other things, even strong-man rule. To avoid such degradation, we have a ready prophylactic. Term limits. Which hamper would-be dictators-for-life, including entrenched oligarchs in the legislature. Many countries illustrate the point. But take Peru, where the new head of state, Martin Vizcarra, has been combatting political corruption by supporting a referendum to impose

domino, power, election, term limits, initiatives

Electing a Better Way

For the seventh time in the last 22 years, the Metro Nashville Council put a measure on the ballot to weaken or abolish their own term limits. And for the seventh time voters said no.  Term limits were under attack elsewhere in Tennessee — along with Ranked Choice Voting. The

Jack Gargan

THRO

What can one person do? I wish Jack Gargan were here to answer that question — I can almost hear his characteristic chuckle, see the glint in his Irish eyes, in preparation. But sadly, Jack passed away late Sunday night or early Monday morning in Thailand, where he had retired.

crystal ball, experts, midterms, mid terms, 2018, election

When Experts Are Wrong

Standard theory has it that “mid-term elections” serve as a “referendum on the President.” In a typical article this weekend, a political scientist trotted out that common wisdom and then went on to say that “control of the referendum has shifted. It is now a referendum on leadership, on character

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