Biden Strikes Out with Harris, the least-worst of his choices

Poor Joe Biden. This is his third try, but the progressive wing of his party painted him into a narrow, no-win corner with the demand that his vice presidential pick be a woman of color. While it’s clear that most Americans would agree that it’s time for a female president or vice president, Biden found himself forced to pick from a pool of women who were either too radically progressive, too inexperienced to become president, or simply unable to help attract more votes to the Biden candidacy.

During the 2020 Democratic primary, the party was unable to produce a single strong, capable female national leader. Of the 3,979 delegates committed during the primaries, the Democrats voted to give only 60 of those delegates to the female candidates. After running a particularly disorganized and chaotic campaign, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) dropped out, netting zero votes and zero delegates, and was neither popular nor considered politically viable.

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Published by The Hill

Data Breaking Bad: COVID-19 Corruption in an Election Year

America may be “exceptional,” but Americans are often fools. That is especially true when you feed them scraps of wildly wrong and useless data. Suddenly everyone is an instant expert on climate change, education or health care.

I cannot count the number of dinner parties I’ve disrupted by asking “committed environmentalists” a simple question: “Have you even read the IPCC reports?” Those are the U.N. Climate Change reports, often referred to as the “settled science.” They do not say the world will end in 10 years, 100 years or 1,000 years, and do not provide a compelling argument for the immediate destruction of the world economy, with endless misery for the poor, to achieve “zero emissions.” Ditto Stanford’s CREDO studies, which strongly support charter schools for the poor. Ditto the National Health Insurance Experiment, which suggests “Medicare for All” might lead to Medicare for None.

But the most egregious recent example of Americans swallowing scraps of nonsense data is COVID-19 “cases data.” Suddenly, everyone in the neighborhood is an epidemiologist with religious fervor. But, self-righteous though they may be, they are largely wrong.

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Buy the Dip: Bet on Trump

If there was one piece of useful stock market advice this year, it was “buy the dip” — that is, assume that the market value will form a “V” with a steep and deep decline and then a sharp and strong recovery. So, many bought into the market in mid-March, after the deep decline, with the confidence that government bailouts plus underlying economic strength in many key parts of the economy (e.g., high tech and professional services) would be lightly affected by the coronavirus lockdown and bounce back fast. They made a lot of money.

Certainly the political fortunes of President Trump have followed the first part of that curve so far this year and his poll numbers are down. But I’d argue, buy the dip.

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A “Three-Letter” Solution to Reduce American Racial Tension: J-O-B-S

Honestly, who can forget Joe Biden’s economic strategy during the 2008 campaign? The solution, he said, is “a three-letter word: J-O-B-S!” Putting aside another spectacular Biden gaffe, and his continued divisive pandering (they’ll “put y’all back in chains”), his white-splaining was right on this point. With painful racial strife in America, the most promising long-term solution remains jobs.

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Defunding the Police: Put it to a Vote

The horrific killing of George Floyd, and other fatal incidents involving African Americans, have given rise to large demonstrations for police reform. Many government bodies at all levels have moved to consider or enact police reforms, including increased training; eliminating certain police tactics such as use of chokeholds; more transparency on records of abusive behavior or excessive force by individual police officers, to put more focus on true police accountability; and more forceful prosecution of police abuse. Almost certainly, normally stubborn police unions will need to give ground on many of these issues.

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Coronavirus and America’s Economic Miracle

No one likes private equity; just ask Mitt Romney, the Utah senator who made his fortune at Bain Capital in the 1980s and ’90s. But private equity does change the world, sometimes for the better. Private equity firms buy distressed and undervalued companies, reorganize their systems and processes, restructure their finances, lay off redundant workers, bring in new and more efficient technologies, leverage them to the hilt, and then, exit — sort of like what the novel coronavirus is doing to America.

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The Death of the American Constitution

During the past couple of weeks, Americans have seen unprecedented authoritarian behavior on the part of many governors and local government leaders, and the chilling possibility that the Obama White House intentionally weaponized the National Security Agency, FBI, CIA, IRS and other federal agencies to attack domestic political opponents. At the same time, the government and the tech community have made huge strides in expanding the surveillance state, often termed fascism. The concepts of democracy, personal privacy and property rights are rapidly becoming quaint concepts from a bygone era.

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America’s Post-Pandemic Political Shift to the Right

The coronavirus has led to the greatest economic catastrophe in our lifetimes. Record losses in the market, record bankruptcies, record unemployment and, soon, record insolvency of local governments. This social and economic firestorm will lead to massive shifts in political alignment. The question is, which way will politics shift this year and over the next several years?

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Healthy Food: The unexpected medicine for COVID-19 and National Security

Many in Washington are shouting “follow the science.” With the novel coronavirus, while there is significant confusion over effective medical treatments to prevent or cure COVID-19, one key piece of scientific evidence is beyond dispute: Those at the highest risk of extreme illness and death have underlying conditions such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease or high blood pressure. In some studies, up to 97 percent of people dying of COVID-19 have these conditions.

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Far worse to come: COVID-19 collapse of state and local governments

Another sudden and unexpected factor will transform this year’s elections. Many states, cities and counties are about to, suddenly, run out of money. Wages won’t be paid. Services won’t be delivered. Institutions will shut down abruptly. Many state colleges may fold. And yet most state and local political and administrative leaders just sit and watch. Voters will not be pleased.

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Published by The Hill