Judge Rules Against Syracuse University Students’ Free Speech Rights

SUA judge has dealt a significant blow to the free speech rights of students at Syracuse University, a private school in New York.

James McClusky, a justice of the New York Supreme Court 5th Judicial District, ruled earlier this month that Syracuse may suspend several members of the Theta Tau fraternity for private, offensive behavior—despite the promise, contained within the university’s student code of conduct, that students generally have the right to express themselves freely.

Syracuse first took action against the students in June after video footage of them privately roasting one another—making immature and demeaning but satirical comments about each other—were leaked to the student newspaper. The language used by the students was offensive, and Syracuse’s administration was right to describe it as “extremely racist, anti-Semitic, homophobic, sexist, and hostile to people with disabilities.” Note, though, that this was a private, comedic event, and the hurtful language was aimed at willing participants.

In any event, the student code of conduct states that students “have the right to express themselves freely on any subject provided they do so in a manner that does not violate the code.” Administrators characterized the speech as harassing and threatening, and thus outside the protection of the code.

McClusky disagreed, writing that he could imagine some on campus feeling threatened “after a debate on abortion, a debate on the support of Israel, or a debate on the confirmation of Justice Kavanaugh, issues upon which one would think an institution of higher education would encourage debate.”

But despite outlining a rationale for overturning the punishments, the judge ultimately sided with Syracuse. “The Court will not overturn this finding,” he wrote.

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education’s Zach Greenberg characterized the decision as “contradictory” and reckless:

FIRE is disappointed that this court refused to apply one of the most basic principles of our legal system: Institutions must generally adhere to the promises they make, especially the clear, written policies advertised by a university in its student code of conduct and similar policy materials. Just as a college cannot take a student’s tuition and then refuse to provide any sort of education, SU may not purport to uphold its students’ expressive rights and then suspend them for speech protected under First Amendment standards.

FIRE has called out this hypocrisy again and again at SU, a university that has the words of the First Amendment emblazoned on its school of communications, yet continually displays a disturbing disregard for freedom of speech. From SU’s expulsion of an education student for his Facebook post to its investigation of a law student over his satirical blog, the university has made it clear that its stated commitment to student rights is worthless.

This court ruling will only encourage private schools like SU to create, advertise, and then refuse to enforce illusory promises of free speech. Based on the logic of this ruling, students at private colleges can be expelled for flaunting universities rules, but these colleges should fear no consequences for defaulting on their obligations. SU students should know that their expressive freedoms are determined not by university policy, but by the arbitrary whims of university administrators, who may defy student’s rights with impunity.

The students plan to appeal the decision, and for good reason. Universities that make free speech guarantees must keep their promises, even when the speech in question embarrasses or offends the campus.

from Hit & Run http://bit.ly/2FDnQ1Q

Oregon Likely to Become the First in the Nation to Adopt Statewide Rent Control

As home and rental prices rise across the country, more and more locales are giving serious consideration to a policy long denounced by economists: rent control. That includes Oregon, which increasingly looks likely to become the first state in the country to adopt rent control statewide.

“We are long past the point when we should have passed meaningful tenant protections,” state House Speaker Tina Kotek (D–Portland) says to Willamette Week. “Clearly more needs to be done statewide to give renters more security and stability.”

Kotek, along with her counterpart in the state Senate, Ginny Burdock (D–Portland), have introduced SB 608, which would forbid landlords from increasing rents during the first year of a person’s tenancy and would cap future rent increases at seven percent per year plus inflation thereafter.

These caps would apply to all rental properties save for those built within the last 15 years, and for landlords who are providing reduced rents as part of some sort of government housing program.

There are no vacancy controls in SB 608, meaning that landlords would be able to raise rents an unlimited amount once a tenant moves out. For this reason, the bill also bans no-cause evictions: A landlord will have to show a government-approved reason for kicking a tenant out.

These are all controversial policies in Oregon, where there is a state-level preemption on cities passing their own rent control measures, and where a no-eviction bill died in the legislature just two years ago.

There’re also risky policies, says Mike Wilkerson of ECONorthwest, an economics consulting firm.

“You’d be hard-pressed to find any economist who comes out in favor of rent control as a means to help improve whatever failure you are experiencing,” whether that’s a lack of supply or rapid rent hikes, says Wilkerson.

Economists’ chief complaint about rent control is that it reduces the return a landlord or developer can earn from throwing up new units, meaning you’ll wind up with fewer overall units, worsening housing affordability in the long run.

This holds true for what is being proposed in Oregon, says Wilkerson, though the specifics of SB 608—particularly its 15-year exemption of new buildings and its 7 percent cap—complicate the picture.

“Being able to increase rent at whatever you want for the first 15 years, that doesn’t really impact the financial feasibility of getting that building built,” says Wilkerson. That means the minority of developers who plan on constructing rental units and then operating them in perpetuity would be less likely to be deterred from going through with a project.

The policy would have a greater impact on the majority of developers who construct buildings with the intention of selling them off to investors. The longer-term caps on rent increases reduce how much those investors are willing to pay for a project. That lowers returns for developers looking to sell, thus dissuading many of them from going through with the projects in the first place.

There’s also the risk that rent control would give the owners of existing rental properties an incentive to take the properties off the market entirely.

While SB 608 bans no-cause evictions, it does allow a landlord to evict tenants if they plan on renovating a unit or moving into it themselves. That leaves open the door for landlords to kicks tenants out, renovate units, and then put them back on the market as condominiums that they can sell for whatever price they want.

A 2018 Stanford study of rent control in San Francisco found that the city’s supply of rental housing fell by 15 percent as owners converted their rent-controlled properties into pricier condos. Citywide rents went up, not down.

If you want housing to be more affordable, the thing you really want is more supply.

Indeed, in Portland—the largest city in Oregon—record apartment construction in the last two years has resulted in a fall in rents. According to the website Apartment List, year-over-year rents in Portland declined by 1.2 percent and are likely to keep falling.

ECONorthwest estimates that only 5 percent of buildings in Portland increased rents above what would be allowed by SB 608 in 2018. That compares to 25 percent of buildings in 2015 and 2016.

If Oregon policymakers wanted to keep the ball rolling, they should look at policies that would make housing construction even easier.

Some of that is already on the table. At the end of last year, Kotek floated the idea of upzoning urban areas where currently only single-family homes are permitted. If passed, that would allow a greater number of multi-family buildings to be built.

As a new report from the Cascade Policy Institute shows, Oregon also maintains aggressive urban growth boundaries, which prevent rural and agricultural land near cities from being redeveloped into housing. Ditching these would allow for a lot more suburban development across the state, bringing prices down.

All of those policies would be far preferable to rent control. Unfortunately, it looks like rent control is what Oregon is likely to get.

In addition to having the support of the Democratic leadership in the legislature, SB 608 was endorsed by Gov. Kate Brown this week. Willamette Week reports that the legislature as a whole has become more amenable to rent control, and that some landlord associations—historically the biggest critics of rent control—are staying neutral on this bill.

That bodes well for the bill. It does not bode well for affordable housing in Oregon.

from Hit & Run http://bit.ly/2FAMHTU

Cocaine, Lamborghinis, and Dark Humor Served up in Black Monday: New at Reason

'Black Monday'The texture of Showtime’s Black Monday may be divined from two observations, both from the first 60 seconds or so of the show. First, the show opens with a body plummeting from the upper floors of a Wall Street to land on a car below. Second, this is a comedy, splattered brains and all.

Tales of frat-boy dementia among investment bankers are not uncommon these days. Showtime itself has already done two: Billions, soon to start its fourth season, and House of Lies, which lasted five.

But this is the first time anybody has unleashed director Seth Rogen, the overlord of Hollywood juvenilia, on the subject, and Black Monday is every bit as madly, sickly funny as you might expect. Television critic Glenn Garvin explains.

View this article.

from Hit & Run http://bit.ly/2Hmp57a

Is the 21st Amendment a Free Pass for Liquor Protectionism?

If you want to sell liquor in Tennessee, a state law requires that you live there for at least two years before seeking a license. And if you want to renew that one-year license after it expires, you need to show that at some point you lived in Tennessee for at least 10 consecutive years. On Wednesday, the 100th anniversary of the 18th Amendment’s ratification, two lawyers told the Supreme Court those blatantly protectionist rules are constitutional thanks to the 21st Amendment, which repealed the 18th but recognized that states retained the authority to ban alcohol within their borders.

Notably, neither of those lawyers represented Tennessee, which stopped enforcing the residency requirements after the state’s attorney general concluded they were unconstitutional. A federal judge and an appeals court agreed, and now the Tennessee Wine and Spirits Retailers Association (TWSRA) is asking the Supreme Court to overrule them. Shay Dvoretzky, the TWRSA’s lawyer, was joined on Wednesday by Illinois Solicitor General David Franklin, speaking for his state and 34 others. Carter Phillips represented the respondents, who include the owners of a Memphis liquor store they are not allowed to operate because they recently moved there from Utah.

Dvoretzky and Franklin both argued that Tennessee does not need a plausible public health or safety justification for what amounts to a 12-year residency requirement for liquor retailers. Franklin even conceded that “it’s hard to see a rational basis” for that rule, which “seems like a trap for the unwary.” But he agreed with Dvoretzky that the rationale for the regulation does not matter under the Commerce Clause, because “the 21st Amendment gives states virtually complete control over how to structure their domestic liquor distribution systems.”

When it comes to alcohol, Dvoretzky and Franklin said, the ordinary “dormant Commerce Clause” analysis, which frowns on economic regulations that discriminate against people from other states, does not apply at all. That means courts should uphold a discriminatory alcohol regulation even when its defenders forthrightly admit that it serves no purpose other than shielding entrenched interests like the merchants represented by the TWRSA from competition.

Justice Brett Kavanaugh pushed back on this reading of the 21st Amendment, the relevant provision of which says “the transportation or importation into any State…for delivery or use therein of intoxicating liquors, in violation of the laws thereof, is hereby prohibited.” On its face, Tennessee’s 12-year residency requirement for retailers has nothing to do with importing prohibited liquor into the state. “When you say ‘virtually complete authority,'” Kavanaugh said, “the text of the 21st Amendment does not support that, as I read it….It’s talking about the transportation or importation into any state. And why isn’t that most naturally read to allow states to remain dry and, therefore, ban transportation or importation, but not to otherwise impose discriminatory or…protectionist regulations?”

Justice Samuel Alito was similarly skeptical. “The 21st Amendment is about the transportation or importation of alcohol into a state,” he told Dvoretzky. “How do you get from there to a durational residency requirement that is imposed on the owner of a retail outlet in the state?”

The Supreme Court has already said the 21st Amendment is not a free pass for alcohol-related protectionism. In Bacchus v. Dias (1984), the Court rejected an excise tax exemption designed to favor local distillers in Hawaii over out-of-state competitors, and in Granholm v. Heald (2005) it said Michigan and New York could not constitutionally prohibit out-of-state wineries from shipping their products directly to consumers while allowing in-state wineries to do so. The TWRSA wants the justices to read those precedents as applying only to discrimination against manufacturers.

“I know you want to limit it to producers,” Justice Sonia Sotomayor said to Dvoretzky, “but that’s not the way that Granholm talked about…this issue.” She also noted that if the Commerce Clause has no relevance in cases involving state alcohol regulation, as Dvoretzky maintained, Bacchus and Granholm must have been wrongly decided.

Justice Samuel Alito asked Dvoretzky to imagine “a grandfathers clause” that says “you can’t get a liquor license in Tennessee unless your grandparents were Tennessee residents.” Dvoretzky said that would also be constitutional, because alcohol regulations are not subject to Commerce Clause scrutiny, a position that is inconsistent with what the Court held in Bacchus and Granholm.

Phillips, the lawyer representing the respondents, urged the justices to follow through on the logic of those precedents. “There is no rational basis for the two-year ban that they’ve put in place here,” he said. “The Tennessee attorney general himself has twice looked at this ban and said it doesn’t remotely serve any purpose that’s designed under the 21st Amendment when we’re dealing with alcohol or public safety or public health or anything else. It’s only designed to exclude us.”

That argument seemed to resonate with several justices, but there was also concern that overturning Tennessee’s rule would invite challenges to other longstanding aspects of state alcohol regulation, including the “three-tier system” of segregated producers, wholesalers, and retailers. The Court has repeatedly said that system is within the authority granted by the 21st Amendment, even though it discriminates against out-of-state businesses in some ways.

Justice Neil Gorsuch suggested that an “Amazon of alcohol” could argue that states violate the Commerce Clause when they stop online retailers from selling beer, wine, and liquor directly to consumers. Phillips said his clients have no interest in challenging the three-tier system, but that did not really answer the question of whether the principle on which they are relying implies that courts should overturn other stupid, anti-competitive restrictions on the distribution of alcoholic beverages. Would that be such a bad thing?

from Hit & Run http://bit.ly/2AShZl4

Will Tulsi Gabbard’s Anti-LGBT Past Sink Her Presidential Candidacy? And Should It?

Tulsi GabbardDemocratic Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard announced her candidacy for president last weekend with an emphasis on reducing America’s involvement in foreign wars. That itself has drawn criticism, as the current political climate has led a chunk of the Democratic establishment to see any scaling back of the U.S.’s military presence in countries like Syria as some sort of gift to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

But beyond that, Gabbard has a legitimately troubling family history of opposition to LGBT rights. That background flared up this week as her candidacy received coverage, and yesterday she released a video fully apologizing for her history of anti-gay activism.

Gabbard and her family didn’t just oppose same-sex marriage in the late 1990s and early part of the millennium. They were politically active in an organization, The Alliance for Traditional Marriage and Values, that worked to amend Hawaii’s constitution to prohibit the legal recognition of same-sex couples. The organization argued that homosexuality was subversive and dangerous, and Gabbard’s father endorsed conversion therapy to turn gay people straight. (Her father loudly opposed gay rights, even hosting a radio show called Let’s Talk Straight Hawaii.) Gabbard acknowledged her work with the organization when she ran for state office when she was 21.

Gabbard’s views on LGBT issues have evolved since then, as have those of many politicians, both Democrat and Republican. But since her past went a lot further than just simply expressing opposition to gay marriage, she’s got a longer hill to climb. In 2012 she took responsibility and apologized for her anti-gay background in a meeting with Hawaii’s Democratic Party LGBT Caucus. She has gotten endorsements from the Human Rights Campaign, the top LGBT national lobbying organization, and during her time in Congress she has supported many pro-gay pieces of legislation.

But apparently that’s not stopping some rather fliply dismissive comments now that she’s actually running for president. I was baffled by this tweet from journalist Soledad O’Brien on Twitter, acting as though Gabbard has just suddenly changed her positions because she’s running for president:

I found O’Brien’s response particularly odd because, well, as a journalist, you’d think O’Brien would appreciate candidates who actually directly address the criticisms they’ve been getting from the media. And you might think that O’Brien, as a journalist, might have checked to see if this was even a new development from Gabbard before she tweeted. It’s not, and Gabbard now has a lengthy legislative record we can examine to decide whether her votes actually match her transformation. (They do.)

So I responded to O’Brien, observing: “Gosh, I hope nobody is ever similarly dismissive to any wisdom you’ve picked up as you’ve gotten older. I’ve had to forgive many, many people’s less-than-stellar grasp of LGBT issues.” (And this is true. When Proposition 8 passed in California in 2008, banning recognition of same-sex marriage, I had several professional acquaintances who voted for it. I worked through it. I learned to craft better arguments. It’s what being a politically engaged adult is all about.)

To my surprise, O’Brien replied, and we had a brief exchange:

Twitter exchange

I still find O’Brien’s response to be weird and somewhat telling. Gabbard’s responding to actual criticism and dealing with an issue that could sink her chances of a Democratic nomination. That’s what candidates are supposed to do. Should she have ignored it? When Hillary Clinton ran for president, she also needed to contend with her previous record of opposing legal recognition of gay marriage, and to win over older LGBT voters who remembered the calculating politics of President Bill Clinton’s era.

But Gabbard is also a bit of an outsider among the Democrats, potentially serving as this run’s Bernie Sanders–esque, thorn-in-the side candidate. (She supported Sanders in 2016.) And so we get these weird, flippant, dismissive responses intended to try to shut down even the possibility of engagement or discussion.

Maybe Gabbard’s past ties to anti-gay activism will make her radioactive to voters in the Democratic primaries. She may have gotten the Human Rights Campaign’s support, but she has not been able to earn the trust of that LGBT caucus in her home state. Though even there, it turns out that some people are upset that her evolution is much less about suddenly deciding that gay marriage is awesome and more about realizing that she doesn’t believe she should be using the government to force her religious beliefs on others. Apparently, the fact that she’s voting in favor of every pro-gay piece of legislation isn’t enough for some if she doesn’t also feel the right things in her heart.

I think that’s silly, stupid nonsense. When people with conservative backgrounds decide that it’s wrong to use government power to restrict people’s private relationships, that’s a big win for individual liberty and for LGBT people. Stop looking for the affection and blessings of the politically connected, and focus on making sure they support the right policies.

from Hit & Run http://bit.ly/2szu8qT

New California Governor’s Spending Plans Will Run Up Against Fiscal Reality: New at Reason

Gavin Newsom was inaugurated as California’s 40th governor last Monday, taking over a general-fund budget that is flush with cash and a state government that is in remarkably good shape—at least superficially—from a fiscal perspective. For all his flaws, outgoing Gov. Jerry Brown left Newsom with a $15 billion surplus and a rainy day fund that is nearly full. As an added plus, the economy that is humming along even though an erratic stock market points to storm clouds on the horizon.

The big question is whether Newsom will heed Brown’s advice and govern as if there’s always a recession around the corner—or ignore the former governor’s warnings about Democratic lawmakers who always say “yes” to any “harebrained” spending scheme. Unfortunately, based on Newsom’s inaugural words, initial budget and many of his early high-level administrative appointments, the safe money is on the latter. Newsom wants to spend big.

One need not read between the lines in Newsom’s introductory words. He spelled it out clearly. Newsom pointed to Brown’s inaugural address, which quoted from the Sermon on the Mount. There was the foolish man who built a house on sand and the wise man who built it on rock. “For eight years, California has built a foundation of rock,” Newsom said. “Our job now is not to rest on that foundation. It is to build our house upon it.”

But that financial foundation might be built less on rock and more on sand, writes Steven Greenhut.

View this article.

from Hit & Run http://bit.ly/2FMN1hT

Georgia’s ‘Mimosa Mandate’ Is a Victory for Alcohol Freedom

MimosaBottoms up, Georgia residents: Among the slew of measures that voters passed in the November midterms, perhaps none was as vital as the “Brunch Bill,” which allows cities and counties to let restaurants serve alcoholic beverages as early as 11:00 a.m. on Sundays, as opposed to the previously sanctioned 12:30 p.m. (The bill itself passed the state legislature in early 2018, but local communities held referenda during the midterms on whether to take advantage of the new rules.) Now the law is gradually taking effect, with Grovetown up next this weekend.

Boozy brunchers in several municipalities—from Atlanta to Athens to Savannah—can be two sheets to the wind before noon, peach mimosas in tow. But that’s not the only reason to raise a glass.

“Each restaurant would generate about an extra $25,000 a year, because it roughly boils down to about $480 on a Sunday,” Kathleen Bremer, CEO of the Georgia Restaurant Association and cognoscente of all things dining-related in the Peach State, tells Reason. That doesn’t account for the impact on individual servers and bartenders, who will pocket more tips thanks to higher tabs and to patrons who might be, well, happier than usual. If adopted in every municipality, Georgia’s roughly 4,000 restaurants could bring in an additional $100,000,000 in revenue.

Why stifle alcohol sales when they’re clearly the miracle elixir society needs? Michelle Minton of the Competitive Enterprise Institute explained to Reason last year that the antiquated restrictions stem from blue laws, which limit Sabbath Day activities on religious grounds. Those were especially popular following the repeal of Prohibition. “When the states decided to legalize [alcohol] again, a lot of them instituted blue laws,” said Minton, “and it’s taken this long for most of the states to slowly get rid of them.”

South Carolina state law still prohibits the sale of liquor on Sundays, and retail wine and beer can only be sold if a local ordinance allows it. In Maine, you normally can’t indulge until 9:00 a.m., though the law makes an exception on St. Patrick’s Day. (You can get shamrocked starting promptly at 6:00 a.m.) And when Christmas falls on a Sunday, Massachusetts bans off-premises alcohol sales on Monday, because the state can’t miss out on an extra opportunity to deprive people of joy. The Bay State has also outlawed happy hours.

To make matters worse, Georgia’s ban on morning drinking only applied to privately owned companies; government buildings have been free to let the booze flow. That disconnect is what inspired Republican State Sen. Renee Unterman to draft what’s affectionately been called her “mimosa mandate.”

Bremer tells AccessWDUN that she expects “many, many more counties and cities” to hold Brunch Bil initiatives this year. Cheers to that.

from Hit & Run http://bit.ly/2FBy56S

Mitch McConnell Predicted the GOP Tax Cut Would Raise Revenue and Reduce the Deficit. Nope.

For years, the supply-side argument that tax cuts “pay for themselves” has been an article of faith among Republican lawmakers. The idea, which dates back decades, is that lowering tax rates will result in an increase in economic activity and a commensurate increase in tax revenues that makes up for any revenue lost to rate reductions.

The evidence for the stronger versions of this proposition has always been weak at best; growth can offset some revenue losses, but it rarely produces enough revenue to completely “pay for” a tax cut. Yet it has persisted in Republican circles because of its political convenience: It provides a tidy and simple justification for tax cuts without spending cuts.

Its influence has remained strong during the Trump presidency. At the end of 2017, for example, when Republicans passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, Mitch McConnell insisted that this was exactly what would happen. “I not only don’t think it will increase the deficit,” he said, “I think it will be beyond revenue-neutral. In other words, I think it will produce more than enough to fill that gap.”

There was no reason to believe this at the time. Not one credible analysis of the tax law—even from pro-tax-cut, GOP-friendly sources—saw this as a likely result. And now that the tax bill has in place for a year, there is still no evidence that it’s happening, nor any evidence that most Republicans are reconsidering the party dogma.

Yes, economic growth has exceeded expectations. But as Jim Tankersly writes in The New York Times, “the additional tax revenue has yet to show up, even with stronger growth.” In fact, the federal government’s tax revenue dropped by about $83 billion. The Tax Foundation, which tends to favor tax reductions, has revised its estimate of the likely deficit increase stemming from the law from $450 billion to about $900 billion over the next 10 years. The tax law has made the deficit larger, and it is likely to continue making it larger over time.

That doesn’t mean that tax cuts have to increase the deficit. The deficit is simply the gap between the federal government’s revenues and outlays—what it brings in and what it spends. The trick to avoiding a larger deficit is to offset tax cuts with spending cuts.

But that is not what McConnell did. A few months after ushering the tax bill into law, he helped broker a deal with Democrats that increased domestic spending (a Democratic priority) in exchange for increasing military spending (a Republican priority).

As with reducing taxes, raising spending also expands the deficit. That the deficit would expand in following a one-two punch of lower tax revenues and higher federal spending is perhaps the most obvious fiscal result imaginable. Spend more and tax less, and the gap between spending and revenues will expand. That’s exactly what has happened, and now the deficit is on track to hit $1 trillion years earlier than expected when Trump took office.

McConnell helped both the lower taxes and the spending increases come into effect, yet he argues that his party has no unique responsibility for the resulting increase in the deficit. In an interview last year, he called the nation’s rising budget deficit “very disturbing”—but then went on to say that his party shoulders no blame. “It’s disappointing, but it’s not a Republican problem,” he told Bloomberg News. Instead, he argued that it was a bipartisan failure to tackle entitlement spending that was driving the nation’s debt build-up.

There is truth to that. The major entitlement programs—Medicare, Social Security, Medicaid—are the biggest drivers of the long-term debt, which now exceeds $20 trillion. But annual deficits, while related, are not the same as total federal debt. And it was under Republican control of Congress and the White House that the policies driving our surging deficits were put in place.

It’s not too hard to understand the political convenience of knee-jerk supply-siderism: It offers a justification for tax cuts, which are popular, without spending cuts, which are not. But while libertarians might like the idea of lower taxes, the result is a government that seems cheaper than it is, by deferring the cost. It ends up being a way to let government grow larger while insulating taxpayers from the price tag.

Republicans spent years pretending to be outraged about trillion-dollar deficits under Barack Obama. McConnell’s argument, which is essentially that Republicans couldn’t realistically do anything to reduce the deficit under Donald Trump, is a flagrant abdication of fiscal responsibility, an open refusal to tackle a problem that McConnell and many of his fellow Republicans (including, from time to time, President Trump) have complained about for years.

Yes, the Republican commitment to fiscal responsibility has, for the last several decades, been more rhetorical than real. But under Trump, who on the campaign trail ruled out major entitlement reforms and who has called himself the “king of debt,” the party has nearly done away with the pretense entirely, with predictable results. At this point, the GOP position on the budget amounts to a giant collective shrug.

from Hit & Run http://bit.ly/2RzPJOB

Has the Women’s March Outlived Its Usefulness?: New at Reason

FeministsIt’ll be interesting to see what kind of turnout the third annual Women’s March can muster tomorrow. But it’s safe to say it won’t be anything like the millions who showed up in Capitol Hill after Trump’s inauguration in a collective “yuck,” writes Reason Foundation Senior Analyst Shikha Dalmia. Fear and loathing of Trump is not sufficient to sustain a mass movement.

The Women’s March has been roiled in controversy, as its organizers and members have been unable to set aside their political disagreements and personality conflicts and coalesce around on a common agenda. In the last few years, it has fielded complaints of anti-Semitism, too much whiteness, insufficient wokeness, and more.

It would be a mistake to dismiss such problems as mere teething pains. When women confront genuine and endemic discrimination, they are able to set aside their differences and come together. That’s what happened in Kerala, India, this month when five million women formed a 385-mile human chain to protest gender discrimination at a temple that bans menstruating-age women.

That American women can’t seem to do the same might suggest that their collective feeling of oppression is not the stuff of a mass movement.

View this article.

from Hit & Run http://bit.ly/2B2DEYf

Henry Hazlitt Meets Peter Kropotkin’s Daughter

When Alexandra Kropotkin appeared on the talk show Longines Chronoscope in 1951, one of the hosts informed the audience that “her father was exiled from czarist Russia because of his liberal views.” Roderick Long notes that this is true, “if by ‘was exiled’ you mean ‘escaped,’ and by ‘liberal’ you mean ‘anarcho-communist'”: Her father was the radical geographer Peter Kropotkin, one of the most prominent left-anarchist figures of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. And now the younger Kropotkin—a journalist, a translator, and the author of a Russian cookbook—was going to be interviewed about the evils of Stalin by American Mercury editor William Bradford Huie and, sitting to Huie’s left, the libertarian Newsweek columnist Henry Hazlitt, author of the free-market favorite Economics in One Lesson.

The interview has its clumsy moments—Kropotkin claims that 80 percent of the Soviet population opposes Stalin, then has trouble backing up that figure when Hazlitt asks about it—but sometimes the very fact that something exists is reason enough to watch it:

Ms. Kropotkin went on to back Barry Goldwater in the 1964 presidential election.

(For past editions of the Friday A/V Club, go here. For another installment featuring Longines Chronoscope—this one starring Karl Hess and Henry Wallace—go here. Hazlitt’s one article for Reason is here. Peter Kropotkin’s most famous book is here.)

from Hit & Run http://bit.ly/2FCXbSO