Disastrous Leadership

Do Cuomo and De Blasio secretly despise New York City? Are they trying to kill it? If you look closely, it kinda, sorta looks that way. Well before the current calamitous events, the combined effects of their profligacy had the ships of state and city and headed straight for the rocks.

Let’s begin with taxes: combined city and state sales taxes now total over 8% on most purchases, and income taxes (for prosperous city residents) clock in at over 12%, second highest in the nation.

I know, I know: many will respond: not to worry – New York is full of rich people, it’s one of the richest states! Well, actually no. Measured by median household income, it’s not even in the top ten (https://www.investopedia.com/articles/investing/101015/10-wealthiest-states-united-states.asp) – and...

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My Disappointing Friends

Some of my best friends are Democrats. Really. That’s why it hurts me to write these words addressed to them: I am disappointed in you.

So certain are you of what you see as the oafish at best, evil at worst, character of our current president, and the moral superiority of your ideology and those who hold it, that you are completely uninterested in the shocking abuses of power committed by Democrats in furtherance of their – and your – political goals.

You had no interest in Eric Holder’s gunrunning in Fast and Furious or Lois Lerner’s weaponization of the IRS against conservative organizations. You didn’t care when Hillary Clinton and Susan Rice absurdly blamed a filmmaker for the catastrophe they caused in Benghazi – then had him jailed...

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Difficult Prospects

Without a vaccine for the CCP virus, or the imminent prospect of one, to many people, including yours truly, it increasingly seems that the present lockdowns are economically unsustainable and only slowing the inevitable progress of the pandemic. The virus is so easily transmissible, even by the asymptomatic, and already so widespread, that eradicating it without a vaccine (or herd immunity, which I’m guessing will take longer) is a pipe dream. Trying to do so via the blunt force instrument of government-enforced lockdowns will only continue to exacerbate the human misery represented by the latest unemployment figure – 36 million and counting.

These (https://www.thedailyfodder.com/2020/05/why-swedens-covid-19-strategy-is.html; https://pjmedia...

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Unbalanced Entertainment

I have not been bingeing on streamed entertainment during our enforced break from normal social interaction. I’ve poked around the Prime Video, Netflix and HBO Go menus a few times, and even started in on a few movies, but I abandoned them after a few minutes each. Too dark.

It’s not that I’ve been looking for family fare or comedy; I generally find those categories so featherweight as to be uninteresting. I’m more looking for serious drama – a movie or a miniseries – with characters (and not only the lead) who I see as normal people in challenging situations. I find few of them. Most that look like genuinely grownup fare show a world largely devoid of simple kindnesses.

It’s one thing to be forthright about our weaknesses and their effects on others, but another entirely ...

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A Class Divide, Part II

I am not a particularly modest man. I have had some success in business, and I have enough of an ego that I write this (more than occasionally exceptionally verbose) blog because I think you will be interested in my observations on wide ranging topics, in most of which I don’t have any demonstrated expertise. In short, rightly or wrongly, I think I’m pretty smart.

At the same time, I’m painfully aware that I don’t know much about what might fairly be described as the real real world. The fellow who takes care of my house knows much more than I ever will.

Originally a carpenter, he has spent nearly fifty years doing pretty much everything in the construction, repair and maintenance of houses. He knows the building trades inside out, naturally enough...

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A Class Divide

It’s no secret that, as with most calamities, the lockdowns arising out of fears about the CCP virus have been much harder on the poor and the middle class than on the well to do; the bottom half have much thinner safety nets. At the extremes, the rich now contend mostly with boredom at their country homes while many of those who have little are unemployed and broke, while effectively trapped in tiny living spaces. As others have remarked, we may all be in this together but we aren’t in the same boat.  

Although we Americans take pride in the fact that ours is, if not a free-of-class-distinctions society, at least one where there is considerable fluidity over time in the social and economic class to which an individual may belong, the fact that some face this storm in yachts and o...

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A Toy/A Sign of the Times

The Beloved Spouse spent an hour or so this morning assembling a new toy for our four year old grandson. The waiting boy was practically vibrating with excitement; as the project neared completion, I looked in on the emerging results … and was appalled.

As you can see below, the toy is a highly detailed miniature police station, with all kinds of gadgets and moving pieces to play with.

There’s a rooftop heliport, a jail, electronics (for monitoring who?) and a control tower, presumably for watching and making announcements to crowds. The enormous, forbidding gates all open and shut (with a clang in our imaginations) – and there are police figures (not pictured) with lots of scary-looking weaponry and body armor.

To me, the building looks more suitable for use by a militari...

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Things I’ve Learned Recently

I have learned a lot since Donald J. Trump was elected president. Or perhaps it’s more appropriate to write that I have unlearned some things that turned out to be wrong.

Like most members of my social and economic class, I was a committed globalist on the basis of both a sense of idealism – if “All men are created equal” in the eyes of God and, ideally, the law, that surely includes people from other countries – and the economics I learned in school and business: comparative advantage rules! Sourcing products overseas not only made economic sense, it was the right thing to do because it undoubtedly helped improve the lots of otherwise-poor people in developing countries.

And, oh by the way, the flood of inexpensive, foreign-sourced goods lowered costs for everybody – esp...

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Trump’s Pandemic Performance

Over the last month, given that most of us have been focused primarily on the health risks to ourselves and our loved ones from the virus – and in innumerable cases, secondarily on the very considerable economic costs of the shutdown to the same people – I have tried to avoid the political partisanship that is frequently found in these posts. Some things are way more important than trying to score points for ideological positions. Doesn’t mean I haven’t been thinking about the political implications of what’s been going on; I have.

Now that, in my view, evidence is clear that we have begun to emerge from the immediate healthcare crisis I feel marginally more comfortable sharing my thoughts about how President Trump has been handling his responsibilities...

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A Change in Ethos

A week or so ago, David Geffen announced grandly that he was self-isolating to stay healthy … aboard his 454 foot private yacht in the Grenadines. He also very helpfully circulated a picture (presumably taken from a drone) of his palatial boat set against the backdrop of that evening’s magnificent sunset over islands and sea. That way we could all enjoy the moment with him, you see.

The insensitivity of sharing such an image at this time was immediately called out in both social and traditional media. The glorious photograph – and the mental images it called forth of the billionaire enjoying perfect elegance, including, no doubt, the help of precisely enough servants to meet his every need – were not greeted with unreserved joy by the millions of Americans effectively imprisoned in t...

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