After elections, politicians and pundits invariably go out and make the case that the results have confirmed their priors, and cherry-picking data and anecdotes to weave into their preferred narratives. The final conclusion is always some version of “the lesson we should take from the election is that we need to enact all of my policy and aesthetic preferences.”

In the spirit of more sincere political discourse, I’m going to think about some things that surprised me or challenged my understanding of American politics. …

A framework for understanding economic policy right now

NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo at a press briefing the day the NY stock market floor reopened, May 26, 2020 in New York City (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

While demonstrations against police brutality and racism have temporarily driven the COVID-19 pandemic from the news cycle, the virus remains a major concern. States are slowly opening up, but many fear a resurgence, especially with large protests in cities.

That might be trouble for the economic recovery. Even though the most recent jobs report showed some improvement, 13.3 percent unemployment is still higher than any time except the Great Depression. The CARES Act, the first round of COVID-19 relief enacted on March 27, included cash payments for individuals, an expansion of unemployment insurance, and some support programs in the form…

Philosophical debates over the true meaning of conservatism are fascinating. But what about policy?

In 2019, conflicts within the conservative intellectual movement that have warmed for decades and simmered for the past few years reached a boiling point.

The National Conservatism conference held in mid-July was an important step for the new tide of loosely populist, pro-Trump commentators to build an intellectual superstructure from which they can carry their ideas forward. As some journalists at the conference noted, despite President Trump calling himself a nationalist, speakers and attendees for the most part avoided focusing on him.

The conference seemed to be not so much pro-Trump but post-Trump, to adopt a term that the anti-Trump…

January 6: 2 Hard 2 Spell, Up Close and Political
January 7: Michigan Should Reform Its Licensing Laws, Detroit News
January 9: How Much Money Is There in Better Tax Enforcement, Pursuit
January 10: A Eulogy for the Cadillac Tax, Pursuit
January 27: On Occupational Licensing, Connecticut Can Do Better, The Connecticut Post
January 31: Elizabeth Warren’s Wealth Tax Would Hit Manufacturing Jobs Hard, Washington Times

February 20: What the Conservative Civil War Means for Republican Policy, Arc Digital

March 22: Let’s Talk About Cash Payments, Pursuit
March 30: COVID-19 and Deregulating All the Things, Young Voices Podcast
March 31: Trump…

Here are a bunch of spoiler memes from the Rise of Skywalker kept here, so proceed at your own risk.

Passerby on Tatooine: What’s your name?
Rey:

When you find out that Rey is Palpatine’s granddaughter and if Anakin is also the offspring of the emperor then Rey is actually Kylo Ren/Ben Solo’s aunt

The most common attack on Medicare-for-All defends one of the healthcare system’s worst features

Some Democrats aren’t jumping to endorse Medicare-for-All. In the most recent primary debate on September 12, Joe Biden, Amy Klobuchar, Beto O’Rourke, and Pete Buttigieg all criticized Medicare-for-All for effectively eliminating private insurance plans, particularly employer-based ones. Republicans, such as Paul Ryan, have also attacked Medicare-for-All along these lines. That makes sense, because over 156 million Americans receive health insurance through their work.

Conservatives and moderate Democrats rightly argue that Medicare-for-All is flawed. And there are good political reasons to highlight how the policy will force change on those 156 million Americans, whether they want it or not.

But from…

Some candidates complain about parties rigging the process. There isn’t really any rigging, but maybe there should be.

Democratic National Committee chairman Tom Perez at the recent DNC summer meeting in San Francisco, California | Credit: Justin Sullivan (Getty)

Congresswoman and Democratic presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) has accused the Democratic National Committee of rigging the nomination process against her. The basis for the claim is that she will not be included in the next primary debate, even though she has over 2 percent support (the DNC’s chosen threshold) in several polls. However, none of those polls were included in the list the DNC selected before the primary. She needed to poll at least 2 percent in four of those 21 pre-selected polls, but reached that threshold in only two of them.

As Nicholas Grossman explained in Arc, the…

American healthcare has a cost problem and an access problem. Solve the cost problem and you’ll also solve the access problem.

Democratic candidates have spent much of their campaigns so far brandishing their plans for healthcare reform. Some, like former Representative Beto O’Rourke and former Vice President Joe Biden, want to create opt-in programs that wouldn’t require people to join a public insurance option. Others, like Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) and Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.), have suggested completely or nearly eliminating private insurance. Indeed, the Vermont senator argues that private insurance should be totally relegated to covering unnecessary procedures like elective plastic surgery.

Here’s the problem with his idea: private insurance for cosmetic surgery doesn’t exist, and that’s actually good. …

And it’s not the best solution, either

As the Democratic primary begins in earnest, almost all of the major presidential candidates have announced new, ambitious tax increases on the wealthy.

Progressive young Democrats have also entered the fray, with the support of economists like Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman of the University of California, Berkeley. Richard Rubin of the Wall Street Journal recently wrote that this new progressive tide, in contradistinction to Democrats of the past few decades, seeks to reverse the Reagan Revolution, which brought marginal tax rates down significantly. …

I’ll be updating this document throughout the year for every article or media appearance I do.

January 2: Housing Reform: The One Thing Republicans and Democrats Can Agree On, The American Conservative
January 11: Sweetheart Deals for Big Companies Aren’t What Florida Needs, The Tallahassee Democrat
January 17: Michigan Can Have Smooth Marijuana Legalization, Detroit News
January 18: 121 Ways to Cut the Debt, Pursuit
January 25: How Much Does Your Local Government Raise from Fines and Forfeitures, Pioneer Institute
January 28: The Case Against the Charitable Deduction, Ordinary Times

February 5: To Win Over Millennials, Conservatives Must Fight Income…

Alex Muresianu

Young Voices contributor and Tufts student writing about economics. Published: The American Conservative and The Washington Examiner. @ahardtospell

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