Recently in Politics, Government & Public Policy Category


Trump extends his lead to 5 points in this Rasmussen poll of likely voters. It's not hard to see why, when you consider the popularity of his positions. These positions are anathema to American elites of both parties, which is precisely why Trump has managed to insert himself so successfully into the national conversation.

Most voters oppose Obama's plan to bring more Middle Eastern and African refugees to this country next year and view that decision as an increased danger to U.S. national security. Clinton supports the president's policy.

Voters, on the other hand, strongly support Trump's plan for temporarily restricting immigration from countries with a history of terrorism and for testing to screen out newcomers who don't share America's values.


The NYT describes the woes of a small California pension due differences between actuaries and economists.

The two competing ways of valuing a pension fund are often called the actuarial approach (which is geared toward helping employers plan stable annual budgets, as opposed to measuring assets and liabilities), and the market approach, which reflects more hard-nosed math.

The market value of a pension reflects the full cost today of providing a steady, guaranteed income for life -- and it's large. Alarmingly large, in fact. This is one reason most states and cities don't let the market numbers see the light of day. ...

The market-based numbers are "close to the truth of the liability," Professor Sharpe said. But most elected officials want the smaller numbers, and actuaries provide what their clients want. "Somebody just should have stopped this whole charade," he said.

In short: the actuaries justify low numbers that please their clients (the governments who administer the pensions) while the economists warn that the pensions are vastly underfunded.

Mega McArdle gives a good description of discount rates.

A discount rate is a way of accounting for the fact that dollars in the future are not quite the same as dollars you have right now.

You know this, don't you? Imagine I offered to give you a dollar right now, or a dollar a year from now. You don't have to think hard about that decision, because you know instinctively that the dollar that's right there, able to be instantly transferred into your sweaty little hand, is much more valuable. It can, in fact, be easily transformed into a dollar a year from now, by the simple expedient of sticking it in a drawer and waiting. It can also, however, be spent before then. It has all the good stuff offered by a dollar later, plus some option value.

Even if you're sure you don't want to spend it in the next year, however, a dollar later is not as good as a dollar now, because it's riskier. That dollar I'm holding now can be taken now, and then you will definitely have it. If you're counting on getting a dollar from me a year from now, well, maybe I'll die, or forget, or go bankrupt.

The point is that if you're valuing assets, and some of your assets are dollars you actually have, and others are dollars that someone has promised to give to you at some point in the future, you should value the dollars you have in your possession more highly than dollars you're supposed to get later.


Remember this? I wonder what Mrs. Obama thinks now.

(HT: Ed Driscoll.)


In a display of raw physical prowess, Donald Trump repeatedly lifts a baby over his head. Ok, this is somewhat tongue-in-cheek, but my first thought when I read this story was I bet Hillary couldn't lift a baby over her head like that.

trump baby 2.jpg

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump lifted 18-month-old Tristan Murphy after his speech outlining a new childcare policy on Tuesday night in Aston, Pennsylvania.


Glenn Reynolds argues that President Trump and the Democrat-aligned civil service will check each others' abuses. This seems logical to me. The big question is: how can America restore a non-partisan civil service?

The reason, of course, is that the civil service, though supposedly professional and nonpartisan, has become a Democratic Party monoculture. Federal employees overwhelmingly vote for Democrats, donate to Democrats, and, by all appearances, cover for Democrats as a routine part of doing their job.

So if the choice in 2016 is between one bad candidate and another (and it is) the question is, which one will do the least harm. And, judging by the civil service's behavior, that's got to be Trump. If Trump tries to target his enemies with the IRS, you can bet that he'll get a lot of pushback -- and the press, instead of explaining it away, will make a huge stink. If Trump engages in influence-peddling, or abuses secrecy laws, you can bet that, even if Trump's appointees sit atop the DOJ or FBI, the civil service will ensure that things don't get swept under the rug. And if Trump wants to go to war, he'll get far more scrutiny than Hillary will get -- or, in cases like her disastrous Libya invasion, has gotten.

So the message is clear. If you want good government, vote for Trump -- he's the only one who will make this whole checks-and-balances thing work.


I hope that Trump and the Republican Party continue their engagement with African Americans, no matter what happens in November. The Democrats have dominated black political life for decades without doing much of anything to help the community other than lip service.

What, after all, does Hillary Clinton offer the black community? Does she promise to make our public schools better by demanding greater teacher accountability? Will she push to reverse decades of damage done by tenure and other rules that put union workers first and kids second? Does she promise to expand charter schools, so those tens of thousands of wait-listed African-American kids get a shot at the American dream? No, she does not. Hillary owes the teachers' unions, which promise to get out the vote and which have donated millions to her campaign.

Does Hillary promise to secure our borders and reduce the number of illegal immigrants vying for entry-level jobs? Does she embrace the new "gig" economy that attempts to circumvent the morass of red tape driving so many small businesses under? Does she back the law enforcement efforts that keep low-income urban communities safe? The answers are a uniform "no."

What Hillary Clinton offers African-Americans is four more years of Obama's policies, which Sean "Diddy" Combs, among others, have rightly described as failing the black community. Combs recently said that under Obama, blacks have been "a little bit short-changed" and that African-Americans should not automatically line up behind Clinton. "Hillary Clinton, you know, I hope she starts to talk to the black community directly. ... It really makes me feel, you know, almost hurt that our issues are not addressed, and we're such a big part of the voting bloc." Combs has recently opened a charter school in Harlem; no wonder he's not a Hillary fan.

As Instapundit is fond of pointing out, America's urban centers have been controlled by Democrats for decades -- why not give Republicans a chance to turn things around?

democrat_urban_monopolies_11-30-15.png


With news that foreign hackers have hacked state election infrastructure it seems like the time is right to return to paper ballots.

The FBI has uncovered evidence that foreign hackers penetrated two state election databases in recent weeks, prompting the bureau to warn election officials across the country to take new steps to enhance the security of their computer systems, according to federal and state law enforcement officials.

The FBI warning, contained in a "flash" alert from the FBI's Cyber Division, a copy of which was obtained by Yahoo News, comes amid heightened concerns among U.S. intelligence officials about the possibility of cyberintrusions, potentially by Russian state-sponsored hackers, aimed at disrupting the November elections.

It's more important that elections be trusted and trustworthy than that they be cheap, easy, or efficient. Paper ballots are superior to electronic voting.


Anderson Cooper admirably tries to pin down Hillary on why her behavior was acceptable for a Secretary of State but wouldn't be for a President. Hillary strangely decides to use a metaphor about smoke and fire that any other person would invoke to suggest her guilt.

COOPER: Why was it OK for the Clinton Foundation to accept foreign donations when you were secretary of state but it wouldn't be OK if you were president?

CLINTON: Well, what we did when I was secretary of state, as I said, went above and beyond anything that was required, anything that any charitable organization has to do. Now, obviously, if I am president, there will be some unique circumstances and that's why the foundation has laid out additional ...

COOPER: But didn't those unique circumstances exist when you were secretary of state?

CLINTON: ... if I am elected.

COOPER: Didn't those unique circumstances exist ...

CLINTON: No, no. And, you know, look, Anderson, I know there's a lot of smoke and there's no fire.


Apparently Hillary Clinton sold access to herself and the State Department while she was secretary.

At least 85 of 154 people from private interests who met or had phone conversations scheduled with Clinton while she led the State Department donated to her family charity or pledged commitments to its international programs, according to a review of State Department calendars released so far to The Associated Press. Combined, the 85 donors contributed as much as $156 million. At least 40 donated more than $100,000 each, and 20 gave more than $1 million. ...

The meetings between the Democratic presidential nominee and foundation donors do not appear to violate legal agreements Clinton and former president Bill Clinton signed before she joined the State Department in 2009. But the frequency of the overlaps shows the intermingling of access and donations, and fuels perceptions that giving the foundation money was a price of admission for face time with Clinton. Her calendars and emails released as recently as this week describe scores of contacts she and her top aides had with foundation donors.

Isn't it worse that these bribes didn't violate the agreements signed by the Clintons?

This egregious corruption would sink Hillary if her opponent weren't Donald Trump.

On Monday, Bill Clinton said in a statement that if his wife were to win, he would step down from the foundation's board and stop all fundraising for it. The foundation would also accept donations only from U.S. citizens and what it described as independent philanthropies, while no longer taking gifts from foreign groups, U.S. companies or corporate charities. Clinton said the foundation would no longer hold annual meetings of its international aid program, the Clinton Global Initiative, and it would spin off its foreign-based programs to other charities.

If these activities would create conflicts of interest for President Hillary, why weren't they a conflict of interest for Secretary Hillary?


Obamacare has destroyed the insurance market in many areas of the country, and it shouldn't be a surprise to anyone that the hardest hit areas are dominated by President Obama's political opponents. It's no coincidence.

According to an analysis from the consulting firm Avalere, as of now, there will be just one insurer offering ObamaCare coverage next year in seven states: Alabama, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Wyoming, Alaska, North Carolina and Kansas. It is possible that more insurers could enter these markets before next year.

In one county in Arizona, there might not be an ObamaCare plan available at all.

Aetna had been the only insurer offering a plan in Pinal County. Unless federal and state officials can find another insurer to fill the void in 2017, the county's 400,000 residents will not be able to buy coverage on an ObamaCare exchange.

The dearth of options in rural, sparsely populated areas is a far cry from what Democrats promised when selling the Affordable Care Act.


Democrats are quick to dismiss fears about voting fraud because Democrats benefit from the fraud.

But there certainly are examples of elections being overturned for reasons of fraud, including mayoral elections in Miami and East Chicago, Ind. We've also seen clear evidence of fraud in more important races. In 2008, illegal felon voters appear to have swung the outcome of the critical 2008 Minnesota Senate election. The day after the election, GOP senator Norm Coleman had a 725-vote lead, but a series of recounts over the next six months reversed that result and gave Democrat Al Franken a 312-vote victory.

Voting should be easy for every eligible citizen, and impossible for everyone else.

Ben Shapiro is right: the Democrats' moral preening over Hillary is absurd.

1. Hillary Is Worse Than Trump. Over the weekend, one major political candidate earned a four-Pinocchio rating from The Washington Post. That same candidate slurred Gold Star families as liars. That candidate was Hillary Clinton, who appeared on national television to explain that FBI Director James Comey had fully cleared her - he had even said she was honest! This, of course, was false. Then Hillary went on to claim that Benghazi Gold Star families must have misremembered her comments to them about a YouTube video being responsible for their children's deaths. Hillary can complain all she wants about Trump's connections with Russian dictator Vladimir Putin, but she's the one who handed him a reset button, then cut a nuclear deal that allowed the Russians into our uranium mines. For every Trump sin, there's one just as bad in Hillary's closet - and usually worse, since she was a government actor at the time.

I think we could do better than Trump or Hillary by drawing randomly from the phone book, but alas, that's not how our system works. (Same goes for Congress, and maybe the judiciary -- hey, it works for juries!)

Megan McArdle bemoans Trump's negativity and lack of policy detail, but eventually realizes that most people feel negative and don't care about policy details. McArdle and I care about policies, but most people just want their itches scratched, and Trump is doing it. There are a lot of people who are angry at being continually dismissed by the "elite", and they believe that Trump hears them and cares about them.

The big hits were praise of the police, attacks on Hillary Clinton, and anything perceived as making liberals look small. When he got into the part of the speech where he talked about what he might actually do, his audience started to look a bit bored, their clapping to sound dutiful rather than enthusiastic. Lucky for them, the policy section was brief. Trump's account of all the terrible things happening in America hardly left room for an expansive or detailed vision.

He promised to be splendid on trade, fantastic at stopping immigration, and the most magnificent tax cutter you've ever seen. How was he going to accomplish these things? By being awesome, of course. After a year on the campaign trail, Trump still hasn't really gotten beyond his own fantasticality as the basis of his policy agenda.

Of course, I'm not sure how much people will care. What the audience seemed to want was not so much someone to fix their problems as someone to validate their belief that these are problems -- problems that they feel liberals create and then systematically deny. As they say in 12-step programs, the first step is admitting that you have a problem, and if Trump seems like the only one who's willing to make that admission, then, well, isn't he one step beyond everyone else?

In her last paragraph, McArdle also twice applies the word "dark" -- the Left's attempt at a linguistic kill shot aimed at Trump. I wonder if she knows why she chose that word?

FBI Director James Comey testified to Congress that Hillary Clinton lied to them.

During an extended exchange with Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), Comey affirmed that the FBI's investigation found information marked classified on her server even after Clinton had said that she had neither sent nor received any items marked classified.

"That is not true," Comey said. "There were a small number of portion markings on, I think, three of the documents."

Asked whether Clinton's testimony that she did not email "any classified material to anyone on my email" and "there is no classified material" was true, Comey responded, "No, there was classified material emailed."

"Secretary Clinton said she used one device. Was that true?" Gowdy asked, to which Comey answered, "She used multiple devices during the four years of her term as secretary of state."
Gowdy then asked whether it was true that Clinton, as she said, returned all work-related emails to the State Department.

"No, we found work-related emails, thousands that were not returned," Comey said.

"Secretary Clinton said neither she or anyone else deleted work-related emails from her personal account. Was that true?" Gowdy asked.

"That's a harder one to answer," Comey responded. "We found traces of work-related emails in, on devices or in slack space. Whether they were deleted or whether when a server changed out something happened to them, there is no doubt that the work-related emails that were removed electronically from the email system."

Gowdy asked whether Clintons' lawyers read every one of her emails as she had said. Comey replied, "No."

Lie, after lie, after lie. This is a political trial now though, so I hope the American people are paying attention.


At the root of legitimacy is the belief of the people that the government can and will protect their life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness. During the Obama administration it has become obvious that the authorities can't or won't protect us here at home.

Personally, I have great respect for our law enforcement agencies... but they can't be expected to make up for the disaster Bush, Obama, and Hillary created in the Middle East. We decided not to fight our enemies there, so now we're fight them here.

The most disturbing aspect of recent terror attacks is that the authorities were taken by surprise each time despite advance warning. This serial failure undercuts the administration's claim to competence.

This is something the non-expert public understands. Suppose someone came to you claiming he was a brain surgeon. Even if you were not a doctor but had questions only a brain surgeon could answer correctly, you could evaluate the "brain surgeon" by giving him one exam and another to the cleaning person in the hallway. If they scored the same, you would begin to suspect the brain surgeon might be fake.

If the cleaning person continually outscored the "brain surgeon," a rational employer would consider hiring that person as head of surgery, which possibly explains the rise of Donald Trump.

The administration's demand for more gun control crucially rests on the claim of competence.


The State Department's assertion that it will take 75 years to release emails in response to a Freedom of Information Act request makes a mockery of the law and spits in the face of transparency. Interagency reviews and classifications shouldn't supersede the right of Americans to know what government officials are up to. If the reviews can't be completed in the timely manner, then they should give way to transparency requirements.

The RNC has sued the State Department under FOIA, seeking all emails to or from four aides to former Secretary Hillary Clinton from 2009 to 2013.

The State Department has claimed that the result would yield roughly 1.5 million pages of documents that it and other federal agencies would need to go through page by page.

The department claimed in a court filing last week trying to kill the lawsuit that the emails are "complex" and include "classified documents and interagency communications that could have to be referred to other agencies for their review."

After discussion with the government, the RNC offered to impose some limits on the subject matter and dates of the emails of three aides, to pare the list of emails down to roughly 450,000 pages.

Because the State Department expected that it could process roughly 500 pages per month, processing all 450,000 pages would take 900 months, or 75 years.


Sanders knows at this point that he can't win the nomination outright from Hillary, so why does he keep fighting? Why does he promise to go all the way to the convention? Because he wants to make sure that when Hillary withdraws he's in position to take her place.

Meanwhile, former Bill Clinton advisor and pollster Douglas Schoen gave the strongest signal yet in a Wall Street Journal op-ed this week ("Clinton may not be the nominee") that worried backstage huddles in the Democratic party establishment are reaching fever pitch. The article's floating of the idea of a Joe Biden-Elizabeth Warren substitute ticket (which I've been privately predicting to friends all year) is so evenly and magisterially phrased that I wondered if the text had been vetted by an approving White House. So this may be why Bernie Sanders (my candidate) has gone into overdrive--not to damage Hillary, as her acolytes spitefully claim, but to fight off the tactical insertion of Biden at the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia. Sanders could rightly claim, on the basis of his long and strenuous primary campaign, that if anyone deserves the nomination vacated by a tarnished Hillary, it is he. If Sanders does defer to Biden, it will only be via enormous concessions, beginning with the unceremonious removal of devious DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

It seems likely to me that after the California vote next Tuesday and before the convention, the major players will negotiate some kind of arrangement that accomplishes the following:

The real question is, though, why would Sanders drop out for anything? Presumably the Dems have tried to blackmail him by now and have failed. What concessions would really be worth giving up a chance at the presidency?


The number of Latinos who support Donald Trump is greater than zero. The Left and media are trying very hard to paint Trump as a racist, when really he is more of a nationalist. Nationalism has ugliness in its own history, but is distinct from racism.

Taking Trump at his word, he wants to put "America first" -- which means ahead of Mexico and Mexican citizens, but not to the detriment of American Latinos. I can't recall Trump ever speaking negatively about Latinos, although he has denigrated Mexicans and Mexico. (I completely disavow Trump and his anti-Mexican sentiments.)

Is this distinction between ethnicity and nationality a needle Trump can thread? Trump is not known for his subtlety and finesse. However, if he is able to capture even slightly more Latinos (and blacks) than Romney did in 2012 he will pull the rug out from Hillary. He doesn't need to win every Latino, or even a plurality, to win the presidency.

"My name is Angelo Gomez and I have something very clear to say to the liberal media and Hillary Clinton: yes, I'm an American Latino who supports Donald Trump.

"Yes, I come from a family rooted in immigrants and I support Donald J. Trump to be the next president of the United States.

"I support Donald Trump with every ounce of my being," Gomez says, "for the very reasons that this country, that the Constitution, that this flag behind me was founded upon and that's putting the American people first. That's putting this country first."

He adds, "Hillary Clinton is the face of an incompetent politician who has lied to, who has cheated, and who has gotten Americans killed.

"If we get this wrong, our country will no longer be here for the future generations," Gomez says.

The video shows dozens of Latinos at rallies and around the country supporting Trump.


Carmen Simon juxtaposes screenshots of Hillary's and Trump's websites, and the result is hilarious. Here are my own screenshots -- first, Hillary.

hillary.jpg

Yes, her website says "love trump" a hundred times. Her logo looks like a sign pointing you to a hospital.

Here's Trump.

trump.jpg


Says Democrat pollster Peter Hart about Hillary Clinton. But don't fret: Hillary's campaign is working hard to rehabilitate her image.

To counter these challenges, Clinton is relying primarily on the prospect that her likely Republican opponent's weaknesses are even greater. But advisers also are working to soften her stiff public image by highlighting her compassion and to combat perceptions about trustworthiness and authenticity by playing up her problem-solving abilities.

Too bad she didn't start working on her image 25 years ago! It's too bad these "perceptions about trustworthiness and authenticity" only surfaced recently.

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