BotW: May 22

BotW is a new feature that will explore the best political (and sometimes sports) columns from the week. As I can only read a finite amount of articles, site visitors are encouraged to post their suggestions in the comments sections.

“Economic Stagnation Explained, at 30,000 Feet”: Yale Law professor Stephen Carter recounts a recent conversation with a Dakotan small business owner, in which the latter laments his frustration with government policies. The businessman repeats a familiar refrain: that the unpredictability of government regulations makes it exceedingly difficult for him to accurately predict labor costs, meaning he cannot hire new workers. What is particularly interesting here is Carter’s somewhat guilt-ridden perspective; he realizes that he and fellow academics often admonish “greedy” business owners without even having been in their shoes (i.e. having to meet a payroll, pay off creditors, etc.).

“Moralizing Against McDonalds”: McDonalds, notes Steve Chapman, fulfills an incredibly useful purpose in delivering safe and affordable caloric intake to patrons. Yet it and other fast food chains are demonized by a wide array of interest groups with questionable agendas. Chapman hones in specifically on the attack on franchise mascot Ronald McDonald, the ebullient (and often annoying) figure who ultimately is much less harmful than the misguided moralists trying to keep him off of the menu.

“Why ObamaCare Undermines Government”:  Even those in support of universal public health care should give Michael Barone’s newest piece a read. Apart from his conservative stance on the issue, Barone makes an excellent broader point about the importance of the rule of law in democratic society.

“Span and Sain and Pray for Rain”: Baseball Prospectus author Emma Span makes a mockery of the tired cliches constantly circulating through Major League locker rooms and press conferences. Although it’s an easy target, Span does a masterful job of writing an entire article using only actual quotes from MLB players and managers.

Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) on the extension of the Patriot Act (video): It absolutely boggles my mind that Rand Paul is considered an extremist. The Senate recently voted overwhelmingly to extend (and expand) the Patriot Act, which, among other things, allows federal agents to raid any terror suspect’s home without a warrant. This may seem like a good thing; after all, who likes terrorists? However, the vast majority of terror suspects are innocent citizens; breaching their Fourth Amendment (guarantee against unreasonable searches and seizure) rights is a very bad precedent. And as Paul notes, we require police officers to acquire warrants signed by judges before entering the homes of rapists and serial killers. Why can’t this simple but crucial step be taken with terrorist suspects?

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