Benjamin Studebaker

Yet Another Attempt to Make the World a Better Place by Writing Things

Tag: Jill Stein

Who Should You Vote For? My Best Case for Each Choice

When they write about what you should do with your vote, most people pick one side and make a case. But there are a lot of arguments for different courses of action and I think it’s more interesting to lay them out and let you decide which one you think is strongest. These are the very best arguments I can think of for any political choice you might want to make on November 8, consistent with what I know about how policy and political institutions work–I’m not going to pretend that Gary Johnson’s tax plan makes sense or that climate change is a Chinese hoax.

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John Oliver Doesn’t Understand How Stein’s Student Debt Policy Works

Last Week Tonight‘s John Oliver recently ran a segment in which he slated Jill Stein’s proposal to eliminate student debt through quantitative easing:

His criticism seemed to suggest that the Federal Reserve is obviously irrelevant in this policy area:

It’s basically akin to saying, ‘I’ll make us energy independent by ordering the Post Office to invade Canada.’ No, Jill. That’s impractical, it’s a terrible idea, and you don’t seem to understand anything about it.

Oliver, who is usually quite perceptive and well-informed, gets this wrong, and he gets it wrong in no small part because monetary policy is complicated and difficult to understand, both in terms of the economics and in terms of the politics. So let’s talk about how Stein’s idea works.

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Corbyn, Stein, and the Left’s Anti-Imperialism Problem

If you ask the British people what they think about Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn’s policies, it’s clear that any skepticism they may have about his economic agenda is far surpassed by misgivings about his foreign policy:

Since becoming Labour leader, Corbyn and his supporters have been accused of being “terrorist sympathizers” and anti-Semitic. This perception is tied to a suite of policy positions and attitudes which are best described as “anti-imperialist”. Left wing politicians and movements which embrace anti-imperialism face a set of political obstacles that they avoid if they jettison it. Today I’d like to think a little bit about how anti-imperialism works, both as a theory of international politics and in terms of its influence on the success and failure of the left in domestic politics.

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The Limitations of Proportional Representation

About 23% of Americans don’t like both Trump and Clinton. Many of these people are considering third parties, or would like to be considering them but don’t feel they can safely do so because of the American voting system, which makes it very difficult for third parties to win and ensures that people who vote third party get no say in the choice between the two major party nominees. Some people have talked about wanting to switch to proportional representation (PR) to break the stranglehold of the two parties on politics. Under PR, if 8% of the population votes for a Green or a Libertarian, 8% of the legislature is comprised of Greens or Libertarians. If no party is able to put together a majority of votes, parties have to cooperate in coalitions to get things done. PR is in Jill Stein’s platform and some libertarians have expressed enthusiasm for it as well. PR cannot really be applied to the presidential race, because the president can only be one person–he or she cannot be 8% Green. But for presidential races we could employ a ranked ballot system allowing for an instant-runoff. On this system if you voted for Jill Stein your vote could be transferred to Clinton after Stein is eliminated. This may sound intriguing, but PR is not a magic bullet and it can produce some very bad situations that we should consider.

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The 2016 Candidate Evaluation Series Finale

Now that Joe Biden has finally made up his mind and decided not to run for president, I can conclude my candidate evaluation series. This series finale post will provide you with a number of election-related resources:

  1. My thoughts on Biden’s decision
  2. Links to all the extant candidate evaluation posts along with all the additional election-related content I have written so far.
  3. A full league table of the presidential candidates in which they score points for supporting policies that would benefit the country and lose points for supporting policies that would harm the country.
  4. Mini-Evaluations of some of the third party candidates and marginal figures (e.g. Jill Stein, Lawrence Lessig, etc.)
  5. Statistics on how popular the different candidates’ evaluations have been with blog readers

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