Benjamin Studebaker

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

Tag: USA

The Stock Market is Not Evidence of Trump’s Success

If you ask a Trump supporter to name some of the president’s accomplishments, invariably one of the first responses you get is a booming stock market.

The thing is, a booming stock market is not a good economic indicator. Not in this day and age. Here’s why.

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Let’s Stop Pretending We Might Fight North Korea

President Trump wants to convince North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un that if he keeps running his jaw, we might fight him:

Many in the press have been happy to jump all over this, acting like the two countries are on the brink of war. But while this sells newspapers and gets clicks, it disinforms the public. Here’s what I think is really going on.

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When it Comes to Sanctions, Both Democrats and Trump are Inconsistent

Toward the end of his presidency, Barack Obama began relaxing economic sanctions on Cuba. The argument was simple–the sanctions had been in place half a century, but there was no hard evidence that they were affecting Cuban policy or seriously encouraging regime change. It seemed to many that the sanctions just made ordinary Cubans worse off and enabled the Castro regime to blame America for economic setbacks. Why not flood Cuba with American goods and American culture instead, and try to win the Cuban people over with goodies? The Trump administration never liked this idea, and it immediately set about reinstating the barriers. But now many of the same people who enthusiastically supported Obama’s efforts to change policy on Cuba–including many Senate Democrats–are calling for Trump to perpetuate and intensify sanctions against Russia, and Trump is reluctant to go along. This is intellectually inconsistent–on both sides. It reveals that when it comes to sanctions, both the Democrats and Trump are more interested in scoring political points at home than they are in having a coherent foreign policy.

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The Rise of the “Hillary or Bust” Voter

Remember “Bernie or Bust”? Some Bernie Sanders supporters were very cross when Sanders did not win the Democratic Party nomination. They believed he should have won, both because he deserved to win and because some of them believed the DNC stole it from him. They were unwilling to support Clinton in the general election, and Clinton supporters let them have it. How could these Bernie supporters stand idly by and allow Donald Trump to become president? Don’t they care about poor and working people, about the middle class, about people of color, about women, about LGBTs? How could they betray the groups they’re meant to care about like that? ┬áSarah Silverman told them they were “being ridiculous”:

But the tables have turned. Today we see a new breed of Democrat–the “Hillary or Bust” voter.

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Arguments Against Minimum Wage Increases are Weaker Than Many People Think

Today I’d like to talk about the recent University of Washington study on the effects of the minimum wage increase in Seattle. ┬áThe study claims to show that the increase in the wage from $11 an hour to $13 resulted in lower wages and job losses for workers at the bottom of the wage distribution. But this study–and the arguments surrounding it–kinda miss the point.

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