11-26-16 Hodgepodge

Saturday, November 26, 2016

The Bad News Is the Good News

Peter Andreas of the Washington Post reports that one of Donald Trump's sillier campaign promises is already closer to reality than you might think. This is basically because, as his subheadings note, (1) Whatever is built or is already there, Trump will call it a wall; and (2) Much of the wall has already been built.

In the end, Trump's wall is likely to be the latest addition to the border barrier-building frenzy first launched by President Bill Clinton, greatly expanded by George W. Bush and continued by Obama. But Trump will take full ownership of it as the only president willing to actually call it a wall.
The good news is that Trump probably won't waste as much money building a wall as I thought he might. The bad news is that so much money has already been wasted.

I am not sure what this might mean for the prominence of immigration in our national debate. With no need for Trump to move mountains to finish this, the man with the bully pulpit won't have to say much, or have his surrogates do so. I could see this being either a good or a bad thing.

Weekend Reading

"[I]'s not the number of activities that are important; it's the quality of those activities." -- Michael Hurd, in "Under Pressure: The Frantic Need to Keep Kids Busy" at The Delaware Wave

"If, as Lincoln said, 'The U.S. patent system adds the fuel of interest to the fire of genius in the discovery and production of new and useful things,' we should, at a minimum, have a sound basis for any reforms." -- Gus Van Horn, in "In Defense of a Strong U.S. Patent System" at RealClear Markets

"The fact that you haven't stopped proves nothing except that you don't yet want to stop badly enough." -- Michael Hurd, in "Partial Goals Don't Work!" at The Delaware Coast Press

A Word of Thanks

I thank my wife and reader Steve D. for their comments on earlier versions of the above column. Also, I thank the Center for the Protection of Intellectual Property for helping publicize it.

Not to Nit-Pick, but They Should Thank Capitalism

A combination of evolutionary pressure and chemophobia is causing a resurgence in head lice. Fortunately, entrepreneurs are picking up the slack, so to speak:
Appealing to families wary of chemical pesticides, Licenders, Hair Fairies, and New Jersey-based Fairy Tales Hair Care are hawking treatments with natural ingredients, like marshmallow root, that sound more at home on an herbal tea menu than in an exterminator's arsenal.
I'll skip the ethical question of selling the modern equivalent of snake oil to the gullible for now. Do note how well this segment of the population, many of whom are also hostile to capitalism, are being served by small businessmen. I also wonder how many think there should be licensing laws for such professions. Don't laugh too hard: They already want "insurance" coverage, which would spare them the higher costs of delousing caused by such laws, by forcibly -- note the scare quotes -- passing them on to others.

-- CAV

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