Presty the DJ for Feb. 17

The number one one one single today-day-day in 1962:

The number one British single today in 1966:

Today in 1969, Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash recorded the album “Girl from the North Country.”

Never heard of a Dylan–Cash collaboration? That’s because the album was never released, although the title track was on Dylan’s “Nashville Skyline” album.

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How to fix the deficit

Daniel J. Mitchell:

The 21st century has been bad news for proponents of limited government. Bush was a big spender, Obama was a big spender, Trump was a big spender, and now Biden also wants to buy votes with other people’s money.

That’s the bad news.

The good news is that there is still a simple solution to America’s fiscal problems. According to the just-released Budget and Economic Outlook from the Congressional Budget Office, tax revenues will grow by an average of 4.2 percent over the next decade. So we can make progress, as illustrated by this chart, if there’s some sort of spending cap so that outlays grow at a slower pace.

The ideal fiscal goal should be reducing the size of government, ideally down to the level envisioned by America’s Founders.

But even if we have more modest aspirations (avoiding future tax increases, avoiding a future debt crisis), it’s worth noting how modest spending restraint generates powerful results in a short period of time. And the figures in the chart assume the spending restraint doesn’t even start until the 2023 fiscal year.

The main takeaway is that the budget could be balanced by 2031 if spending grows by 1.5 percent per year.

But progress is possible so long as the cap limits spending so that it grows by less than 4.2 percent annually. The greater the restraint, of course, the quicker the progress.

In other words, there’s no need to capitulate to tax increases (which, in any event, almost certainly would make a bad situation worse).

P.S. The solution to our fiscal problem is simple, but that doesn’t mean it will be easy. Long-run spending restraint inevitably will require genuine reform to deal with the entitlement crisis. Given the insights of “public choice” theory, it will be a challenge to find politicians willing to save the nation.

P.P.S. Here are real-world examples of nations that made rapid progress with spending restraint.

P.P.P.S. Switzerland and Hong Kong (as well as Colorado) have constitutional spending caps, which would be the ideal approach.

There was no interest in fiscal restraint after 9/11. Nor was there during the Great Recession. Nor has there been during the pandemic. The only way to get closer to balancing the budget (I doubt it will be balanced in the lifetime of anyone reading this) is, as Mitchell points out, mandatory, as in constitutional, spending restraint.

 

Presty the DJ for Feb. 16

Today in 1964, the Beatles appeared on CBS-TV’s Ed Sullivan Shew, for the first time since last week.

The number one British single today in 1967 was written by Charlie Chaplin:

Today in 1974, members of Emerson, Lake and Palmer were arrested for swimming naked in a Salt Lake City hotel pool. They were fined $75 each.

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The not-stolen but unfair election

Jonathan Tobin:

If you read the headline of a blockbuster, 6,000-word-plus story in Time magazine, you might think former President Donald Trump wasn’t so wrong about the election, after all.

Despite the tease, Molly Ball’s “Secret History of the Shadow Campaign That Saved the 2020 Election” doesn’t allege widespread voter fraud in what some Trump supporters still insist was a “stolen” election. Nor is the essay an exposé of illegal activity that would justify the Trumpian challenges to the results that threatened to tear the country apart.

But what Time did uncover is disturbing enough, even if most of those involved are proud of what they did to help elect President Biden: underhanded methods made all the more galling by the preening self-righteousness of those who deployed them.

As the magazine reports, a secret alliance of left-wing activists, union leaders and corporate CEOs worked together to help craft unprecedented changes in the rules governing the way America votes. They did their best to encourage and facilitate mail-in voting on an unprecedented scale.

That wasn’t cheating or illegal, but it was enormously consequential.

With funding from federal sources as well as private moguls like Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, this cabal of anti-Trump forces mobilized an enormous number of first-time voters who despised Trump

Using pandemic fears about voting in person — less dangerous, in fact, than a trip to the supermarket — and without a national debate or any meaningful oversight by legislators or the courts, the anti-Trump alliance managed to make it easy for people who don’t normally bother to vote.

That this also involved discarding rules intended to safeguard the integrity of elections was a side benefit.

That the cabal operated successfully in plain sight highlights the impotence of Republicans, who, though they saw the threat coming and in some cases sued to prevent the changes, ultimately failed to prevent the shift. But there’s more here than just a case of the Democrats out-organizing the GOP.

This also involved getting Americans used to the idea that in a country with the most advanced technology in the world, the vote count would last days, rather than being settled in one night.

What Time also documents is a campaign to pressure internet and social media companies as well as press outlets to censor “disinformation” about the election, especially with respect to fraud allegations. While some of the material that was targeted was false, the tech bros also blocked the dissemination of legitimate reporting and commentary that could have undermined Biden.

The best example was The Post’s reporting about Hunter Biden’s influence-peddling, which was tossed down the Orwellian “memory hole” by both Twitter and all non-conservative media outlets; to boot, 50 former intelligence officials baselessly claimed that the Hunter Files was Russian disinformation. Yet to this day, neither Hunter nor his father has disputed the authenticity of the emails uncovered by The Post or the provenance of the laptop they were recovered from.

Though Time claims the censorship was “defending democracy,” it was actually just the opposite. In a campaign that was represented as a counterattack against Trumpian lies, what the anti-Trump group pulled off was perhaps the biggest lie in modern American political history.

The collusion between Big Tech and biased legacy media prevented the public from learning more about a candidate who largely spent 2020 in hiding. In this way, the anti-Trump forces did help stage an election that was, in a sense, rigged against the incumbent.

There’s nothing wrong with getting more people to vote, as long as the votes are legal. But there is something profoundly wrong with a system in which Silicon Valley oligarchs, big business, union bosses and lefty agitators can effectively shut down free discourse and freedom of the press during a presidential election in order to ensure their candidate wins.

That means the challenge facing the country is not what to do about Trump’s sore-loser tantrum, which resulted in a disgraceful riot (swollen into an “insurrection” by Democrats and media keen to discredit all Republicans). The real problem is whether Americans are prepared to let the same forces that tilted the 2020 election in Biden’s favor get away with it again.

Presty the DJ for Feb. 14

On Valentine’s Day, this song, tied to no anniversary or birthday I’m aware of, nonetheless seems appropriate …

… as does …

… and (though perhaps in a general, not romantic, sense, or if you worked at the former WLVE, “Love Stereo 95,” in the 1980s) …

… unless you have determined that …

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Presty the DJ for Feb. 11

Today in 1964 — one year to the day after recording their first album — the Beatles made their first U.S. concert appearance at the Washington Coliseum in D.C.:

The number one album today in 1969, “More of the Monkees,” jumped 121 positions in one week:

Today in 1972, Pink Floyd appeared at the Free Trade Hall in Manchester, England, during their Dark Side of the Moon tour.

The concert lasted 25 minutes until the power went out, leaving the hall as bright as the dark side of the moon.

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