Another Look at California’s Inflation Relief Scheme

Before the Fourth of July holiday, fellow blogger K. Lloyd Billingsley asked whether California’s new inflation relief package will reduce inflation. That’s an excellent question.

Will California’s $17 Billion Relief Package Reduce Inflation?

As the California Globe reports, Gov. Newsom and state legislators have approved a $17 billion inflation relief package that will pay $350 each to joint filers making up to $150,000. Those who make up to $125,000 a year, or joint filers making up to $250,000, will get $250 each. Those who make up to $250,000 a year, or $500,000 filing jointly, get $200 each. With additions for dependents, “Californians could see as much $1,050, $750, or $600 coming in per household depending on tier level.”

Roe Reversed. Abortion Issues Returned to the States?

Last week, the Supreme Court issued its opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. Finally, the Court has struck down one of its most poorly reasoned cases: Roe v. Wade. In 1992, the Court had an opportunity to do this in Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey. It failed, though jettisoning Roe’s trimester system, because a progressive core of justices kept the essence of the opinion that abortion is a fundamental right protected by the Constitution. The Casey decision was written by Justices Sandra Day O’Connor, Anthony Kennedy and David Souter (all three less than stellar picks from Republican presidents) and joined by the Court’s old school liberals, Justices Harry Blackmun and John Paul Stevens.

Elvis Movie Tells Cautionary Story of Conflicting Interest and Ambition
Bold Creative Choice Uses the Villain to Tell the Story of A Pop Icon

Greed, a favorite movie theme of movies, can create gold when mixed with ego, power, and an artful filmmaker. Few films show this successful combination more artistically and viscerally than Baz Luhrmann’s film Elvis. The movie also seems destined for commercial success.

Luhrmann’s telling is historically faithful to the start, emergence, and decline of one of the most enduring icons of popular music. Featuring an outstanding performance by Austin Butler as Elvis Presley, the movie’s visuals are stunning. The editing is frenetic in places, but artful and reflective of the story’s tone. The imagery thoughtfully links critical themes, events, and emotionally transcendent moments in Elvis’s life.

Sri Lanka’s Cautionary Tale: Death by National Debt

The nation of Sri Lanka was many things. A beautiful country, international tourism was a major industry. A fertile land, it grew enough rice to feed all its people. Prosperous, it earned its place as an upper-middle income nation. Then it all went to hell.

Big SCOTUS Win for Second Amendment

In District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U. S. 570 (2008) and its progeny, the Supreme Court established the Second Amendment embodies an individual right–not tied with military service. Law-abiding citizens may possess handguns for the defense of their homes. What about the ability to carry guns outside the home for self-defense? In New York State Rifle & Pistol Ass’n v. Bruen, decided this week, the Court recognized an individual’s right to carry a handgun for self-defense outside the home.

Why Studying Economics Instills Gratitude

At least since Thomas Carlyle’s infamous put-down of economics as the “dismal science” (for economists having the temerity to oppose slavery), it has been popular to disparage economics as a discipline that fosters depression on the one hand and narrow self-interest on the other. Perhaps the two are linked, says the critic. 

What Francis Fukuyama Gets Wrong
Francis Fukuyama's New Book Liberalism and its Discontents Misses Some Marks

The first chapter of Francis Fukuyama’s new book, Liberalism and its Discontents, is titled, “What is Classical Liberalism?” While he never explicitly answers the question, he does list some liberal principles: respect for the individual and individual autonomy, protection of property rights and of the right to transact with others, and inclusion of individuals in the political process via the right to vote.

Problems With Jimmy Carter-Joe Biden Comparisons

As summer approaches and midterm elections loom, it’s hard to imagine a worse climate for President Joe Biden.

The average price of gasoline is creeping toward $5 a gallon, inflation is at 40-year highs, and stocks are red, with the Dow, S&P, and Nasdaq down 9.8 percent, 14 percent, and 23 percent year-to-date, respectively.

Jurassic World: Dominion Falters on Heavy-Handed Eco-Disaster Message
A satisfying dinosaur romp refuses to grapple with the complexity of environmental challenges

A moment existed in the Jurassic World franchise when businessmen were human, like the rest of us. That moment has passed.

Unlike the 2018 movie Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (see my Independent Institute review here), and even the first movie in the trilogy, Jurassic World: Dominion‘s filmmakers threw away any pretense of nuance or layering. Instead, they crafted a heavy-handed, apocalyptic tale of man-made environmental disaster, all in the pursuit of profit and world domination.

  • Catalyst