Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Love when Vox gives a platform to the right-wing cranks at George Mason University

This morning, Lee Fang pointed me to a new Vox article that helpfully Voxplains "the great money-in-politics myth". Turns out that "Merely taking money out of politics...is nowhere near enough if liberals want to create a comprehensive welfare state," a much-needed revelation in a nation where we have already taken way too much money out of politics. Thank god our beltway is overrun with centrist wonks paid to spam the media with "Well, Actually it's more complicated than that" counterpoints to 19th century economic determinism every time anyone ventures modest misgivings about our plutocracy.

Anyway, no one will be surprised to find an article like this leaning on quotes from our contrarian right-wing cranks at George Mason University. Vox has a bad habit of giving these doofuses a platform and dragging nearly any garbage they turn out into the spectrum of Respectable Opinion, so instead of digging in on the money-in-politics article I thought I'd just survey some of their worst quotes over the years:
  • Is the AI apocalypse near? We interviewed...Robin Hanson, an economist at George Mason University...Bostrom argues that if nothing else, scientists will be able to produce at least human-level intelligence by emulating the human brain, an idea that Hanson has also promoted.
  • George Mason economist Bryan Caplan...continues: "So why, exactly, is it that people who are born on the wrong side of the border have to get government permission just to get a job?"
  • Does wealth inequality have its upsides? In the course of a long review of Thomas Piketty's Capital in the 21st Century, George Mason University economist Tyler Cowen suggested that it does...
  • Thomas Stratmann, an economist at George Mason who studies campaign finance, agrees. "In my view, political money is unlikely to have much impact on well publicized issues, such as gun control or single-payer issues," he writes in an email. 
  • "The government is rushing out an ill-conceived plan to regulate consumer drones" - Eli Dourado is a research fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University
  • George Mason University law professor David Bernstein, in particular, wrote a book called Rehabilitating Lochner: Defending Individual Rights against Progressive Reform — a book Paul cited on the Senate floor in 2013.
  • "Firefighters face what I've called the 'March of Dimes' problem. After polio was cured, the March of Dimes looked around and said 'what do we do now?,'" says Alex Tabarrok, an economist at George Mason University who's previously criticized fire departments for taking on other roles.