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PolicySphere Morning Briefing – March 14, 2024

Bonjour! Here’s your PolicySphere morning briefing! If you were forwarded this, here’s more about who we are and what we’re doing and, of course, don’t forget to sign up.

#TikTok #Politics – After the TikTok divestment bill passes the House, Sen. Fetterman asks for a Senate vote on it.

#TikTok #BigTech #AI – “Escaping the Dopamine Cartel

#AI #BigTech – “Is AI an Existential Risk? Q&A with RAND Experts” (RAND Corporation)

#immigration #democracy – “Not A Single Democrat Witness In Congress Agreed Only Citizens Should Vote In Federal Elections” (The Federalist)

#immigration #publichealth – The California Medical Board just emailed every doctor about a “Substantial Increase in Tuberculosis (TB)”. (via) Yesterday we wrote about an increase in cases of measles driven by immigration. How do we know these cases are driven by immigration? Apart from common sense, one hint: according to French news outlet Occidentis, Montreal in Québec has also seen a surge of new TB cases–and 90% of those affected are foreigners. Meanwhile, according to the California Medical Board, “TB in California particularly affects people who were born outside the United States with more than 80% of cases occurring in this group. The rate of TB among people born outside the United States is many times higher than among those born in the United States.” Who knew throwing open the Southern border might have downsides?

#immigration – Mark Krikorian, Center for Immigration Studies: “The Biden admin’s illegal ‘parole’ program to let in foreigners with no right to enter requires a US sponsor to pledge financial support. But that sponsor can be someone who himself just came in on parole, or TPS or DACA or any other ‘temporary’ status.” Link. CIS puts out some of the best immigration scholarship in Washington.

#trade #NAFTA – NAFTA recently had a 30th birthday. To mark the occasion, here is a critique of the trade deal by The American Conservative‘s Helen Andrews, and a defense by the American Institute for Economic Research’s Colin Grabow.

#trade – “Protectionism Kills U.S. Merchant Shipping” (Cato Institute)

#HigherEd – “The NIH Sacrifices Scientific Rigor for DEI” (WSJ)

#healthcare – We are always on the lookout for action on healthcare policy on the center-right, since it is both so rare and so important. Healthcare is probably the issue with the biggest gap between its importance to voters and the policy action on it. So, while this isn’t an earthquake, it’s still noteworthy. From the release about the Patients Choice Act of 2024 (not to be confused with other bills also called Patients Choice Act!): “Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) introduced the Patients Choice Act of 2024 to prevent the Biden administration from restricting short-term, limited duration insurance plans (STLDI) for consumers. In July 2023, the Biden administration announced a proposed rule to roll back a Trump-administration era policy that allows consumers to buy short-term, affordable health care insurance policies that last for up to 12 months. Trump’s policy allows consumers to renew such plans so that they can access coverage for up to three years. The Biden administration’s rule would limit STLDI contract periods to just four months.” The left’s philosophy on healthcare remains that it should be, at best, a regulated utility, and so anything less than comprehensive coverage is not coverage at all, even though some people prefer cheaper, leaner insurance. Meanwhile, the right’s philosophy on healthcare is… uh… help us out here…

#SocialIssues #LGBTQ – “Rate of suicide attempts doubles after gender affirming surgery” (Journal of Urology)

#SocialIssues #publichealth – “FDA Put Women At Risk By Denying Abortion Pill’s Risks And Dangers” (Life News)

#freespeech Harvard Law Review eviscerates the prosecution in the case of Douglass Mackey, the man who was arrested for posting memes in 2016.

#TheHill – “Johnson suggests next Congress may alter ‘motion to vacate’ rules” (Just The News)

#HousingFun story in the LA Times about a man who has carved out a business niche for himself “out-squatting squatters”. From the piece: “Their plan: live with the squatter. Dirty the bathroom. Take the best spot on the couch. Commandeer the TV remote. Blast music. Drink his coffee. Eat his Cheetos. Out-squat him. And film it all for YouTube.” This is funny but also tragic: more and more blue jurisdictions have passed laws or policies that de facto legalize squatting. If you live in Washington or Maryland you know all about it. And, of course, when laws are no longer enforced, people resort to vigilanteeism. That way lies madness.

#SocialIssues #self-recommending – This month, American Compass Executive Director Oren Cass delivered the 2024 First Things Lecture in Washington, DC, on the topic, “Constructing Conservatism in the Secular Age.” What should conservative politics look like at a time when many Americans are no longer religious? Link to audio and video.

#philosophy #postliberalism – Patrick Deneen: “On the futility of right-liberals who look to Mill for refuge from the progressivism that Mill helped create.” If you want to lose all respect for Mill forever, we recommend reading the great Gertrude Himmelfarb on his case.

A small housekeeping note while we’re here: PolicySphere is about policy, not philosophy, and does not take a stand on debates such as liberalism vs. postliberalism. However, policy is always informed by philosophy, especially on the Right, so we will touch on some of those debates on occasion, just to let you know what is going on in that space. As always, we welcome your feedback on your content.

Quote of the Day: “Climate change over the next 20 years could result in a global catastrophe costing millions of lives in wars and natural disasters.” – The Guardian, 2004 (via)

Chart of the Day: Big Lightning doesn’t want you to know this. (via Matt Yglesias)

(If you’re wondering, it’s probably due to the decline of agricultural employment, i.e. working outside.)

Mental Health Break:

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