PG142: Budget Deal, US vs China, Facebook vs Privacy, PA 18, Bolton In McMaster Out

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This week, Mike and Jay start by looking at the $1.3 trillion dollar, 2,0000+ page budget passed by Congress and very reluctantly signed into law by President Trump. Mike sees it as not half bad, given Republican control of the legislative and executive branches, while Jay tends to agree with House Freedom Caucus concerns about out-of-control spending.

Next is a discussion of the $60 billion in tariffs President Trump announced against China in response to China’s widespread intellectual property theft. Mike is actually somewhat sympathetic to the Trump administration’s approach, feeling that previous attempts to minimize Chinese IP theft have been largely unsuccessful. Jay argues that tariffs are likely to be too blunt of an instrument to effect significant change.

After that, the Guys get into privacy in social media in the wake of the Facebook / Cambridge Analytica scandal. Both Mike and Jay agree that a loss of privacy is the price we pay for ‘free’ use of social networks and wonder if this price is too high.

Following that is a look at the special election in Pennsylvania’s 18th Congressional District, where Democrat Connor Lamb won in an extremely conservative district. Mike sees it as a sign of Democratic voter enthusiasm and expects a wave election in November that will give the Democrats control of the House of Representatives. Jay isn’t so sure, and questions whether the Democrats will be able to replicate their success in PA 18 in other races.

To close, Mike and Jay discuss the latest shake-up in the White House, with National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster being replaced by John Bolton. Mike thinks that Bolton is too hawkish, too impulsive, and reinforces President Trump’s worst instincts. Jay is more of a fan of Bolton, but agrees that President Trump would benefit from more voices of moderation.

What Jay’s Reading
The Gathering Stormy.  Jonah Goldberg

Truth Isn’t the Problem – We Are.  Rebecca Newberger Goldstein (WSJ – paywall)

What Mike’s Reading
12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos.  Jordan Peterson

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