Just One Thing: The billionaires vs the millionaires
Kristen and I spent a few days in Moab, Utah for our 20th anniversary. We took a 2-day roadtrip home through western and southern Colorado including a night in a nice little town called Ridgway. I have a habit of looking at real estate prices whenever I'm in new places and I was quite surprised at how expensive Ridgway is given that it's not famous and not fancy. When I asked locals about it, I heard the same story repeated: In the nearby fantastic ski town of Telluride, the influx of uber-wealthy folks, e.g. folks worth at least tens of millions up through billionaires, are pushing out those who are "only millionaires." The millionaires who want to be in that beautiful part of the state are then finding what they can afford, and that includes Ridgway, Ouray (which has been well known as "the Switzerland of Colorado" and fairly expensive for some time), and other nearby towns, driving them from "slightly pricey" to "nearly unaffordable for most people." These are not great trends for the state, actually. Sure, governments like to get more money in town but as these places become financially out of reach for the vast majority of Americans, including becoming much more expensive for tourists, some of what attracts people to begin with will be lost. That said, I don't think there is any real solution other than letting it all play out, and even then I don't expect that Telluride will ever again be anything other than what Aspen already is, a playland for the rich and famous, with the rest of us possibly affording a short visit. (And I have no interest in Aspen...been there one time, not staying overnight, not during ski season. I find the concept of Aspen and places like it more repellant than appealing, and I think I'd feel that way even if I could afford the place.)
Storm King Distilling (Montrose, CO) visit
A few months ago, I had David Fishering, co-founder (with his dad) of Storm King Distilling which, earlier this year, won "Best American Whiskey" at the prestigious World Whiskies Awards with their "Side Gig" whiskey. (I have a bottle but haven't opened it yet!)
David is an interesting guy, raised in Montrose and happy to return there after a first career took him to the East Coast. He has a true passion for making excellent distilled spirits. He does almost all of the actual liquor-making work himself. (If I were in a different place in my life, I'd consider moving there to be his business partner...as the whole process and, of course, the products, appeal greatly to me.)
I encourage you to stop by Storm King if you're going to be in Montrose (or just make the trip to visit). On this trip, I bought a bottle of their rye and their barrel-aged gin, a category that's quite popular lately but which I've never tasted before so I'm looking forward to giving it a try soon.
A couple of photos: David Fishering in the area where the magic happens, and barrels in storage in a nearby building.
Scott Lincicome is vice president for general economics at the libertarian Cato Institute. He's also the author of the Capitolism newsletter for the Dispatch and a visiting lecturer at Duke University. He's one of my favorite writers and thinkers about economics generally and the economics of international trade specifically. Our focus today will be on the latter, namely on the fact that the loudest voices on the subject of globalization are against it...and don't understand it. But they find political upside in pandering to the public who also doesn't understand some of the least intuitive aspects of economics. We'll also try to spend a little time talking about the always-reprehensible farm bill, which is basically a bunch of welfare programs for some ordinary citizens and lots of vote-bribes for farmers.
Peter LiFari is a Housing Fellow at the Common Sense Institute. His new study addresses how reforming Colorado's construction defect law could help reduce the state's critical shortage of reasonably priced housing.
This story is a week old but I've been on vacation and haven't had a chance to talk about it. Also, it's a story that will remain important in the GOP primary going forward: Donald Trump, who always campaigns as anti-abortion and successfully made it his mission to appoint Supreme Court justices who would overturn Roe v Wade, is calling out pro-life Republicans for being "inarticulate" about the issue of abortion and approaching it in a way that has cost, and will cost, Republicans dearly in elections. He's right, and the hard-core pro-life crowd is upset...but he has some wiggle room with them because of his prior success on the issue. Meanwhile, Ron DeSantis is warning the pro-life base that Trump "will sell you out."
Politically, I think it's VERY smart of Trump, especially to the extent that he considers himself almost unbeatable to win the GOP nomination.
Much of the world is waking up to the fact that woke policies of all sorts, whether climate-related or "DEI"-related, are not just harmless "sure, we'll pretend to go along with it" stuff. Instead, it's expensive and harmful. And both individuals and corporations are starting to say "enough is enough."
But the grifters keep on grifting: IEA says route to net zero requires more cash and less politics - Nikkei Asia
It's easy to scoff at Hollywood folks, but lots of writers produce lots of stuff that millions of people enjoy and yet make very little money. The market will handle the compensation (and seems to be working it out now) so my point today is simply that as much as I don't like a lot about Hollywood, when they produce entertainment I like, they're providing me a value that only they provide, at least in the US. I'm glad they seem to be coming back: Explainer-Is the Hollywood writers' strike over? (msn.com)
Has a university ever made a better investment than CU's hiring of Deion "Coach Prime" Sanders for $6 million per year? Deionomics: Coach Prime is big business in Colorado
Broncos on the wrong side of history: Miami offense all but unstoppable as Dolphins beat Broncos | 9news.com
It's one thing to talk about tanking one or two games at the end of a season to get the #1 draft pick. It's something else to suggest it 3 games into a 17-game season: Unless Broncos want Caleb Williams, why is Vance Joseph still in Denver? (denverpost.com)
I wish I were surprised: Taxpayers Stuck Paying the Bills for Oligarchs' Seized Yachts and Mansions (msn.com)
Joe Biden has long wanted to be seen as a second FDR. It's important to remember that FDR may have been the most economically ignorant president in American history, and that's saying something given the presence of Barack Obama and LBJ. But now Biden is looking to copy FDR with another massive, expensive, and pointless boondoggle: Biden to launch 'American Climate Corps' following calls from activists, lawmakers (msn.com)
Two guys who should resign:
A defiant Menendez said "It is not lost on me how quickly some are rushing to judge a Latino and push him out of his seat. I am not going anywhere" and at a press conference claimed that "For 30 years, I have withdrawn thousands of dollars in cash from my personal savings account, which I have kept for emergencies and because of the history of my family facing confiscation in Cuba."
Ugh: Denver school board spent $43,000 to resolve conflict among members (denverpost.com) (subscription may be required)
Not sure how you put a price on this: The first Bob Ross work from ‘The Joy of Painting’ is on sale | CNN
What's the significance of the fading-away of Southern (and other) accents in the US? The Fading of the Southern Accent Is Bad News | National Review
I agree: Trump is getting even more authoritarian and dangerous: Uncomfortably Numb - The Dispatch
Why I expect a recession within a year: Only richest 20 percent of Americans still have excess pandemic savings | The Spokesman-Review
Move the dog (and its owner): Couple Awarded $1,400 Compensation After Flight with Farting Dog (people.com)
A creepy ChatGPT-connected teddy bear
Pizza roll, let's go!