Thursday Edition


1. This Is What Commitment Looks Like

Argentine President Javier Milei’s drastic inflation-cutting measures, which include slashing tens of thousands of government jobs, have led to an impressive milestone. (Reuters)

For the first time in nearly 20 years, Argentina has recorded a budget surplus, Milei said Monday. The surplus exceeded 275 billion pesos ($315 million).

Milei: “If the state does not spend more than it collects and does not issue [money], there is no inflation. This is not magic … Don't expect a way out through public spending.”

Inflation, which had reached staggering highs before Milei took office in December, has slowed for three consecutive months. Argentina’s president has cut government subsidies, devalued the country’s currency and instituted a wave of deregulation measures. He’s also warned the economic situation would get worse before it gets better.

And it hasn’t all been good news: Argentina’s annual inflation rate still sits at a shocking 290% year-on-year. Poverty levels reached nearly 60% in January. Wage-earners have lost 20% of their purchasing power.

Bubba’s Two Cents: Argentina’s in a much different situation than the U.S., but it does give us a glimpse into the extreme steps needed to get budgets under control. Milei, who is kind of a lovable madman, has rolled out policies that may pay off in a huge way long-term, but come with painful trade-offs in the immediate future. That’s why politicians are often so reluctant to take action on this stuff until there’s a crisis.

2. What Young Voters Really Care About

The media makes it seem as if climate change, Israel-Palestine and student loans are major concerns for young voters, but a new Harvard Youth poll reveals they rank near the bottom. (Harvard Institute of Politics)

Here are the top 5 issues (share of voters 18-29 who ranked an issue as most important):

  • Inflation: 64%

  • Healthcare: 59%

  • Housing: 56%

  • Gun Violence: 54%

  • Jobs: 53%

Here are the bottom 5:

  • Climate Change: 43%

  • Taxes: 43%

  • Free Speech: 40%

  • Israel/Palestine: 34%

  • Student Debt: 26%

Bubba’s Two Cents: I think one important thing to note here is the youth have a rap for being driven by idealism — think about the dozens of headlines we’ve seen featuring Gen Z climate activist Greta Thunberg. However, this poll shows most young voters are actually focused on practical, everyday issues, much like the rest of America. This is just one more thing the media gets wrong.

3. Why Biden’s So Hellbent on Student Loan Forgiveness

Look no further than the Democratic Party's demographics for a clue as to why President Biden has pushed so hard to deliver on forgiving student loans. (The Liberal Patriot)

An analysis of polling data conducted by researcher Nate Moore: “We are on track for a historically large education divide among white voters. An average of recent polls finds Joe Biden winning white college-educated voters by 18 points and losing white non-college voters by 27 points—a colossal gap of 45 points. … Should current trends continue, education polarization—rather than racial—will become the defining feature of American elections.”

Chart: The Liberal Patriot

Not only do college-educated Americans make up a growing share of Biden’s constituency, they also tend to vote at higher rates.

That helps explain why the Biden administration has approved $150 billion in student loan cancellation (so far), despite opposition from critics who say it mostly benefits high-earners. He’s even gone around the Supreme Court, which struck down his flagship student loan forgiveness program last year, to cancel student debt.

Bubba’s Two Cents: Republicans have accused Biden of bribing voters with debt relief. But the other way to look at this is that the president’s simply fulfilling a campaign promise. And while reasonable people may disagree on the merits of student loan forgiveness, the heavy debt burdens faced by millions of Americans do place a drag on the economy.

4. Backtracking From the Backtrack

Arizona Senate candidate Kari Lake has (once again) changed her stance on abortion, an issue which has put the GOP in a tough spot since Roe v. Wade was overturned. (NBC News)

Over the weekend, the Arizona Republican responded to criticism from pro-life groups by suggesting she supports an 1864 state law banning nearly all abortions and which does not contain exceptions for rape or incest.

Lake in an interview with the Idaho Dispatch: “The Arizona Supreme Court said this is the law of Arizona. But unfortunately, the people running our state have said we’re not going to enforce it.”

Lake in a video earlier this month explaining her change-of-heart on abortion: “I never would ever assume that any woman had the same exact feelings that I had or situation I had. We know that some women are economically in a horrible situation. They might be in an abusive relationship. They might be the victim of rape. I agree with President Trump, we must have exceptions for rape, incest and the life of a mother.”

Lake reacting to the state Supreme Court decision upholding the 1864 ban on abortion: “This total ban on abortion that the Arizona Supreme Court has ruled on is out of line with where the people of this state are.”

What Lake said about the law in 2022: “I’m incredibly thrilled that we are going to have a great law that’s already on the books. … So it will prohibit abortion in Arizona.”

The latest: The GOP-controlled Arizona House of Representatives voted yesterday to pass a bill overturning the 1864 abortion ban.

Bubba’s Two Cents: No comment.

5. The New Left vs. Right

It's becoming less taboo for influential Silicon Valley figures to support Donald Trump, highlighting a cultural shift in the region. (Puck)

Puck reporter Teddy Schleifer: “It feels easier to support Trump in Silicon Valley in 2024 than it did in 2020 or it did in 2016. The freak out over Peter Thiel's support for Trump in 2016 in Silicon Valley was ultimately about a $1.25 million donation that was made. … Now, you're seeing so many Silicon Valley personalities come out for Trump, or at least come out against [President] Biden, that it feels rare to support to be vocally pro-Biden right now, at least in certain corners of the tech industry.”

Investor David Sacks, a former Hillary Clinton donor and co-host of the uber-popular “All-In Podcast,” is becoming a player in GOP politics and is in talks to host a fundraiser for Trump.

  • Elon Musk is moving further right politically, and is reportedly considering endorsing Trump or making a formal statement against Biden.

  • Donations to Republicans from Google, Apple, Amazon and Meta employees jumped from 5% in 2020 to 15% in 2022.

Bubba’s Two Cents: In Silicon Valley and everywhere else, the old left-right political divide is being complicated by a new framework: those who believe in traditional institutions versus those who don't. The anti-institution sentiment aligns well with Silicon Valley's "move fast and break things" philosophy, and so it makes sense for the tech industry to jive with Trump (the ultimate anti-institutionalist). The shift also explains why right-wingers like Tucker Carlson and Candace Owens are embracing typically left-leaning causes, such as anti-war activism.

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