Before your next rant about the Koch brothers …

… It might be useful to learn what they actually think about political issues. The latest issue of Forbes magazine devotes four pages to an interview with Charles Koch.

Q. What are your goals in this election?

A: My view of the political realm, not just now but for many decades, is that the Democrats are taking us down the road to serfdom over the cliff at 100 miles an hour and the Republicans are going around 70 miles an hour. What I want is to reverse the trajectory of this country.

Q. What are the key issues?

A. There are a lot of topics we could talk about but two really big ones. One is we have out of control, irresponsible spending by both parties that are taking us toward bankruptcy as a country and as a government. Related to that is we’re headed toward a two-tiered society. We’re destroying opportunities for the disadvantaged and creating welfare for the rich. This is coming about by misguided policies creating a permanent underclass, it’s crippling the economy and corrupting the business community.

Q. How do you fix poverty?

A. Our priorities are criminal justice reform and eliminating the barriers to low-income people starting a business or even getting a job. The biggest is occupational licensure. There are hundreds of these. You name it, depending on the locale or the state you have to get a license. They’re knocked out of it and of course, this is all cronyism corporate welfare. Those who are in the business don’t want all these newcomers coming in undercutting ‘em and destroying their profit margins.

Q. Who do you like in the GOP field?

A. I’ll let somebody else decide that. I’m not going to talk about personalities or the individuals. …

… Q. Have you had any impact on the Republican Party?

A. It’s tough. Not nearly what we’d hope. (An aide suggests he seems to have succeeded in killing the Export-Import Bank.) But that’s a small issue in the whole scheme of things. I take a much longer view. My brother David is much more interested in the political side. I’ve been doing this for more than 50 years, as you know. I’m more interested in the understanding, the education, the cultural aspects. Because I think that’s what’s going to drive what kind of country we’re going to have and whether can really change the trajectory of the country. To have a white knight come in and going to save us, that may help a little, but you’ve gotta change the hearts and minds of the people to understand what really makes society fairer and what’s going to change their lives. And it’s not more of this government control, and those in power telling us all how to live our lives. Throughout history that has not worked. And the more you have of that, the more people suffer, particularly the poorest people suffer.

There’s big money to be made, but Trump isn’t likely to be making it

The latest Forbes magazine column from publisher Rich Karlgaard identifies a “disruptive dozen” fields that are likely to produce most of the new entries over the next decade on the “Forbes 400” list of America’s wealthiest people. Among them: genomics, energy storage, and 3-D printing.

Before listing his 12 categories, though, Karlgaard takes aim at one high-profile billionaire who’s unlikely to take advantage of the economic changes.

Donald Trump’s wealth is trumped by 120 billionaires, most of whom (unlike Trump) started their companies from scratch. The growth of Trump’s wealth since 1985, his maiden solo year on The 400, has lagged the growth of the S&P 500. Trump may be a promotion genius, but he’s a lousy steward of capital.

At his present rate of relative decline Trump will be turfed out of The Forbes 400 during the next ten years. He likely won’t make it back, even if Trump, 69, were a younger man. The growth of his wealth can’t keep pace with the disruptive new sources of wealth.

The current extent of Trump’s wealth occupies a significant amount of space within the rest of the latest issue of Forbes. Chief Product Officer Lewis D’Vorkin documents Trump’s efforts to cajole Forbes into boosting its assessment of his wealth, and Randall Lane’s cover story asks “What’s Donald Trump Really Worth?”

Forbes battles a common economic misperception

The latest issue of Forbes magazine features Steve Forbesrebuttal of a dangerous misconception about the way an economy works.

ONE OF THE MOST pernicious ideas polluting economic understanding–and policymaking–is that an economy is a mechanism, like an automobile, a train or a power plant. Commentary is littered with such phrases as the economy “is overheating” or “needs to cool off” or “is tired” or “needs a jolt” or “could use some stimulus.”

These aren’t harmless metaphors. They epitomize how economists have taught us to see an economy–as something that can be manipulated, guided or driven. They believe the steering is to be done by government, making sure an economy “hums” along at an even speed, going neither too fast (hot) nor too slow (cold).

It’s all preposterous. The result is interventionist government policies that do harm–the only question is, how much? Economies aren’t machines. As colleague John Tamny–author of this year’s groundbreaking book Popular Economics (Regnery)–and other enlightened observers never tire of explaining, economies are a collection of individuals, working singly or in organizations. You can add up–or at least try to–what they turn out, in terms of products and services. But that hardly means you can control what all these people–billions of them!–are going to do.

What gets overlooked or underplayed in economics is the extraordinary “churn” in the activities of a free market. New businesses open while others close, constantly. In the U.S. during normal times a half-million or more jobs are created each week, while another half-million are cut. Entrepreneurs continually roll out new products and services, most of which flop. But those that succeed can mightily improve our quality of life.

What government can–and should–do is influence the environment in which this hum of activity takes place. The key variables: taxation, monetary policy, government spending and regulation. In almost all instances the best prescription for economic health is “less is more.”

The impact of Obama’s media presence on 2016

Tevi Troy explores for New York Observer readers the political implications of President Obama’s nontraditional media appearances.

Throughout his campaigns and his presidency, Obama has relentlessly used friendly, non-traditional media to reach receptive but disengaged voters. His continued preference for talk shows, podcasts, twitter, and a host of other new media is clearly influencing the presidential campaigns and will likely impact future presidencies as well.

Obama’s approach worked, in both of his elections and at key points of his presidency. In the 2008 campaign, 18 percent of voters were young voters, who overwhelmingly backed Obama. Thanks to his use of non-traditional platforms in the 2012 cycle, including the BS (Bill Simmons) Report Podcast, as well as local DJs and non-political talk shows, an even higher 19 percent of the 2012 electorate was young voters, who again heavily backed Obama. As president, Obama endured the comic barbs of Zach Galifianakis on his “Between Two Ferns” show, but the result was a surge in people signing up for the website Obama had gone on the show to plug.As a candidate, Obama’s use of non-traditional media was an innovative, but strategic, necessity. He was, after all, a non-traditional candidate running against the party’s establishment choice; he needed to use new and different ways to get out and excite voters. Obama and his team also recognized that standard, mainstream media outlets were dwindling in power. Appearing on the CBS Evening News or in a New York Times interview no longer had the reach that they once did.

As Obama moves toward the end of his presidency, the 2016 candidates will have to wrestle with the question of their willingness to be as enterprising in their choices of media as Obama. In fact, Obama’s expansive approach towards new media outlets presents a challenge for 2016 candidates: On the Democratic side, it would be hard for a 67-year-old Clinton (or 73-year-old Bernie Sanders, or a 72-year-old Biden) to pull it off as successfully as Obama did. On the GOP side, appearing on irreverent faux news shows, late night programs, or podcasts might be alienating to the voters they’re trying to get, not to mention the fact that liberal hosts might not want to give Republicans the microphone as often as they give it to Democrats.

The fact that Obama appears young and hip, and he pals around with Hollywood celebrities, still gives him an edge over all of the likely candidates, Republican and Democrat alike. Even so, Obama’s media approach is having an impact on his less cool would-be successors.

This weekend on Carolina Journal Radio

State lawmakers have decided to move all 2016 primary elections forward from May to March. Voters also will face a statewide bond referendum on primary election day. Rick Henderson analyzes the implications of a March 15 primary during the next edition of Carolina Journal Radio.

Terry Stoops discusses the political debates surrounding North Carolina’s latest teacher turnover report. National election-law expert J. Christian Adams assesses the legal fight over the state’s recent rule changes linked to voter identification, early voting, and other factors.

Jonathan Williams of the American Legislative Exchange Council discusses the impact of recent tax reforms on North Carolina’s economic competitiveness. Plus you’ll learn details of a legislative proposal designed to boost the skills of the state’s high school graduates.

New Carolina Journal Online features

This week’s Carolina Journal Online Friday interview features a conversation with Jim Copland and Isaac Gorodetski of the Manhattan Institute about overcriminalization in North Carolina.

Terry Stoops’ Daily Journal explains that North Carolina is a net importer of public school teachers.

“A Candidate for Our Time”

That’s what Matthew Iglesias called Hillary Clinton in a recent Vox post. Why? Because she’s willing to bend–or even break–the law in order to get what she wants:

From her adventures in cattle trading to chairing a policymaking committee in her husband’s White House to running for Senate in a state she’d never lived in to her effort to use superdelegates to overturn 2008 primary results to her email servers, Clinton is clearly more comfortable than the average person with violating norms and operating in legal gray areas.

This is normally portrayed as a political weakness of hers, and in many ways it is….

But it’s also an enormous source of potential strength.

Committed Democrats and liberal-leaning interest groups are facing a reality in which any policy gains they achieve are going to come through the profligate use of executive authority, and Clinton is almost uniquely suited to deliver the goods. More than almost anyone else around, she knows where the levers of power lie, and she is comfortable pulling them, procedural niceties be damned….

She decides what she wants to do…and then she sets about finding a way to do it — exactly the mentality any Democrat would need to move the needle on policy in 2017….

She truly is the perfect leader for America’s moment of permanent constitutional crisis: a person who cares more about results than process, who cares more about winning the battle than being well-liked, and a person who believes in asking what she can get away with rather than what would look best. In other words, as nervous as the rumblings of scandal around her emails make many Democrats, the exact same qualities that led to the server drama are the ones that, if she wins, will make her capable of delivering on the party’s priorities in a way few others could.

If You Are Crushed By A Human Stampede, There Is Now A Medical Code For That

On October 1, the US health care system has converted to an updated medical diagnosis coding system, formally known as ICD-10 (International Classification of Diseases – tenth edition). According to the Wall Street Journal, The World Health Organization will now dictate that providers classify ailments from a choice of roughly 70,000 codes – up from 14,000 under ICD-9.

The supposed reasoning behind the exponential increase is that providers can now submit more accurate claims and be paid accordingly as they now have more detailed codes. More codes will also help researchers better specify disease signs and symptoms. Others make one wonder how they even made the list. Stephen Hayes at the Weekly Standard reports:

Ever considered suicide by jellyfish? Have you ended up in the hospital after being injured during the forced landing of your spacecraft? Or been hurt when you were sucked into the engine of an airplane or when your horse-drawn carriage collided with a trolley?

Chances are slim.

But should any of these unfortunate injuries befall you, your doctor, courtesy of the federal government, will have a code to record it. On that date, the United States is scheduled to implement a new system for recording injuries, medical diagnoses, and inpatient procedures called ICD-10​—​the 10th version of the International Classification of Diseases propagated by the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland. So these exotic injuries, codeless for so many years, will henceforth be known, respectively, as T63622A (Toxic effect of contact with other jellyfish, intentional self-harm, initial encounter), V9542XA (Forced landing of spacecraft injuring occupant, initial encounter), V9733XA (Sucked into jet engine, initial encounter), and V80731A (Occupant of animal-drawn vehicle injured in collision with streetcar, initial encounter).