David Henderson, over at EconLog, points us to a recent essay by my former research assistant at GMU Mark Perry explaining, among other things, that
[a]s a share of total consumer expenditures per person last year, Americans spent the least amount on food consumed at home of the 85 countries analyzed by the government at only 6.6%.
Speaking of EconLog, here’s one of Art Carden’s best posts yet at that blog – part of which, my insufferable vanity suffers me to confess, reminds me of this letter-to-the-editor of mine.
On sins of economic policy, Reason magazine Editor in Chief Matt Welch points the finger at the chief U.S. policy maker, Barack Obama. The president can get virtually nothing right with respect to economic policy, according to Welch, because despite occasional rhetorical nods in the direction of free markets, he appreciates only rigged markets in which government plays a central role.
“The president’s default approach,” contends Welch, “is that big things must be achieved not by a complex market mechanism, but by centralized exertions of collective will.” Obama’s “collectivist economic philosophy,” adds Welch, was clearly set forth in his most recent State of the Union address, in which a range of economic activities were cited just before the president declared: “Now, more than ever, we must do these things together, as one nation, and one people…. My fellow Americans, we are made for this moment, and we will seize it—so long as we seize it together.”
As Adam Smith aptly observed in his 1776 book, The Wealth of Nations: “The statesman who should attempt to direct private people in what manner they ought to employ their capitals, would…assume an authority…which would nowhere be so dangerous as in the hands of a man who had folly and presumption enough to exercise it.”