John Taylor disputes claims that stimulus spending has ‘worked’; he disputes also the efforts of some people to create the impression that most serious economists agree that stimulus spending has worked.  A slice:

To make this case one has to claim that there is wide agreement among economists (not just current White House economists) that the stimulus worked.  Thus Ed Luce writes, “Rarely has the gap between the US public’s perception and that of economists been greater.”  But there is simply no such consensus among economists.  My research and that of others, shows that there is little direct empirical evidence that it had a significant effect. At best, there is divided opinion among economists about the stimulus.  Indeed, there has always been great deal of disagreement among economists on the efficacy of these temporary “Keynesian” stimulus packages. And during the 1980s and 1990s there was a huge amount of skepticism of their usefulness.

In my most recent column in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, I discuss occupational licensing.  A slice:

In all cases, of course, industry incumbents proclaim only their public-spirited interest in protecting consumers from incompetent practitioners. In all cases, of course, consumers should reject these self-serving proclamations by incumbent producers.

Consumers should ask themselves why they need government to screen for them which particular interior designers, florists and junkyard dealers they are permitted to do business with. Are consumers really so naïve as to shop for the services of the likes of hair braiders and physicians only on the basis of price? I think not. Indeed, especially for professionals such as physicians and attorneys, consumers have strong incentives to search for, and pay attention to, information about the quality of different doctors and lawyers.

Richard Rahn isn’t impressed by Pres. Obama’s new budget proposal.  A slice from Richard’s article:

Vito Tanzi, distinguished economist and former Italian undersecretary for economy and finance, perhaps said it best in his new book, “Dollars, Euros, and Debt”: “It is important for citizens to recognize that resources are always scarce, and the function of government should be to prevent hell on earth, rather than try to establish heaven. When the state tries to do too many things, it inevitably brings excessive complexity in its actions and becomes inefficient.”

Here’s Anthony Gregory on ‘wars on everything.

And my old teacher Randy Holcombe explains that

[b]ecause our Cold War adversaries are increasingly a part of the global economy, markets generate repercussions to belligerent actions beyond those of any prudent political responses.

Here’s Ben Powell on the opportunity-restricting consequences of bad legislation, such as legislation that makes it illegal for employers to profit by paying the least-skilled among low-skilled workers to work (that is, minimum-wage legislation).

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