American airports are typically run by politicians in conjunction with the dominant airlines, which help finance the terminals in return for long-term leases on gates and facilities. The airlines use their control to keep out competitors; the politicians use their share of the revenue to reward unionized airport workers. No one puts the passenger first.
Michael Gerson makes a compelling case that Trump’s inauguration speech was the funeral oration for Reaganism. (My concern is that Trump will disavow most of what Reagan proclaimed about the merits of free markets while practicing a foreign policy that is less predictable and even more belligerent than was Reagan’s.) A slice:
In Trump’s speech, there are just two uncorrupted actors: the people and the president. The only thing that Trump asks of citizens is to support him. So this really leaves only one actor who actually acts — a leader who claims to embody the general will. When Trump asserts, “We will bring back our jobs. We will bring back our borders. We will bring back our wealth,” who is the “we”? It is the “forgotten men and women” and the single leader who has not forgotten them.
Adam Smith long ago explained the very simple rationale for extending the division of labor as widely as possible, and by means of a simple analogy: “It is the maxim of every prudent master of a family, never to attempt to make at home what it will cost him more to make than to buy…What is prudence in the conduct of every private family, can scarce be folly in that of a great kingdom.”
And it’s not only about prosperity. It’s about peace and civilization. “The philosophy of protectionism is a philosophy of war,” Ludwig von Mises wrote in “Human Action.” “The wars of our age are not at variance with popular economic doctrines; they are, on the contrary, the inescapable result of a consistent application of these doctrines.”
The news from the Trump White House is not all bad: my colleague Alex Tabarrok is understandably impressed with the people whose names are being prominently mentioned to be appointed by Trump to head the F.D.A.
Tim Worstall reflects on some popular myths embraced by elites. (HT Warren Smith)