Neither George Stigler nor my colleague Walter Williams would be surprised by the finding – by Dara Luca and Michael Luca – that raising the minimum wage causes some firms to shut down and that this negative effect is not distributed randomly. (HT Tyler Cowen)
So, yes, economic analysis is necessary for a sound appraisal of government policy actions, but such analysis does not render moral appraisal irrelevant. Far from it. If it is wrong to launch a military attack against a country that has not attacked one’s own and lacks even a capacity for such an attack, no amount of yammering about unknown counter-factuals can make such an allegedly preemptive attack a justifiable action. Likewise for countless other government actions, from the so-called drug war to drone attacks on Yemeni villages populated mainly by innocent men, women, and children. Some things are wrong; they violate people’s natural rights; and they ought not to be done. And no amount of agonizing over economic uncertainties and implausible but-what-if trade-offs can excuse such wrongful acts.
35 states and the District of Columbia still maintain CON programs. The justifications for these programs are compelling when they are taken at face value, but a review of the literature finds that CON regulations fail to achieve their worthy goals.