Some Links

by Don Boudreaux on February 21, 2018

in Antitrust, Budget Issues, Competition, Crony Capitalism, Economics, History, Immigration, Inequality, Trade, Work

My Mercatus Center colleagues Veronique de Rugy and Christine McDaniel argue in today’s Investor’s Business Daily against the Trump administration’s cronyist scheme to punitively tax Americans who buy imported steel.  A slice:

In other words, for every steel worker that may be helped by the import tax, there are over 38 workers in steel-using sectors that may be harmed by it. Further, the vast majority of steel-consuming manufacturers are small businesses that don’t command the ability to pass higher prices on to their consumers.

Also from my intrepid Mercatus Center colleague Veronique de Rugy is this honest assessment of Mick Mulvaney.

In my latest Pittsburgh Tribune-Review column I celebrate the power of the economic way of thinking.  A slice:

Another example  [of a point emphasized by David Friedman]: You buy a jacket, telling friends it “cost” you $100. But your statement is inaccurate. When you gave, say, five $20 bills to the clerk, what you really gave up wasn’t five pieces of paper engraved with Andrew Jackson’s portrait. What you really gave up is whatever you otherwise would have bought with those five pieces of paper.

Suppose that, had you not bought the jacket, you would have bought a meal at a nice restaurant for you and a friend. In this case, you compared a jacket to that restaurant meal.

We humans constantly compare apples to oranges — and choose sensibly between them.

The University of Chicago’s James Traina finds evidence against the claims of the increasing number of those who call for more vigorous antitrust enforcement.  (HT Tyler Cowen)

Speaking of antitrust, GMU Econ alum Patrick Newman has this nice new paper in Public Choice on the origins of the Sherman Antitrust Act: that piece of legislation was not intended to promote genuine competition.

Jairaj Devadiga argues that politicians are generally aware of the harm done by minimum-wage diktats.

David Henderson makes the case against hand-wringing over income inequality.  A slice:

If the problem we care about is poverty, then the calls to tax the rich and reduce income inequality are misguided. Instead, we should be cheering for policies that lead to higher economic growth. One other important measure is increased immigration. Allowing more immigration into the United States would allow people to move from low-productivity jobs in poor countries to higher-productivity jobs in America. That would dramatically improve the plight of the poor while also improving, but by a smaller margin, the well-being of the rich. Piketty, for all his faults, put his finger on how to do so. He wrote: “A seemingly more peaceful form of redistribution and regulation of global wealth inequality is immigration. Rather than move capital, which poses all sorts of difficulties, it is sometimes simpler to allow labor to move to places where wages are higher.”

Amen, frère.

My colleague Walter Williams reflects on Black History Month.


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