Some Covid Links

by Don Boudreaux on August 4, 2021

in Current Affairs, Media, Risk and Safety, Seen and Unseen

Jacob Sullum criticizes the Biden administration for its mixed messages on Covid. A slice:

That point was frequently lost in the breathless reporting on the CDC’s decision to recommend that vaccinated Americans who live in “areas of substantial or high transmission” resume wearing face masks in public places. CDC Director Rochelle Walensky and Ben Wakana, deputy director of strategic communications and engagement for the White House COVID-19 Response Team, contributed to the confusion by grossly exaggerating the likelihood of breakthrough infections.

The estimates offered by Walensky and Wakana, which seemed to be based on a misunderstanding of the effectiveness rates reported in vaccine studies, implied that vaccinated people face a higher risk of infection than unvaccinated people do. That message was plainly inconsistent with the CDC’s repeated statements that breakthrough infections remain “rare” and that unvaccinated people account for “the vast majority” of virus transmission.

The Wall Street Journal reports that the data on which the CDC based its latest mask ‘guidance’ are flawed. A slice:

Another point of consternation for some scientists is the tracking of so-called breakthrough Covid-19 infections among people who have been vaccinated.

The CDC has said such infections are more common with Delta than previous variants, but the agency stopped tracking mild or moderate breakthrough infections that didn’t lead to hospitalization or death in April, before Delta emerged as a driver of the pandemic in the U.S.

Without that additional breakthrough data, scientists have struggled to understand how Delta behaves compared with earlier iterations of the virus, said Daniel Kuritzkes, chief of the division of infectious diseases at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.

“It then leaves unmeasured the extent of infection and extent of transmission among vaccinated people,” he said.

New York City Adopts Vaccine Passports.”

The Wall Street Journal‘s Editorial Board – under the title “Your Vaccine Papers, Please” – offers its opinion on NYC’s requirement of ‘vaccine passports.’ A slice:

The modern progressive speaks the language of high-minded purpose but always ends with coercion. Witness New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, the uber progressive, who announced Tuesday that New Yorkers will soon need proof of vaccination to do everything from dining out to working out at a gym. He’s proud that New York is the first U.S. city to impose such a mandate.

Karol Markowicz writes that “NYC’s new vaccine policy erases kids from public life.” A slice:

Parents, even those who were vaccinated themselves, are understandably skittish about giving the vaccine to children, who likely don’t need it. Again: Kids are at minuscule risk from the virus, and they transmit at a far lower rate than do adults. If schooling becomes contingent on vaccination status, New York City kids are in for another year of educational chaos.

If a city wanted to force out its families, it would not do things much differently than New York has done. We used to understand that families were the key to a thriving Big Apple. Now we push children out of public life, as if they are lepers, and treat them as an afterthought.

Those of you who continue to believe that government officials – even ones who are scientists – deserve our trust during times of crises might ponder NIH director Francis Collins’s recent claim that even vaccinated parents should mask at home to protect their children, and then his backtracking.

And those of you who trust that the mainstream media are doing an acceptable job during Covid should ponder this tweet by Harvard’s Martin Kulldorff:

I was once invited but then disinvited from @andersoncooper/@AC360. For views contrary to their #COVID narrative, @CNN use lay people, not daring to invite a public health scientist.

The editors of the Telegraph decry the ravages of Covid Derangement Syndrome in Australia. A slice:

Even though Australia has just a few thousand cases and remarkably few fatalities, its major cities have been subject to a series of shutdowns. Residents of Sydney have been told to stay at home other than for essential purposes since June. People are legally required to wear masks even while in the open air – an obligation never imposed here, not least because the spread of Covid outdoors is almost non-existent. While many Australians have hitherto supported the eradication strategy, there is growing resentment in some quarters at the imposition of these restrictions. Protests have led to the deployment of the army on the streetsto enforce the lockdown.

How has it come to the point that Australia needs to call up the military to eradicate a virus that is now endemic in the world? In order to uphold its zero Covid approach Australia will need to keep its borders closed forever and lock down its cities every time a cluster of cases is detected.

Ramesh Thakur also decries the nastiness of Covid Derangement Syndrome. A slice:

Yet for some incomprehensible reason, governments have focussed single-mindedly on avoiding Covid deaths on their watch even while oblivious to short and long-term deaths caused by harsh society-wide shutdowns. To paraphrase one of George Orwell’s most-quoted sentences, all deaths are equal, but a Covid death is more equal than all others.

By now there’s a wealth of studies establishing the ineffectiveness of lockdowns, many of which I have referenced in earlier articles in The Spectator Australia, and some that purport to show their effectiveness. Writing in our British parent publication, statistician Professor Simon Wood showed that new infections peaked and fell before lockdown on all three occasions in England.

Robert Fellner writes that “Public health establishment can blame itself for vaccine hesitancy.

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Quotation of the Day…

by Don Boudreaux on August 4, 2021

in Complexity & Emergence, Hayek

… is from page 191 of the profound 1976 Vol. II (“The Mirage of Social Justice”) of F.A. Hayek’s trilogy, Law, Legislation, and Liberty:

The constructivist prejudice which still makes so many socialists scoff at the ‘miracle’ that the unguided pursuit of their own interests by the individuals should produce a beneficial order is of course merely the reverse form of the dogmatism which opposed Darwin on the ground that the existence of order in organic nature was proof of intelligent design.

DBx: Hayek is correct, although his choice of the phrase “reverse form” is inaccurate.

What Hayek means by “reverse form” is that many people who correctly recognize the fact that undesigned yet productive orders arise among biological phenomena – and who rightly dismiss as uninformed and unscientific any and all denials of the reality of natural selection in the world of biology – ‘reverse’ themselves by denying the reality of undesigned yet productive economic order.

But the dogmatism of those who reject the reality of spontaneous order in economic phenomena is exactly the same, in all essential respects, as is the dogmatism of those who reject the reality of spontaneous order in biological phenomena. In both cases, dogmatic attachment to creationism – or the inability to comprehend the fact that complex, useful orders can and do arise without being designed or intended – blinds the dogmatists, as well as the intellectually immature, to the reality of spontaneous orders.

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In my latest column for AIER, I offer two reasons why the possibility of investing income, rather than spending it, renders invalid the familiar practice of comparing the additional satisfaction – the “marginal utility” – that a poor person would get from spending a dollar taxed away from a rich person to the utility that the rich person would get from using that dollar. A slice:

The possibility of investment also renders relevant the increased satisfactions that the rich person’s investment today makes possible for other people to experience in the future. If Bezos’s investment is successful in the market, this investment creates more goods and services for many consumers. The additional satisfactions that these consumers enjoy from these goods and services would not exist without Bezos’s investment. Therefore, when comparing the amount of satisfaction that a poor person would experience today from spending a dollar taxed away from a rich person, the comparison must be not only to the consumption satisfaction that the rich person would eventually experience from using this dollar, but also to the consumption satisfaction that many other consumers would eventually experience from the rich person’s successful investment of this dollar.

Because rich(er) people generally invest a larger portion of their incomes than do poor(er) people, as a practical matter the ‘economic’ (or utilitarian) case for progressive income taxation and for income redistribution – a case built on comparing the “marginal utility” of income or wealth enjoyed by poor(er) people to that enjoyed by rich(er) people is not as straightforward as many professors, pundits, and politicians suppose. As is so often true in economics, being attuned to more than what is immediately obvious yields insights very different from those that arise from looking only at what is immediately obvious.

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In today’s Wall Street Journal are two letters-to-the-editor by Australians expressing their dismay over the dystopia that now exists down under. Here’s one of the letters:

Sadly, Mr. Morrow is spot on when he refers to Australia turning itself into a nation of prisoners as a result of Covid mania. From our self-imposed cages, it is very strange to watch the rest of the world opening up while our businesses go bust and millions of our kids are kept out of school.

Through my questioning of ministers and bureaucrats in the state parliament of Victoria, I have discovered that very little time is spent weighing the costs of lockdowns. As a result, we have a new division of people—those who can afford to work from home and those who cannot.

Guess which class makes the decisions?

David Limbrick
Melbourne, Australia
Mr. Limbrick is a member of the Parliament of Victoria in Australia.

Wall Street Journal columnist William McGurn understandably bemoans the confusion created by the CDC – and further stirred by the media – about the Delta variant. A slice:

Much of the reporting interpreted the findings to mean, as the New York Times tweeted, that “the Delta variant is as contagious as chickenpox and may be spread by vaccinated people as easily as the unvaccinated.” CNN’s Oliver Darcy reported the Biden administration is frustrated with what it called “hyperbolic and frankly irresponsible coverage.” And Ben Wakana of the White House Covid-19 Response Team called the Times out, saying “vaccinated people do not transmit the virus at the same rate as unvaccinated people and if you fail to include that context you’re doing it wrong.”

Ditto for stories such as the NBC Newsheadline “Breakthrough Covid cases: At least 125,000 fully vaccinated Americans have tested positive.” Only the subheadline notes that these cases “represent less than 0.08%” of vaccinated people. NBC cites a death count of 1,400—less than 0.001% of vaccinated people—and many of them tested positive before dying of causes other than Covid.

Joakim Book decries “the rise of erudite technocrats.” Two slices:

The beginning of the terrible events of the last seventeen months lay in a computer model. The experts that advised the British government in March 2020 used more extravagant hyperboles than you can find in an average dictionary and urged the government to do what had never before been done, attempted, or suggested: close society. Urgently and briefly, at first, but then longer than anyone could have imagined – as is the tendency for temporary government policies.

The importance of the erudite technocrat, thus, cannot be understated.

Modeling, planning and manipulating society was always tied to the idea of the “expert,” a sage who knew things others didn’t; a boffin capable of uncovering the mysteries of the world and putting these to “good” use. With enough of them, we can push society’s levers, and get the outcomes that the policy-maker desires.

…..

Like the computer model (since torn to shreds) that convinced Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his advisors of lockdown in March 2020, accuracy or realism don’t much matter to the vision of the expert as capable of achieving outcomes in a system he thinks he controls. It’s the idea, so tempting for those in power and so comforting for those wanting to believe them, that an appointed expert with the right credentials can see through the mystery of the world, and with the help of government power, control it.

Those of you who doubt the reality of Covidocratic tyranny might wish to read this report of what’s going on in Spain.

The Brownstone Institute’s Jeffrey Tucker reviews the new book by lockdown zealot Jeremy Farrar. A slice:

I’m a very polite writer, but I cannot decline to admit my complete alarm at so deeply encountering the mind of a person who did what he did and thinks what he thinks. Once he became completely convinced of lockdownism, he went all in. “Social distancing measures should be mandatory, not optional,” he writes. “A prime minister cannot ask people to lock down if they feel like it….that is not the way these sorts of public health measures work.”

Those little bromides – this casual dismissing of all concerns that might have doubts about a medically informed totalitarian state – are strewn throughout. I personally cannot fathom the psyche of a person who imagines that his profession entitles him to control all human interactions by police force, with gendarmes prohibiting people from behaving completely normally, and using violence against them for daring to engage with each other, opening their schools and businesses, and otherwise going about their lives peacefully – and genuinely believing that this is the best thing for society all told.

Sherelle Jacobs is correct: Britain’s “failure to confront the autocratic implications of Covid rules is a devastating mistake.” A slice:

Yet any hope of a decisive return to normal seems dead. Boris Johnson has missed his moment to rally the country around the cause of freedom, with a turbocharged reopening of Global Britain. Instead, even in a best-case scenario, the coming months are set to be a misery of border restrictions, variant angst and creeping biosurveillance.

Most dispiriting perhaps is that there is no sign of a popular backlash to this dereliction of leadership. The Labour Party is set to back vaccine passports (as long as negative Covid tests are also permissable), and militates for Australia-style closed borders. Liberty is increasingly being derided as a Right-wing fetish, with agitation limited to a few Tory backbenchers, a smattering of civil rights groups and a fringe assortment of conspiracists and anti-vaxxers.

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Quotation of the Day…

by Don Boudreaux on August 3, 2021

in Complexity & Emergence, Hayek

… is from pages 160-161 of volume III (“The Political Order of a Free People,” 1979) of Hayek’s Law, Legislation, and Liberty (footnote deleted):

What is still only imperfectly appreciated is that the cultural selection of new learnt rules became necessary chiefly in order to repress some of the innate rules which were adapted to the hunting and gathering life of the small bands of fifteen to forty persons, led by a headsman and defending a territory against all outsiders. From that stage practically all advance had to be achieved by infringing or repressing some of the innate rules and replacing them by new ones which made the co-ordination of activities of larger groups possible. Most of these steps in the evolution of culture were made possible by some individuals breaking some traditional rules and practising new forms of conduct – not because they understood them to be better, but because groups which acted on them prospered more than others and grew.

DBx: Of course, the benefits to each individual rule-breaker had also to be real and with consequences that generally promoted the survival of that individual’s genes.

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Writing in Spiked, Martin Kulldorff and Jay Bhattacharya decry the smear campaign against the Great Barrington Declaration. Two slices:

In October 2020, along with Professor Sunetra Gupta, we authored the Great Barrington Declaration, in which we argued for a ‘focused protection’ pandemic strategy. We called for better protection of older and other high-risk people, while arguing that children should be allowed to go to school and young adults should be free to live more normal lives. We understood that it might lead to vigorous and heated discussions, but we did not expect a multi-pronged propaganda campaign that gravely distorted our arguments and smeared us. We are just three public-health scientists, after all. So how and why did this slanderous counterattack emerge?

In his recent book, Spike, Jeremy Farrar – a SAGE member and director of the Wellcome Trust – has provided a helpful hint: the political strategist and the prime minister’s chief adviser, Dominic Cummings, planned a propaganda campaign against the Great Barrington Declaration. Farrar’s exact words are that Cummings ‘wanted to run an aggressive press campaign against those behind the Great Barrington Declaration and others opposed to blanket Covid-19 restrictions’. Cummings and Farrar preferred a blanket lockdown strategy, believing it would avoid a winter Covid wave.

…..

[Matt] Hancock, Anthony Fauci, Jeremy Farrar and prominent journalists also mischaracterised the Great Barrington Declaration as a ‘herd-immunity strategy’, even though any strategy will lead to herd immunity sooner or later. Yes, the Declaration discussed herd immunity. It would be irresponsible to ignore such a basic biological fact. But to characterise the Great Barrington Declaration as a ‘herd-immunity strategy’ is like describing a pilot’s plan to land a plane as a ‘gravity strategy’. The goal of a pilot is to land the plane safely while managing the force of gravity. The goal of any Covid pandemic plan should be to minimise disease mortality and the collateral harms from the plan itself, while managing the build-up of immunity in the population. Shockingly, some politicians, journalists and even scientists denied the very existence of herd immunity. Some even questioned the existence of natural immunity from Covid, which is a bit like denying gravity.

The Biden Administration Continues to Exaggerate the Risk Posed by COVID-19 Breakthrough Infections While Slamming the Press for Doing the Same Thing” – so reports Jacob Sullum.

In Virginia, the breakthrough hospitalization rate is 0.0032 percent and the breakthrough death rate is 0.0009 percent.” – so reports Robby Soave.

Gerald O’Driscoll nicely summarizes the new paper by Virat Agrawal, Jonathan H. Cantor, Neeraj Sood, and Christopher M. Whaley. A slice:

There is a Hayekian critique of SIP and allied policies. The knowledge of particular circumstances of time and place is widely dispersed throughout society. Individuals know more about their specific situations, including exposure risks, than could any centralized public health officials. They certainly know how many precautions they have already taken. The dispersed information cannot be aggregated in one mind, however brilliant that mind might be. The argument against central planning of public health is analogous to that against central planning of an economy.

Jonathan Sumption excoriates Covid “experts” and their affection for tyranny. Two slices:

He [Sir Jeremy Farrar] is terrifyingly sincere and really does have the interest of mankind at heart. Therein lies the problem.

There are few more obsessive fanatics than the technocrat who is convinced that he is reordering an imperfect world for its own good.

…..

He is convinced he’s right and the Government should listen to no one else. Challenge from other scientists is normally regarded as fundamental to scientific advance. But for Farrar disagreement is a ‘hurdle’. It just gets in his way.

So, serious scientists such as Professors Carl Heneghan, Karol Sikora and Sunetra Gupta, who have had the temerity to offer opinions differing from his own, are dismissed as being ‘responsible for a number of unnecessary deaths’, although Farrar has had a great deal of influence on Government policy and they have had almost none.

This kind of attitude to colleagues is, frankly, unworthy of a scientist of Sir Jeremy’s eminence.

Anders Tegnell, the Swedish state epidemiologist, is dismissed in a brief footnote, although Sweden is a standing repudiation of much that Farrar stands for. Sweden has avoided a lockdown, yet has done much better than the UK.

Like many technocrats, Farrar believes in coercion. Otherwise, people might not do what he wants. ‘You cannot tell people to stay at home only if they feel like it,’ he says.

Ethan Yang warns against over-reacting to the Delta variant. A slice:

After a year and a half under house arrest, many people would likely choose the risk of infection over isolating themselves again. This is especially true for young people who have been disproportionately harmed by lockdowns. We must also remind ourselves that Covid-19 does not pose a real risk of fatality except for those with comorbidities and elderly populations, who are now more than 70 percent vaccinated. Vaccination provides a significant boost, but not complete protection, to infection, severe symptoms, and death, which is great news for preventing new deaths. The CDC has made this point very clear yet they still forecast doom and gloom.

Paul Collits understands politicians. A slice:

Politicians are nowadays greedy, motivated by career, factionalised, prone to lying, controlled by outside interests, fearful of losing their power and seemingly willing to do anything to get off the hook. They are patently driven by the enjoyment of power, accessing the perks of office, protecting their mates, setting up post-political career opportunities and settling scores. There is little evidence that they are focused on problem solving (as per the rational actor model), even remotely interested in it or equipped to do it.

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Indeed

by Don Boudreaux on August 2, 2021

in Country Problems, Current Affairs

(HT my friend Reuvain Borchardt)

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Quotation of the Day…

by Don Boudreaux on August 2, 2021

in Myths and Fallacies

… is from page 87 of Thomas Sowell’s September 29th, 2009, National Review essay titled “The Brainy Bunch” as this essay is reprinted in Sowell’s 2010 collection, Dismantling America:

Many crucial things in life are learned from experience, rather than from clever thoughts or clever words. Indeed, a gift for the clever phrasing so admired today by the media can be a fatal talent, especially for someone chosen to lead a government.

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The Wall Street Journal‘s Editorial Board is understandably critical of the CDC’s incompetent and inappropriate fear-fueling messaging on masks and vaccinations. A slice:

Instead, the CDC on Tuesday issued murky new guidance, without backup evidence, recommending that vaccinated people resume wearing masks indoors in some cases because unpublished studies suggest they could transmit the virus. But on Thursday the Washington Post ran an alarmist story on an internal CDC slide presentation with the unpublished evidence, which triggered a media panic that could undermine vaccinations. Only on Friday afternoon did the agency release some of its evidence and offer a calmer explanation.

What a fiasco. The CDC should be a source of fact and reason, not a hair-on-fire spreader of fear. The agency could start by explaining that Covid cases have been increasing across the U.S. and that more vaccinated individuals are testing positive. But most of these “breakthrough” cases are mild or asymptomatic.

Sheldon Richman decries the transformation of “the science” into religion. Two slices:

The popular slogan today is “Believe in science.” It’s often used as a weapon against people who reject not science in principle but rather one or another prominent scientific proposition, whether it be about the COVID-19 vaccine, climate change, nutrition (low-fat versus low-carb eating), to mention a few. My purpose here is not to defend or deny any particular scientific position but to question the model of science that the loudest self-declared believers in science seem to work from. Their model makes science seem almost identical to what they mean by, and attack as, religion. If that’s the case, we ought not to listen to them when they lecture the rest of us about heeding science.

The clearest problem with the admonition to “believe in science” is that it is of no help whatsoever when well-credentialed scientists–that is, bona fide experts–are found on both (or all) sides of a given empirical question. Dominant parts of the intelligentsia may prefer we not know this, but dissenting experts exist on many scientific questions that some blithely pronounce as “settled” by a “consensus,” that is, beyond debate. This is true regarding the precise nature and likely consequences of climate change and aspects of the coronavirus and its vaccine. Without real evidence, credentialed mavericks are often maligned as having been corrupted by industry, with the tacit faith that scientists who voice the established position are pure and incorruptible. It’s as though the quest for government money could not in itself bias scientific research. Moreover, no one, not even scientists, are immune from group-think and confirmation bias.

…..

Public policy is about moral judgment, trade-offs, and the justifiable use of coercion. Natural scientists are neither uniquely knowledgeable about those matters nor uniquely capable of making the right decisions for everyone. When medical scientists advised a lockdown of economic activity because of the pandemic, they were not speaking as scientists but as moralists (in scientists’ clothing). What are their special qualifications for that role? How could those scientists possibly have taken into account all of the serious consequences of a lockdown–psychological, domestic, social, economic, etc.–for the diverse individual human beings who would be subject to the policy? What qualifies natural scientists to decide that people who need screening for cancer or heart disease must wait indefinitely while people with an officially designated disease need not? (Politicians issue the formal prohibitions, but their scientific advisers provide apparent credibility.)

…..

Most people are unqualified to judge most scientific conclusions, but they are qualified to live their lives reasonably. I’m highly confident the earth is a sphere and that a water molecule is two parts hydrogen and one part oxygen. But I do not know how to confirm those propositions. So we all need to rely on scientific and medical authorities–not in the sense of power but in the sense of expertise and reputation. (Even authorities in one area rely on authorities in others.)

But we must also remember that those authorities’ empirical claims are defeasible; that is, they are in principle open to rebuttal and perhaps refutation, that is, the scientific process. Aside from the indispensable and self-validating axioms of logic, all claims are open in this sense. That process is what gets us to the truth. As John Stuart Mill pointed out in On Liberty, even a dissenter who holds a demonstrably wrong view on a question might know something important on that very question that has been overlooked. To our peril do we shut people up or shout them down as heretics. That’s dogma, not science.

Under the headline “Left-wing scientists are far from omniscient,” Freddie Sayers wisely warns of being duped by ‘scientists’ such as Neil Ferguson. A slice:

One thing these characters will not do post-pandemic, however much we might wish it, is pack their bags and slope off back to their university seminars and academic journals. I don’t think it is impugning their integrity to suggest that they have enjoyed their new-found power — who wouldn’t? It is against human nature to relinquish influence once you have it. So keep that slot open on Question Time: the voice of science in the public debate is likely to be a constant feature from now on. On a whole raft of issues — from obesity and alcohol to climate change — scientists will be organised and visibly pursuing their agenda on the airwaves.

In part this is the result of a long-term move towards interdisciplinary academic fields that cross over into politics. “Public Health”, for example, which has provided some of the most visible commentators on Covid, is the science of how best to organise society to achieve the best overall health outcomes — it is therefore collectivist by design.

Martin Kulldorff:

When @gbeclaration [the Great Barrington Declaration] advocated focused protection of older high-risk people, lockdowners pulled a fast one, falsely claiming it was a let-it-rip strategy. Sadly ignorant about public health, they could only imagine lockdowns or nothing.

Also from Martin Kulldorff:

Let’s start with zero Lockdown. Will improve health more than any other zero X.

Here’s Pierre Lemieux on Covid-19 and the inefficiencies of coercion by the state.

Robby Soave reveals yet another instance of the Covidocracy’s hypocrisy and appalling theatrics. A slice:

Whether or not [DC mayor Muriel] Bowser deliberately delayed the mask mandate until a few hours after her [birthday] party had wrapped up, this is bad behavior from a public official. There are a great many vaccinated people in D.C. who would like to celebrate their birthdays this month (disclaimer: I’m one of them), but if they party in public, in many circumstances they will need to wear masks to comply with the mayor’s decree. No, this isn’t the greatest burden in the world—but it is a needless burden. Despite the recent paranoia about the delta strain of COVID-19, the vaccines are holding up remarkably well at preventing severe disease and death.

Throughout the pandemic, politicians and bureaucrats have asked the citizens to make tremendous sacrifices. But time and time again, they have shown us that they are not willing to do the same. The people are expected to mask up and stay six feet apart, but our government leaders? Well, you only turn 49 once.

The German newspaper Bild apologizes for being complicit in inflicting harm over the past 16 months on children.

To enforce its deranged Covid restrictions, the government of New South Wales is now using the Australian military. Behold the ‘logic’ and the authoritarianism:

With little sign that of restrictions reducing infections, [New South Wales premier Gladys] Berejiklian said new curbs would be imposed on the southwestern and western areas of Sydney where the majority of COVID-19 cases are being found.

Residents there will be forced to wear masks outdoors and to stay within five km (three miles) of their homes.

With even tighter restrictions set to begin on Friday, New South Wales Police said it had asked for 300 military personnel to help enforce lockdown orders.

Michael Fumento reports on a country that’s very, very different from dystopian Australia: Sweden.

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Quotation of the Day…

by Don Boudreaux on August 1, 2021

in Seen and Unseen, Work

… is from page 223 of Thomas Sowell’s important 1981 book, Ethnic America: A History (footnote deleted; link added):

Black teenage unemployment in 1978 was more than five times what it had been thirty years earlier. Among the factors responsible, a number of government programs – notably the minimum wage laws – have made it more difficult for blacks to find jobs, and other government programs – notably welfare – have made it less necessary.

DBx: The footnote deleted from this quotation is to the linked report, titled “Youth and Minority Unemployment,” and written in 1977 for the Joint Economic Committee by my late, great colleague Walter Williams.

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