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Some Links

Bloomberg profiles Tyler Cowen.

Here’s Mark Perry on “anti-dumping” duties imposed by Uncle Sam on Chinese-made wooden furniture.  And stealing a page from Mark’s briliant play book, I do a bit of editing on the linked report from the Washington Post:

“To help their American customers avoid a 2005 U.S. tariff on American purchases of Chinese-made wooden bedroom furniture, Chinese furniture companies moved operations to other Asian countries, thwarting U.S. efforts to curb “dumping,American consumers’ ability to save money by buying Chinese-made furniture.”

Writing at Forbes, Cato Institute president Ed Crane powerfully explains the perniciousness of the notion that we Americans “are all in this together.” Here are Ed’s concluding paragraphs:

It has been duly noted by scholars that the two great totalitarian philosophies of the 20th century, communism and fascism, had similar methodologies and similar goals, so to speak. Certainly, denigrating the importance of the individual and subsuming his or her personal interests to the greater goals of the national movement were integral to both those horrific philosophies. Yet this underlying anti-individualist, collectivist theme continues — not just on the left — in today’s political environment.

Neoconservative superstar David Brooks wrote in the New York Times just this past March, “Citizenship, after all, is built on an awareness that we are not all that special but are, instead, enmeshed in a common enterprise. Our lives are given meaning by the service we supply to the nation. I wonder if Americans are unwilling to support the sacrifices that will be required to avert fiscal catastrophe in part because they are less conscious of themselves as components of a national project.”

And I wonder if it has ever dawned on Mr. Brooks that the “fiscal catastrophe” we Americans face is a direct result of national projects called Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. Oh yes, and the national project to make every American a homeowner. Not to put too fine a point on it, but there would be no $20 trillion unfunded liability in Social Security had we allowed individual accounts. There would be huge surpluses. And limiting house purchases to individuals who could afford them would have avoided the multi-trillion-dollar disaster that national project created.

It’s enough to make you want to go out and see Atlas Shrugged. Again.

Speaking of Cato, I’m eager to attend this June 15th debate on stopping government from regulating what goes into our mouths (just as we stop government from regulating what comes out of our mouths; apologies to the ghost of Milton Friedman).

The great Richard Epstein on the delusion of “fair trade.”