As my colleague Doug Bandow has correctly observed, Washington collects allies with less thought and discrimination than most people collect Facebook friends. In doing so, we also collect all of the disputes and feuds that those “friends” wage with other parties. That is an unnecessary and unwise policy for a superpower.
Jon Murphy, over at A Force for Good, exposes yet further errors in Paul Krugman’s quite bad column on Wal-Mart and the minimum wage . And Bob Murphy does the same . Here’s a slice from Bob’s post:
However, in this post I want to focus on two other points that I haven’t seen Krugman’s critics address. First, it is a very strange argument to say, as Krugman does, that since we observe Walmart raising wages voluntarily, that therefore having the government force other firms to do so involuntarily won’t cause any major problems.
Look, Target just announced  that it will lay off thousands of workers as part of a package to save $2 billion over two years. So should Stephen Moore write an op ed arguing that the government should require all existing firms to lay off thousands of workers, because the possible downsides are obviously smaller than what conventional wisdom suggests?
George Will calls for the IRS to be reined in . I agree.
Deirdre McCloskey reviews two books on corruption . (Gated.) A slice:
Ms. Chayes and Mr. Cost and the neo-institutionalists believe we can enchain the state with “mechanisms.” I doubt it. Adding laws onto an ethically corrupt state will not change much of anything, because the monopoly of violence goes on tempting. The mechanical rules of bribery in Stockholm are probably the same as in Delhi, and the jaywalking rules in Berlin the same as in New York. The difference is ethics. Without ethics no amount of institutional “redesign” would yield the honest government that Swedes have and that American progressives fantasize about.