When government action restricts Americans’ choices, ostensibly for their own good, the paternalism usually has a pecuniary motive. America’s principal promoters of gambling are the 48 states with some form of legalized betting, including 44 that have gambling addiction problems: They are addicted to revenues from their lotteries and resent fantasy sports games poaching “their” gamblers.
Speaking of that great geyser of cronyism – and of the recent votes of many Republicans in the House to revitalize it – Kevin Williamson writes:
It’s like congressional Republicans have considered the cartoon versions of them put forward by Bernie Sanders et al. and said, “Yeah, let’s be those guys.”
The superb young economist Jon Murphy, blogging over at A Force for Good, explains that many of the costs of minimum-wage legislation are unseen and, hence, difficult even in theory, and often impossible in practice, to quantify. A slice:
Say BWW would have opened another store with 20 MW workers. Now, with the new hike [in the minimum wage], those 20 potential jobs are gone. Even if the empirical work shows there were no job losses, the economic cost of the hike is still 20 jobs! These costs are unseen, but very real.
Jon would agree that it is highly unscientific to pretend that only that which is seen – and, hence, practically capturable as, or in, quantifiable data – is real and economically relevant. Yet many economists today indulge in such unscientific endeavors, as if repeating to themselves and to others mantras that caught the fancy of Lord Kelvin.