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My Mercatus Center colleague Dan Griswold reflects on creative destruction, competition, and trade [2].  A slice:

To impose tariffs on imports to save jobs in the apparel or footwear or steel industry makes no more economic sense than would restricting access to the Internet to bring back the tens of thousands of middle-class jobs that have disappeared from newsrooms across America.

The Cato Institute’s Dan Ikenson – in exposing the economic ignorance that saturates Clyde Prestowitz’s recent New York Times op-ed on trade – explains that trade deficits are not to be feared [3].  A slice:

In all cases, the dollars that go abroad to purchase foreign goods and services (imports) and foreign assets (outward investment) are matched almost perfectly by dollars coming back to the United States to purchase U.S. goods and services (exports) and U.S. assets (inward investment). Any trade deficit (net outflow of dollars) is matched by an investment surplus (net inflow of dollars). That investment inflow undergirds U.S. investment, production, and job creation.

Eileen Wittig uncovers evidence that many so-called “public goods” can be, and are, supplied privately [4].

I don’t endorse all that Michael Gerson says in this column, but much of it is good and important [5].  For example, this slice:

For the record, I am in favor of the Davos set becoming more sensitive to the struggles of their countrymen. But all these fat cats at Coca-Cola, Monsanto, Pfizer and Microsoft deserve at least a bleat in response. They are leading participants in an economic system — with its global supply chains, freely moving capital and rapid innovation — that, during the past 20 years, has taken about a billion people out of extreme poverty around the world. This is arguably the greatest humanitarian achievement in history. With this economic growth have come miracle drugs, vaccines, improved sanitation and better agricultural technology. Global life expectancy in 1960 was 52.5 years [6]; today it is 71.4 [7]. In the early 1930s, American life expectancy was about 60 [8] — what it currently is in Malawi [9]. Now American life expectancy is nearly 80 [9].

In this short video, Johan Norberg busts some myths about the role of money in politics [10].

In this Bryan Caplanesque and Julian Simonesque essay, Jeff Jacoby stoutly challenges modern neo-Maltusians who argue that human beings are a scourge to the environment and to humanity itself [11].  A slice:

Population doomsayers get lots of attention, but the doom they predict invariably fails to materialize. That is because babies are more than carbon footprints. They grow up not merely to consume, but to produce. They think and create and explore and imagine — and they inspire others to do so as well. With more people a society gets more innovation, more acts of kindness, more social welfare, more enterprise, more caregiving, more discovery, more growth, more prosperity.

When parents bring a baby into the world, they do a wonderful thing — both for the baby and for the world. You really want to save the planet? Ignore the gloom-and-doomers, and have more children.

“Berkeley’s Soda Tax Appears To Cut Consumption Of Sugary Drinks” – so reads a recent NPR headline [12].  (HT John Csekitz [13])  Demand curves do indeed slope downward to the right!

Sandy Ikeda offers a useful primer on the housing market [14].

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