Reason’s Matt Welch applauds what Gary Johnson says about immigration. A slice from Matt’s article:
The GOP’s nativist summer was revealing not just in the way that it accelerated the party’s long trend away from the Reagan/Bush welcome mat toward a more Tancredoan restrictionism, but also how in how it ratified the obviously unattainable demands of conservatism’s entertainment wing as the party’s preferred policy approach. Those commentators who damn well knew that you could never deport 15,000 illegal immigrants a day (plus another 5,000 or so of their U.S.-citizen children), yet cheered Trump on when he said crazy stuff like that, deliberately chose know-nothingism over reality. Never forget that the same National Review that showily came out “Against Trump” in January, were spending last August editorializing that “Trump’s Immigration Plan Is a Good Start—for All GOP Candidates,” while its editor encouraged the party to “pander to Trump on immigration.”
Writing in U.S. News & World Report, my Bahrain-based Mercatus Center colleague Omar Al-Ubaydli warns minimum-wage enthusiasts to beware of the unintended ill-consequences that will perhaps befall the workers these enthusiasts wish to help. A slice:
Most people walk past impoverished panhandlers every day; if they were forced to donate $1 each time on moral grounds, would we be surprised to see people trying to avoid panhandlers, potentially leaving them with even less money than if the donation were voluntary? Analogously, many economists expect firms to look for ways to minimize hiring, such as automation and downsizing, in response to minimum wage hikes, which is to the detriment of the lowest earners.
GMU Econ alum Larry McQuillan shares an image that helps explain the thick and entangling web of government dependency in the U.S. A slice from Larry’s commentary:
Relieving people from the responsibilities and challenges of life, especially building skills and performing productive work, does them no favor. Government assistance has expanded to the point that it does more harm than good to the people it was intended to help, allowing people to effectively drop out of society and to live off the labor of others without donors’ explicit consent.
Pardon my bluntness here, but screw these people. Nobody, anywhere, at any time, has ever in a moment of mortal terror cried out: “For God’s sake, is there a politician in the house?” You know how many treatments for anaphylaxis have been produced by politicians over the course of human history? Zero. Congress’s sole contribution to the existence of a handy device that keeps your children from dying from bee stings is the fact that Mylan CEO Heather Bresch is the daughter of a Democratic senator, Joe Manchin of West Virginia.
If we were relying on the intelligence, work ethic, creativity, entrepreneurship, scientific prowess, and far-sightedness of the members of Congress to produce treatments for allergic reactions or any other medical problem, we’d still have a million people a year dying from smallpox and preventable infections. We’d also be starving to death.
Over at Roger Koppl’s Facebook page, my emeritus colleague Vernon Smith – a pioneer in experimental economics – relates a story of just how flimsy the thinking of even famous Ivy League economists can be. Here’s Vernon:
I sat in Alvin Hansen’s grad classes (he taught M&B [Money & Banking] and Business Cycles) in 1952-54, and heard all of his views on secular stagnation. I believed, until I watched the economy defy it all. It was countered by Gotfried Haberler and Wassily Leontief, but Hansen’s views prevailed at Harvard/MIT unto the end of time. BTW, the grad students loved him. I remember him bouncing into class one day, excited. His theme was that growth (no stagnation in class today!) would soon allow all governemnt spending to be financed out of growth in the money supply! No wonder I turned to experiment!