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Richard McKenzie explains how the transitional-gains trap – first identified in 1975 by my late colleague Gordon Tullock – explains much of today’s political maneuvering.

Brittany Hunter acknowledges some beneficial moves by Trump (who deserves applause especially for appointing GMU law-school prof Neomi Rao to lead OIRA).

On trade, of course, Trump’s policies would be calamitous – including, as John Brinkley explains, what he’s threatening to do with NAFTA.  A slice:

There is no scenario under which withdrawing from NAFTA would benefit the United States economically.

And Bob Higgs is eloquent on Americans’ trade with Mexicans.  A slice:

The so-called protectionism being touted by President Trump and his supporters is little more than picking the pockets of U.S. consumers. Note, however, that much of the goods imported from Mexico consists not of immediately consumable goods, but of producer goods (e.g., petroleum, automobile parts, and components of a vast array of other manufactured goods) that help to make U.S. goods better and cheaper than they otherwise would be. The Trumpistas suppose that exports are a benefit and imports a regrettable thing [that] ought to be reduced as much as possible. In this regard, they have matters upside down: imports are what Americans value; exports are directly or indirectly only a means of importing the valuable goods. If you doubt this claim, simply imagine what would be the case if Americans regularly sent vast quantities of goods abroad and got back no goods at all. This situation would give rise to an infinitely positive balance of trade—and amount to an economic disaster. Sad to say, the Trump forces have infused new life into mercantilist fallacies that were debunked centuries ago by Adam Smith, David Ricardo, and a host of economists since their day. It is sad to contemplate how many voters prefer picking their neighbors’ pockets to honestly earning their own way in open competitive markets.

Jeffrey Tucker is correct to argue that free labor markets offer an excellent defense against sexual harassment.

Ben Zycher rightly deplores the some policies of the Union of Concerned Scientists. (By the way, whenever I encounter the name of this group I wonder if there is somewhere a Union of Unconcerned Scientists.)

My Mercatus Center colleague Dan Griswold argues that Trump is right, but for the wrong reasons, to call for the elimination of the diversity lottery visa program.

I very much like the passage that Arnold Kling quotes here from Jean Tirole’s new book.

Warren Meyer is right to cringe at these images.