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Some Links

I thank Bob Hessen for sending to me this excellent essay, from last December, by Andrew Sullivan on the dangers of the state forcing merchants to act against their moral convictions.  A slice:

I worry that a ruling that backs the right of the state to coerce someone into doing something that violates their religious conscience will also have terrible consequences. A law that controls an individual’s conscience violates a core liberal idea. It smacks of authoritarianism and of a contempt for religious faith. It feels downright anti-American to me.

In this short video, George Will explains why the American president is no longer as powerful as he once was.

GMU Econ alum Dan Mitchell writes sensibly about the so-called “deep state.

Mark Perry justifiably celebrates America’s recent fossil-fuel revolution.

This sentence (about antitrust and tech) is indeed very good.

David Bier argues that America’s founding fathers favored liberal immigration policies.

Here’s Richard Epstein on Trump’s absurd trade policies.

Scott Sumner busts some myths about trade wars and so-called “trade deficits.”  A slice:

There is always retaliation for trade barriers, regardless of what other governments do. That’s because the most fundamental principle of trade theory is that trade involves . . . trade. If we buy less from them, they will buy less from us. Always. Yes, it’s that simple. China is not giving us all these goods, we must pay for them with exports. If you think there is some sort of “deficit” then you have left something out.

Foreign individuals always “retaliate” when their home country exports less.

(Scott’s blog post is excellent, although – as I’ll explain in a follow-up post – I wish that he and others would stop describing trade deficits as reflecting a “saving/investment imbalance.”)

Andrew Wilford is correct: “tariffs are by their very nature cronyism — they are a way for the government to favor the economic interests of certain industries or businesses over the interests of other industries and American consumers.”