Some Links

by Don Boudreaux on May 12, 2018

in Books, Myths and Fallacies, Philosophy of Freedom, Regulation, Seen and Unseen, War

My intrepid Mercatus Center colleague Veronique de Rugy decries the tyranny of the administrative state.  A slice:

The tyranny of the administrative state is real and hard to tame. Americans would be horrified if they knew how much power thousands of unelected bureaucrats employed by federal agencies wield. These members of the “government within the government,” as The New York Times‘ John Tierney describes them, produce one freedom-restricting, economy-hindering rule after another without much oversight. These rules take many forms, and few even realize they’re in the making—until, that is, they hit you square in the face.

In my most-recent column in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, I argue that Americans’ freedoms – to the extent that these exist and are protected – exist and are protected by the ideas that we Americans express and the values that we cherish.  Here’s my conclusion:

I am instead arguing that protecting Americans militarily from foreign invasion and occupation is not synonymous with protecting Americans’ freedom. If we Americans come to hold freedom in contempt — if we become so frightened and distrustful of ourselves as individuals that we empower our own state to intrude further into our lives — then we will forge our own chains of slavery. And if we do so, no amount of valor by the U.S. military will set us free. And I would, then, no longer be proud to be an American.

Sheldon Richman is unimpressed with a recent ‘pro-market’ case for a universal basic income.  A slice:

If the government transfers money or purchasing power from A to B, B can signal his demand, yes, but only because A can do so only to a lesser extent than before. What would A have done with the money if not signal his demand in the market? You might say that transferring wealth from rich to poor would have important benefits, but this misses a point. Wealthier people save and invest more of their incomes than poorer people do. In a freed market (i.e., without privilege or impediment), savings and investment help lower income people disproportionately by making goods cheaper and more abundant. Consumption spending cannot do that. So UBI would give with one hand while taking away with the other. I don’t like the “pie” metaphor in political economy, but it seems preferable to grow the pie rather than merely distribute slices of the existing pie.

Mark Perry again sets the record straight on CEO pay.

Arnold Kling reviews Nassem Taleb’s new book, Skin in the Game.

Matt Welch reflects on John McCain’s recent admission that the Iraq war was a mistake.  Here’s Matt’s conclusion:

Having McCain call the Iraq War a “mistake,” and owning up to his responsibility for it, is certainly a welcome if belated tonic in our low age. The next step, for those who have shared the man’s hawkishness, is to ruthlessly self-examine the aggressive mindset that not only led to the original errors, but arguably compounded them afterward. There are, at long last, limits to the applications of American power. Some waves would be better off a little less restless.

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