In your garage or driveway sits yet another amazing anti-pollutant: your automobile. Sure, it does emit carbon monoxide into the air when you drive it, but your automobile does not emit onto the streets on which you live and work the bacterial wastes that were emitted by the horses and other draft animals that people used before the automobile became ubiquitous. Not only did the constant coating of the noxious mix of feces, urine, spittle, and snot make using streets and sidewalks unpleasant in ways that we in 2018 cannot imagine, it also attracted flies and other insects that distributed the filth into our homes, schools, churches, theaters, shops, factories, and offices.
Stanford University’s Rebecca Diamond reports on recent research into the the consequences of rent control . (HT Elizabeth Higgs) A slice:
Rent control appears to help affordability in the short run for current tenants, but in the long-run decreases affordability, fuels gentrification, and creates negative externalities on the surrounding neighborhood. These results highlight that forcing landlords to provide insurance to tenants against rent increases can ultimately be counterproductive.
On his popular podcast EconTalk, Hoover Institution economist Russ Roberts faulted Caplan for not recognizing the mind-enhancing benefits—admittedly hard to measure—of formal education. But even granting the existence of these benefits, there is considerable harm (also hard to measure) caused by compulsory schooling: resentment, impairment of curiosity, and revulsion from being force-fed ideas and culture. When Caplan spoke at the Cato Institute, questioners charged him with indifference to the real goal of education: “to create great citizens,” as one put it. But his data show that schools are failing miserably on that metric. Most Americans are shockingly ignorant about the most rudimentary facts concerning U.S. history and government.
Ultimately, however, reform is difficult because powerful forces favor the status quo. Regulation is a political spoils system by which various special interests impose their will on the public and profit from government favor.
Arnold Kling identifies a reason why libertarians today are confused . Here’s his conclusion:
So libertarians can no longer say that they are on the left on social issues and on the right on economic issues. They can say that they stand where the left used to stand on social issues and where the right used to stand on economic issues. But that is confusing.