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Looking back at 2018, Eric Boehm documents the reality that trade wars are destructive and not, as some economic illiterates proclaim, “good and easy to win.” A slice:

Finally, the trade war has put American taxpayers on the hook for direct bailouts to American farmers harmed by the trade war. This is perhaps the ultimate example of how Trump’s tariffs have turned into an own goal. Using a New Deal era crop insurance program, Trump has funneled more than $9 billion to farmers who have been unable to sell their goods to China due to retaliatory tariffs raised in response to Trump’s tariffs. Soybean farmers have been particularly hard hit—the U.S. is the top global supplier of soybeans, but China has all but stopped buying American soybeans—but suppliers of cotton, dairy, and hogs have also received payments.

Max Gulker busts more myths about tariffs.

I come from a family whose collars were as blue as collars get, and I agree with John Tamny that Oren Cass’s romanticizing of blue-collar jobs is unwarranted. A slice:

What Cass misses, of course, is that those who most turn their noses up to the jobs Cass so deeply admires are the very people who actually did (and do) those jobs. Lest he forget, it was Hollywood’s cultural elite who were elevating the blue collar work that Cass perhaps only knows from watching television, and those elites were putting it on a pedestal at the same time that those working in the factories were begging their children, grandchildren, brothers and sisters to find something else to do. Anything.

Here’s David Boaz on Josh Rogin on Donald Trump, Rand Paul, and Syria.

Jeffrey Tucker quotes Peter Boettke quoting Dave Prychitko: “Economics puts parameters on people’s utopias.”

Arnold Kling explores the connection between government and culture.

Matt Ridley writes about the psychology behind global pessimism.