Next on my wish list for 2019 is the termination of all crony programs that benefit well-connected and large companies at the expense of everyone else. They include the U.S. Export-Import Bank, everything in the Department of Commerce (apart from the Census Bureau and the Patent and Trademark Office — the two actually mentioned in the Constitution), many of the programs in the Department of Energy, and many other programs for agricultural subsidies, special favors for small businesses, wasteful defense spending and, of course, tariffs.
Steve Landsburg corrects the framing of walls . A slice:
There is absolutely no relevant similarity between a wall somebody builds around his own house and a wall that you build between other people’s houses. The effect of a wall around my house, if I had one (and if I controlled the gates), would be to increase my control over who enters my living room. The effect of a border wall would be to decrease my control over who enters my living room.
Even as a political metaphor, the wall is badly lacking. It is the symbol of a political movement that has left liberty, inclusion and optimism behind it. Trumpism cultivates public fears to increase the role and power of the state. It locates national strength not in the character of a people but in the actions of an empowered leader.
[Bruce] Yandle’s point is a deep one. Demonstrating the economic costs or inefficiency of a policy may not be enough to change policies, even if the existing policy is bad. The reason is that existing regulations have created a set of economic interests that benefit from the status quo, and the regulations are supported by a set of (apparently distinct) moral arguments that may have nothing to do with economic consequences.