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My intrepid Mercatus Center colleague Veronique de Rugy continues to fight the good fight against that great geyser of cronyism, the U.S. Export-Import Bank. A slice:

In the 2014 fiscal year, the Ex-Im Bank was the quintessential corporate welfare agency. On the domestic side, 65 percent of Ex-Im activities benefited 10 giant American companies, including GE and Caterpillar. Boeing alone benefited from 70 percent of the loan-guarantee program and 40 percent of the bank’s overall activities ($48.4 billion), earning Ex-Im the nickname “the Bank of Boeing.”

On the foreign side, Ex-Im’s beneficiaries were similarly well-funded. A vast majority of these companies had ready access to capital, and were as large as the domestic beneficiaries. These clients belonged to the Who’s Who of the airline industry, with names like Emirates Airline, Lion Air, and Ryan Air. Also among the foreign beneficiaries was Pemex, the Mexican state-owned oil and gas company.

Nick Rowe warns brilliantly of the dangers of being misled by accounting identities. (HT Russ Roberts)

Russ Roberts tweets brilliantly on the dangers of separating those who consume from those who pay.

Eric Boehm reports on how cronyist tariffs engender more cronyism.

Caroline Baum understandably wants to scream each and every time she encounters any of Trump’s pronouncements on trade, which are often in direct contradiction to each other and unfailingly whackadoodle.

Phil Magness exposes some cheap and baseless slurs that the likes of Nancy MacLean and other fiction writers hurl at classical-liberal scholars such as James Buchanan. Here’s Phil’s conclusion:

In each and every case, the aforementioned authors carelessly repeat a claim that they want to believe and that affirms their political priors. No effort is made to check sources or investigate whether the claim itself is reputable. It rings “true” to what these academics already believe about “neoliberalism,” and must therefore be so even if careful evidentiary analysis shows otherwise.

Under such conditions, even basic intellectual rigor and fidelity to evidence are subordinated to a dominant — and factually erroneous — political narrative. Welcome to modern higher ed.

Arnold Kling reviews Tyler Cowen’s Big Business.


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