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George Will – linking to two works by my intrepid Mercatus Center colleague Veronique de Rugy – makes a powerful case against that great geyser of cronyism, the U.S. Export-Import Bank [2]. A slice:

The Trump administration trots out its usual rationale for economic irrationality: Ex-Im is a “national security weapon [3].” As the bank subsidizes China and Russia? In 2014, in 17 Ex-Im transactions the primary borrower was the Export-Import Bank of China. Says [4] Toomey, “You cannot make this stuff up”: Ex-Im is subsidizing the Chinese bank that is cited as the reason we need Ex-Im.

And here’s Veronique on the power of markets [5].

My Mercatus Center colleagues Matt Mitchell and Tad DeHaven explore the cronyist origins of Trump’s cronyist trade policies [6]. Here’s their conclusion:

Agriculture is but one of many commercial interests working feverishly to obtain or maintain their government-granted privileges. But the past 80 years of political pandering to agricultural interests may be the best example of how the federal government has become a dispenser of privilege to the politically select few. Subsidized agriculture’s political benefactors defend the handouts as necessary to “ensure our nation has an adequate food supply.” But the truth is that policymakers are generally more responsive to special interests than to the taxpayers and consumers who foot the bill.

John G. Murphy explores the first principles of trade [7].

Tyler Cowen debates Tim Wu on antitrust, competition, and monopoly [8].

Lawrence Summers ponders the stock-market’s reactions to Trump’s tariffs punitive taxes on American consumers [9].

Jeffrey Tucker writes wisely about socialism [10].