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My intrepid Mercatus Center colleague Veronique de Rugy is understandably dismayed by Senator Gary Peters’s (D-MI) call for a national industrial policy [2]. A slice:

As for the notion that “other countries are doing it,” I’m curious to hear what great successes have come out of, say, China’s industrial policies. In his latest book — “The State Strikes Back: The End of Economic Reform in China?” — Nicholas Lardy of the Peterson Institute for International Economics shows that China’s growth since 1978 has actually been the product of market-oriented reforms, not state-owned programs.

I, too, am dismay by Peters’s call for industrial policy, as I explain in my latest column in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review [3]. A slice:

America’s extraordinary growth and prosperity are emphatically not the results of any “manufacturing czar” or of a government agency dedicated to overseeing and planning industrial development. Quite the opposite.

Our growth and prosperity are fruits of a policy and culture in which each of us with gumption is free, as the economic historian Deirdre McCloskey puts it, to “have a go” at opening businesses and innovating. We never needed the permission of officials to innovate. And we certainly never looked for entrepreneurial ideas from the likes of politicians and salaried government mandarins.

And so why does Peters think that we Americans now — with per-capita incomes more than 3½ times higher than those in China — should abandon the system of what my colleague Adam Thierer calls “permissionless innovation” in order to adopt Beijing-style bureaucratic fetters?

Ben Zycher reveals the myopia of those who assert that Trump’s threat to raise tariffs on imports from Mexico – or, more accurately, punitive taxes on Americans who purchase imports from Mexico – as a means of prodding the Mexican government to reduce emigration into the United States was a success [4].

Bruce Yandle makes clear the huge cost that Trump’s tariffs foist on Americans [5]. A slice:

The financial burden splatters in many directions, but most of it is borne by American entities. In some cases, Chinese firms may pull in their belts and absorb some, if not all, of what would otherwise be a tariff-driven price increase. Competition just will not allow the Chinese firms to raise prices. In other cases, the Chinese government may rearrange budgets for government-owned firms and absorb some of the tariff.

In still other cases, which is the most likely outcome, tariff-induced price increases will be shifted to U.S. consumers. Finally, when American businesses rely on Chinese inputs, the tariff burden may be shared with workers whose wages will not rise by as much as they might otherwise and by investors who will see slower growth in corporate profits and weaker performing shares of stock.

Also writing on the destructive impact on Americans of Trump’s tariffs is Pierre Lemieux [6].

Also from Pierre Lemieux is this review of Alex Pollock’s new book, Finance and Philosophy: Why We’re Always Surprised [7].

George Will skewers – justly – the “progressive” benighted academics in charge of Oberlin College [8]. Here’s his conclusion:

Oberlin’s president defiantly says “none of this will sway us from our core values.” Those values — moral arrogance, ideology-induced prejudgments, indifference to evidence — are, to continue using the progressive patois, the root causes of Oberlin’s descent beyond caricature and into disgrace.

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