My intrepid Mercatus Center colleague Veronique de Rugy reminds us that Milton Friedman was correct to argue that the burden of government is measured by how much it spends rather than by how much it rakes in as tax revenue during the current period.
A recent Cato Institute report by Arthur Wardle highlights the impact of expanded land use for corn—with the increased application of nitrogen fertilizer leading to runoff that contributes to the hypoxic dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico and kills sea life—as evidence that “the research on the Renewable Fuels Standard is clear that it degrades the environment.” The Cato report also cites a meta-analysis, published in the American Journal of Agricultural Economics, of studies that modeled the life cycle greenhouse gas emission of ethanol versus gasoline and found a meager reduction of only 0.23 percent.
Mr. Schmitz read a little of the reissue in its twentieth year of Crossing: A Transgender Memoir, with its brief Afterword. The rest of my politics and scholarship he gets on the fly. He calls me throughout a “conservative,” which I have never called myself, though willing to chat politely with such folk. The error shows anyway the problem people have trying to force “classical” liberals like me onto the silly spectrum from left to right. The spectrum is only about in what direction a massive state is to enforce illiberal schemes, such as the left’s takeover of free speech (of which he accuses me) and of economic life; or the right’s takeover of bedroom behavior and of irritating foreigners.