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Writing in the New York Times, my intrepid Mercatus Center colleague Veronique de Rugy proposes three policy changes to promote economic growth. A slice:

Next, do away with all government-granted privileges, such as tariffs, farm and export subsidies, and most occupational-licensing requirements for fields like natural hair-braiding or interior design. According to the Institute for Justice’s occupational-licensing report, on average the requirements for low- to moderate-income occupations in the U.S. cost around $200 in fees and require nine months of training.

These requirements favor wealthier and politically connected interest groups at the expense of lower-income workers and consumers. And the health care industry should receive no exemption. Get rid of scope-of-practice rules which protect doctors from the competition of nurse practitioners. At the same time, allow doctors to serve patients all over the country and compete for business through telemedicine.

My colleague Peter Boettke remembers our departed colleague – who once was also Pete’s professor – Walter Williams. A slice:

He understood that economic processes take place against a backdrop of politics, law, and social mores and beliefs. He understood, as his long-time friend and colleague Thomas Sowell stressed, the first lesson of economics: We live in a world of scarcity, and thus we are required constantly to weigh trade-offs. In contrast, the first rule of politics is to deny that scarcity exists. In insisting that we never forget that hard choices must be made, Walter’s commentaries rained on the parade of promises from politicians and exposed the pretensions of the powerful. This led him to include moral arguments about personal responsibility and a deep commitment to liberty in his popular writings. His main argument was that human history is a story of the domination and arbitrary abuse of the powerful over the lives of ordinary individuals. What made America special was that we had found a set of formal institutions of governance and informal norms of morality that kept this power in check. Walter hoped that history would not record this period as an aberration, but rather as a critical turning point toward wider freedom. His advice to policymakers: adopt your own version of the Hippocratic oath and do no harm. Political institutions must not exhibit either domination or discrimination if progress toward greater freedom and prosperity is to be achieved.

John Cochrane, moved by the death of Walter Williams, rightly laments the fact that “the Chicago – UCLA – George Mason economic philosophy seems to take place increasingly in obituaries.”

Also remembering Walter Williams is Steven Hayward.

Helen Raleigh reports a rare bit of good news out of the elite academy.

Christian Britschgi explains that California’s dictator, Gavin Newsom, is destroying small businesses in that state. A slice:

Business owners working with the libertarian Pacific Legal Foundation filed a lawsuit back in October challenging Newsom’s last round of business restrictions on the grounds that he was usurping the state legislature’s authority.

So far, businesses have mostly taken Newsom’s various pandemic regulations on the chin. The more restrictive these regulations become, however, the less patience they’ll likely have for the governor’s central planning schemes.

Robby Soave reports on good reasons to exercise great caution before trusting the judgment of an epidemiologist. The title of his report explains why: “Many Epidemiologists Want Social Distancing and Masks Forever—Even After the Vaccine.”

Phil Magness shares a relevant quotation from Herbert Spencer.

Adam White talks again with Richard Epstein.