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Some Non-Covid Links

George Will, inspired by Philip Howard, bemoans the paralysis induced by Progressivism. (I do disagree, though, with Howard who says that the stifling of decentralized decision-making is “not an unavoidable side-effect of big government.” At least, such stifling is unavoidable if government is big in ways other than merely taxing some citizens heavily and then rather mechanically transferring the cash to other citizens.)

My intrepid Mercatus Center colleague Veronique de Rugy laughed out loud at a recent essay that criticized Democrats for allegedly being too modest in boasting of their many ‘achievements.

Also from Vero is this call on Democrats to reform the criminal-justice system.

Steven Greenhut understands the insidious cruelty of minimum-wage legislation. A slice:

The biggest problem with a minimum-wage boost is that it would hurt the least-skilled workers the most. “These low-skill employees lose their jobs because of increased competition from more experienced and higher-skilled employees attracted to the new wage,” noted economist Craig Garthwaite in congressional testimony. That competition will obliterate entry-level opportunities for those without experience or many skills, he added.

Also writing wisely and informatively on minimum wages is Cato’s Chris Edwards.

Scott Lincicome is rightly critical of Pres. Biden’s embrace of “security nationalism.” A slice:

It’s good that the President isn’t buying into the death of American manufacturing because, as I explain in a new paper out today (executive summary below), the sector not only is still alive, but was actually doing quite well on both a global and historical basis before the pandemic. It’s also booming right now too. Standout industries include the ones most directly tied to national defense (e.g., weapons, aerospace, motor vehicles, and metals) and others often associated with security (e.g., energy, semiconductors, and medical goods). The paper also explains — citing both economic research and ample historical evidence — why “Buy American” and other economic nationalist policies intended to bolster national security and economic “resiliency” often end up backfiring, thus weakening the manufacturing sector and national security. By contrast, market‐​oriented policies, including trade liberalization, can boost the economy, discourage armed conflicts, and help the country mitigate or recover from economic shocks, including pandemics. Thus, if the President is concerned about national security and economic resiliency (instead of, say, politics), he should be eliminating Buy American restrictions, not “strengthening” them.

Simon Lester isn’t optimistic about the prospects of the Biden administration undoing some of the more destructive protectionist measures of the Trump administration. Here’s Lester’s depressing conclusion:

Of course, there is another possibility, which is that we end up with both Section 232 tariffs and these ratcheted up Buy American measures. At that point, for all of Biden’s calm tone and rhetoric, which has been refreshing, it will start to look like Biden is worse on trade than even Trump was.

Paul Cantor wonders if Shakespeare can survive woke.

My colleague Peter Boettke celebrates the great Thomas Sowell.