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Some Non-Covid Links

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George Will rightly condemns Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz for playing leading roles in unleashing Wednesday’s mob on Capitol Hill [2]. A slice:

The Trump-Hawley-Cruz insurrection against constitutional government will be an indelible stain on the nation. They, however, will not be so permanent. In 14 days, one of them will be removed from office by the constitutional processes he neither fathoms nor favors. It will take longer to scrub the other two from public life. Until that hygienic outcome is accomplished, from this day forward, everything they say or do or advocate should be disregarded as patent attempts to distract attention from the lurid fact of what they have become. Each will wear a scarlet “S” as a seditionist.

Wall Street Journal columnist Kimberly Strassel correctly blames Trump for making America less great [3]. Here’s her conclusion:

The pity is that Mr. Trump’s conflagration will mostly burn the Americans he went to Washington to help. They will bear the higher taxes, the higher costs of regulation, the higher unemployment, the loss of freedoms. America became less great this week. And that’s fully on the guy at the top.

Writing even before Wednesday’s terrible spectacle, Jonah Goldberg harshly – and appropriately – criticizes Trump and Trump’s hangers-on and enablers [4]. A slice:

“I do whine,” Trump said on CNN in August [5] 2015, “because I want to win and I’m not happy about not winning and I am a whiner and I keep whining and whining until I win.” His postelection whining spree is a testament to his consistency.

So while power didn’t corrupt Trump, Trump has vindicated [Lord] Acton’s larger point about how power invites corruption in others. Corruption means more than bribery and self-aggrandizement; it means rot, decay, the erosion of standards and principles and their replacement with baser motives.

Richard Ebeling writes on Carl Menger and the sesquicentennial founding of the Austrian school [6].

My former Mercatus Center colleague Susan Dudley, writing with Sally Katzen in the Wall Street Journal, identifies a good idea from the Trump administration that the Biden administration (were it public-spirited) would wish to keep. [7]

My intrepid Mercatus Center colleague Veronique de Rugy has some wishes for the New Year [8]. A slice:

The negative consequences of this unchecked spending will be huge. The Congressional Budget Office, for instance, warned that an extension of unemployment bonuses and benefits creates disincentives to work and a slowdown of the economy. This extra spending also produces an ungodly level of debt, which academic research shows will ultimately slow economic growth. This means that future generations will both live in a slower-growth environment and face higher taxes to pay for today’s obscene spending. And this doesn’t even address the cultural distortions created by programs designed to pay people not to work.

My Mercatus Center colleague, and GMU Econ alum, Matt Mitchell proposes an agenda for equal liberty [9]. A slice:

Thanks to their resources and political organization, established firms have outsized influence over regulators and often gain the upper hand over consumers or public interest advocates. Though this phenomenon is well documented, some of the best evidence comes from the behavior of industry insiders themselves.

Go to any state capital in which occupational licensure is being debated. Nine times out of 10, those who push for the regulation are industry leaders — usually protecting their own positions — not consumer advocates. Licensure is ripe for reform. The research is clear that it raises prices, locks vulnerable people out of jobs and does little-to-nothing to increase service quality or safety.

Arnold Kling talks with Sebastian Stodolak about trends in academic economics [10].

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