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Some Non-Covid Links

George Will writes about an upcoming U.S. Supreme Court case on the takings clause. Here are his concluding paragraphs:

Ratification of the Bill of Rights, including the takings clause, was effective Dec. 15, 1791. Three months later, in a newspaper article on property, James Madison quoted, as the Founders were wont to do, the English jurist William Blackstone, who said the property right means the“dominion which one man claims and exercises over the external things of the world, in total exclusion of the right of any other individual in the universe.”

The words “servitude” and “dominion” are apposite in takings clause jurisprudence. What the Supreme Court will hear Monday are arguments about property rights that the Founders considered foundational for political liberty.

Also writing on this takings case is the Cato Institute’s Trevor Burrus.

My intrepid Mercatus Center colleague Veronique de Rugy decries the pandemic of fiscal incontinence. Here’s her opening ‘graf:

Perhaps you’ve heard the story of the guy who – after jumping from the 50th floor of a skyscraper – is asked how he’s doing as he falls past the 20th floor. “So far, so good!” he replies. That blissfully unaware individual headed toward his doom is, my fellow Americans, us. And we’re heading there not because Dr. Seuss Enterprises decided to stop the publication of six books.

Also decrying the U.S. governments’ grotesquely irresponsible fiscal imprudence is David Henderson.

Eric Boehm reports on how Biden and the Democrats are locking in Trump’s protectionism. A slice:

During her confirmation hearing last month, U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai said she views tariffs as “a legitimate tool” to wield against China. While acknowledging that Trump’s trade policies caused “a lot of disruption and consternation,” Tai said she hoped to “accomplish similar goals in a more effective process.”

In practice, that likely means giving labor unions—which are typically not huge fans of free trade—greater control over U.S. trade policy. Tai previously worked as the congressional Democrats’ top negotiator on the United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement (USMCA) and helped shepherd some major union priorities into the deal. The AFL-CIO, which almost never endorses trade agreements, came out for the USMCA after some last-minute changes to artificially hike wages in Mexican automating plants and more strictly enforce labor standards in Mexico.

But it also likely means maintaining this charade about the effectiveness of tariffs, despite all evidence to the contrary. Because Biden’s top trade advisers are more polished than Trump’s, they’ll likely avoid making outlandish and easily disprovable claims like Navarro’s ridiculous “China is bearing the entire burden of the tariffs” promise. Instead, Raimondo and Tai are using vague talk about “effective” policy and “legitimate tools.” But don’t let the softer language fool you: They are just as wrong.

Robert Pondiscio reveals how the cancer of wokeness is destroying even K-12 private schooling. A slice:

A remarkable piece in the Manhattan Institute’s City Journal by ex-New York Times columnist Bari Weiss takes us to a backyard meeting of rebellious parents (but not too rebellious) whose children attend Harvard-Westlake, the most prestigious private school in Los Angeles. They are deeply troubled that the school’s plan to become an “anti-racist institution” is “making their kids fixate on race and attach importance to it in ways that strike them as grotesque,” she reports. These parents are awash in every conceivable form of privilege, including the ability to pay $50,000 in annual tuition. The school is forcing their children to speak, think, and behave in compliance with an ideological movement they find abhorrent, yet none are willing even to speak to Weiss on the record, let alone leave the school for one more aligned with their views and values.

Joakim Book wants you to tell him again why governments are “essential.”

Glenn Greenwald rightly criticizes mainstream journalists for no longer being champions of freedom of expression. (HT Arnold Kling) A slice:

First, look how they grant themselves license to use their platforms to attack the journalists they dislike and generate hatred and harassment toward us. I really need someone to explain this to me: why is it permissible for Ryan Broderick to write articles attacking me and maligning my work, and for New York Times front-page reporter Taylor Lorenz to use her large Twitter platform and recruit all her media friends to attack me as well (or Taibbi, Weiss, Singal, Sullivan, etc.), but we are not allowed to write critiques of their work because doing so constitutes dangerous harassment that must be silenced?

George Selgin writes about my GMU Econ colleague Larry White writing about the private coinage of gold. Here’s George’s opening:

Every hoary myth about the private market’s unfitness to supply means of exchange has roots that trace back to the hoariest monetary platitude of all, namely, the claim that governments alone, whether republican or absolutist or otherwise, are fit to coin money.

That commonplace credendum dates from ancient times, and was a staple of medieval and early-modern monetary writings. Paradoxically enough, after stating the standard dogma, most of those writings go on to describe in lurid detail, and vigorously condemn, sovereigns’ frequent and flagrant abuse of their coining privileges!

Juliette Sellgren’s podcast with law-and-economics scholar Todd Zywicki is wonderful.