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Some Non-Covid Links

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Pierre Lemieux writes wisely about China [2]. A slice:

When the Chinese political authorities imitate Western governments’ interventions, they imitate precisely what has, over a century or so, most undermined the rule of law: antitrust laws, attacks on industries that the state doesn’t like (or whose executives it doesn’t like), mercantilism, investment and trade controls, government surveillance, etc. The Chinese privacy laws are meant to constrain independent businesses, not government agencies.

China has become a deforming mirror of the West, where the state is using corrupted Western ideals to become a worse Leviathan. It remains to be seen whether the US government and other Western governments, as well as the public, will be repulsed by what they see in the Chinese mirror and will rediscover classical-liberal values, or whether they will be led to look more and more like the deformed image they see in the mirror. Thus far, the latter seems to be happening. Another example: the US government and other governments in the West are expanding industrial policy [3], which has long been proved inefficient and been gradually (if only formally) abandoned, but is now rekindled for the illusory goal of competing with a planned economy under a tyrannical state.

George Will rightly decries the “gaseous talk” of so many government officials [4]. A slice:

Biden has exhorted congressional progressives, who needed no encouragement, to force the most comprehensive peacetime expansion of government in U.S. history. The grandiosity has two dimensions. One is government’s siphoning away of a hitherto unimaginable portion of society’s current and future fiscal resources. The other is a radical revision of the nation’s civic vocabulary by postulating, as in Oregon, that disparities in social outcomes are prima facie evidence of the nation’s endemic viciousness.

Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Nicholas Horton explains what ought not – but, sadly, does – need explaining: paying people not to work results in lots of people not working [5]. A slice:

According to research [6] published by the JPMorgan Chase & Co. Institute, because of the supplemental $300 a week, 48% of American workers made at least as much in unemployment benefits during the pandemic as they did while working.

GMU Econ alum Mark Perry: “We hear a lot about US jobs being outsourced overseas (‘stolen’). But what about the 8M insourced jobs we ‘stole’ from overseas in 2019? [7]

Eric Boehm wonders how many union members it takes to operate a freight train [8].

Matt Welch reports some happy news: “families are fleeing government-run schools. [9]

Scott Lincicome and Alfredo Carrillo Obregon report some unhappy news [10]. Two slices:

According to numerous [11] reports [12], skyrocketing global shipping prices and related transportation bottlenecks are hindering [13] the U.S. economic recovery. Indeed, this “shipping crisis [14]” is one of the summer’s most‐​covered financial phenomena. Yet barely mentioned outside of a few industry publications is how brand new U.S. tariffs of more than 200 percent(!) are contributing to the problem. And U.S. trade law all but ensures that there’s little we – even the White House itself – can do about it.

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However, U.S. trade policy is also likely contributing to the current shipping crunch. In particular, the United States earlier this year imposed extremely high “trade remedy” duties on imports of truck chassis (which are used to haul containerized merchandise around the country) originating in China – by far the largest producer of such products. The duties resulted from antidumping [15] (AD) and countervailing duty [16] (CVD) investigations launched last year by the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) and Department of Commerce (DOC), the latter of which calculated for chassis produced by China International Marine Chassis (CIMC), the world’s largest chassis manufacturer, combined final duty of 221.37 percent (177.05 percent AD and 44.32 percent CVD). These estimated AD/CVD measures now apply to any Chinese chassis imports that have entered the from March 4 on. And they apply on top of the 25 percent tariffs that President Trump imposed [17] on a wide range of Chinese imports in a separate “Section 301” case back in 2018.

David Henderson reflects on 2018 economics Nobel laureate William Nordhaus’s 2021 book, which is titled The Spirit of Green: The Economics of Collisions and Contagions in a Crowded World [18].

Matt Ridley writes about “rewilding. [19]

Phil Magness patiently dissects Lawrence Glickman’s error-prone and ideologically biased attempt to portray the modern classical-liberal movement as being the result of a conspiracy among the anti-social venal [20].

My intrepid Mercatus Center colleague Veronique de Rugy calls on government officials in the U.S. to accord better treatment to immigrants [21].

Russ Roberts’s latest EconTalk episode – in which he talks with Michael Heller and James Salzman about property rights – is superb [22].