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Some Non-Covid Links

My intrepid Mercatus Center colleague Veronique de Rugy warns of the danger lurking in the careless use of pronouns. A slice:

“The most dangerous pronoun discourse has nothing to do with gender identity. It’s the undefined ‘we’ in public policy debates that’s the problem.” These are the words of Richard Morrison, a research fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute. Morrison identified “the fallacy of we,” and I’m often guilty of committing it.

I frequently say things like, “If we increase spending on this or that, it will cause some economic distortions.” Who exactly is this “we”? Certainly not me or most of you. Politicians propose and vote for additional spending, and the president signs new spending bills into law.

The problem also appears when I write things like “In 2021, we have increased the debt to $24 trillion.” Yet, neither the borrowing nor the spending was done by you and me. It was done by some politicians in Congress, aided by the president, and with the assistance of some bureaucrats at the Department of the Treasury.

Just pick up a newspaper or listen to politicians, or even to people like me, and you’ll soon realize that this “we” is everywhere: “We must protect our children by keeping the schools closed (or open)!”; “We need (or don’t need) a national industrial policy!”; “We must invest in infrastructure (or something else)!

This group is a phantom, easily invoked but sometimes impossible to identify. Is it individuals? Pundits? Experts? The federal government? All members of Congress, or just those in support? Does “we” include the president and his administration? How about the judiciary? Or do the leaders of a representative democracy get the honor of attributing their actions to every single one of us?

My Mercatus Center colleague Adam Thierer explains how the Internet revolutionized the market for used cars. A slice:

Then came the internet, and everything about the car-buying experience changed for the better. In a 2015 study, three Mercatus Center co-authors and I documented “How the Internet, the Sharing Economy, and Reputational Feedback Mechanisms Solve the ‘Lemons Problem’. ” We explained how information technologies and internet-enabled markets have made it safer and easier than ever to buy a used car. These technologies helped build greater trust between buyers and sellers, helping to finally reverse the lemons problem.

John O. McGinnis warns against putting “too much faith in evanescent majorities acting through a national centralized government.”

Jonah Goldberg writes insightfully about Biden’s recent speech in Georgia. A slice:

Consider voter ID laws, which are constantly cited as part of this racist, undemocratic tsunami. Tightening voter ID laws may or may not be a good idea. Personally, I think they’re fine in principle. But let’s concede that they’re bad. You know who else thinks they’re fine? A very large majority of Americans, including a majority of black Americans. A Monmouth poll this year found that 80 percent of Americans support voter ID requirements and only 18 percent oppose them. That’s not a new finding. In 2016, Gallup also found that 4 in 5 Americans support voter ID requirements, including 77 percent of nonwhite voters.

Again, are the majority of Americans siding with Jefferson Davis? Really?

And just to be clear, not all of the laws expanding the “right to vote” are good. Democrats have been pushing to make ballot harvesting (allowing individuals to collect ballots from others and drop them off at polling locations or early-voting drop boxes) easier. I think that’s wrong. If you disagree with me, that’s fine. But if you think that makes me a racist, my response is, “Go to Hell.”

Michael Shellenberger talks with Zach Weissmueller about how Progressives ruined American cities.

Speaking of Progressives ruining American cities, here’s a report by Reason‘s Christian Britschgi on more such looming ruination.

John Stossel says, don’t ban critical race theory; instead, legalize school choice.

Joe Lancaster reports more evidence that Elizabeth Warren is either dumb as dung or as mendacious as Mephistopheles.

Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Phil Gramm and Mike Solon rightly criticize Biden & Co. for blaming inflation on factors other than government’s injection into the economy of excessive spending power. A slice:

For 40 years, the pain of inflation was only a fading nightmare. Then last year, piled on top of Donald Trump’s ill-advised postelection spending surge, the Biden administration, the Democratic majority in Congress, the Federal Reserve, and a chorus of intellectual supporters assured the nation that with accommodating monetary easing by the Fed, they could increase federal spending by 54% without causing inflation. When—shockingly—prices started to rise, those same voices harmonized in assuring the nation that any inflation would be minor and temporary. To this day, they blame the inflation on supply-chain problems and the usual suspects: big business, insufficient antitrust enforcement and greedy profiteers. They never blame government.

Here’s the Cato trade team’s 2022 policy wish list.

Jessica Melugin and Ryan Young speak in opposition to the FTC’s antitrust jihad against Facebook.