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George Will decries the muck emitted by the administrative state. Two slices:

This tendency will be made worse by Biden’s “buy American” policy. His liberal industrial policy will make the $1.2 trillion buy fewer construction materials: The Peterson Institute for International Economics estimates that buy American requirements probably cost taxpayers more than $250,000 for every job supposedly saved, and the Heritage Foundation cites a report that “deregulating procurement” would add 363,000 jobs.
But perhaps the U.S. government is unusually susceptible to being made so [inefficient] because of what University of Michigan law professor Nicholas Bagley calls “the procedure fetish.” (“Inflexible procedural rules are a hallmark of the American state.”) The result is what [Philip] Howard calls “rule stupor.” All this is made in America by a homegrown chimera: the progressive aspiration to reduce government to the mechanical implementation of an ever-thickening web of regulations that leaves no room for untidy discretion and judgment. Nowadays, add “equity” and “environmental justice” to the lengthening list of ends that an infrastructure project must include.

My intrepid Mercatus Center colleague Veronique de Rugy busts the myth that Pres. Biden is fiscally responsible. A slice:

Biden’s administration did nothing to bring about the deficit’s decline. Credit really goes to large increases in tax revenues as the economy rebounded combined with the decision by Democratic Sens. Kyrsten Sinema and Joe Manchin and their Republican colleagues to block Biden’s expensive “Build Back Better” proposal. BBB would have made permanent many of the emergency programs created or expanded during the pandemic, and had it passed, government spending and deficits would be heading even higher than they are today.

That said, the still-too-close-to-$1 trillion deficit for FY 2022 is inexcusably large. More worrisome is the cost that we taxpayers must shoulder because of the pre- and post-COVID-19 deficits. According to that same Treasury report, in May, the U.S. government paid $56 billion in interest payments on its debt, up from $44 billion in April. As of now, total interest payments for this year are $311 billion. With four months still to go on this figure, we can assume a total interest cost for FY 2022 of at least $500 billion.

The Wall Street Journal‘s Editorial Board makes clear that Biden’s (and Progressives’) hostility to fossil fuels, in combination with the ethanol lobby, is a major reason for high gasoline prices. A slice:

Mr. Biden seems stunned to learn that prices rise when supply doesn’t meet demand. He’s aghast that gas prices are still rising above $5 a gallon even as oil prices have stabilized at $120 a barrel. Ergo, he says, the problem must be greedy oil companies making too much money.

At least he’s finally noticed the dearth of refining capacity to process crude, which some of us have warned about for years. The U.S. has lost about one million barrels a day of refining capacity in the pandemic. Some new refineries have opened in Asia, but the International Energy Agency recently reported that global capacity last year fell by 730,000 barrels a day.

A major culprit is U.S. government policy. Some older refineries have closed because companies couldn’t justify spending on upgrades as government forces a shift from fossil fuels. They also have to account for the Environmental Protection Agency’s tighter permitting requirements—the agency recently challenged a permit for an Indiana refinery—and steeper biofuel mandates.

My GMU Econ colleague Vincent Geloso reviews Patrick Newman’s 2021 book, Cronyism: Liberty versus Power in Early America, 1607-1849.

Reason‘s Eric Boehm explains that “instead of helping Americans battle rising prices, Biden escalates ‘Big Oil’ blame game.” A slice:

But there is one magic switch that Biden could flip tomorrow to save the average American household about $800 annually: he could repeal the tariffs imposed by former President Donald Trump on steel, aluminum, solar panels, and many other goods imported from China.

Yes, it’s fair to point out that repealing the tariffs won’t solve inflation. It’s likely that only higher interest rates or a debilitating recession will do that. But there’s no doubt that tariffs are contributing to higher prices throughout the economy.

What triggers Arnold Kling’s moral ire? A slice:

One example is wealthy career politicians. If you spent your whole life in “public service,” then how do you end up living like an investment banker?

Andy Craig argues that “gun rights are gay rights.”

Joel Zinberg: “The CDC and New York City put an end to two Covid mandates—for international travel and for toddler-masking—that stopped making sense a long time ago.” Another slice:

It has long been clear that Covid-19 poses little risk to children under five. The four-and-under age group makes up 6 percent of the U.S. population, but from March 2022 to the present it has accounted for less than 0.05 percent of Covid deaths. Total daily Covid deaths in New York City, for all ages, have been 11 or fewer since March 9. Deaths in the four-and-under age group in New York State and New York City have been minuscule throughout the pandemic.

Moreover, there is little evidence that masking students works, especially for children aged two to four, whose compliance with proper and continuous mask-wearing is doubtful. And masks likely interfere with children’s social and educational development.