My Mercatus Center colleague Daniel Rothschild writes about Auburn, Maine – a very YIMBY city! A slice:

[Mayor Jason] Levesque ran on a pro-residential development platform, arguing that the city had to make one of three choices: dramatically hike taxes, gut public services or bring in new residents. It took him more than a year in office before he realized that the city’s zoning code and land use policies were the key impediment to building more housing and attracting new residents. Since then, he’s advocated strenuously for clearing away barriers to building new housing in Auburn, adopting an “all of the above approach” that includes single-family homes, multi-family homes, apartments and accessory dwelling units (or ADUs). And truly, all options are on the table: a former synagogue was recently converted into 10 apartments.

GMU Econ alum Caleb Fuller explains why studying economics – sound economics – instills gratitude. Two slices:

No one can spend more than a few minutes studying economic history without noticing something astonishing.

The Great Fact. The Great Enrichment. The Great Escape. Whatever your preferred terminology, it is a story that has been described a million times, though it can’t be told enough. We are, for the first time in history, stupefyingly rich. Here it is, visually. To take but one snapshot, the average per capita income of an Englishman has risen about thirty times in the last three centuries—that after millennia of no income growth at all.

Which of us, if we had a time machine, would voluntarily trade places with Louis XIV, France’s extravagant “Sun King,” symbol of the age of royal absolutism? He’s a good example because he stood—and died—right on the precipice of prosperity.

Let’s focus on just one aspect of Louis’ pilgrimage in this vale of tears: his health. Before dying an agonizing death from gangrene (as he relinquished his soul, he cried out the words of Psalm 72, “O Lord, make haste to help me”), King Louis experienced lifelong diabetes, boils, vertigo, gout, and migraines. If Louis was an outlier, it was only because he made it to the ripe old age of seventy-six. Thomas Hobbes’ most famous words, that life in the state of nature is “nasty, brutish, and short,” is an apt description of all life on planet earth for 99% of human history. The average “elite” born prior to the Great Enrichment enjoyed a standard of living most of us would reject as intolerable.

…..

All those capital goods wouldn’t be worth much without people to work them. The division of labor is a global phenomenon, now more so than ever. Even Adam Smith observed in 1776 that the common woolen coat which shields the average day-laborer from the elements is the product of a host of anonymous “others” cooperating. No isolated individual could create a pencil, let alone a decent coat, most certainly not a smartphone. We live, as Paul Seabright puts it, “in the company of strangers.”

What was true in Smith’s day is amplified a hundred-fold in ours. Just look at the volume of international trade since World War II. Since exchange is not zero-sum—it benefits both parties—we not only depend on a host of anonymous others, but we also bless them through our reliance.

David Henderson ponders commenters, as well as arguments for more liberal immigration.

John Stossel talks to two libertarians, each with a different view of abortion.

Damon Root isn’t favorably impressed with Justice Alito’s understanding of the history about Lochner.

My Mercatus Center colleague Alden Abbott warns of the “DOJ’s Threatened Reign of Error” – a reign that will arrive with that agency’s proposed criminal-monopolization prosecutions.

Justin Monticello reports that “covid-19 exposed the truth about the CDC.” Two slices:

Today, trust in the agency has plummeted because COVID-19 exposed the truth: The CDC is thoroughly corruptible, and federal regulators will never be impartial experts. They respond to political incentives just like everyone else, and a fact-driven, purely technocratic state is an impossible dream.

The Trump administration pressured the CDC to narrow the scope of testing so case counts would drop, blocked officials from doing interviews, and edited its flagship scientific reports. The CDC provided a scientifically dubious public health rationale for rejecting migrants at the southern border. President Joe Biden continued that policy, and under his purview, CDC guidance on school closures was surreptitiously written by leaders of the country’s second-largest teachers union.

…..

Not only did the agency consider political factors when making what were most often presented as purely science-based decisions, but officials frequently hid, ignored, or distorted legitimate data either out of incompetence or to appease their political bosses.

The CDC has also been a superspreader of COVID misinformation. To justify universal mask mandates, Walensky spent months citing a junk study on their efficacy in schools, exaggerating the risks of breakthrough infections among the vaccinated, and misrepresenting a study on outdoor COVID transmission, according to its author.

The CDC claimed the delta variant was as transmissible as chickenpox, which isn’t true—it turns out the agency had used inaccurate data from a New York Times infographic. It also promoted an infographic on cloth masks using data that were not statistically significant. Meanwhile, the CDC has not run a single randomized controlled trial on the efficacy of masking since the beginning of the pandemic.

Thorsteinn Siglaugsson reports on yet another gross exaggeration of the risks posed by covid to children.

Bad news from France.

James Lim, MD, tweets: (HT Jay Bhattacharya)

In our zeal to save humanity from a single pathogen we’ve forgotten what it means to be human.

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