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Jennifer Mascott and Eli Nachmany – both of whom are at the GMU Antonin Scalia School of Law’s C. Boyden Gray Center for the Study of the Administrative State – applaud, in the Washington Post, the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in West Virginia v. Environmental Protection Agency. A slice:

The broader takeaway is this: If an agency tries to take significant action with national economic and political impact, the agency must identify clear statutory authority for that action to be lawful.

Congress must legislate policy requirements and grant authority through statutes empowering federal agencies to act. For decades, congressional gridlock has hindered significant legislation of this kind in response to modern problems. Instead, our nation’s lawmakers have favored headline-grabbing or less-permanent action through oversight, commissions, investigations or patchwork solutions in appropriations and emergency legislation.

The burdens of the legislative process are ones of design. The Constitution deliberately imposes high hurdles for the passage of legislation. Yet, administrative agencies have tried to sidestep this process by shoehorning preferred policies into attenuated authorities granted under old laws, justifying them with claims of necessity or emergency.

Antony Davies understands politicians. A slice:

New York Governor Kathy Hochul recently announced the creation of a $200 million fund dedicated to investing in New York’s cannabis industry. The generous interpretation of events is that Governor Hochul has a big heart, though her head is nowhere to be found. A cynical interpretation is that, after spending decades generating revenues and expanding the government’s power by waging war on marijuana users, politicians have now found a way to generate revenues and expand the government’s power by making amends to marijuana users.

Through the fund, New York intends to provide financing for 150 marijuana dispensaries throughout the state. Importantly, the fund will focus on dispensaries to be operated by minorities who suffered under New York’s penal system when marijuana was illegal. Says Lieutenant Governor Antonio Delgado, “It is incumbent upon us to create a socially responsible cannabis industry…that ensures jobs and opportunity for minorities who have long been subject to unfair (cannabis) enforcement…”

The sentiment is laudable, but the effort is misguided. If the goal is to compensate people whose lives and families the state destroyed under the former marijuana laws, why provide money to run marijuana dispensaries? Only some of those marijuana law victims are able to run businesses, and only some of those are available to run these particular businesses. A far better solution would be to reimburse marijuana law victims for the time that New York kept them locked up, and let each decide for himself what to do with the money.

But this investment initiative is about “creating jobs,” the Governor says. Creating jobs is easy. Creating jobs that generate more value than they consume is hard. And the latter is not something at which government excels because government is designed to tell people what to do and to take what it wants. Creating jobs that generate more value than they consume requires convincing consumers to voluntarily hand over their money by offering them something in exchange that they like even better. Pulling that off almost always requires keeping government far away from decision makers, not entrenching it in a framework of licensing, oversight boards, and political appointments.

My GMU Econ colleague Dan Klein defends the rule of law against Bryan Caplan’s questioning of it. (DBx: I find here something agreeable in the positions of each of my colleagues. But I believe that the discussion remains unnecessarily confused and confusing. It would be much-improved if both Bryan and Dan incorporated into their analyses the distinction between legislation and law, as described by Bruno Leoni and F.A. Hayek. Calling legislation “law” serves only to make thinking muddled. Even wholly legitimate legislation is not law; legislation is legislation.)

Juliette Sellgren talks with Peter Van Doren about energy independence.

GMU Econ alum Jon Murphy likes Wyzant.

The woke crowd spoofs itself (as reported here by Robby Soave). (DBx: If this real-world occurrence were written up by Babylon Bee no one would laugh because it seems too nuts.)

The Chinese state continues its insane pursuit of zero covid.

UnHerd‘s Freddie Sayers talks with Martin Kulldorff.