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Texas Tech economist – and GMU Econ alum – Ben Powell says about the CHIPS Act that “the U.S. is serving up pork to semiconductor manufacturers.” Here’s his conclusion:

The $52 billion subsidy bill is just a pig dressed up in high-tech clothes. There is nothing special about the semiconductor industry that justifies subsidies. This is just wasteful pork-barrel politics as usual. Unfortunately, wasteful pork-barrel spending is the one thing that seems capable of getting bipartisan support in Washington these days.

George Will applauds the practical wisdom of last year’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Mahanoy Area School District v. B.L. A slice:

Unfortunately but actually, no reasonable person thinks that the kind of people running American education today know — or, in the unlikely event that they do know, that they care — what constitutional law says about speech protections. Furthermore, Joe Biden’s Education Department, like Barack Obama’s, is pressuring institutions of higher education — which hardly need pressure — to conduct ersatz courts in which people accused of sexual misbehavior are denied due process rights (e.g., the rights to counsel, to confront their accusers, and to not to be convicted by a mere “preponderance” of evidence rather than evidence beyond a reasonable doubt).

My Mercatus Center colleagues Andrew Mercado and Giorgio Castiglia detail some of the distortions introduced by government into the market for baby formula.

John Berlau and Josh Rutzick, writing in the Wall Street Journal, call for the repeal of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. A slice:

The costs of Sarbanes-Oxley are responsible for much of this shift in the size of newly public companies. Academic studies and annual reports show that the law has caused auditing costs to double, triple or even quadruple for many companies. A 2009 study by the Securities and Exchange Commission found that smaller public companies have cost burdens more than seven times those of large ones.

The disproportionate burden on small and midsize companies has spurred bipartisan criticism of Sarbanes-Oxley. As the Obama administration council noted: “Regulations aimed at protecting the public from the misrepresentations of a small number of large companies have unintentionally placed significant burdens on the large number of smaller companies.”

One of Sarbanes-Oxley’s most onerous mandates stems from the two brief paragraphs that constitute Section 404, which requires that public companies have effective “internal controls.” The Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, a quasipublic rule-making agency created by Sarbanes-Oxley, has interpreted this section to mean full-blown audits of any company process that could enable “a reasonable possibility of a material misstatement in the financial statements.”

David Henderson explores the roots of blacks’ recent economic progress. Two slices:

My independent check of the data shows that Riley is right. Each year the US Census reports comprehensive survey data on incomes of various ethnic groups. Its latest report shows that between 2017 and 2019, median income for black households rose from $40,594 to $46,073, a rise of 13.5 percent over just two years. Adjusted for inflation, the increase was a respectable 8.8 percent. For Hispanic households, median income rose from $61,372 in 2917 to $68,703 in 2019, an 11.3 percent increase; inflation adjusted, the increase was 7.3 percent.

How does that compare with progress for white households over those same two years? Their median income rose from $65,273 in 2017 to $72,204, an increase of 10.6 percent. Adjusted for inflation, their median income rose by 6.1 percent.

Notice something interesting: black and Hispanic household incomes rose by a higher percentage than white household incomes.


A case can be made that what’s good for black people is good for the nation. And what’s good for both is economic growth.

We know, and have known since Adam Smith’s 1776 opus, The Wealth of Nations, how to get economic growth: deregulate or keep regulation limited, cut marginal tax rates or keep them low, have relatively free trade, and restrain government spending. Let’s not forget the roots of black and, indeed, all economic progress.

Fiona Harrigan: “55% of America’s Top Startups Were Founded by Immigrants. Why Won’t Congress Let in More?”

Michael Lucci reports that Gavin Newsom is out of touch with reality. Here’s his conclusion:

Newsom wants Americans to believe that he has it figured out in California, and that the new American model for freedom is a progressive one. Yet his state’s aggressive population pivot has coincided almost precisely with his tenure as governor, making Newsom the first California leader to preside over a shrinking state rather than a growing one.

No amount of political rhetoric can mask California’s reality under Governor Newsom. Low-income students are being left behind, the rule of law is eroding, and residents are leaving in record numbers. The many former Californians watching Newsom’s ads in Texas and in Florida can only marvel at the hubris of the man.

Thorsteinn Siglaugsson concludes:

Considering the aforementioned study which found serious complications from Covid-19 in children to be practically non-existent, this raises serious doubts about the continued push for child-vaccination.

TANSTAFPFC (There Ain’t No Such Thing As Free Protection From Covid.)

Jay Bhattacharya tweets:

During the pandemic, public health messaging stigmatized:
➡️kids as disease vectors
➡️the unmasked as unempathic & unpatriotic
➡️the unvaxxed as unclean
➡️the poor & working class who couldn’t comply with lockdowns as irresponsible
Only the compliant laptop class was spared.

Vinay Prasad talks with John P.A. Ioannidis. (HT Jay Bhattacharya) Two slices:

JPAI: The mechanism of action of SARS-CoV-2 vaccines suggested upfront that they would probably not be very effective to halt transmission. The rapid development of vaccines that were apparently very effective for decreasing the risk of serious disease was an amazing success and it could have been a wonderful opportunity to showcase the power of science and to build more trust in public health that had suffered over the years from attacks from the anti-vax movement.

Unfortunately, this opportunity was lost, to a large extent by trying to push an inflated narrative that COVID-19 vaccines are perfect, the ideal silver bullet to put an end to epidemic waves, and having no side effects at all.


VP: Early in the pandemic you were viciously attacked for expressing a policy viewpoint and intuition that is different from others. In a number of ways your core thesis was: in an effort—well intentioned—to control the coronavirus, we may inflict great damage on ourselves. That lesson appears to be borne out in a number of historical and recent events. How do you judge you original intuition?

JPAI: I wish I had been wrong on this point. Unfortunately, I am afraid I might have been correct.