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Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Robert Poole explains that NASA “is stuck in the past.” Two slices:

SLS [NASA’s Space Launch System] and its Orion capsule have been developed using old technology and NASA’s traditional cost-plus procurement process, in which contractors get reimbursed for design changes and cost overruns. Former NASA Deputy Administrator Lori Garver writes in her new book, “Escaping Gravity,” that the agency is paying the manufacturing company Aerojet Rocketdyne $150 million apiece to refurbish the outdated RS-25 outdated engines—$600 million a flight. It is no wonder that taxpayers so far have put nearly $30 billion into the Artemis moon-launch program before its first launch: $12 billion for the first SLS, $14 billion for two Orion crew capsules and $3.6 billion for new SLS launch facilities at Cape Canaveral.


SLS is Congress and NASA traditionalists’ last attempt to preserve the old ways. If SLS fails to meet its mission objectives on its first test flight, Congress shouldn’t continue pouring billions of taxpayer dollars into this 20th-century approach.

(DBx: Proponents of industrial policy should explain why, if politics so dramatically increases NASA’s costs and compels it to stick with old technologies, we Americans can nevertheless be assured that when politicians seize the authority to allocate multiple times more resources than are used by NASA, politics will improve the allocation of resources as it wisely leads us to embrace the ‘industries of the future.’ Why, it’s almost as if industrial-policy advocates believe in miracles.)

John Staddon applauds the American Economic Association for refusing to recognize as a legitimate niche of economic science so-called “stratification economics.” (Also applauding the AEA’s decision is George Leef.)

Allen Guelzo reviews David Hackett Fischer’s new book, African Founders, American Liberty. A slice:

But if there is any message in African Founders, it is that there is no one racial “center” to the American story, that the “contributions of black Americans” have been to a syncretism that celebrates liberty, and as part of a constantly shifting, constantly expanding chorus, not as an alternative solo voice. Fischer is frankly disturbed that “the tone of much American historical writing” has “turned deeply negative,” and abandoned the celebration of the “vibrant traditions of freedom and liberty and the rule of law” in favor of “strident demands for ‘political correctness’” and for historical narratives which are “deliberate falsehoods, actively concocted . . . in new forms of rhetoric and communication.” Fischer is staggered by the claim that the American Revolution was a defense of slavery. How can that be, when Britain’s German mercenaries noted that “you do not see a regiment” in the Continental Army “in which there is not a large number of blacks”? Africans did not contradict American ideas of freedom; they embraced them and enlarged them alongside other Americans “by linking those ideas to a larger spirit of equality and humanity.”

Fischer decries the notion that racism is systemic to America. “Ideologies of racism are errors of modernity,” not of the American Founding, and to condemn America as ineffably racist is not only “fundamentally false” but “misses the successful efforts of twelve generations of Americans” to eradicate it, and to miss their “positive achievements and its central dynamics.” But the objection will arise at once that Fischer is describing just one strain of racism, as though only the fully formed development of race in “modernity” counts as a definition, when there are cognate notions—tribalism, language, religion, nationalism, ethnicity—that have operated as lethal forerunners (and modern cognates) to race since classical times.

David Simon describes the Orwellian-named “Inflation Reduction Act” as “Old Time ‘Global Warming’ Religion.”

My intrepid Mercatus Center colleague Veronique de Rugy argues that the only real and substantive similarity that Biden’s student-loan ‘forgiveness’ shares with the Payroll Protection Program (PPP) is that “[t]hey are both terrible policies.”

David Henderson remembers the late economist Betsy Bailey.

Juliette Sellgren talks with Matt Mitchell about “the continuing punishment of criminal records.”

Nick Gillespie talks with Corey DeAngelis about a silver-lining around the covid-lockdown insanity: greater support for school choice.

Debbie Lerman explains what a pandemic cannot do. Two slices:

A pandemic cannot impose mandates or lockdowns.

A pandemic cannot block borders or force people to stop traveling.

A pandemic cannot shutter schools – overnight or otherwise.


In case there’s any doubt that the effects of a pandemic are separate and distinct from society’s response to the pandemic, we can take a look at Sweden, where schools were never shut down, and where there was no learning loss (ref) and much less devastation to schoolchildren than in countries that closed schools (ref) during the Covid pandemic.

Martin Kulldorff tweets:

The pandemic exposed the true character of people. It has been both stunning and fascinating to watch.