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GMU Econ alum Dominic Pino rightly refuses to join in Wells King’s and Dan Vaughn’s applause for the Reagan administration’s protection from imports of U.S.-based automobile factories. A slice:

American Compass wants conservatives to be more friendly to organized labor, with executive director Oren Cass arguing for European-style sectoral bargaining. If the U.S. had adopted that approach in the ’80s, it would have been much harder, if not impossible, for Japanese carmakers to build in the U.S.

All things considered, there is decent evidence in King and Vaughn’s piece that American car companies benefited from Reagan’s decision. But should it be the federal government’s job to protect them from competition? If so, is it also the federal government’s job to protect other large companies that employ many Americans from competition? Meta, the parent company of Facebook, just announced it will be cutting jobs and freezing hiring because its revenue is falling. Part of the reason for Meta’s recent struggles is that it is facing stiff competition from ByteDance, the Chinese company that owns TikTok.

Is this a case for more protectionism?

I don’t think that I have yet (until now) linked to this May 2019 conversation between Steve Forbes and Deirdre McCloskey.

GMU Econ graduate student Kacey Reeves West shares prudent advice to entrepreneurs from Adam Smith.

Bravo for nurse Laura Morgan. Here’s a slice from her piece in today’s Wall Street Journal:

I was fired from my nursing job this year for refusing to take “implicit bias” training. After 39 years of providing equal care to all my patients without regard to their race, I objected to a mandatory course grounded in the idea that I’m racist because I’m white. I fear every healthcare professional will soon be forced to make the same awful decision I did: Falsely admit to being racist or abandon the medical field.

My ordeal started in September 2021 when my employer, Dallas-based Baylor Scott & White Health, rolled out its annual training modules for clinical educators. The list included “Overcoming Unconscious Bias.” After viewing the interactive course, I contacted my supervisor and asked for a meeting with the chief nursing officer and the human resources director. The former sent a surrogate; the latter didn’t attend. After two meetings, it was clear that I wouldn’t be given an exemption. My supervisor told me, “I don’t want you to die on this cross.”

But I did. The idea of implicit bias is grounded in the belief that white people treat those who aren’t white worse than those who are. It’s part of the woke assumption that society, including healthcare, suffers from “systemic racism.” Accordingly, my own supposed implicit bias, which is a euphemism for ingrained racism, must be rooted out. Not only that, it must be replaced with preferential treatment for the nonwhite. I fail to see how real racial discrimination is justified by my nonexistent racism.

George Will explains that “Biden’s slapdash, election-season student loan gambit may be in trouble.” Two slices:

The Pacific Legal Foundation, libertarian litigators with no shortage of things to litigate against, might have found the key to unlocking a courthouse door. If it has, President Biden’s slapdash, election-season, $500 billion (at least) student-loan forgiveness might perish from multiple flaws.

Its grossest flaw is forgetfulness regarding the Constitution’s appropriations clause, which — in case it has slipped your mind, as it evidently has Biden’s — says: “No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law.”

How else does student-loan forgiveness violate statutory and constitutional law, common sense, and justice? Let us count the ways.

It transfers wealth upward to a mostly affluent minority — college graduates, withhigher projected lifetime earnings (on average, nearly $1 million higher) than the nearly two-thirds of Americans without college degrees who will pay, as taxpayers, to improve the financial condition of those who do. Forgiveness is unjust to students who worked and scrimped to avoid accumulating education debt. And to those who repaid their debts. Forgiveness creates moral hazard: Future students will borrow in anticipation of future forgiveness. Forgiveness draws arbitrary distinctions: Why is student debt a more pressing problem than, say, consumer or auto or mortgage debt? The half-trillion-dollar expenditure will dwarf the postulated $248 billion in savings from the new, whimsically titled Inflation Reduction Act.


Presidents properly wield “emergency” powers not to solve long-standing problems, but only in sudden, unexpected, fast-moving crises, and only until Congress can exercise its lawmaking jurisdiction. Biden, however, announced his loan forgiveness as an act of executive discretion justified by a law written in response to the Iraq War, an emergency that is over — a law repurposed to inflate presidential power during the declared pandemic emergency.

But about a month after Biden announced the forgiveness, he said: “The pandemic is over.” Nevertheless, progressives praise all this. Their praise has temporarily interrupted their professions of alarm about endangered constitutional, rule-of-law and democratic norms.

Michael Tanner argues against the expansion of government welfare for the middle-class.

Juliette Sellgren talks with Darren Staloff about America’s founding.

My intrepid Mercatus Center colleague Veronique de Rugy makes clear that she is pro-market and not pro-“business.” A slice:

Remember the fight between the monks of St. Joseph Abbey in Covington, Louisiana, and the embalmers and funeral directors of that state? The monks wanted to sell unadorned, handmade pine and cypress caskets. Funeral directors and embalmers didn’t like this competition and resorted to using the power of the state licensing board to forbid it. Eight of the nine board members worked in the funeral industry.

Thankfully, the Institute for Justice represented the monks and in 2013 won a victory against the cronies. Unfortunately, many businesses in many industries around the country that are oppressed by licensing boards continue to be victimized without recourse.

For all these reasons, I, like many other free market advocates, do not consider myself pro-business. In fact, those who read me regularly know that I would like to get rid of all forms of government handouts, whether that means subsidies, loans or loan guarantees, entry restrictions such as those created by occupational licensing, and protectionist barriers like tariffs.

Australians for science and freedom.”

Ian Williams reports that “China’s lockdown nightmare is far from over.”

Jay Bhattacharya tweets:

Every time someone dismantles a useless plexiglass barrier, an angel gets its wings.