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Jonathan Barnett is properly critical of today’s Federal Trade Commission. A slice:

Some legislators and regulators argue that preemptive action to block startup acquisitions by large firms is necessary to preserve competitive conditions in technology markets. So far it seems the opposite may be the case.

Continued action by antitrust enforcers to block startup acquisitions (or, in the case of the Altria/Juul transaction, even a minority equity investment) without evidence of competitive harm may preclude new firms from securing the risk capital without which they cannot grow. The campaign against startup acquisitions can easily suppress startup entry — a blatantly anticompetitive outcome that runs counter to the objective of the antitrust laws.

Perhaps of greatest concern, the FTC’s continued intent to bring antitrust cases that rest on meager evidence of competitive harm raises doubts about the agency’s commitment to the rule of law. If the agency is blocking Facebook’s acquisition of Within, what is the principle that explains why it is not also blocking the tens of other acquisitions made by Facebook? Or Walmart? Or Exxon?

This past June, Hillsdale College economist Gary Wolfram explained that, if you’re sick of inflation in America, blame the Fed.

Peter Earle corrects Biden on inflation.

Scott Lincicome’s pieces alone make a subscription to The Dispatch worthwhile.

The Wall Street Journal‘s Editorial Board decries the Trump-Biden tariffs. A slice:

President Biden has rolled back some of Donald Trump’s destructive tariffs, but not enough, and they’re still doing economic harm. New analyses of Mr. Trump’s Section 232 steel and aluminum tariffs show how consumers and manufacturers are still paying for the border taxes that benefit only a few companies.

A study by Harbor Aluminum for the Beer Institute finds that the 10% tariff on imported aluminum cost U.S. beverage manufacturers $1.7 billion from March 2018 through August 2022. About 93% of the $1.7 billion has been pocketed by domestic aluminum producers and smelters in the U.S. and Canada. Only $120 million has gone to the U.S. government.

More than 70% of aluminum in cans is made from recycled scrap metal, which isn’t subject to tariffs. Most aluminum imports come from Canada, which since 2019—aside from a brief reversal in 2020—is no longer covered by the Section 232 tariffs. So beverage manufacturers don’t have to pay tariffs on the vast majority of metal that goes into beer and soda cans.

Yet the tariffs still increase costs for beverage makers as they let domestic aluminum producers raise prices for U.S. manufacturers that buy the metal. This is what tariffs typically do.

Laurie Wastell warns of the dangers of climate alarmism. A slice:

The fact that economic growth makes the world safer, as the Lancet acknowledges, entirely undercuts its warnings about the climate. Eager to tout the many dangers of a warming world, climate alarmists – including at the BBC – forget that thanks to economic growth, total numbers of climate-related deaths have actually fallen 20-fold in the past century. This is despite the massive global population increase in that time, meaning the actual risk to an individual of succumbing to a climate-related death has fallen by 99 per cent.

David Henderson shares his thoughts on John Fetterman’s and Mehmet Oz’s thoughts on minimum-wage legislation.

Thomas Shull talks with Steve Davies about Rishi Sunak.

Dan Klein and Caleb Petitt explore some word usage by Adam Smith.

John Tamny busts myths about China – and warns of Xi’s consolidation of power. A slice:

[Nadia] Schadlow imagines that China’s growth was born of industrial policy directed from the Commanding Heights, and that the US must do the same. How sad. How naïve.

That is so simply because governments are logically constrained by the known of commerce. By definition. We know this because actual commerce is regularly being pulled in all new directions by entrepreneurs feverishly taking us where we never imagined we needed to go. To then pretend as Schadlow does that China’s immense economic strides were planned by bureaucrats speaks to an impressive misunderstanding of how economies grow. Schadlow is basically calling for government types unable to see beyond the present to plan a future that will be defined by the present. Talk about a step backward.

Carl Heneghan, Tom Jefferson, and Jason Oke explain that the reckless Neil Ferguson and his Imperial College colleagues “scared the world into lockdown with a covid fatality rate up to 20-fold higher than the latest data show.”

Frank Palmer on covid tyranny. Two slices:

In 2020 this country [the U.K.], like a number of others, was subjected to a tyranny which our political leaders and the medical establishment, with the assistance of the mainstream media, imposed upon us in a style reminiscent of, if not inspired by, communist China.


Even more powerfully, the 19th century philosopher and theologian Søren Kierkegaard brought out the ethical importance of resisting blind conformity by describing ‘the crowd as the untruth’, by which he meant that, ethically speaking, the crowd is an abstraction, not a person, and that hiding behind this abstraction ‘renders the individual completely impenitent and irresponsible or, at least, weakens his sense of responsibility by reducing it to a fraction’. To deny one’s own personal responsibility by seeking refuge in the crowd (even if it is a crowd of four) is to ‘flee in cowardice from being an individual’.

The huge number of people who felt no resistance or outrage against the inhumane restrictions carried out against us in the name of a virus that was not exactly the new Black Death were/are not suffering from psychosis, but, for a variety of different reasons, succumbed to a permanent feature of human nature. They were morally culpable for that compliance and in some cases, are still refusing to see the threat of future restrictions in the name of what Michael Gove and others have parroted as ‘The New Normal’, the WEF’s ‘Great Reset’. More crucially, the Mass Psychosis view does not explain why a number of us resisted. That was due, among other things, to courage, natural scepticism of mass movements, a love of truth, moral values deeper than mere physical safety, an ability to see through the empty virtue-signalling and demonising of the ‘unclean’ (the non-masked and non-vaxxed) and, for some of us, a knowledge of the history of totalitarianism. Last, but not least, the possession of wisdom, the gradual disappearance of which was lamented by T S Eliot in the epigraph to this article. Where indeed is ‘the Life we have lost in living’?

Jay Bhattacharya tweets:

The most dangerous source of misinformation is a government that seeks to censor misinformation.