≡ Menu

Some Links

GMU Econ alum Dominic Pino, writing at National Review, corrects an error in Sen. Marco Rubio’s latest call for protectionism. Two slices:

An op-ed from Senator Marco Rubio (R., Fla.) says, “Amoxicillin Shortage Shows the Need for Domestic Drug Production.”

It does not, in fact, show that.

There have been some shortages of amoxicillin this fall due to a surge in prescriptions for antibiotics. According to the Washington Post article that the press release cites, “The shortage isn’t at a crisis level and may be short-term, lasting as long as the season of illness does. . . . Still, for now, some may run into snags getting their prescriptions filled.”

That’s a problem, but the relevant question to evaluate Rubio’s proposal is: Would more domestic production make it less of a problem?

We know from the experience of the baby-formula shortage that domestic production does not ensure stable supply. Nearly all baby formula sold in the United States is produced in the United States, and that shortage was far more widespread than this one for amoxicillin is.


Rubio provides no evidence in his op-ed that the present shortages in amoxicillin would be ameliorated by domestic production. What we know about domestic production from the baby-formula shortage indicates it could make things worse. Either way, the causes of the current shortages are demand-side, and Rubio’s supply-chain proposal is not germane.

Scott Sumner is correct: “The only consistency in the protectionist position is that they always favor the policy that makes society as a whole worse off.”

Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Scott Hodge accounts the child tax credit as a failure. A slice:

A new study by Congress’s Joint Committee on Taxation assesses both the budgetary and economic impact of expanding the child tax credit. First, JCT determined that it would be a budget-buster, reducing revenue by more than $1.3 trillion over the next decade. By contrast, all provisions of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act combined reduced revenues by roughly $1.5 trillion over a decade.

The child tax credit is a drain not only on the federal budget but on the nation’s economy. JCT’s economic models predict that over a decade the policy would reduce the labor supply by 0.2% and reduce the amount of capital by 0.4%. As a result of the reduced supply of labor and capital investment, gross domestic product would shrink by 0.2%.

Aside from the effect on redistribution, nonpayers and the economy, the policy did something worse to the way we think about taxes—it conditioned conservative and liberal lawmakers alike to use the tax code for all manner of social policy.

In the 25 years since the child tax credit was enacted, the number of tax credits has proliferated. There are now tax credits for adoption, daycare expenses, college costs, electric vehicles, solar panels, housing and energy-efficient refrigerators. The Inflation Reduction Act alone created or renewed 26 credits for climate and energy industries. No wonder the IRS is dysfunctional—it’s not equipped to be a social-service agency.

Brendan O’Neill talks with Michael Shellenberger. A slice:

O’Neill: The apocalyptic outlook of climate activists has created a sense of contempt for other people and a desire to punish the masses for going about their daily business. Would you say these protests reflect the fact that they have become a very elitist, cultish movement?

Shellenberger: There’s definitely a cult aspect. You see it in everything they’re demanding. They’re putting people down for driving, for enjoying works of art, for wanting to go to the grocery store and buy milk. The interesting thing, though, is that the whole mainstream news media and the global elites are basically part of this cult. The idea that the world is coming to an end is mainstream among journalists. In global surveys, somewhere between a third and half of people on Earth think that climate change threatens human extinction. That’s not something that’s in any United Nations scientific report. It might be stated at United Nations press conferences, but there’s no science for that.

In some ways, the radicalisation of the climate movement is bizarre. Because it’s won, it’s taken control of all these elite institutions. The movement’s ideology is the official religion of the British government, including the British Conservative Party. It’s the official religion of the United Nations. It’s the official religion of the World Economic Forum. Climate activists have made the great reset, which is fundamentally about a transition to renewables for climate change, the dominant ideology of the global elites. What more do you want?

Wall Street Journal columnist Gerard Baker is on to Trump. A slice:

But a significant part of it, I suspect, is simply Mr. Trump’s eagerness to push the boundaries of acceptable political behavior. It is central to the man’s unique appeal. He has been doing it since he first announced for president more than seven years ago, saying a succession of unsayable things about Mexicans, John McCain and virtually the entire Republican Party.

On a vast ocean of falsehoods, Mr. Trump has floated one indestructible truth—his line about being able to shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and not losing any voters. We are about to discover whether that essential verity still holds, or whether, perhaps, finally people are just starting to tire of the whole unending, enervating circus.

Reason‘s Elizabeth Nolan Brown writes about the courageous Chinese people protesting Beijing’s covidian tyranny.

Also discussing the protests in China against covidian tyranny are members of the Wall Street Journal‘s editorial staff.

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

Michael Senger correctly observes that the covidian tyranny now haunting China is the same sort of tyranny that covidians throughout the world called for in their own countries.