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George Will, although more comfortable than I am with some U.S.-government-dispersed subsidies to producers of semiconductors, nevertheless rightly worries that these subsidies will become malignantly cancerous. Three slices:

It would be easier to be sanguine about the government’s coming disbursal of $52 billion in subsidies for semiconductor manufacturing and research if Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo did not celebrate it so lavishly. Her language suggests that what should be a narrow national security measure might become a broad, perennial temptation for government.


Speaking in her office in the Commerce Department building, which is named for a previous secretary (an engineer: Herbert Hoover), Raimondo is emphatic: The reason for subsidizing the “on-shoring” of chips manufacturing is “100 percent national security.” Manufacturers should “produce what the market decides, but do it in America.”

In a November speech, however, Raimondo said these “transformational” subsidies will enable “reimagining our national innovation ecosystem well beyond Silicon Valley.” And she anticipated “new collaborations among businesses, universities, labor, and local communities” concerning “advanced computing, biotechnologies and biomanufacturing, and clean energy technologies.” Hence, “we are working across the government” to “invest in core critical and emerging fields of technology,” for “revitalizing” manufacturing.

So, far from being “100 percent national security,” the rationale for the $52 billion (and more; read on) is government-driven transformation of, potentially, American society.


Government always needs but rarely has epistemic humility, an understanding not just of what it does not know, but what it cannot know. Such as what unplanned-by-government human creativity will cause to emerge, over the horizon. And how government planning of the future, by allocating resources, can diminish it.

Phil Magness finds further evidence that the 1619 Project‘s use of Lord Dunmore’s proclamation rests on a foundation more flimsy than one constructed of loosely arranged dandelion petals.

George Leef remembers Yuri Maltsev.

GMU Econ alum Dominic Pino rightly criticizes the FTC for “using a tool it shouldn’t even have in its toolbox.”

Phil Gramm and Michael Solon, writing in the Wall Street Journal, decry the U.S. government’s fiscal incontinence. A slice:

The Biden administration and the Democratic Congressional leadership admonish Republicans to do the “responsible” thing by raising the debt ceiling to continue the post-pandemic spending surge. President Biden has called Republican efforts to use the debt ceiling to rein in spending “fiscally demented.” In holding the “debt limit hostage,” Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen says Republicans could do “irreparable harm to the U.S. economy.” But at what point does not raising the debt ceiling become less irresponsible than continuing current policy and allowing the country to go broke?

Despite outcries from Democrats and the media, using the debt ceiling to try to rein in spending is hardly a new idea. Since 1985 when Sen. Biden joined a bipartisan effort to adopt Gramm-Rudman-Hollings as a rider to the debt ceiling, the debt ceiling has been raised 50 times, and riders have been adopted as part of raising the debt ceiling 48% of the time. Many of those riders, such as the 1993 Clinton tax hike, the Balanced Budget Act of 1997 and the Pelosi PAYGO Act, were offered by Democrats.

The logic of using the debt ceiling to respond to the growth in the national debt is inherently appealing to most Americans. What better time to call the family together, sit down around the kitchen table, get out the butcher knife and cut up the credit cards.

My Mercatus Center colleague Alden Abbott summarizes the top takeaways from last-week’s 2nd annual Mercatus Antitrust Forum. (Video of the Forum is available here.)

In this video, Marian Tupy busts the myth of overpopulation.

My intrepid Mercatus Center colleague, Veronique de Rugy, isn’t impressed with politicians’ principles.

The Morality of Adam Smith: An Interview with Daniel Klein.”

Dr. Malcolm Kendrick was sparked by news of the resignation of New Zealand strongwoman Jacinda Ardern to again ponder covid. Two slices:

With the resignation of Jacinda Ardern, my thoughts were dragged back to Covid once more. Jacinda, as Prime Minster of New Zealand was the ultimate lockdown enforcer. She was feted round the world for her iron will, but I was not a fan, to put it mildly. Whenever I heard her speak, it brought to mind one of my most favourite quotes:

Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.’ C.S. Lewis

At one point she actually said the following:

“We will continue to be your single source of truth” “Unless you hear it from us, it is not the truth.’

If I ruled the world, anyone who said, that, or anything remotely like that, would be taken as far as possible from any position of power, never to be allowed anywhere near it again. Ever.


In the face of such evidence, the argument for lockdown seems to be transforming into a somewhat pathetic whinge. ‘We didn’t know. It’s all very well people saying we shouldn’t have locked down now. We didn’t hear you saying it at the time. We were just following The Science, don’t blame us. Better safe than sorry. Don’t blame us …I think you’re being very nasty to us.’

This, of course, is nonsense. There were plenty of scientists arguing against lockdown at the time. However, they were all ruthlessly censored, attacked, and silenced. Experts such as Prof. John Ioannidis, Prof. Karol Sikora, Prof. Sunetra Gupta, Prof. Carl Heneghan. These last two UK professors argued very strenuously against lockdowns. They were ignored, then vilified.

Thomas Massie tweets: (HT Jay Bhattacharya)

Why does Biden want to delay ending the COVID emergency for another 100 days? Because he wants to use emergency authorities to shove more money out of the door. It’s been 1000+ days to slow the spread. End the COVID emergency NOW.