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In a new paper, GMU Econ alum Alex Nowrasteh and Vanessa Brown Calder explain how “the minimum wage undermined the au pair program in Massachusetts.” Here’s the abstract:

The au pair visa program allows young foreign-born individuals to provide in-home childcare in the United States as part of a cultural exchange. Regulated by the U.S. Department of State, au pairs are paid a minimum of $195.75 for a 45-hour work week by sponsor host families in addition to room, board, educational expenses, and other forms of compensation. A ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in December 2019 required sponsor host families in Massachusetts to pay au pairs the state’s considerably higher minimum wage. On January 1, 2020, wage compensation for au pairs rose to $528.63 for a 45-hour work in Massachusetts – a 170 percent increase in the minimum wage. Consequently, the number of new au pairs arriving in Massachusetts in 2022 was 68.1 percent below 2019. The number of new au pairs in all states unaffected by the court’s ruling rose 4.4 percent over the same time. The court-mandated wage increase reduced the number of au pairs and inflicted high costs on American families and au pairs who were not hired.

David Henderson shares a lovely story about Milton Friedman.

Laura Williams casts light on the ugly realities of regulation by government.

Reason‘s Nick Gillespie talks with Virginia Lt. Gov. Winsome Earle-Sears.

Juliette Sellgren talks with GMU Econ alum Eli Dourado about energy abundance.

Michael Crowley explains that “green campaigners are not ‘following the science’ – they are promoting a Biblical fantasy.” A slice:

The zealous, unreasoned activism this kind of thinking promotes is bad enough. But the second effect of this environmentalist apocalypticism is arguably even more damaging. Casting human history and humanity’s achievements as effectively sinful, abominable, indeed fallen, can only demoralise people. It contributes to a broader societal pessimism that undercuts any prospects for positive social change.

Michael P Senger tweets: (HT Jay Bhattacharya)

When President Biden’s official White House Facebook account announced the suspension of J&J’s COVID vaccine, Facebook’s algorithm censored the account for encouraging vaccine hesitancy—an algorithm that had been implemented at the request of Biden’s administration.

The Wall Street Journal‘s James Taranto writes about Georgia governor Brian Kemp. A slice:

In April 2020, businesses in Georgia were shuttered by government decree as in most of the rest of the country. Mr. Kemp was hearing from desperate entrepreneurs: “‘Look man, we’re losing everything we’ve got. We can’t keep doing this.’ And I really felt like there was a lot of people fixin’ to revolt against the government.”

The Trump administration “had that damn graph or matrix or whatever that you had to fit into to be able to do certain things,” Mr. Kemp recalls. “Your cases had to be going down and whatever. Well, we felt like we met the matrix, and so I decided to move forward and open up.” He alerted Vice President Mike Pence, who headed the White House’s coronavirus task force, before publicly announcing his intentions on April 20.

That afternoon Mr. Trump called Mr. Kemp, “and he was furious.” Mr. Kemp recounts the conversation as follows:

“Look, the national media’s all over me about letting you do this,” Mr. Trump said. “And they’re saying you don’t meet whatever.”

Mr. Kemp replied: “Well, Mr. President, we sent your team everything, and they knew what we were doing. You’ve been saying the whole pandemic you trust the governors because we’re closest to the people. Just tell them you may not like what I’m doing, but you’re trusting me because I’m the governor of Georgia and leave it at that. I’ll take the heat.”

“Well, see what you can do,” the president said. “Hair salons aren’t essential and bowling alleys, tattoo parlors aren’t essential.”

“With all due respect, those are our people,” Mr. Kemp said. “They’re the people that elected us. They’re the people that are wondering who’s fighting for them. We’re fixin’ to lose them over this, because they’re about to lose everything. They are not going to sit in their basement and lose everything they got over a virus.”

Mr. Trump publicly attacked Mr. Kemp: “He went on the news at 5 o’clock and just absolutely trashed me. … Then the local media’s all over me—it was brutal.” The president was still holding daily press briefings on Covid. “After running over me with the bus on Monday, he backed over me on Tuesday,” Mr. Kemp says. “I could either back down and look weak and lose all respect with the legislators and get hammered in the media, or I could just say, ‘You know what? Screw it, we’re holding the line. We’re going to do what’s right.’” He chose the latter course. “Then on Wednesday, him and [Anthony] Fauci did it again, but at that point it didn’t really matter. The damage had already been done there, for me anyway.”

My GMU Econ colleague Bryan Caplan shares Gabrielle Bauer’s introduction to her new book, Blindsight is 20/20. Here are two slices from Ms. Bauer’s introduction:

Why would a 66-year-old woman object so strenuously to policies designed to keep her safe? My book Blindsight is 2020, recently published in English by the Brownstone Institute and in Spanish by Mandala Ediciones, takes on the question. The book grew out of my deep misgivings about the pandemic lockdowns, mandates, and what I call Covid culture. I’m honored to share a few details about the book with this community.

Remember the early days, when everyone was telling us to follow the science? Like many others, I had a problem with this slogan. From the day the lockdowns were announced, I wondered: Why are only scientists being consulted? Where are the mental health experts to tell us how social isolation will affect our most vulnerable, both young and old? Where are the economists to insist on a cost-benefit analysis? Where are the ethicists to weigh in on the appropriate balance between risk avoidance and human rights? Or the philosophers to zoom out to the big questions, like the perils of splitting off biological subsistence from meaningful living?


Letting people die alone may align with the goal of viral containment, but that doesn’t mean it serves the “greater good,” whatever the term means. Yale University philosopher Samantha Godwin made this point in 2021 Tweet: “We have collectively accepted, without meaningful debate, the ideological belief that the greater good can be equated with maximum COVID mitigation, without concern for or recognition of the collateral harms caused by these mitigation efforts.” I wrote the book to give pride of place to such insights, which the mainstream Covid narrative has summarily discounted.

The dominant narrative positioned the virus as the enemy in a planetary war—an enemy we must fight to the bitter end, costs be damned. But as it became clear that we were waging an unwinnable war, a second story began gaining momentum. This story cast Covid as a guest that, while not exactly welcome, was here to stay, so we needed to find a way to coexist with it without destroying our social fabric. In his book Gone Viral, Justin Hart calls the supporters of each story Team Apocalypse and Team Reality, respectively.