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Here’s part 27 of George Selgin’s brilliant series on the Great Depression, the New Deal, and recovery. A slice:

If [Franklin] Roosevelt has gotten too much credit for the FDIC’s establishment, he deserves more credit than he’s received for having recognized the dangers it and similar deposit schemes pose, and for having preferred other options for that reason.

Speaking of George Selgin, he was recently interviewed by Reuvain Borchardt.

David Boaz finds evidence in support of Phil Magness’s and Michael Makovi’s thesis that Karl Marx was a relatively minor figure until being turned into a major one by the Russian revolution. (HT David Henderson)

Brian Balfour explains some harms caused by progressive taxation.

Reason‘s Eric Boehm understandably isn’t surprised by the damage done by the return of tariffs on baby formula.

The Wall Street Journal‘s Editorial Board understandably isn’t buying U.S. Commerce secretary Gina Raimondo’s attempt to justify the strings attached to the subsidies dispensed by the CHIPS Act. A slice:

Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo has one heck of a deadpan. Semiconductor companies that want federal funds under the Chips Act are being told to follow mandates from the Biden Administration on everything from child care to union pay for construction workers. Ms. Raimondo is insisting with a straight face that this is only about helping chip makers be successful.

“There is zero ‘social policy’ that we’re trying to achieve here,” she told the Journal in an interview. “We want them to show us a workforce plan, including how they think about child care, not because we have a social agenda but because we know [that] they’re struggling to hire workers.” You’re trying too hard, Madam Secretary.

When the Commerce Department began rolling out the rules in February, news reports noted President Biden’s grand ambitions to subsidize child care. Once it became clear those ideas would fail on Capitol Hill, as the New York Times reported, “Ms. Raimondo gathered aides around a conference table. She told them, she said, that ‘if Congress wasn’t going to do what they should have done, we’re going to do it in implementation’ of the bills that did pass.”

J.D. Tuccille writes about current ‘farm’ bill that it “embodies all that is wrong with American lawmaking.” A slice:

In many ways, the farm bill up for consideration this year in Congress embodies all that is wrong with American lawmaking. It’s a massive piece of legislation, combining unrelated matters to commit the U.S. government to spending mind-bending amounts of money at a single go. Passed roughly every five years, farm bills are less about legislating in any deliberative sense than they are about lawmakers packaging a trillion-plus dollars of goodies and committing taxpayers to fund them for years to come—and then doing it over and over again.

Dr Ben Irvine tweets about England: (HT Jay Bhattacharya)

March 2020 was like 56m people pushing at a gigantic towering dam and toppling it over. Then, as the floods ravaged the plains, a few of the vandals who had found high ground started prancing around and lamenting the floods and saying the disaster wasn’t their fault.

Ramesh Thakur reports on the retreat of the official covidian narrative. Two slices:

Panic saw 100 years of evidence-based pandemic response programmes junked. The accumulated wisdom was to quarantine the sick, not those feeling well; to prioritise the most vulnerable, not coerce the least vulnerable. I’ve gone back to read the CDC’s 2017 ‘Community Mitigation Guidelines to Prevent Pandemic Influenza‘. Among its conclusions:

  • The CDC “might recommend the use of face masks by ill persons as a source control measure during severe, very severe, or extreme influenza pandemics when crowded community settings cannot be avoided.” However, “little evidence supports the use of face masks by well persons in community settings”.
  • “Persons in community settings who show symptoms consistent with influenza and who might be infected with (probable) pandemic influenza should be separated from well persons as soon as practical, be sent home, and practice voluntary home isolation.”

While Sweden was a lonely outlier in sticking with existing science and plans, almost all others chose experimentation over decades of experience. Bizarrely, with lockdown normalised as the default response, Sweden was the one called on to explain staying with its existing plan.

This happened because superstition-driven diktat took over in the wish to be seen to be doing something. Fear was instrumentalised to terrify citizens. A Yale study in November 2021 concluded that public health messaging was effective in shaming and embarrassing people into getting vaccinated to protect themselves, in the belief that this would also expedite the date on which the entire community could be released from the restrictions.


On every major point of contention in managing the pandemic, the Great Barrington Declaration was right. The commonsense distilled into the few words of the Great Barrington Declaration was an uncommon virtue. Fearmongers-in-Chief like Neil Ferguson, Anthony Fauci (whose omniscience deserted him during deposition) and a host of PUIs (Pfizer’s useful idiots) were wrong. The three eminent scientist-authors were taken down savagely and belittled as “fringe epidemiologists.”