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Joel Zinberg and Casey Mulligan, writing at National Review, report that lockdown states fared worse than did states that didn’t lock down so gruesomely. Two slices:

We recently co-authored a study with colleagues at the Paragon Health Institute showing that states such as Illinois and California that imposed lockdown measures, such as closing business and schools, did not significantly improve health outcomes but had much worse economic and educational outcomes. States such as Florida that rejected lockdowns did much better.


[J.B.] Pritzker and [Gavin] Newsom, along with other Democratic governors such as New York’s Andrew Cuomo, their allies in the press, and the public-health establishment, have consistently vilified Florida and its governor, Ron DeSantis. But as John Adams observed, “facts are stubborn things.” The evidence indicates that when the next pandemic comes, Americans would be well advised to follow leaders like Governor DeSantis, who insisted that there is no virtue in self-imposed economic, educational, and social costs that do not yield clear health dividends.

Jay Bhattacharya tweets:

There was no “evolution of the science”. Many scientists worldwide knew that the vax does not stop transmission by spring/summer 2021. The 2020 clinical trials did not check for transmission-blocking.

GMU law professor Josh Wright defends Section 230. A slice:

The point is to encourage content moderation by websites, and by extension to encourage variation in content moderation across the internet. Section 230 is why the modern internet features heavily moderated websites and less moderated websites, and users can devote their time and attention to the websites they like best — and advertisers can make choices about the websites they patronize based upon these decisions by users. We are witnessing this dynamic in real time as Twitter, now owned by Elon Musk, makes various changes to the platform to which both users and advertisers react — market forces at work.

The Economist is understandably impressed with “America’s astonishing economic record.” Two slices:

Yet the anxiety obscures a stunning success story—one of enduring but underappreciated outperformance. America remains the world’s richest, most productive and most innovative big economy. By an impressive number of measures, it is leaving its peers ever further in the dust.

Start with the familiar measure of economic success: GDP. In 1990 America accounted for a quarter of the world’s output, at market exchange rates. Thirty years on, that share is almost unchanged, even as China has gained economic clout. America’s dominance of the rich world is startling. Today it accounts for 58% of the G7’s GDP, compared with 40% in 1990. Adjusted for purchasing power, only those in über-rich petrostates and financial hubs enjoy a higher income per person. Average incomes have grown much faster than in western Europe or Japan. Also adjusted for purchasing power, they exceed $50,000 in Mississippi, America’s poorest state—higher than in France.


American firms own more than a fifth of patents registered abroad, more than China and Germany put together. All of the five biggest corporate sources of research and development (R&D) are American; in the past year they have spent $200bn. Consumers everywhere have benefited from their innovations in everything from the laptop and the iPhone to artificial-intelligence chatbots. Investors who put $100 into the S&P 500 in 1990 would have more than $2,000 today, four times what they would have earned had they invested elsewhere in the rich world.

Here’s GMU Econ alum Dominic Pino’s summary of the above Economist report.

Also from Dominic Pino is this report on work by serious scholars debunking the uninformed narrative – most lately pressed by Princeton University sociologist Matthew Desmond – that poverty in America is unconscionably high. A slice:

Today at the American Enterprise Institute, poverty scholars spoke against Desmond’s argument and the negative narrative about American antipoverty programs in general. Kevin Corinth, an AEI senior fellow who previously served at the Joint Economic Committee in Congress and the Council of Economic Advisers at the White House, said of Desmond’s book, “I have read every word, and it’s not good.”

Desmond’s argument, that the last 50 years have seen no progress in America against poverty, is based on the official government measure of poverty. It is true that the official poverty rate has fluctuated between 10 and 15 percent for the past 50 years.

But there’s a problem with that interpretation of the data. “It’s for a very simple reason that serious researchers have known for a very long time: The official poverty measure does not include much of the government assistance,” Corinth said. “If you were to include all the benefits we provide, you get a much different picture of poverty.”

Corinth and other researchers have calculated the “full-income poverty rate,” which includes all the government assistance poor people receive. Where the official poverty rate was 10.5 percent in 2019, the full-income poverty rate was 1.6 percent. The full-income poverty rate was around 19 percent in 1963, around 7 percent 20 years later, and gradually declining to 1.6 percent since then — a long-running decline, contrary to Desmond’s portrayal.

Scott Winship, director of AEI’s Center of Opportunity and Social Mobility, illustrated the absurdity of Desmond’s use of the official poverty number by running it in reverse. He said, “If you use today’s official poverty line, the poverty rate in 1963 would have been 70 percent.”

The F.T.C. should not prohibit non-compete clauses.

I very much enjoyed my recent conversation with my friend and TFAS president Roger Ream.

George Will isn’t surprised by declining enrollments in American institutions of “higher learning.” A slice:

There are powerful, immediate financial incentives to study, say, computer science rather than Victorian literature, but economic incentives only partially explain today’s flight from the humanities. Why study history when it is presented as a prolonged indictment — ax-grinding about the past’s failure to be as progressive as today’s professors? Who wants a literature major that is mostly about abstruse literary theories — “deconstruction,” etc.?

Recently the New Yorker magazine disturbed the academic pond with writer Nathan Heller’s 10,232-word attempt to explain plummeting enrollments in humanities classes and majors (“The End of the English Major”). Heller’s nuanced investigation suggests various explanations, including this:

Time was, Heller says, a student might have studied Jane Austen’s “Mansfield Park” for its “form, references, style, and special marks of authorial genius.” But now a student “might write a paper about how the text enacts a tension by both constructing and subtly undermining the imperial patriarchy through its descriptions of landscape.” Heller adds: “What does this have to do with how most humans read?”

Nothing. But it has everything to do with the saturation of academia with progressive politics.