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Juliette Sellgren talks with Samuel Gregg about “the next American economy.”

Mike Munger continues to write brilliantly about economics. A slice:

To tell the truth, I often try to take this kind of approach when some of my Duke colleagues whine about capitalism. When I say that the market system provides well for US citizens in absolute terms, I am condescendingly told that poverty should be defined in relative terms. Okay, let’s play: if a minimum wage job in the US means “poor” to you, then you are claiming that it’s better to be poor in the US than to be middle class in most of the world. That’s a plausible argument since so many people want to move to the US. But then the person who wants to argue for “relative wealth” measures faces a problem of logic: if you really want to compare rich and poor, you have to compare the US to the other systems in the world. And by any plausible measure, everyone in the US is rich. Everyone who has a job, even at minimum wage, is in the top 15 percent of the world income distribution.

If our system is so unfair and “exploitative,” then why are tens of thousands of people every year willing to risk their health, even their lives, to try to get here? It’s because even poor people are rich, by comparative standards. The US is a marvel, but our friends on the left have to deny that, because admitting it would mean that their imaginary utopias are not actually better than the system we already have.

Controlled economies are failed economies.”

Kevin Corcoran draws from Arrow’s Impossibility Theorem – or ‘Condorcet’s paradox’ – exactly the same fundamental lesson that I draw from it.

My Mercatus Center colleague Gary Leff describes “the path to abundant air travel.”

Steven Pinker and Bertha Madras explain why they launched Harvard’s Academic Freedom Council. (HT Arnold Kling)

This letter in the Wall Street Journal from Ari Weitzner, M.D., is excellent:

In “Why I Wore a Mask in My Car, Contra Holman Jenkins” (Letters, April 15), Dr. Scott Sundheim unwittingly confirms Mr. Jenkins’s observation that our response to Covid has been unscientific. The good doctor suggests that wearing a mask in his car, prior to picking up his immunocompromised aunt, would decrease the amount of infectious aerosols in the car. Surely, leaving the windows open for a few seconds would be more effective.

In hindsight, we know that Covid spread to nearly all Americans, regardless of mask mandates, which varied among the states. I predicted this, as I noticed that almost everyone’s glasses were getting fogged.

Scientists are supposed to change the theory when evidence contradicts it—that’s the scientific method. The eschewing of common sense and the scientific method by scientists has destroyed my faith in the profession.

Ari Weitzner, M.D.
New York

Scott Jennings was right to be hard on Randi Weingarten.

After reading David Wallace-Wells’s New York Times interview with Fauci, Cockburn writes that “[t]he doctor, once again, proved himself a master of illusion and obfuscation.” A slice:

By far the most irritating for Cockburn, though, is the moralizing and grumbling about the public’s skepticism of the public health establishment and its recommendations. At the beginning of the condensed interview, Fauci mentions the “smoldering anti-science feeling, a divisiveness that’s palpable politically in this country.” The irony is that Fauci is at the epicenter of the crisis that caused that very “smoldering anti-science feeling.”

Take the mask debacle. At the beginning, in March 2020, Fauci argued that masking was unnecessary, that “there’s no reason to be walking around with a mask.” The argument — which, it turns out, was correct — was that masks were not effective enough to wear. Underlying that contention, though, was what those in government felt was a noble lie: the masks were not recommended not because they did not work, but because they wanted to make sure healthcare workers had access to them, primarily the N95. Then, all of a sudden, the guidance did a 180 and masks were not only protective, but mandated. Even when evidence began to pour in that cloth and surgical masks were not effective enough to warrant mandating them, nothing changed. This is why there is a crisis of trust, a “smoldering anti-science feeling”; it is not so much anti-science as it is skepticism of government claims to science.

And then there was the lockdown policy. The doctor said in the interview that “somehow or other, the general public didn’t get that feeling that the vulnerable are really, really heavily weighted toward the elderly. Like 85 percent of the hospitalizations are there.” Why was that the case? It happened because the public health establishment failed to communicate. Fauci would likely disagree: “Did we say that the elderly were much more vulnerable? Yes. Did we say it over and over and over again? Yes, yes, yes.” Fair enough, but the public health institutions paired those warnings with policy recommendations that said the contrary. Why was he suggesting that students still be masked mid-2021? Why were the teachers’ unions so involved in crafting school reopening processes? Where was Fauci when a voice of reason was needed in the school reopening process? He can point to a few meek comments, but where was the pandemic warrior he likes to portray himself as? It was this kind of behavior that helped produce an “anti-science feeling” in the country; it was a lack of honesty, a lack of consistency and the appearance of foul play.