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David Henderson writes about The Beatles’s – specifically, George Harrison’s – Taxman. A slice:

In the United States, we don’t have the high tax rates that George Harrison wrote about in 1966. But we do have pretty high rates. The top combined federal and state tax rates for a Californian is 37 percent federal, plus 13.3 percent state, plus 3.8 percent on net investment income, for a total of 54.1 percent. If President Biden got his way, which, fortunately, he probably won’t, the top federal income tax rate would be 39.6 percent. That would bring the top marginal tax rate for a Californian with investment income to 56.7 percent.

Mitch Daniels shares some facts from Phil Gramm’s, Robert Ekelund’s, and John Early’s excellent 2022 book, The Myth of American Inequality. Two slices:

Just as powerfully refuted, yet every bit as immune to plain factual evidence, are various reflex responses in the catechism of today’s political left. Aren’t more than 12 percent of Americans living in poverty? Isn’t income wildly unequal in the country and becoming more so? Aren’t U.S. living standards lower and less equal than those in other developed countries?

The answers, every bit as documented as the last election’s results, are no, no and no. The difference is that our political “narratives,” and those shaping them, routinely label the election denials as false or even “lies,” but ignorantly (I’m making the charitable assumption here) and uncritically parrot these nostrums, though they’ve been disprovedcontinuously over many years.

The latest, and most comprehensive, demolition of these shibboleths comes from the doubly credible former senator Phil Gramm, who before public life was a professor of economics. From both careers, Gramm is vastly more knowledgeable and familiar with the facts about poverty and income distribution than most national legislators, let alone those who inform, and misinform, the public about those topics.

In “The Myth of American Inequality,” Gramm and his two co-authors – Robert Ekelund and John Early, both deeply experienced economic scholars – assemble an overwhelming sledgehammer of facts to establish that we overstate true poverty by a factor of 5 or more. A corollary is that the “Gini coefficients” and other measures of inequality are grossly distorted in the official published numbers.

The primary culprit is the Census Bureau and its archaic and truly astonishing refusal to take account of the hundreds of billions of dollars the government takes in taxes (and borrows) from middle- and upper-income citizens and transfers to those at lower income levels. Other methodological distortions — such as the bureau’s ignoring of fringe benefits and its overstatement of inflation, practices rejected by a broad consensus of statisticians — compound the inaccuracy.


We should keep debating the right means and right amounts of assistance to send from some Americans to others. But constantly misrepresenting and understating what we do for each other, and the results achieved, disrespect the taxpayers who fund this assistance, and foster misimpressions as societally poisonous as other political assertions now routinely labeled as untrue.

Arnold Kling performs a useful mental experiment with the Daniel Penny case.

Anthony Gill offers advice to Taylor Swift. A slice:

And when it comes to monopoly pricing, let me just say this – taxes. Unlike the typical Taylor Swift fan who can choose not to attend a concert if it is priced beyond his liking, the government compels individuals to purchase a variety of public goods and services that those individuals may not want. And while in democracies one might claim that through the ballot box consumers of these goods may have some say in what they pay for and how much, in reality we are often forced to pay for things at rates we do not voluntarily accept. Unless there is unanimity in a vote over how to use resources, at least some minority (and sometimes a majority) may be required to purchase goods and services they don’t want.

Granted, to everyone except the most ardent of anarchists, there may be a case to be made for some level of compulsory taxation to provide the most basic of public goods, namely social order. Thomas Hobbes, Adam Smith, and even James Buchanan have all made that case. But the scope and level of government activities have long surpassed these most basic services.

As for hidden fees, the wide variety of taxes that are collected by government make it very difficult to know what we are purchasing at any given time. Indeed, these taxes are often given other names such as tariffs, licensing fees, levies, and the like. While we could quibble about definitional minutiae, at the end of the day they are all government-mandated financial contributions from individuals. Of course, you may have a choice to avoid some of these taxes, but that choice may come at the cost of not being able to pursue other opportunities. Consider licensing fees that make it cost prohibitive to pursue a career as a hairdresser. If that sounds like services charges on tickets making it difficult to attend a concert, that is because it is the same principle at work.

The Wall Street Journal‘s Editorial Board criticizes the FTC’s increasingly ludicrous interventions on the antitrust front. Two slices:

Yet the FTC claims that if a smaller company were to someday gain approval for a competing drug, Amgen might then offer PBMs larger rebates for its other drugs in return for giving Horizon’s treatments preferred placement on insurer formularies. It says this potential scenario might discourage potential competition.

The Khan FTC has been seeking to revive the ancient antitrust theory of “potential competition,” which was long ago shown to be flawed by antitrust legal scholars and has been discounted in the courts. In the Amgen case, the agency is taking an even greater logical leap in extending what qualifies as a potential antitrust violation.

The FTC doesn’t even attempt to show consumer harm, which is the modern standard for blocking mergers. If the scenario the FTC describes did occur, patients would probably benefit because PBMs use drug maker rebates to reduce insurance premiums.


Investors fund start-ups on the expectation they will be acquired. Ms. [FTC Chairwoman Lina] Khan’s lawsuit will disrupt their calculations and hamper investment and innovation, especially in treatments for rare diseases. The Amgen-Horizon lawsuit may be Ms. Khan’s biggest and most destructive legal overreach so far, and apparently she thinks this is a compliment.

Jacob Sullum is not impressed with Ross Douthat’s and Charles Fain Lehman’s arguments in opposition to the legalization of marijuana.

Tennessee leads the way in removing barriers to foreign doctors.” And “Tennessee becomes the latest state to remove barriers to assistant physicians.

The Naked Emperor exposes the mix of arrogance, ignorance, and foolishness of those persons who have “lockdown nostalgia.” A slice:

Many of the laptop class, those who could work from home, actually enjoyed their freedoms being taken away from them. Sad. Their lives were in such a mess, so exhausting and so stressful that they needed someone to imprison them to feel better about themselves. Instead of taking control of their own existence, by changing things that weren’t working for them, they required society to lock them up. Pathetic.

In some sense I feel sorry for these people. Nobody should feel that their lives are so out of control that they need something as extreme as lockdowns to subdue the chaos. It’s ironic that the worldwide chaos caused by lockdowns actually returned order to those whose lives were already in chaos.

Marty Makary tweets: (HT Jay Bhattacharya)

Over a 100,000 nurses. In NY state alone, 34K quit or were fired due to the vax mandate and yes many had natural immunity. Now hospitals are paying 2-3X more for traveling nurses and passing on the cost to patients in the form of ⬆️ medical bill$$. We should have seen this coming