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Pierre Lemieux writes insightfully about a Financial Times columnist who Pierre correctly describes as being “quite attuned to the zeitgeist of our times.” Here’s Pierre’s conclusion:

It is not impossible—and I am saying this seriously—that the Financial Times columnist is right and that I, and all classical liberals and libertarians of the past three centuries, are wrong. Perhaps a most just and prosperous future lies in a fuzzy mixture of dirigiste-authoritarian ideas from the left and the right. Or perhaps, more realistically, some of the currently fashionable ideas, stripped of their worst coercive features—that is, reinterpreted à la Hayek* or à la Buchanan**—have something salvageable. But it seems quite obvious, doesn’t it, that the reign of Homo Politicus Perfectus is a regression toward mankind’s impoverished and tribal or collectivist past.

Clark Packard describes the “high cost of a ‘hard’ decoupling from China.” Two slices:

Practically speaking, in order to operationalize a hard economic break with China, the U.S. would need to hire dramatically more customs agents as well as export control and investment monitors to police everyday transactions. Furthermore, as Adam Posen, president of the Peterson Institute for International Economics, recently noted in an excellent Foreign Policy essay,

A unilateral U.S. withdrawal from commerce with China would be partially offset by other economies taking up market share where the United States no longer operated. If anything, it would increase the arbitrage opportunities for other countries and for companies headquartered elsewhere to trade and invest where the United States ceased to do so.

[…] In order for such restrictions to succeed, the United States would have to become a commercial police state on an unprecedented scale. The United States would also have to monitor and prevent its own headquartered companies from moving activities abroad. Washington has done this, on a limited scale, on specific technology transfers. But scale matters, and current proposals would be an order of magnitude more ambitious and thus infeasible.

Even more daunting than the feasibility of administering such a regime, there are tremendous economic costs of a hard decoupling.

When the Trump administration levied extensive tariffs on imports from China—nearly 70 percent of all imports are now covered by an average tariff of 20 percent, up from about 3 percent before the trade war began—the results were predictably bad. According to the New York Federal Reserve, the tariffs cost the average American household an estimated $830 per year when accounting for direct costs and efficiency losses and led to a staggering $1.7 trillion loss in market capitalization for businesses due to slowed investments. My Cato colleague Scott Lincicome and I estimate that the tariffs effectively nullified about half the average household’s savings from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.


While it is likely that some trade and investment between the United States and China will—and maybe should—decline in this era of strategic competition between near‐​peers, the reality is that a lot of two‐​way trade and investment is largely benign—and in no way “strategic,” i.e., at the nexus of technology and national security. Sabine Weyand, the European Union’s Director‐​General for Trade, recently noted in an essay for Internationale Politik Quarterly that 94 percent of EU trade with China is “unproblematic” and that only about six percent is the result of a one‐​sided dependency for EU member nations. A comparable analysis for the United States would almost certainly produce similar results.

Juliette Sellgren talks with my Mercatus Center colleague Christine McDaniel about trade.

My intrepid Mercatus Center colleague Veronique de Rugy wisely warns against government efforts to police against mis- and disinformation. A slice:

This is why a Department of Homeland Security “anti-terrorism” program, which distributed approximately $40 million to groups with a tendency to demonize their political opponents, is worrisome. For instance, the agency has funded a program that has produced material classifying mainstream conservative organizations such as the Heritage Foundation, Fox News and the GOP as only a few steps removed from neo-Nazis and far-right terrorists in terms of the threat of radicalization they represent.

I sometimes criticize conservative political rhetoric, but it’s far-fetched to believe that simply watching Fox News puts one on the road to radicalization any more than watching MSNBC does. People are always entitled to their opinions. A government that forgets this could end up normalizing censorship while rendering us all less alert to real threats of radicalization.

The Wall Street Journal‘s Editorial Board rightly decries this: “Remember when Ford’s slogan was ‘Quality is Job One’? Those were the days. Now pleasing the government is job one as the Detroit auto maker shovels up taxpayer subsidies to fuel its government-mandated electric-vehicle transition.”

Eric Boehm is justly critical of the FTC’s new lawsuit against Amazon.

George Will writes eloquently about immigration. A slice:

Conservatives lacking confidence in the nation’s capacity for assimilation should know that among the 11 million (down from 12.3 million in 2007) illegal immigrants, 62 percent have been here at least 10 years, 21 percent at least 20 years, only 15 percent for less than five years, and 35 percent own their homes. They have assimilated.

Immigration, “the sincerest form of flattery,” is an entrepreneurial act: Families who risk everything by walking from Guatemala to Texas will probably enhance American industriousness.

Immigrants are prolific at starting companies — [Tim] Kane says start-ups create 3 million jobs a year, and “there is no net job creation” without them. Ignore the “lump of labor” fallacy that there is a fixed amount of work, hence a fixed demand for workers. (Do you remember how the nation suffered when tractors displaced agricultural workers? No, you don’t.)

Jon Miltimore reports that “Norway’s wealth tax is backfiring.”

Krishnan Chittur tweets: (HT Jay Bhattacharya)

Starting in 2020, as I was watching the madness unfold, I started deliberately stopping people in grocery stores, gas stations and thanking them for working. Those “essential” workers (not part of the laptop class) were who kept the economy from collapsing and keeping the ruling class comfortable.

It was devastating to find how some of those same people were fired for later not wanting the “vaccine” even as many were infected, immune. What the ruling class did to the millions of working poor was and remains inexcusable – and yet no one in the ruling class has paid any price – their lives have only gotten better off the backs of those “essential” workers.