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Writing in the Wall Street Journal, J.W. Verret – one of my GMU colleagues over in the law school – explains why he hopes that a pending lawsuit against the Securities and Exchange Commission will prevent that bureaucracy from compelling corporations from participating in today’s culture war. A slice:

For decades, the SEC maintained that proposals concerning the ordinary business or everyday workings of a company weren’t fit for inclusion in proxy statements. It was a sensible position, acknowledging that decisions about what a company should sell or how it should operate were best left to the professionals running the business, not shareholder plebiscites.

Yet on Mr. Gensler’s watch the SEC executed a dramatic reversal. The agency determined in November 2021 that shareholder proposals could be exempt from the ordinary-business rule as long as they “raise significant social policy issues.” That reinterpretation has not only turned a neutral and sensible process into a political fight but has also put the SEC in a position to decide arbitrarily what counts as “significant social policy issues.” This has allowed the agency essentially to compel progressive speech, according to the National Association of Manufacturers’ intervention in a recent lawsuit by the National Center for Public Policy Research against the SEC.

Also writing in the Wall Street Journal, Phil Gramm and Mike Solon explain “how Congress can stop Biden’s regulatory onslaught.” Two slices:

Before the rise of the regulatory state, America’s economic exceptionalism flowed from clear constitutional boundaries between the spheres of individual freedom and government power. All major federal initiatives were circumscribed by the Constitution and required legislation by both houses of Congress followed by the president’s signature. With rare exceptions, major policy changes required broad bipartisan support to gain a majority in the House and overcome a potential filibuster in the Senate. The result was economic and political stability enforced by checks and balances. While political inertia frustrated elected officials, the benefits of unparalleled economic certainty and unmatched freedom to work, save and invest delivered unequaled prosperity.

With the rise of the regulatory state, every sector of the economy can now be significantly altered by presidential action through executive initiatives with little basis in law. Checked only by the delayed restraints imposed by the courts, presidents now assert unilateral powers so that presidential elections alone produce dramatic shifts in public policy

Based on almost every conceivable measure of federal power, America’s historic economic certainty and the constitutional system of checks and balances that provides it are under siege by President Joe Biden’s “whole government” regulatory onslaught. In a closely divided Congress, timely defense of our constitutional system and limited government now depends on the ability of a five-vote House Republican majority to restore the power of the purse.


The nation needs a replay of the debt-limit unity among House Republicans to bring the Biden imperial presidency back under constitutional control. As James Madison, the father of the Constitution, envisioned it, the power of the purse was “the most complete and effectual weapon with which any constitution can arm the immediate representatives of the people, for obtaining a redress of every grievance.”

Tony Gill explains the connection between minimum-wage legislation and retailers going cashless.

Stephanie Slade writes about some real differences separating Natcons from “freecons.”

Megan McArdle reports on research that finds a connection between minimum wages and homelessness: the higher the former, the higher the latter. A slice:

This suggestion comes from Seth J. Hill, a professor of political science at the University of California San Diego, who recently published a striking analysis of cities that raised their minimum wages between 2006 and 2019. He found that in these cities homelessness grew by double-digit percentage points. The effect was larger for cities with bigger minimum-wage increases, and it also appeared to get stronger over time.

I’ll confess, I was doubtful as I started reading this paper. For one thing, I already assume that minimum wage hikes cause significant unemployment, and I try to bring extra skepticism to research that flatters my opinions. For another, this paper is a preprint, not yet peer reviewed. For a third, homelessness seems to be spiking despite an incredibly tight labor market. And finally, I’ve been convinced by policy analysts who argue that the main driver of homelessness is the refusal of liberal cities to build enough housing.

But when I actually finished the paper, the study seemed solid. Moreover, Hill’s conclusions are plausibly modest. After all, the vulnerable people who are most likely to end up homeless — those with substance abuse or mental health problems, unstable family situations and so forth — are probably also the most likely to be let go when employers trim payrolls. And this effect doesn’t have to be large to have a big impact on homelessness, because the number of homeless people is (thankfully) small relative to the size of the labor market.

David Henderson takes a skeptical yet clear look at “market failure.”

Here’s Robert Pondiscio on Moms for Liberty.

Walter Olson explains that “the same First Amendment that protects Lorie Smith protects the Target corporation.”

Retsef Levi tweets: (HT Jay Bhattacharya)

Very accurate and powerful observations by Mike Rowe about how should we think as scientists and about science!

If you are a true scientist you speak with data, facts, logic, humanity and humility – not with arrogance, prestige and titles!