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Jason Sorens documents some harmful consequences of zoning.

John Stossel explains how Central Park has been revitalized by spontaneous order.

Jennifer Huddleston isn’t impressed with the new proposed merger guidelines. Three slices:

The changes in these draft proposed new guidelines are significant and will have a negative impact on companies of all sizes and consumers, as well as allow more government interference in the economy in general. While there is much more to dig into with the specifics of these new guidelines, at a high level they are particularly concerning for the shift away from a long‐​standing focus on consumers.


Making mergers and acquisitions more difficult eliminates one exit strategy for companies. Some small companies may be seeking to make an existing product better, and they find being acquired by that product’s original developer is the best way to reach a wider audience. Others may find that they enjoy being entrepreneurs or creating new products, but they have no desire to manage the many aspects that come with a growing company. Some may find that they do want to challenge existing giants and remain independent and eventually “go public” via an initial public offering (IPO). All of these should be considered valid strategies in different situations, but the added difficulty and scrutiny of the revised merger guidelines would make it more difficult for those small companies whose preferred strategy involves acquisition.


Much of the discussion around the new merger guidelines will focus on the impact on businesses, both large and small, and particularly how it relates to the ongoing debates around “Big Tech.” The bottom line is consumers are ultimately the ones that will feel the brunt of the negative impact if enforcement shifts away from sound economics and law and focuses more on competitors than consumers. Beyond this, new guidelines will likely stifle beneficial deals and result in costly litigation for taxpayers and businesses, ultimately passing along to consumers. While there are certainly consequences for the tech sector in such changes, this significant shift in enforcement guidance will impact a wide variety of industries and their consumers.

GMU Econ alum Dan Mitchell warns of the dangers lurking in antitrust zealotry.

James Pethokoukis reports on some of the economic benefits brought to America by immigrants.

Brendan O’Neill decries “the climate witch trials.”

Fraser Nelson notes that Americans keep moving to hot states. A slice:

This may not be the best time to holiday in Florida. The hottest state in America has never been hotter – without much chance of cooling down in a sea that is now 32C in places. In Texas, it’s even worse, with citizens of Waco, Fort Worth and San Antonio all battling 40C heat, the highest since records began. It adds up to a picture being painted very clearly over here: global warming turning American, Spanish and Australian cities into ovens. The long-predicted climate crisis has certainly arrived.

But here’s the strange thing: it doesn’t seem to be putting people off. Holidaymakers keep coming in their droves and, more strikingly, Americans are migrating to these red-hot states in unprecedented numbers.

Why? Because air conditioning is everywhere (homes, cars, shops, offices) and these states are pretty good places to live. People seek better lifestyles, safer streets, affordable housing (houses in Texas and Florida are less than half the price of California) and lower tax. Having to dodge some midday heat is a small price to pay for a better life.

Ross Perot Jr, son of the former presidential contender and now a Texan businessman, says his state’s rejection of lockdown was a good advert for what its more liberal values offer in terms of quality of life. Such a claim is impossible to prove one way or another, but New York and California both had high taxes and hard lockdowns. Their combined population is down by more than a million since Covid first struck, according to US Census Bureau estimates. Florida’s is up 706,000 and Texas 884,000. The hurricanes and heatwaves just don’t seem to deter anyone.

The lack of any relationship between heatwaves and migration should be no surprise. But this makes a wider point: heat is pretty far down the list of headaches facing mankind. If economic growth is a driver of climate change, it brings with it ample tools for adaptation and it’s hard to consider the effects of one without the other. Flood defences, storm warnings and adaptation have helped to push the number of deaths due to extreme weather down by 90 per cent over the last century, while the world population is up fourfold. It’s an encouraging trend.

The Wall Street Journal‘s Editorial Board sets the record straight regarding covid policy in Florida. Three slices:

Mr. DeSantis’s strategy of focused protection was articulated in the Great Barrington Declaration, which progressives still revile despite its vindication. In 2020 Florida had the tenth lowest age-adjusted Covid death rate in the country, which was nearly 20% lower than California’s despite the Golden State’s prolonged lockdown.


Florida experienced a lower Covid death rate than most states in late 2021 and early 2022. The press likes to cherry-pick data and focus on discrete periods to present Mr. DeSantis as a grim-reaper. But Florida’s overall age-adjusted Covid death rate during the pandemic is 13% lower than the U.S. average and about the same as California’s.


Progressives and Mr. Trump also won’t concede that Mr. DeSantis’s Covid strategy proved to be an economic boon. Between April 2020 and July 2022, 622,476 people moved to Florida from other states, including families who wanted children in school. Employment in Florida has grown by 7.4% since January 2020 versus 2.5% in California and a 1.2% decline in New York.

Did the New York Times just admit covid deaths were overcounted? A slice:

A recent New York Times article contains a rather surprising piece of information. Discussing the significant decline in official Covid deaths in the US, writer David Leonhardt claims that the actual number is almost certainly even lower. “The official number is probably an exaggeration because it includes some people who had the virus when they died even though it was not the underlying cause of death,” Leonhardt writes, noting that even the CDC’s own data shows that almost one-third of recent official Covid deaths have fallen into this category.

Leonhardt adds this very nonchalantly, as if it were the most obvious thing in the world. In fact, the issue was verboten until not too long ago: throughout the pandemic, claims that the official number of Covid-19 hospitalisations and deaths was likely to be inflated — due to the use of very questionable statistical methods — were dismissed as groundless conspiracy theories. It’s good to see another taboo fall, but the real question is why it took so long, considering that it became apparent almost from day one that governments were adopting a very “liberal” approach to attributing deaths.

As Deborah Birx, White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator under Donald Trump from 2020 to 2021, declared: “if someone dies with Covid-19, we are counting that as a Covid-19 death.” The same approach was adopted in most Western countries. This was rather surprising, especially in light of the fact that the overwhelming majority of “Covid-19 deaths” were patients with pre-existing illnesses (hypertension, diabetes, heart conditions, and so on) for which a direct causality from Covid was impossible to ascertain.

This was a completely novel approach. Until then, the standard method had been to consider the true of cause of death the underlying disease — if someone suffering from end-stage cancer contracts pneumonia and dies, the cause of death is still cancer. Indeed, in March 2020 Walter Ricciardi, Scientific Advisor to the Italian Minister of Health for the Coronavirus Pandemic,reported that “on re-evaluation by the National Institute of Health, only 12% of death certificates have shown a direct causality from coronavirus.” Yet they were all counted as Covid-19 deaths. And the same thing was happening everywhere.

This is what came to be known as the death “by/with Covid” debate. Even worse, though, it soon became standard practice in virtually all the Western countries to classify every deceased person who had recently (or even not so recently) tested positive for Covid as a “Covid death”, even if the death was manifestly unrelated to the virus. Indeed, in several countries it wasn’t just fatalities with a positive Covid-19 test that entered the ranks, but also those where Covid-19 was simply suspected — as per World Health Organization guidelines.

As Ngozi Ezike, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) Director, put it in April 2020: “technically, even if you died of a clear alternate cause, but you had Covid at the same time, it’s still listed as a Covid death. So, everyone who’s listed as a Covid death doesn’t mean that was the cause of death, but they had Covid at the time of death”. It would later emerge, in one American county, that “clear alternate causes” of death could include anything from injury and poisoning to motorcycle accidents and gunshot wounds.

Michael Shellenberger tweets: (HT Jay Bhattacharya)

Anthony Fauci, who oversaw America’s response to the Covid pandemic, famously said, “I represent the science.” But new evidence suggests that Fauci was behind a disinformation campaign to dismiss evidence that the virus escaped from a Chinese lab.

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