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The Wall Street Journal‘s Editorial Board rightly excoriates the unfathomably ignorant-about-economics Donald Trump for his proposal to escalate protectionism. A slice:

By the way, Mr. Trump for years has cited the McKinley tariffs but he appears never to have read what happened after those 1890 charges came into effect. Voters rebelled at the higher prices they were forced to pay, and Republicans were wiped out by free-trading Democrats in the 1890 midterm. Democrats under President Grover Cleveland in 1894 partially reversed the tariffs to dig the U.S. out of a recession.

Economic historians now believe those tariffs had little effect on boosting America’s astounding economic growth in that era, which was driven by industries not covered by the tariffs. As for McKinley, who pushed for his tariffs from the House of Representatives, he did become President in 1896—by campaigning in favor of the gold standard, a proxy for a stable value for money, against populist easy-money Democrat William Jennings Bryan.

Free trade isn’t popular in our dirigiste economic era, in part because our political leaders are afraid to defend it. The Trump tariff threat is all too real if he wins in 2024.

Zach Kessel, writing for National Review, understands that Trump’s protectionism harms the very people who Trump pretends to champion. A slice:

We know tariffs make for bad policy, but looking at how they actually affect Trump’s base demonstrates something else we’ve also known for a while: He doesn’t actually care about them. The sooner Republican primary voters realize that, the sooner we can move on from the discord of the past eight years and elect someone serious about economic policy.

George Will is understandably sickened by a recent court ruling that further extends “qualified immunity.” Two slices:

This doctrine shields officials from accountability for civil rights violations if there is no “clearly established law” forbidding exactly, or almost exactly, what the official did. Even minor factual differences can immunize the official, on the theory that if the official’s behavior did not precisely match the fact pattern of a prior case, the official did not have fair warning that his action was wrong. The perverse effect is that the more uniquely gross the unconstitutional behavior is, the easier it is for the government official to successfully claim immunity.


Americans would gag if they had an inkling of what occurs, unreported, in prisons. Americans should, however, be sickened when judges, with hairsplitting misapplications of qualified immunity, openly abet governmental malfeasance that allows prison violence. When prisoners depend on protection by governments that cannot be held accountable for culpable indifference, mayhem proliferates, lethally.

David Henderson explains that U.S. manufacturing has most certainly not been “hollowed out.”

Reason‘s Joe Lancaster reports that Bloomberg describes the predictably bad results of tens of billions of dollars of government-dispensed subsidies as being instead the results of “unconstrained capitalism.” A slice:

E.V. graveyards are therefore an indictment of government policy, not capitalism. When private entrepreneurs enter into a nascent market, they put their own capital on the line; their ambition is tempered by the fear that failure will mean losing their shirt. But when the government agrees to cover part of the bill, or requires people to use that product, then it artificially lowers the risk.

Bjorn Lomborg continues his admirable quest to cure humanity of climate hysteria.

Simon Cottee exposes the arrogance and unawareness-of-self of ‘extremism expert’ Julia Ebner. A slice:

But the cardinal error at the heart of Going Mainstream is that it conflates Right-wing populism and even liberal opposition to radical progressivism with the beliefs of violent extremists and mass-killers.

Jacob Sullum writes with justified scorn of Tucker Carlson’s “sycophantic interview with Trump.” A slice:

But that was then. Carlson, like the politicians whose phoniness he claims to despise, has adjusted to the reality that Trump remains stubbornly popular among Republicans. He is even willing to reinforce the election conspiracy theory that he publicly called unfounded and privately called a lie. Carlson’s current coziness with Trump was on vivid display Wednesday night, starting with the question of why the “far-and-away frontrunner,” whose views are of such keen interest to voters, decided to skip the Republican debate in Milwaukee and any other similar forum in which he might have to defend those views or his record as president against competitors keen to make a dent in his commanding lead.

Trump’s answer was that felt no need to go through that ordeal, precisely because he is so far ahead. Why put up with “all these people screaming at me, shouting questions at me”—which Trump contradictorily claimed he “love[s] answering”—when he could sit down with an interviewer who is desperate to please him, especially in light of the criticism revealed in those embarrassing messages? Anyway, Trump said, he would probably get better ratings “using this crazy forum” than he would on Fox News, which televised the debate that he skipped. “I’m grateful that you did,” Carlson replied.

Frank J. Ranelli tweets: (HT Jay Bhattacharya)

Remember, and never forget, they (the public health tyrants) didn’t want to control the virus, they wanted to control you!