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The Wall Street Journal‘s Editorial Board is correct: the FTC’s antitrust case against Amazon is weak. Three slices:

Lina Khan has finally landed her harpoon on Amazon, her great white whale, but she may have a harder time than Ahab taking it down. After a sprawling investigation, the Federal Trade Commission on Tuesday voted 3-0 to sue Amazon in federal court for what amounts to offering low prices and fast service.

Ms. Khan’s 2017 article in the Yale Law Journal, “Amazon’s Antitrust Paradox,” argued that modern antitrust law’s consumer welfare standard is wrong. Amazon, she said, was using “predatory pricing” to undercut rivals. So it’s ironic that she now hangs her FTC suit on consumer harm.


A Washington, D.C., Superior Court judge last year dismissed a similar complaint about Amazon’s best-price policy by the district’s Attorney General. The judge noted that the AG’s theory that Amazon created a price floor for products sold elsewhere was inconsistent with “how the market works.” Besides, the judge noted, “nobody’s forcing them to do business through Amazon.”

Retailers sell on Amazon because the platform increases their sales. Some have complained that Amazon erodes their margins by compelling them to sell products at lower prices, but this would mean that Amazon is imposing price discipline across retail, as many economists including Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen have argued. That helps consumers.


The surprise, after so many years of effort, is how weak her antitrust case is. It’s easy politics these days to assail big companies, especially Big Tech, but courts still require evidence of abusive monopoly behavior. The FTC will need more than its lawsuit provides.

GMU Econ alum Paul Mueller is correct: Protectionists’ promises that subtracting three from ten will yield a sum of fifteen are too good to be true.

Arnold Kling shares some links on telling reports about industrial policy.

Wall Street Journal columnist James Freeman reports on Boston University’s deepening investigation into Ibram X. Kendi’s “anti-racism” center. A slice:

The school is currently looking into such complaints, and let’s give everyone involved the benefit of the doubt.

Let’s also hope that Mr. Kendi will give the benefit of the doubt to America and her people, rather than assuming that the most successful multicultural society the world has ever known is systemically racist. This would be a wonderful moment for him to consider repudiating a number of poisonous ideas that he has previously supported.

The Journal’s Jason Riley noted in November of 2022:

Boston University professor Ibram X. Kendi, one of the most celebrated progressive thinkers in the country, openly supports racial discrimination. “The only remedy to past discrimination is present discrimination,” he asserts.

As if a country with such overt discrimination would not be odious enough, the professor has also seemed ready to toss out the market economy, too. “I think in order to truly be antiracist, you also have to truly be anti-capitalist,” Mr. Kendi has argued.

Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Boston University professor David Decosimo decries Boston University’s rejection of liberal and scholarly values in its embrace of the foolishness peddled by Ibram X. Kendi. A slice:

That summer many BU departments published Kendi-ist “antiracist” statements limiting academic freedom and subordinating inquiry to his ideology. With their dean’s oversight and approval, the School of Theatre passed a plan to audit all syllabi, courses and policies to ensure conformity with “an anti-oppression and anti-racist lens” and discussed placing monitors in each class to report violations of antiracist ideology. The sociology department publicly announced that “white supremacy and racism” were “pervasive and woven into . . . our own . . . department.” In the English department’s playwriting program, all syllabi would have to “assign 50% diverse-identifying and marginalized writers,” and any “material or scholarship . . . from a White or Eurocentric lineage” could be taught only “through an actively anti-racist lens.” They even published hiring quotas based on race: “We commit to . . . hiring at least 50% BIPOC”—an acronym for black, indigenous or people of color—“artists by 2023.”

Back in 2018, Antony Davies and James Harrigan made the economic case for more-open immigration.

My intrepid Mercatus Center colleague, Veronique de Rugy, explains how not to improve ex-cons’ access to housing.

Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine professor Marty Makary warns: “Don’t believe the feds’ fearmongering about long covid.” A slice:

A new study published Monday in the medical journal BMJ found that long COVID is virtually indistinguishable from long-haul symptoms after other infections. In other words, the authors suggest long COVID may not be unique from any other respiratory-illness recovery.

What’s clear is public-health officials have massively exaggerated long COVID to scare low-risk Americans, including healthy children.

Vinay Prasad describes the New York Times‘s Apoorva Mandavilli as “a terrible science reporter.”

Freddie Sayers tweets: (HT Jay Bhattacharya)

In retrospect, it’s amazing how heretical and brave it seemed for Anders Tegnell simply to stick to normal principles of evidence-based policy.

But the rest of the world — including many still influential people on here — had gone mad.