≡ Menu

Some Links

GMU Econ alum Dominic Pino warns of the U.S. government’s fiscal incontinence. A slice:

There is no school of economic thought (MMT doesn’t count) that says the government should run a massive deficit in a time when unemployment is below 4 percent, with no major wars or domestic emergencies. Current U.S. fiscal policy is indefensible, regardless of partisanship. It would be one thing if the negative effects weren’t yet manifesting themselves, but the surge in inflation and the increase in borrowing costs are hurting Americans.

Kevin Williamson explains “how illiberalism and illogic are eroding America to the core.” A slice:

When institutions lose confidence in the value of their core missions — journalism in the case of the New York Times, education in the case of Harvard — the leaders don’t tender their resignations: No, they go looking for a reason to keep those cushy positions.

Add to this the fact that bosses in these institutions — especially affluent white men on the wrong side of middle age — are terrified of being denounced (as racists, sexists, Islamophobes, whatever) by the sneering young Jacobins around them, and it is all too easy for these institutions to be bullied into adopting a parochial and often silly version of “social justice” as their core missions.

I hope that Paul Schwennesen is correct when he writes this: “As ever more stringent measures are taken to ‘curb climate change,’ for instance, ever more anger will erupt over their impositions. The days of distant elites toying with our lives, in other words, are numbered.”

Megan McArdle writes insightfully about the speaker-of-the-house fiasco. A slice:

Guiding every action was the knowledge that [Matt] Gaetz, or anyone else in the leopard faction, could mount a leadership challenge at any time. Unfortunately, members of that faction were less interested in governing than they were in going on television and providing their voters with a textbook demonstration of oppositional defiant disorder. So [Kevin] McCarthy couldn’t count on their votes when it came time to perform core legislative functions, such as keeping the government running. For that, he needed to turn to Democrats.

GMU Econ student Sam Branthoover blogs at EconLog about wealth differences. Here’s his conclusion:

A fundamental issue with primitive society is that amassing wealth attracts theft. What could a person do if they, say, found a hoard of treasure? If they remotely indicate this to others, then the threat of theft is incredibly high because no overarching institutions narrowly define individuals’ property rights. They could hire bodyguards, but the bodyguards would have incentive to renege via appropriable quasi rents. Finding ways to peacefully cooperate has been the fundamental issue to humanity forever, and only through tedious innovation have we arrived at a state of the world where individuals have such specifically-defined and enforced property rights.

In primitive societies, wealth inequality is exceedingly rare because of the constraints to wealth-building. If the Wright Brothers discovered flight in 1400 AD, there would be much lesser incentive to act on this information because wealth accumulation was constrained. That we can reward innovators for improving our lives (and reciprocally punish bad entrepreneurs) is a monumental achievement for humankind, not just an unfortunate state of affairs. Poorly-defined property rights and lower standards of living are inextricably (causally) linked, and critics of wealth inequality must assume this relationship away in arguing that wealth inequality is “bad.” An uneven ratio of incomes is necessary for feedback loops in resource allocation, and for merely demonstrating preference in a world wherein people prefer differently.

Juliette Sellgren talks with John Bitzan about culture at universities.

Jay Bhattacharya tweets:

If you only support free speech for people you agree with, you don’t support free speech.