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The Wall Street Journal‘s Editorial Board, reacting to the conviction of Sam Bankman-Fried, points out that “the feds can police crypto fraud without new regulatory powers.” A slice:

While Mr. Bankman-Fried claimed he acted in good faith and made innocent mistakes, testimony by FTX and Alameda employees showed the contrary. Prosecutors provided evidence that Mr. Bankman-Fried ordered code to be built into FTX software that gave Alameda special privileges to borrow unlimited sums from the exchange, which he hid from customers and investors. They also showed he directed that Alameda’s balance sheets be doctored to deceive its lenders. As FTX and Alameda losses mounted, Mr. Bankman-Fried assured customers their deposits were safe.

Mr. Gensler has since spun Mr. Bankman-Fried’s fraud as a cautionary tale of the crypto “wild West.” The SEC chief claims crypto currencies are securities—ergo, exchanges and token developers must submit to agency regulation. But a federal judge this year disagreed, and Congress hasn’t given the SEC authority to regulate crypto.

Mr. Gensler has tried to regulate anyway, even before the FTX collapse. But regulators and prosecutors don’t need new powers to charge fraud under existing U.S. laws. And while Mr. Gensler charged crypto companies for marketing unregistered securities and operating unregistered trading platforms, that didn’t stop Mr. Bankman-Fried’s crimes.

GMU Econ alum Jon Murphy asks: “What did cause the covid shortages?” A slice:

One of the major reasons the shortages persisted was due to state-level price controls. Many states have legislation that prevents large price increases during states of emergency. If prices cannot rise, shortages will persist as consumers do not face an incentive to conserve and producers do not face an incentive to increase production. Given that many states kept their states of emergency, and thus their price controls, in place for years after the initial lockdowns, prices could not easily adjust.

At the federal level, there is no formal price control legislation. Section 102 of the Defense Production Act of 1950, however, grants the President broad discretionary power to set prices and take other economic actions on items he designates crucial during a national emergency. Executive Order 13910, issued by President Trump on 23 March 2020, gave Alex Azar, the Secretary of Health and Human Services authority to designate such materials under the Defense Production Act. On 25 March 2020. Azar initially designated PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) as crucial products. Over the course of 2020 and 2021, common household products like hand sanitizer and wipes, as well as non-PPE face coverings and apparel, were added to the list. In addition to state-level price controls, these products were also subject to federal level price controls and “anti-hoarding” regulation, something which the federal government enforced.

George Will decries the brutality of Russian military tactics. A slice:

Days into the war, Russians attacked Red Cross evacuation routes. Later they would use thermobaric weapons, a vacuum bomb with two charges, as Petraeus and Roberts explain: “The first disperses fuel into the air and the second ignites it, sucking all the oxygen out of people’s lungs.” It was a notable barbarity, “especially against civilians trapped in enclosed spaces.”

GMU Econ alum Paul Mueller supplies a helpful guide to ESG ‘investing.’ A slice:

ESG’s attempt to remake financial markets and capitalism itself has already created all kinds of problems and unintended consequences. Pursuing various environmental goals such as using more renewable energy or generating smaller carbon footprints drives higher costs for just about everything – electricity, cars, houses, food,and other goods because producers have to use more expensive inputs and processes, face increased compliance costs, rely on less-efficient power generation, and so forth. These high costs are a significant problem.

Boston Globe columnist Jeff Jacoby rightly criticizes Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) for introducing legislation meant to overturn the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United ruling. A slice:

Hawley belongs to the populist, or self-described “national conservative,” wing of the Republican Party. He has embraced Donald Trump’s restrictionist views on trade and immigration. Like his Democratic Senate colleagues Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, he regards big corporations as malign forces in American life. “There is no reason we should want to empower these mega-corporations, who are already in bed and colluding with the government, and give them control over our elections and over our speech,” Hawley said in a RealClearPolitics interview.

Like his strange bedfellows on the progressive left, the Missouri senator deplores the idea that corporations can be entitled to rights, such as freedom of speech, that the Constitution guarantees to the American people. “I am an originalist,” he said, “and I don’t think you can make an originalist case for business corporations being treated like individuals when it comes to the right to political speech.”

In truth, corporate personhood is an old and well-known legal construct that enables individuals organized in groups to conduct their affairs more efficiently. Because corporations are legal “persons,” they can be sued in court, for example. They can be taxed. They can rent property. They can make contracts.

And they can express opinions — including opinions about politics.

Also critical of Sen. Hawley’s hostility toward Citizens United is the Cato Institute’s John Samples.

GMU Econ alum Dominic Pino recounts the history of the late economist Herbert Stein’s most famous remark.

David Henderson is reading Adam Smith’s Theory of Moral Sentiments.

Nick Gillespie writes insightfully about the late Matthew Perry, prohibition, and the abuse of drugs.

Candace Smith reveals the connections between sound economics and etiquette. A slice:

In a market economy, the interaction of buyers and sellers ultimately shapes economic outcomes without the need for centralized control or intervention.  This restraining principle suggests that the market, through its functional properties, will naturally correct imbalances and ensure efficiency, fairness, and stability in economic exchanges.  In markets you have freedom to act voluntarily, restrained only by honoring the same freedom in others. The rule of law discourages cheaters by punishing and deterring their hurtful actions.

The language of respect varies situationally, contextually, and relationally, but always has a limiting “Do Not” factor.  Figuring out the property rights of personal restraint in social and professional interactions with others — the places and times we are not permitted to act without restraint — is one side of what it means to try to live an etiquette-ful life.