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My GMU Econ colleague Vincent Geloso asks: “What if the first great age of globalization began 100 years earlier?” A slice:

In this telling, even without the great technological innovations of the 19th century, globalization could have started much earlier had it not been for trade policies and wars (which have an effect on shipping costs that mimic tariffs). Given that the first era of globalization is tied in the imagination of many to rising and converging living standards, this argument amounts to saying that living standards could have surged earlier had free trade been more popular.

Andrew Biggs explains that Social Security benefits are not “earned.” A slice:

Yet the numbers tell a different story. The Congressional Budget Office and Social Security Administration both find that most Americans are promised Social Security and Medicare benefits substantially exceeding the taxes they’ll pay over their lifetimes. In other words, the benefits are neither earned nor paid for. This ought to lead policy makers to consider fiscally prudent and generationally fair reforms, rather than force younger Americans to fund benefits that older Americans claim to have earned but haven’t fully paid for.

Social Security and Medicare were designed to be viewed as contributory social-insurance programs, not welfare, even though both redistribute money significantly from rich to poor. Over the years, politicians have portrayed their payouts as “earned benefits” that seniors receive via working and paying into the programs.

This framing was no accident. President Franklin D. Roosevelt said that funding Social Security with a dedicated payroll tax was “politics all the way through.” “We put those payroll contributions there so as to give the contributors a legal, moral, and political right to collect their pensions,” he added. “With those taxes in there, no damn politician can ever scrap my Social Security program.”

GMU Econ alum Alex Nowrasteh interviews Jennifer Burns, author of a new biography of Milton Friedman.

Here’s David Henderson on Javier Milei. A slice:

Milei gave an example that has been widely discussed in recent years, and when reading the subtitles, I felt as if he had cribbed from some of the things I used to tell my students. Of course, he didn’t. He asked his interviewer to consider what would happen if he had a factory in which he replaced humans with robots, thus eliminating jobs. Milei noted that that’s not the end of the story. He might take the money and buy items to consume. If he did that, he would create jobs in the businesses that produce those consumption items. If, instead, he invested it, he would create new jobs himself and improve the quality and reduce the prices of goods, “making everyone’s life better” because they would have more money to spend on other things. If he saved it by putting it in a bank, that would become an investment somewhere else. Notice that he almost exhausted the options. But Milei remembered to point out the only other option left: burying the money. My version, when I taught this point, was hiding it in a mattress. Burying the money would, he noted, cause less money to circulate in the economy and so prices would fall somewhat. Of course, the price drop would be tiny even if he buried one million dollars, but his point remains. Then Milei added a bonus that I hadn’t thought of. In an income tax system for which tax brackets are not adjusted for inflation, people’s tax increase from inflation would be somewhat lower.

The Editorial Board of the Wall Street Journal applauds the growing realization that the costs of “net zero” vastly exceed its benefits. A slice:

The common denominator is reality. European countries, like the U.S., are discovering that no matter how hard they push on the net-zero string, costs never come down, green jobs never materialize to replace industrial employment, and the subsidy bill never declines. Meanwhile, Europe’s economies already are highly efficient in carbon emitted per euro of gross domestic product—and China and India keep building coal-fired power plants anyway.