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My Mercatus Center colleague Alden Abbott offers “a consumer-welfare-centric reform agenda for the Federal Trade Commission.” A slice:

In sharp contrast, under the Biden administration, FTC Chair Lina Khan has repudiated consumer-welfare enhancement as the guiding light of competition enforcement. She has signaled that other considerations—such as civil rights, labor, the environment, and equity—will also inform policy. Such a multi-factor approach leads to unpredictability and arbitrary decision making, at odds with the rule of law (see here and here, for examples). It repudiates more than three decades of rational consumer-oriented antitrust and consumer-protection enforcement, informed by sound economics. It is to be hoped that this “neo-Brandeisian” interlude is but a blip in time, and that new leadership will restore the FTC’s tried and true consumer-welfare-centric mission.

My intrepid Mercatus Center colleague, Veronique de Rugy, continues to warn of the ill-consequences of the U.S. government’s fiscal incontinence.

Your Ultimate Guide to the Next Tax and Spending Battle.”

Barry Brownstein inquires into why ordinary people enable totalitarian thugs.

Here’s Ian Vásquez on Javier Miles’s inaugural promise. A slice:

He said that it is necessary to return to what made Argentina one of the richest countries in the world more than a century ago: classical liberalism. He again repeated what he meant by using liberal thinker Alberto Benegas Lynch, Jr.’s definition: “Liberalism is the unrestricted respect for the life project of others based on the principle of non‐​aggression and the defense of the right to life, liberty, and private property.” And he made clear that that is “the essence of the new social contract chosen by the Argentines.”

“This new social contract,” added Milei, “proposes a different country, a country in which the state does not direct our lives, but rather safeguards our rights.” In practice, he proposed nothing less than undoing the corporatist legacy of Peronism that has led the country from crisis to crisis and replacing it with institutions and policies that limit political power.

Congratulations to Phil Magness!

James Bacchus explains that “China’s economic system isn’t ‘incompatible’ with WTO rules.”

Scott Lincicome details some of the many ways that protectionism sucks out much of what little legitimate wind there is in the sails of the U.S. government’s ‘green energy’ initiatives. A slice:

Most notable in this regard are tariffs on steel, which account for a substantial chunk of a wind facility’s costs and are currently one of the main things pushing turbine prices ever-higher. As we’ve discussed, however, a web of tariffs makes steel in the United States abnormally expensive compared to almost everywhere else in the world. This includes the Trump-era tariffs—25 percent for “national security” and another 15 to 25 percent on Chinese imports—that Biden has maintained, plus hundreds (305 at last count) of special “trade remedy” duties on specific steel products from certain countries. Not all these steel products directly affect U.S. wind projects, but several of them do, including utility-scale wind towers, fabricated structural steel, steel plates for monopile foundations, and electrical and other “specialty” steels that, per DOE, have “limited domestic production.”

Hal Scott and John Gulliver, writing in the Wall Street Journal, decry the arbitrariness and capriciousness in ‘rule’-making by Biden’s Securities and Exchange Commission. A slice:

Short sellers are popular scapegoats during market declines because they profit when others are losing their shirts, but short selling is actually good for markets because it helps prevent bubbles and weeds out corporate fraud. The $1 trillion in outstanding short interest also increases market liquidity, which reduces trading costs for all investors.

Alex Tabarrok debunks a common economic error – one now repeated by artificial-intelligence machines.

Juliette Sellgren talks with Lauren Hall about radical moderation.

Tom Jefferson and Carl Heneghan inquire into the Hallett Inquiry into the costs and benefits of covid lockdowns. A slice:

It seems, the government messaging to “stay home, protect the NHS, save lives”, as the lockdowns mandated, did anything but save lives.

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