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George Will applauds the Institute for Justice’s challenge, now at the United States Supreme Court, to an appalling bit of local-government tyranny. Two slices:

Next Wednesday, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments as to whether Sylvia Gonzalez, represented by the indefatigable and infallible Institute for Justice, can sue the city officials who, she says, inflicted on her a retaliatory arrest as payback for her criticisms of the city government. A federal appellate court has said she cannot. The Supreme Court is considering Gonzalez’s encounter with nastiness because it implicates constitutional guarantees.


She is asserting a right the court should affirm: the right to sue officials who inflict retaliatory arrests. Affirmation would advance reconsideration of qualified immunity, the court-created doctrine that has evolved into a shield protecting disreputable officials who, carelessly or maliciously, violate individuals’ rights.

My Mercatus Center colleague – and GMU Econ alum – Liya Palagashvili warns that “an ill-advised new policy for contractors gambles with American livelihood.” Two slices:

This week, the Department of Labor’s new rule on independent contracting goes into effect. It will now be more difficult to engage in freelancing, gig work or certain types of independent work — a Biden administration labor-agenda standard that is far stricter than it was under the Trump or Obama administrations.


Like in California, small businesses and nonprofit organizations nationwide will face harsher consequences than larger companies. That’s partly because the costs of hiring payroll employees are higher than working with a contractor, and partly because the new complexity of the rule may deter organizations that cannot afford extensive legal counsel from working with contractors altogether, even if they’re properly classified under the new rule.

David Henderson has some issues with Angus Deaton’s new book. A slice:

In a chapter titled “Monetary Inequality,” Deaton talks about his concern, growing up in Britain, with large inequality in wealth and income. He highlights work by British economist and fellow Nobel winner James Mirrlees, who “solved (one version of) the problem of how much inequality we ought to have” (italics in original). Deaton notes that Mirrlees proposed an income tax system that made “the best possible trade‐​off” between equality and incentives. Unfortunately, Deaton fails to mention Mirrlees’s surprising finding that the top marginal tax rate should be only about 20 percent and that the tax rate should be about the same for everyone. In short, Mirrlees concluded that there should be approximately a flat tax rate. In his 1971 Review of Economic Studies article “An Exploration in the Theory of Optimum Income Taxation,” which contains that conclusion, Mirrlees wrote: “I must confess that I had expected the rigorous analysis of income taxation in the utilitarian manner to provide arguments for high tax rates. It has not done so.”

Deaton doesn’t tell the reader Mirrlees’s surprising conclusion. Could it be that Deaton favors a progressive income tax and doesn’t want to undercut his belief by quoting Mirrlees’s finding? I don’t know.

Megan McArdle is correct: colleges and universities cannot change reality by ignoring it. A slice:

But MIT bucked the trend in 2022 by announcing its return to mandatory testing. Last month, Dartmouth followed suit, becoming the first Ivy League school to do so. Yale and Brown soon followed. On Monday, the University of Texas at Austin became the latest to join the parade — and gave us a peek at the numbers driving its decision.

Last year, UT received 73,000 applications to join its freshman class. The 42 percent of applicants who submitted test results had a median score of 1420 on the SAT, while those who opted out of submitting scores had a median of 1160. Enrolled students who had submitted scores also performed significantly better during their first semester of college: Controlling for a wide range of factors, their grade-point average was nearly a full letter grade higher than that of students who didn’t submit, and they were 55 percent less likely to end up in the sub-2.0 danger zone.

The Wall Street Journal‘s Editorial Board justly condemns the effort in the Virginia General Assembly to raise the minimum wage price many low-skilled workers out of jobs. A slice:

With their slim new legislative majority, Virginia Democrats want to remake the economy in the image of deep-blue states. One example is a planned minimum-wage hike, which would depress job growth in the rural areas that need it most.

Reason‘s Jacob Sullum criticizes the New York Times for its politics-induced blindness to threats to Americans’ freedom of speech.

Sujata Gibson tweets: (HT Jay Bhattacharya)

Oral argument in Murthy v Missouri was eye opening. 10 yrs ago, this would have been an open and shut case. But now, we hear maybe we should give up free speech so the gov can protect us from ourselves. My Q: what will protect us from them when our constitution is in tatters?

Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Scott Atlas and Steve Hanke review “covid lessons learned, four years later.” Two slices:

Four years ago this week Vice President Mike Pence announced the White House’s “15 days to slow the spread” campaign. What followed was the unprecedented use of lockdowns, school closings and other sweeping measures to mitigate Covid-19. Four years later, we know what many of us suspected then: None of those policies were successful, and many were gravely damaging.

The Covid health benefits of mandatory lockdowns were tiny. Lockdowns in the U.S. prevented between 4,000 and 16,000 Covid deaths. In an average year 37,000 Americans die from the flu, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Lockdowns also failed to reduce infections more than a trivial amount, in part because people voluntarily alter their behavior when a bad bug is in the air. Coercive government policies generated few benefits—and massive costs.

Public-health agencies exacerbated the damage by failing to keep their heads and follow standard pandemic-management protocols. Before 2020, it was recognized that communities respond best to pandemics when government measures are only minimally disruptive. During Covid, however, officials junked that practice by green-lighting restrictive practices and intentionally stoking fear. That response overlaid enormous economic, social, educational and health harms on top of those caused by the virus.

Those harms are captured, in part, in excess deaths—the number beyond what would have been expected without a pandemic. Non-Covid excess deaths from lockdowns, the shutdown of non-Covid medical care, and societal panic are estimated at nearly 100,000 between April 2020 and at least the end of 2021. The number of lockdown and societal-disruption deaths since 2020 is likely around 400,000, as much as 100 times the number of Covid deaths the lockdowns prevented.


The CDC, the Food and Drug Administration and the National Institutes for Health should be fully transparent about their deliberations. They should publish transcripts of their formal discussions on digital forums for public consumption. Congress should also restate that the CDC’s guidance is strictly advisory and that the agency doesn’t have power to set laws or issue mandates. The U.S. should halt all binding agreements with the World Health Organization until it also enhances transparency and accountability.

Most important, these institutions must acknowledge that lockdowns, school closings and mandates were egregious errors that won’t be repeated. Until they do, the American people should continue to withhold their trust.