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Jon Miltimore describes the economic lunacy of the Biden administration’s attempt to phase out gasoline-powered automobiles. Three slices:

The Biden administration and defenders of the policy argue that the EPA’s regulation is “not a ban” on gas-powered cars, since carmakers are not prohibited from producing gas-powered vehicles. Instead, automakers are required to meet a government-mandated “average emissions limit” across their entire vehicle line, to force them to produce more EVs and fewer gas-powered cars.

It’s a clever ruse in that it allows the Biden administration to use regulatory power to force automobile manufactures off of gas-powered vehicles while denying that they are banning them.


A major reason why the White House is forcing this “transformation of the American automobile market” is that Americans aren’t voluntarily adopting EVs quickly enough to satisfy the White House.

Though Americans purchased more than a million EVs last year, that still represents less than 8 percent of total vehicle sales in the US. The government’s current target is 56 percent. (If the White House was serious about speeding up this transition, it might consider eliminating the 25 percent tariff on cars built in China — which accounts for some 60 percent of global EV sales — but that would be too easy.)


Forcing automobile companies to expand production of their least-profitable product lines at the expense of their best-performing ones is economic madness. It calls to mind collectivized agricultural policies in the Soviet Union, where central planners embraced the worst farming methods.

While Stalin’s collectivization of farms in 1929 was a massive failure that led to the deaths of millions, agriculture in the USSR of course continued during and after his lifetime. But two distinct sectors emerged: a tiny private sector that produced a bumper crop of food, and a massive collectivized sector that produced very little.

The late economist James D. Gwartney (1940–2024) explained that families living on collectives in the USSR were allowed to farm on small private plots (no more than one acre) and sell their produce in a mostly free market.

Historians point out that in the 1960s these tiny private farms, which accounted for just 3 percent of the sown land in the USSR, produced 66 percent of its eggs, 64 percent of the potatoes, 43 percent of its vegetables, 40 percent of meat, and 39 percent of its milk.

Gwartney and economist Richard Lyndell Stroup note that by 1980, private farms accounted for just one percent of sown land in the USSR, but a quarter of its agricultural output.

Also decrying the Biden administration’s efforts to force Americans to buy and drive automobiles that most Americans don’t want to buy and drive is Luther Ray Abel.

My intrepid Mercatus Center colleague, Veronique de Rugy, talks with Stanford economist Josh Rauh about taxes.

Here’s David Henderson on the proposal to cap credit-card late fees. A slice:

Co-blogger Vance Ginn has nicely laid out some of the perverse, probably unintended, but definitely foreseeable, consequences of the federal government’s proposed $8 cap on the amount that credit card companies are allowed to charge credit card holders when they are late on a payment.

I want to point out two other consequences, both of which are perverse but one of which is especially perverse.

First, though, my personal story. Every once in a while, while I’m traveling or particularly busy, I’ve let slip a payment date and paid a credit card balance late. It happened only a couple of times because the credit card company taught me virtue with a $30 to $35 late fee. Ouch!  I got very careful.

Now to my point about consequences. If the regulation is implemented, then, as Vance points out, credit card companies will adjust. He names a few adjustments.

One that he doesn’t mention is that they will, to the extent that can do it, try to figure out ways of charging more to people who are late. It might be by upping their interest rate once they’ve recorded x number of late payments over y number of months. It might be other adjustments that we don’t know but that some of the credit card companies’ best minds will think hard about.

Pierre Lemieux makes a plea for people to be more realistic about politicians and government.

Wall Street Journal columnist Andy Kessler wisely calls for the powers of the president of the executive branch of the United States government to be severely curtailed. A slice:

Guard future generations against a strong president—or, worse, a weak one like Mr. Biden taken over by unelected administrators. The Constitution says legislators make laws, the executive branch enforces them, though it often doesn’t seem that way. Mr. Trump can make sure there are no more Obama “I’ve got a pen and I’ve got a phone” situations.

Some of this is already happening. The Supreme Court in West Virginia v. Environmental Protection Agency used the “major questions doctrine” to curtail executive-branch regulatory power. The justices may soon limit the Chevron deference doctrine and further restrain executive-branch regulators. Presidents can’t appoint special envoys without Senate approval anymore, though Mr. Biden ignored this when appointing John Podesta climate special adviser.

James Pethokoukis summarizes the current condition of the U.S. economy.

Congratulations to Garrett West (whose wife, Kacey, by the way, just last week successfully defended her excellent doctoral dissertation at GMU Econ). Congratulations also to the Yale Law School.

Here’s the abstract of a recent paper by Rahi Abouk, John Earle, Johanna Catherine Maclean, Sungbin Park:

We study the effect of mandates requiring COVID-19 vaccination among healthcare industry workers adopted in 2021 in the United States. There are long-standing worker shortages in the U.S. healthcare industry, pre-dating the COVID-19 pandemic. The impact of COVID-19 vaccine mandates on shortages is ex ante ambiguous. If mandates increase perceived safety of the healthcare industry, marginal workers may be drawn to healthcare, relaxing shortages. On the other hand, if marginal workers are vaccine hesitant or averse, then mandates may push workers away from the industry and exacerbate shortages. We combine monthly data from the Current Population Survey 2021 to 2022 with difference-in-differences methods to study the effects of state vaccine mandates on the probability of working in healthcare, and of employment transitions into and out of the industry. Our findings suggest that vaccine mandates may have worsened healthcare workforce shortages: following adoption of a state-level mandate, the probability of working in the healthcare industry declines by 6%. Effects are larger among workers in healthcare-specific occupations, who leave the industry at higher rates in response to mandates and are slower to be replaced than workers in non-healthcare occupations. Findings suggest trade-offs faced by health policymakers seeking to achieve multiple health objectives.