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My intrepid Mercatus Center colleague, Veronique de Rugy, is not impressed with Janet Yellen’s comprehension of some basic facts about trade.

Dan Ikenson shares, in Forbes, some important facts about trade. Two slices:

No single country in the world attracts more foreign direct investment than the United States. And no country’s businesses have invested more in the United States than Japan’s. That should be cause for celebration and flute-clinking in Washington this week, where President Biden is hosting Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida. But Biden’s opposition to Nippon Steel’s proposed acquisition of U.S. Steel has rendered discussion of cross-border investment a bit uncomfortable.


In fact, a 2022 analysis found that, without the participation of foreign companies in the United States, U.S. manufacturing GDP would have been 8.4% to 20.9% ($177 billion-$463 billion) smaller than it was in 2019.

Let’s hope that George Will is correct that the “intensity of the debate about abortion policy is waning”. A slice:

Robert Nisbet, a philosophically sophisticated sociologist who provided intellectual ballast to conservatism in the second half of the 20th century, considered it incoherent for conservatives to make opposition to abortion a fundamental tenet of their doctrine. He said “the major theme of Western conservatism” is “the preservation, to the extent feasible, of the autonomy of social groups against the state.” And particularly the preservation of “the family’s authority over its own.”

Abortion has been considered an intractably divisive issue because it supposedly was not amenable to the basic business of politics: the splitting of differences. Nisbet noted, however, that “there is no record of any religion, including Christianity, ever pronouncing an accidental miscarriage as a death to be commemorated in prayer and ritual.” This, Nisbet implied, indicates an ancient, durable and widespread cultural tendency to say this: Societies that assert an interest in protecting life before birth are not required, by custom or a settled, articulated logic, to ban all deliberate terminations of pregnancies.

GMU Econ alum Adam Michel reports that “president Biden would make the US a tax rate outlier” – and not in a good way. A slice:

The Biden tax hikes would primarily fall on capital income, leading to less domestic investment, fewer jobs, and slower economic growth. According to estimates from the Tax Foundation, the budget proposal would reduce long‐​run GDP by 2.2 percent, hurt wages, and eliminate 788,000 jobs. This is likely a significant understatement of the negative economic effects. The analysis notes that the budget’s proposals will make America an international outlier on individual and corporate taxes.

The Editorial Board of the Wall Street Journal shares news of the dismaying ignorance of many Americans about the ‘distribution’ of the tax burden. A slice:

President Biden and Democratic tax raisers always say the rich don’t pay their “fair share.” Maybe one reason this line works politically is that most voters have no idea who really pays how much in taxes.

“To the best of your knowledge,” asked a new poll, “how much do you think the top 1% of taxpayers by income account for in terms of share of total federal income taxes paid: 1%, 12%, 42%, or 64%?”

The correct answer, as of 2020, is 42%. But less than a quarter of those surveyed guessed right. Twenty-two percent (including more than a third of Democrats) thought the top 1% of taxpayers paid only 1% of income taxes, which is wildly off the mark. Twenty-five percent suggested it was 12% of revenue. Nineteen percent shrugged and said they weren’t sure. As a communications strategy, Republicans could apparently do worse than simply repeat the official IRS data over and over.

The survey, sponsored by the Tax Foundation and conducted by Public Policy Polling, included nearly 2,800 registered voters, and it has other findings in a similar vein. A plurality of respondents, 40%, liked the idea of increasing the child tax credit. But 25% also said that they thought a tax credit and a tax deduction are the same thing. Another 20% incorrectly believed that a deduction is more valuable than a credit, and 19% weren’t sure.

Art Carden explains that “the middleman is a public servant.” A slice:

Is the middleman a devious villain preying on unsuspecting sellers from whom he can buy low and unsuspecting buyers to whom he can sell high? Hardly. The middleman creates wealth even though he doesn’t make anything. He makes his money by helping people who testify that they are better off by the very act of dealing with him. The middleman helps people in two ways that are hard to see but that are not, therefore, unimportant. Someone who buys an antique lamp at a yard sale for $2 helps out someone who wants to clean out the garage or attic or who needs cash now to take care of a medical emergency or cover expenses after losing a job. Even if selling the lamp for $2 is the best among bad options, the person selling the lamp reveals that the alternatives are even worse.

Graham Walker talks with Bill Evers and Phil Magness about Trump’s tariffs, Sacramento’s assault on the California labor market, and more.

My GMU Econ colleague Tyler Cowen discusses his assessment of who are the greatest economists of all time.

Inflation is so back.”

Dan McLaughlin is correct: “Elizabeth Warren isn’t actually very smart.” A slice:

[Megan] McArdle published a longer critique of Warren’s scholarship in theAtlantic in 2010. Regarding Warren’s book The Two-Income Trap, for example, “some of her evidence doesn’t really support her thesis, and can be made to appear to support her thesis only by making some very weird choices about what metrics to use. . . . These are obvious issues she should have dealt with, . . . but they considerably weaken her thesis, and she doesn’t have a good answer for them. That’s a pattern I see over and over in her work.” In a follow-up on that book, McArdle asked, “Does it matter if we have a regulator who can use data consistently? . . . I don’t know which is worse: the notion that Elizabeth Warren understood what she was doing, or the notion that she didn’t.”

Jay Bhattacharya tweets:

The only difference between the tyrannical censorship of social media dissent by that Brazillian judge and the Biden American censorship machine is that the American courts have, so far, ruled Biden’s tyranny tyrannical. I hope the US Supreme Court agrees.