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Mike Munger explains “government failure in one lesson.” A slice:

Perhaps the easiest way to explain government failure in one lesson is to remember that there is no such thing as “the state.” Instead, essential decisions about resource use will be made by political actors. This suggests what I have called “The Munger Test.” If someone says, “I believe that government should make decisions about what information is true in an emergency, and what should be censored!”, then you should make a simple suggestion: Take out the word “government,” and replace it with “Trump” (or “Biden,” I’m not making a partisan point).

Richard Epstein warns of greater politicization of U.S. military academies. A slice:

A lame-duck President Trump appointed Heidi Stirrup to a three-year term on the Board of Visitors to the U.S. Air Force Academy in December 2020. Joe Biden became president the following month, and his administration launched a frontal assault on the independent status of the board, along with its counterparts at the Army’s and Navy’s academies.

First, without any statutory authorization, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin usurped the boards’ system of internal governance by suspending all board activities while he conducted a “zero-based review” of their operation—a review that could have gone on without that suspension. Next, Mr. Austin assumed the authority to delegate the business of the boards to subcommittees, none of whose members had to be member of the boards.

Then in September 2021, he terminated all remaining Trump appointees on one day’s notice. No other administration, including Mr. Trump’s, has ever purged rival members of the boards, who by statute are required to exercise their independent judgment and offer balanced perspectives on the academies’ activities not only to the president but to Congress, the service academies and the public at large. Press secretary Jen Psaki clumsily justified this crude sacking by complaining that they didn’t back Mr. Biden’s victory on Jan. 6, 2021, or share his “values.”

Here’s Arnold Kling on Javier Milei.

Also writing about Javier Milei is Andrew Stuttaford. A slice:

Milei has been president for only six months, but Argentina has announced its first quarterly fiscal surplus since 2008. Meanwhile, monthly inflation is falling, down to 4.2 percent in May (below expectations of around 5 percent) against 8.8 percent in April. Milei’s legislative agenda also took a step forward last night with a tied senate (the vice president cast the deciding vote) advancing a version of his legislative program amid sometimes violent protests outside the congress.

There is a long, long way to go. Life for many Argentines remains desperately hard. Nevertheless, Milei seems to enjoy around a 50 percent approval rating. “There is no alternative” (TINA) as Mrs. Thatcher used to say.

My treasured GMU colleague Dan Klein is someone whose intellect and integrity I very much respect, so I post here this recent essay of his, that he co-authored with Zachary Yost, with which I find much to disagree.

The essay by Reason‘s Peter Suderman – in response to the Klein-Yost piece – is one that I find myself in more agreement with. A slice:

It’s not just that Trump isn’t a libertarian or a limited government ideologue. It’s that he’s a classic strongman, with a clear predisposition is toward an authoritarian form of politics in which he understands himself to be above the law and immune to checks on power.

Like so many populist demagogues, he has encouraged ugly xenophobic passions and violent mob actions while running on slogans about locking up his political opponents. He has repeatedly expressed disdain for free speech and the free press, and as president threatened (and perhaps actively pursued) unconstitutional legal changes and retaliatory action against those who criticized him. Trump has demonstrated little concern for individual rights, except his own.

More ominously, Trump has engaged in self-serving fantasies of stolen elections. Over the years he has refused to concede legitimate election results on multiple occasions, even, hilariously, when he won. With assistance from his henchmen and cronies, Trump took steps to subvert the results of a presidential vote. Trump may not bear legal responsibility for the Capitol riot on January 6th, but he bears some moral responsibility. The foundation of democratic governance is the peaceful transfer of political power. As president, Trump facilitated political violence intended to strike at that foundation.

Joe Biden is a big government liberal whose second term would further expand the size and scope of government. But in contrast with a bullying populist demagogue like Trump, a libertarian who values the American constitutional order might still reasonably view Biden as the lesser evil.

Personally, that’s not my view. I believe that Trump and Biden are both awful. I won’t be voting for either.

Juliette Sellgren talks with GMU Econ alum Anne Bradley about the political economy of terrorism.