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Allison Schrager defends “neoliberalism.” (HT Arnold Kling) A slice:

At the Manhattan Institute conference last week, I explained how the new consensus operates under the assumption that there are no trade-offs or costs to their favored policies. It seems to assume that debt is costless, less trade makes us stronger, and industrial policy does not create distortions.

Jack Nicastro and Samuel Crombie explain that “AI eases its own labor-market transitions.”

C.J. Ciaramella is right: “The Selective Service should be abolished, not made more efficient and equitable.”

The Editorial Board of the Wall Street Journal welcomes the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling against unwarranted executive-branch actions (in this particular case, to ban bump stocks). A slice:

Why should Congress ever take a vote if lawmakers can simply defer hard policy choices to the regulatory state? That is the subtext of the Supreme Court’s welcome 6-3 ruling Friday on “bump stocks,” which are rifle accessories that facilitate rapid firing. Regulating bump stocks may be a reasonable policy, but it’s up to Congress.

Roger Ream talks with my Mercatus Center colleague Rosolino Candela.

Scott Sumner writes insightfully about American politicians’ and pundits’ ill-thought-out thoughts about China. A slice:

One of the most impressive examples of Chinese innovation is the social media site TikTok.  How did the US government respond?  By banning the app.  We are also doing all we can to stop innovation in China’s computer chip industry.

I see a certain ambivalence in Western attitudes toward China.  We don’t want China to be a highly successful technology superpower, because that supposedly threatens our national security.  We don’t want China to be a non-innovative middle income country that merely borrows technology from the West, because that supposedly threatens jobs in our less dynamic industries. We seemed happiest with China when it was a highly inefficient low income country with its people living on the edge of starvation, cut off from the rest of the world.  North Korea with a billion people.  China’s not likely to accommodate our wishes, nor should it.

There is also a reluctance to acknowledge Chinese achievements in science, despite the fact that by some highly respected measures they are among the world leaders in scientific achievements.  Nationalism distorts our view of the world.

Eric Boehm reports on – neither he nor I kid you – U.S. government subsidization of dad jokes. Two slices:

“Did you hear the one about the world’s greatest watch thief? He stole all the time.”

But even that guy might be impressed by the sticky fingers of the National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse (NRFC), a tiny corner of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that managed to pilfer nearly $75 million in taxpayer money last year to maintain, among other things, an official government repository of “dad jokes.”


But the NRFC mostly stands as an example of how even well-intentioned government programs can become bloated and wasteful. It was created as part of the 2005 Deficit Reduction Act as a one-stop shop for various fatherhood-promoting grant programs administered by a variety of federal agencies. The Obama administration revamped the NRFC in 2010, turning it into “a multifaceted initiative to encourage fathers to become better parents” with a promise to “catalyze a new dialogue on fatherhood in local communities.”

What has the NRFC accomplished? It’s hard to say, and that’s seemingly by design. A 2018 HHS study found that “very few rigorous evaluations” have tested the effectiveness of federally funded fatherhood programs. The study pointed out that “none of the evaluations we analyzed” focused on whether those programs produced better outcomes for children, even though improving those outcomes was “the primary rationale for father involvement programs.”