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Eric Boehm reports that “Trump blames Biden for never removing the tariffs Trump imposed. And you have to admit, he’s got a point.” Two slices:

President Joe Biden had more than three years to roll back former President Donald Trump’s tariffs that are driving up prices for consumers and businesses.

He did not, even though Biden had made clear during the last campaign that he knew Americans were bearing the cost of those trade policies. Instead, Biden chose to pander to unionized workers in the Rust Belt and peddle an economically nonsensical message that in many ways echoed the one Trump had implemented. Biden has even hiked some of the tariffs Trump initially implemented on imports from China.

During Thursday night’s debate in Atlanta, those chickens came home to roost—as Biden was attacked by Trump both for keeping those tariffs in place and for the consequences of those policies.


The topic of tariffs came up just after a clash over tax policy—kudos to the moderators, CNN’s Dana Bash and Jake Tapper, for making that choice—and it could have been a great opportunity for Biden to draw a distinction between himself and the former president. Biden tried to criticize Trump’s plan for a 10 percent tariff on all imports, calling it “a tax on everything coming into the country.”

True! But the fact that Biden has left most of Trump’s other tariffs in place (or hiked them) makes that a tough argument to sell. After all, if tariffs are taxes on all Americans and if Biden has promised not to raise taxes on anyone who isn’t wealthy, then something doesn’t add up.

Speaking of Trump and tariffs, here’s GMU Econ alum Dave Hebert.

And also writing about Trump and tariffs is GMU Econ Adam Michel. A slice:

More formal analysis has made similar observations. The Tax Foundation found that Trump’s tariffs on steel, aluminum, and China eroded about 12 percent of the total long‐​run impact of the TCJA before factoring in other trade actions, retaliatory tariffs, and broader trade policy uncertainty. Academic research also shows that trade policy uncertainty and tariff announcements depress business investment. Other work from the Tax Foundation and the Penn Warton Budget Model estimate that Trump’s imposed and proposed tariffs could have entirely eroded the benefits of the tax cuts to all but the highest‐​income individuals (because the cost of tariffs falls more heavily on lower‐​income people).

My intrepid Mercatus Center colleague, Veronique de Rugy, decries Biden’s and Trump’s fiscal irresponsibility. A slice:

No matter what 16 Nobel Prize-winning economists claimed in a recently signed statement, President Biden’s spending record isn’t productive and disinflationary. And nor is it investment. It’s unpaid government spending, and a lot of this spending should be described as cronyism; it’s subsidies and tax credits to big companies often to do things that these companies are going to do anyway. (Think the Inflation Reduction Act, and the CHIPS Act).

Biden’s spending isn’t only large and unwise, it also sometimes borders on being an attack on the rule of law. Recall his comment that “the Supreme Court blocked [my student-loan cancellations]. But that didn’t stop me.” These budgetary excesses are also likely a reason why inflation is stubbornly hard to defeat.

Even though the double standard is absurd, these Nobel-laureate economists imply correctly that President Trump will preside over larger fiscal deficits  and the potential of being inflationary. This is so, in part, because Trump is committed, just like Biden, to not reform the main drivers of our future debt (i.e., Social Security and Medicare, which are responsible for 100 percent of unfunded obligations). On top of this irresponsible inaction, Trump might extend all of his tax cuts without much in the way of spending reductions. And, of course, all that additional debt with no plan to pay for it might impact the fight against inflation negatively.

Jacob Sullum applauds the U.S. Supreme Court’s rejection of the executive-branch’s insistence that its agencies can deny the right to jury trials to individuals who it charges with common-law civil offenses. Two slices:

The Supreme Court today ruled that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) may not impose civil penalties for fraud without filing suit in federal court. Because “the SEC’s antifraud provisions replicate common law fraud,” Chief Justice John Roberts writes for the majority in SEC v. Jarkesy, alleged violators are entitled to a jury trial under the Seventh Amendment.

“Jury trials were the norm for most of the country’s history, but since the 1970s scores of federal agencies have claimed the power to impose fines through in-house administrative courts, where judge and prosecutor are employed by the same agency,” said Institute for Justice senior attorney Rob Johnson. “Today, the Court made clear that post-1970s adventure is a historical anomaly without any grounding in the Constitution. And while the Court’s decision addressed just one federal agency, the principles that it relied on sweep beyond the SEC.”


Although that approach was authorized by the Dodd-Frank Act of 2010, Jarkesy argued that it violated the Seventh Amendment, which says “the right of trial by jury shall be preserved” in “suits at common law” where “the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars.” Six justices agreed.

“This case poses a straightforward question: whether the Seventh Amendment entitles a defendant to a jury trial when the SEC seeks civil penalties against him for securities fraud,” Roberts writes. “The threshold issue is whether this action implicates the Seventh Amendment. It does. The SEC’s antifraud provisions replicate common law fraud, and it is well established that common law claims must be heard by a jury.”

Billy Binion wonders why progressives are “suddenly denouncing the right to a jury trial.” A slice:

The decision came down along ideological lines, with Justice Sonia Sotomayor writing in dissent. It’s an interesting schism. Sotomayor has a robust record on questions around related criminal justice issues and the constitutional rights of the accused. She’s not alone in that: Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, for her part, wrote an undergraduate thesis on the coercive nature of plea bargaining, where juries are conspicuously absent, and as an attorney represented clients imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay, where inmates are held without charge or trial.

But here, according to Sotomayor, the jury trial requirement in this civil setting, as outlined in the Seventh Amendment, is “a power grab.” She’s right, but in the wrong way. It takes power from the federal government—which in some sense holds the monopoly on that—and gives a little of it back to the people. Jarkesy, as Justice Neil Gorsuch acknowledged in a concurring opinion, may very well be unsympathetic. But even potentially unlikeable hedge fund managers should be entitled to the same basic rights.

Peter Robinson talks with Bjorn Lomborg.

Juliette Sellgren talks with Sandy Peart about, among other things, public choice.

Bob Graboyes posts some ripostes.