Thursday , January 23 2020
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Some Links

Summary:
Katherine Timpf rightly tears into Lindsey Graham for criticizing Rand Paul and Mike Lee for their refusal to defer, as the mindlessly hawkish Graham defers, to Trump on matters of war-making. A slice: It really is a shame, because Paul was also right about something else: There is a patriotic case for limiting the president’s war powers. In fact, to me, it’s quite clearly the patriotic case. There is, after all, a reason why the Founders gave Congress the sole power to declare war in the first place. They were explicitly rejecting the English model, the one that they fought to be freed from, where the entire country could find itself at war based on [no more] than the whims of the king. They took war seriously; they wanted it debated and carefully considered. The truth is, it’s Paul

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Katherine Timpf rightly tears into Lindsey Graham for criticizing Rand Paul and Mike Lee for their refusal to defer, as the mindlessly hawkish Graham defers, to Trump on matters of war-making. A slice:

It really is a shame, because Paul was also right about something else: There is a patriotic case for limiting the president’s war powers. In fact, to me, it’s quite clearly the patriotic case. There is, after all, a reason why the Founders gave Congress the sole power to declare war in the first place. They were explicitly rejecting the English model, the one that they fought to be freed from, where the entire country could find itself at war based on [no more] than the whims of the king. They took war seriously; they wanted it debated and carefully considered. The truth is, it’s Paul and Lee’s position, and not Graham’s, that reflects the position of the Founders — and that seems pretty damn patriotic to me.

Kyle Smith bids farewell to the rock drummer Neil Peart.

Also remembering the late Neil Peart is Peter Earle.

Back during his grad-school days at GMU, Steve Horwitz mentioned Peart’s band, Rush, in a letter-to-the-editor of Reason.

David Henderson isn’t impressed with Tyler Cowen’s “state-capacity libertarianism.” A slice:

That brings me to a bigger point. There’s a large elephant (Republican) and a large donkey (Democrat) in the room: the reliably perverse incentives of politicians, voters, and bureaucrats. Compare their incentives to yours and mine when we go to the supermarket. When I shop for food, I get what I pay for. If I want steak, I buy it. If the price of avocados is particularly high this time of year (it is), I buy few or zero. I’m spending my own money and I have an incentive to husband my resources.

Now consider the incentives of politicians and bureaucrats. When they spend money, they spend other people’s money. They have little incentive to worry about costs and a large incentive in some cases to give resources to people they favor. When they regulate, they have little incentive to care about the sometimes devastating effects of their regulations. Voters have bad incentives too. Their individual vote matters so little that they have little incentive to be informed. I stated above that the global warming problem, if indeed a problem, is an example of the tragedy of the commons. But here’s the even worse news: essentially the whole of government is a problem of the tragedy of the commons. If I as a voter and/or activist work diligently to make government somewhat better, I gain only my pro rata share of the benefits. Those who don’t do a thing to make government work better gain as much as I do. That’s why we have underinvestment in making government better.

Jen Maffessanti applauds the profit motive in markets for improving batteries.

I’m delighted to learn from Phil Magness of the new edition of the late Warren Nutter’s superb 1968 book, The Strange World of Ivan Ivanov.

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Don Boudreaux
He is a professor of economics at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. Previously, he was president of the Foundation for Economic Education.

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