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Tag Archives: Books

Reviewing Vanessa Williamson’s “Read My Lips”

In the latest issue of Barron’s I review Vanessa Williamson’s book Read My Lips: Why Americans are Proud to Pay Taxes.  Here are the opening paragraphs: The marquee conclusion of Vanessa S. Williamson’s Read My Lips is that Americans’ much ballyhooed hostility to taxes is simply a myth. In fact, declares Williamson, “Americans treat taxes as a civic commitment, an act that helps define their ties to the community and the country….Being a taxpayer is a membership in one of the most...

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Quoting Arnold Kling: “Affordable housing is a supply problem.” GMU Econ alum (and Creighton University economist) Michael Thomas reviews Cass Sunstein’s book The Ethics of Influence.  A slice: The individual is not justified because he is a rational chooser, as Sunstein puts it. Instead, Mill says, “Men are not more zealous for truth than they often are for error…” (2009, p. 31). Multiple choosing groups do not preserve the truth, but the possibility for recovering lost truths. Readers...

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Writing in the Washington Post, Charles Koch pleads for an end to cronyism.  He pleads also for other policies that truly are progressive.  A slice: On the plus side, the president has taken a thoughtful approach to regulatory reform. He has appointed a strong team capable of acting on the best ideas to remove unnecessary regulations that undermine innovation, competition and opportunities for those who need them most. I also applaud the president’s selection of Neil Gorsuch for the...

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Here’s the full text of N.C. State emeritus economist Tom Grennes’s recent letter in the Wall Street Journal: President Trump has promised deregulation and greater energy independence, but making the venerable Jones Act more restrictive would do the opposite. At a recent conference on the Jones Act in Maui sponsored by the Mercatus Center at George Mason University and the Institute for Humane Studies, the predominant conclusion of papers was that the Jones Act produced far more costs than...

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Lotta Moberg on Special Economic Zones

GMU Econ alum Lotta Moberg’s excellent new book, The Political Economy of Special Economic Zones, is now out and available for purchase. Here’s publisher Routledge’s description: Special Economic Zones (SEZs) have become a popular development policy throughout the world over the last half a century. These zones form designated areas where governments offer businesses lower taxes, tariffs, and often lighter regulations. Generally, SEZs aim to attract investments and raise a country’s export...

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Arnold Kling nicely summarizes the cultural roots of America’s health-care problems.  Here’s my favorite passage: Americans, and especially health care providers, do not want to think of health care as a commodity. The providers want to be paid, but they do not want to think of themselves as selling their services, so the payment comes from third parties and the price is hidden to consumers. (Arnold here identifies a common tactic used by many people who oppose markets: these people...

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Here’s the opening paragraph of Tim Worstall’s calling-out of Dan DiMicco for endorsing protectionism for the U.S. steel industry: I’ve been guilty of more than my fair share of brazen chutzpah over the years but this sally into the form from Dan DiMicco still has the ability to take even my breath away. For DiMicco was the CEO of Nucor and he’s calling for trade protection for the American steel industry. That American steel industry which has suffered so grievously from the competition...

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Jason Sorens explains that the world today is unprecedentedly peaceful – and that the reason for this happy state of affairs isn’t the state. Jeff Jacoby argues – correctly – that the trouble with the GOP’s plan to obliterate Obamacare is that it doesn’t sufficiently do so. Chelsea Follett shares five graphs that reveal the increasing well-being of ordinary people around the world. Arnold Kling offers a very nice example of when a good economist’s “casual intuition” is a better guide to...

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My intrepid Mercatus Center colleague Veronique de Rugy continues her noble and economically justified fight against the GOP’s border-adjustment tax proposal. Ed Dolan explains that the data show that free trade is good for the masses. Tim Worstall is, shall we say, unimpressed by Trump advisor Peter Navarro’s understanding of the economics of trade. Paul Walker also takes on Navarro on trade. Over at the Library of Law and Liberty, John Tamny reviews Edward Conard’s The Upside of...

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Linette Lopez reacts to Peter Navarro’s bizarre and foolish op-ed in today’s Wall Street Journal.  (Even adjusting for the fact that Navarro is – may the fates save us – the chief trade advisor to the president of the United States, the WSJ‘s decision to publish this piece is surprising, for it is a stew of idiocy.) Speaking of Navarro’s complete ignorance about trade, here’s a piece from last month by Laurence Kotlikoff. Also on the great dangers posed by Peter Navarro – whose ignorance...

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