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Tag Archives: government

Externalities and Our Children

The reason why things don’t work properly is that the right people are not in politics. Of course, what you think are the right people is not necessarily what your neighbor thinks, so ultimately the problem is a lack of national unity. What is needed is that we share the same values under democratic political leadership. And even this is not enough. Every voter must spend at least as much time studying every major political issue as he spends buying a new car. Add...

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The Pandemic in Europe and America

The pandemic evolution now appears to be more worrying in Europe than in America, as illustrated by the graph below reproduced from yesterday’s Wall Street Journal (Marcus Walker, Bertrand Benoit, and Stacy Meichtry, “Europe Confronts a Covid-19 Rebound as Vaccine Hopes Recede,” March 12, 2021). In France, for example, after two very long and restrictive (even tyrannical) national lockdowns, ICUs are close to 80% capacity. The Wall Street Journal explains: Europe’s...

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Free Enterprise: A Daring New Year Wish

A December 28 report in the Wall Street Journal illustrates (again) how a wish for free enterprise in America is not like carrying coals to Newcastle (see Charles Passy, “New York to Penalize Health-Care Providers $1 Million for Covid-19 Vaccine Fraud“). For Mr. Cuomo, who drinks at the zeitgeist of our times, “fraud” simply means what the government does not like. A few excerpts: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday he will sign an executive order to penalize...

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The Populists and Napoléon

One of the many fascinating observations in Charles Postel’s The Populist Vision (Oxford University Press, 2007, p. 164) is the sweet spot that American populists of the late 19th century generally had for emperor Napoléon Bonaparte, the French dictator at the beginning of the century: In the 1890s, a Napoleon revival spread in the United States, as many Americans hoped for a strong man to deliver the nation from its multiple ills. Reporting on the so-called “Napoleon...

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Why Shortages Are Not More Widespread

Many grocery items are still in shortage in the sense that they are absent from the shelves even if some buyers would be willing to pay more to have them available. The Wall Street Journal asked the question last week, “Why Are Some Groceries Still So Hard to Find During Covid?” The newspaper’s big-data analysis concludes that at least half the grocery shortages persist: During the peak shopping spree at the end of March, stores ran out of 13% of their items on...

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Cooking Official Statistics Is Not Easy, for Now

After the Bureau of Labor Statistics announced a drop in the unemployment rate—from 14.7% in April to “only” 13.3% in May—a friend emailed me to share his suspicion that the unexpectedly low figure was a propagandist lie. The probability of that is not zero, I explained to him, but it is extremely low. These data are gathered (through a monthly survey of 70,000 households), assembled, analyzed, and summarized by bureaucrats from the Census Bureau and the BLS, many of...

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Big Government Crippled the Economy

It seems like everybody is getting a bailout right now. The government is handing out money it doesn’t have left and right. This is all justified because of coronavirus. Even conservatives who normally oppose government bailouts have jumped on the stimulus train. “This is a crisis!” they cry. The government has to step in. But as Peter Schiff explains in his podcast, the government crippled the economy in the first place. A government crutch isn’t the solution to the problem.Even with 26...

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The Future, as Things Are Going

The way things are going, it may not be that difficult to predict the future, even admitting that it certainly hides new surprises. In 650 words, here are some predictions informed by economics (and birds’ entrails), whether the epidemic itself is being exaggerated or not. The shortages—real shortages, not “smurfages”—created by government price controls (the state governments’ “price gouging” laws and whatever may come from the federal government) illustrate many...

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Fun on Friday: Sometimes You Have to Laugh at the Absurdity

Last Thursday, we embarked on a journey through the Southeast for business purposes and to check up on our kids who live in Kentucky. In case you were wondering, it is as crazy out there as you might imagine if you’re sequestered in your home following events through the news or social media.Don’t worry; we practiced social distancing…mostly. And there was a lot of hand-washing.Honestly, it was a bit surreal seeing empty store shelves and watching restaurants shut down. As I have...

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Peter Schiff: Fleeing From the Tax Man

As you may know, several years ago, Peter Schiff relocated to Puerto Rico. Have you ever wondered why? What are the advantages? And what can his move teach us more generally about economics and politics? Peter recently appeared on the Puerto Rico ICON Podcast and answers some of those questions. The primary reason Peter moved was the tax benefits of operating a business in Puerto Rico. He’s not subject to federal income tax, which is a huge economic incentive. As Peter put it, the more...

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