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Tag Archives: Regulation

Great Moments in California Lockdowns

The Marie Antoinette edition. This was sent to me by a friend last month in response to California governor Gavin Newsom’s order to shut down salons and even outdoor restaurants. I talked to my wife last night and she said that she has 3 close friends in the personal care service business (2 hairstylists and 1 esthetician). Only 1 of them kept working underground during the first shutdown in March. My wife said that all 3 are planning to defy the order since they...

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Some Non-Covid Links

George Will rightly condemns Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz for playing leading roles in unleashing Wednesday’s mob on Capitol Hill. A slice: The Trump-Hawley-Cruz insurrection against constitutional government will be an indelible stain on the nation. They, however, will not be so permanent. In 14 days, one of them will be removed from office by the constitutional processes he neither fathoms nor favors. It will take longer to scrub the other two from public life. Until that hygienic outcome...

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A Sober Look at Covid Claims

Here’s a letter to a regular and much-respected correspondent: Mr. K___: Thanks for this e-mail: Los Angeles is running out of oxygen for patients as covid hospitalizations hit record highs nationwide. States in West and South have highest shares of residents hospitalized as Los Angeles hospitals turn away ambulances. Even if we overlook the relevant reality that being hospitalized with covid differs from being hospitalized for covid – and that hospitals have a financial interest in...

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Ralph K. Winter Jr. RIP

Catching up on Wall Street Journals from December today, I came across an obit of federal judge Ralph K. Winter. I never met the man although I gather that a number of my friends have. But it’s amazing how one quote can stick out in your memory from over 40 years ago. I remembered that quote and found the publication it was in. Winter wrote “Campaign Financing and Political Freedom” for the American Enterprise Institute in October 1973. I think I was on the mailing...

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890 Thousand Excess Deaths Due to Covid and Lockdowns

We find that shocks to unemployment are followed by statistically significant increases in mortality rates and declines in life expectancy. We use our results to assess the long-run effects of the COVID-19 economic recession on mortality and life expectancy. We estimate the size of the COVID-19-related unemployment to be between 2 and 5 times larger than the typical unemployment shock, depending on race/gender, resulting in a 3.0% increase in mortality rate and a 0.5% drop in life expectancy...

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COVID’s effects on Europe

This article by Wolfgang Streeck for the New Left Review will be disturbing to many. But it is an interesting article, and well worth reading. I would take issue with one claim Streeck makes: that the “supranational extension of the debt state” he rightly considers the Corona Recovery Fund to be, does not entail a change in European institutions toward more “solidarity”. These transfers are financed by issuing European debt, but the way in which member states will...

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Sadie Alexander: The First African-American Economist

The Economist has an interesting article on Sadie Alexander, who in 1921 became the first African-American to earn a PhD in economics. Her politics were not easy to pin down in today’s terms, as she favored a mix of Keynesian demand-side stimulus and black self-improvement. Franklin Roosevelt attracted many black votes when he succeeded in boosting the economy after taking office in 1933. However, Alexander did not view his policies as an unmixed blessing: Some...

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The costs of not maximizing aggregate utility

Many people don’t like utilitarianism. They advocate alternative (often deontological) approaches to ethics. In 2020, we saw the immense costs of some of those misguided ethical systems. Scott Aaronson has an excellent post that begins with a discussion of why he believes our response to Covid was inexcusably slow. He discusses challenge trials of vaccines, and also a WWII-style plan to build manufacturing capacity just in case the vaccines were successful.  But he...

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Some Covid Links

Phil Magness argues sensibly that young adults are being killed by Covid-19 lockdowns. (Where’s the sympathy for these victims?) A slice: The concession itself is stunning. If opioid overdose deaths are up compared to their 2018 baseline, they could explain the surge in excess deaths among young people rather than the speculated undercounting of Covid fatalities. Opioid and other substance abuse problems have a well-documented connection to mental despair and economic downturns alike....

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Larry White on Bitcoin

In “Has Bitcoin Succeeded?,” Alt-M, December 23, 2020, Larry White of George Mason University has a nicely nuanced piece on, as will not surprise you if you read the title, whether Bitcoin has succeeded. As Larry says, the answer depends on the goal. As a widely used private alternative to government fiat money, it has not succeeded yet. As an asset that has gained in value, it has succeeded wildly. Larry nicely walks the reader through the ins and outs of Bitcoin...

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