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Tag Archives: Regulation

Arguments for Compulsory Vaccination

The Connecticut legislature wants to abolish the last non-medical exception for the compulsory vaccination of children, following in the steps of five other state governments (“Connecticut Lawmakers Brace for Public Hearings on Vaccination Bills,” Wall Street Journal, February 15, 2010). Two serious economic arguments can be made in favor of this measure. (It wouldn’t protect against the coronavirus, for which there is yet no vaccine, but this epidemic is certainly a...

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Quotation of the Day…

… is from page 51 of my late Nobel-laureate colleague Jim Buchanan’s 1978 paper “From Private Preferences to Public Philosophy,” as this paper is reprinted in James M. Buchanan, Politics as Public Choice (2000), which is volume 13 of the Collected Works of James M. Buchanan; the original published version of this paper is available here): Little or none of the empirical work on regulation suggests that the pre-public choice hypotheses of regulation in the “public interest” is...

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The Problem with Phony Rights

How can treating electricity as a right undermine the aim of universal access to reliable electricity? We argue that there are four steps. In step 1, because electricity is seen as a right, subsidies, theft, and nonpayment are widely tolerated. Bills that do not cover costs, unpaid bills, and illegal grid connections become an accepted part of the system. In step 2, electricity utilities—also known as distribution compa- nies—lose money with each unit of electricity sold and in total lose...

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Conservatives Make SJWs Happy

Founded in England 197 years ago, The Lancet is a venerable medical, public-health, and social-justice-warrior journal. It just expressed its contentment in the fact that “after a hiatus of more than two decades, Congress and President Donald Trump agreed to add funding for gun violence research to the federal budget in December” (“Decisions To Be Made on US Gun Violence Research Funds,” February 8, 2020). It apparently foresees that the new research, to be...

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Be careful what you ask for

The Trump administration is revising the criteria for deciding on the style of new government buildings. Henceforth, “classical” styles will be favored. I believe the term “classical” is actually a sort of catch-all for “traditional architectural styles that are grand and impressive.” For instance, the NYT reports: The draft order praises the Washington building now known as the Eisenhower Executive Office Building as “beautiful and beloved.” Harry Truman called it...

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Electricty liberalization in Italy

The liberalisation of Italy’s electricity retail markets is the last mile in a process that started more than 20 years ago. Unfortunately, the public support that accompanied the initial steps (the breakup and partial privatization of former monopolists as well as the transposition of EU directives on market opening) has disappeared. Electricity had been nationalized in 1963. Things only began to change in the late 1990s, when the sector was restructured via vertical...

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Funny Things About the Epidemic

We don’t yet know whether the spread of the Wuhan virus is a real crisis or not, but as Rahm Emmanuel would have said, we should not let it go to waste. The World Health Organization (WHO) just declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern—a PHEIC in its jargon. One funny thing is that it comes on top of another global epidemic WHO also declared. Just a few months ago, WHO launched a “new report” on what it has been calling for decades “the global...

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Quotation of the Day…

… is from page 172 of my late Nobel-laureate colleague Jim Buchanan’s 1987 paper “Man and the State,” as this paper is reprinted in James M. Buchanan, Federalism, Liberty, and Law (2001), which is volume 18 of the Collected Works of James M. Buchanan: Failure or success has too often been measured in terms of the standard economists’ criterion of efficiency, the ability to get goods and services produced and distributed, to add to the wealth of nations. Markets may fail against the...

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Some Links

My intrepid Mercatus Center colleague Veronique de Rugy gives credit where credit is due – in this case to the Trump administration for its wise roll-back of an Obama-era labor policy John O. McGinnis exposes the appalling ideology and bias of the New York Times. Have you ever heard of the genuine hero Wilson Greatbatch? Stuart Anderson gets the language right about travel bans. Kevin Williamson has fun revealing the Everestian economic ignorance now on the loose in Sacramento. Here’s a...

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Some Links

Russ Roberts is interviewed on the many pitfalls of measuring economic change. A slice: Q: Is there a more accurate way to measure wealth in 1975 vs. today? A: A recent study found the bottom half of the income distribution today makes the same on average as the bottom half 35 or 40 years ago. That’s extraordinarily depressing, if true. It implies the top is just doing way too well. But a handful of studies have instead taken people in 1975 and followed them through time to see if the...

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