Ignorance of the Laws (of Supply and Demand) is No Excuse
Essential Liberty Roundup #001 – SCOTUS summary + Steven Rhoads on his 35th-anniversary edition of "The Economist's View of the World"
Let’s start with the good news:
Eric Boehm at Reason reports on a rare instance of a government agency admitting its own failure, as the FDA owns up to its role in the recent baby formula shortage.
Tyler Cowen notes that Tom W. Bell – the Chapman University professor – has won a grant from Emergent Ventures “to produce a report In Search of the Best Policies for Translational Geroscience, with Kalon Boston.”
Now onto the bad news.
Joe Biden has demonstrated glaring ignorance of supply and demand with his tweet scapegoating gas stations for the high price of their product.
Biden’s gaffes are usually unplanned slips of the tongue – not pre-meditated social media posts that presumably received approval from staffers prior to publication.
However, his recent Tweet demanding that gas stations lower their prices to alleviate the “pain at the pump” is far more embarrassing than his accidental public speaking fumbles.
Even Jeff Bezos had to correct the President for his ignorance of basic economics, which combined blatant scapegoating with a denial of the universal laws of supply and demand. However, in a nation where the vast majority of citizens have likely never taken an undergraduate economics course, can Biden be blamed for engaging in such classic political opportunism?
Perhaps we can channel former President Barack Obama, in considering this a “teachable moment.” Or as Rahm Emmanuel once said, let us never let a good crisis go to waste.
I’m delighted to welcome Professor Emeritus Steven E. Rhoads to the show this Sunday to discuss the new and substantially revised 35th-anniversary edition of his best-selling book, The Economist’s View of the World: And the Quest for Well-Being.
Rhoads wrote the book as an assistant professor at the University of Virginia (home of the Public Choice economics), and was surprised when the original edition skyrocketed to the tops of best-seller lists and made economic principles accessible to millions who would have otherwise believed the fallacies embedded in Biden’s tweet.
David Henderson – editor of the Concise Encyclopedia of Economics – calls it “A Wide-Ranging Book for Non-Economists and Economists” alike, and the WSJ named it one of the best books of 2021.
This Sunday (8-9 am PACIFIC), Steven E. Rhoads and I will attempt to distill an entire semester’s worth of economic thinking into a full hour. Don’t miss it.
Meanwhile, despite inflation woes, Democrats are doubling down on spending and subsidies as the remedy for unaffordable health care and gasoline. Veronique de Rugy notes a new “Build Back Better” bill looks to spend another $2 trillion, of which new permanent ObamaCare subsidies make up $25-35 billion a year.
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Joe Lancaster reports on the message San Fransisco voters are sending with the recall of progressive prosecutor Chesa Boudin. Lancaster concludes that we need not abandon criminal justice reform to reign in the excesses of Boudin’s failed approach.
Supreme Court Roundup:
George F. Will says the court got it right in the West Virginia v. EPA case, which limits the extent to which federal government can regulate the energy industry to combat climate change. Josh Blackman, meanwhile, focuses on the fireworks and snark in the opinions by Justices Kagan and Roberts.
With the divisions on the Supreme Court bench mirrored in the general population, we might ask, alongside Nick Gillespie and the rest of the Reason roundtable, whether America is headed for a national divorce?
Nick Gillespie also sat down with Randy Barnett to discuss Dobbs, the 2nd Amendment case, and “the Future of the Supreme Court.”
In the Bruen decision, the court struck down a New York law limiting the ability of gun owners to carry weapons, but Barnett argues that the case is more important for the signal it sends about the court’s shifting constitutional method. He says, “It may not always be easy to distinguish a prohibition of a right from a mere regulation of its exercise.” But this ruling gives us hints about how the court will try. Some states are changing their laws to comply with the ruling, while other state AGs are acting defiantly.
Speaking of Randy Barnett, don’t miss his annual 4th of July post on the Volokh Conspiracy on What the Declaration of Independence Said and Meant.
With so much division, could it be time to revisit the concept of seasteading as a form of Secession Lite for those who are fed up?
Brian Doherty, Reason’s resident expert on seasteading and the other eccentric “new country” ventures, reports on a new book by Raymond Craib, Adventure Capitalism: A History of Libertarian Exit, from the Era of Decolonization to the Digital Age.
Craib is not a libertarian, Doherty notes, and is generally critical of the “Exit” avenue for pressuring governments to reform themselves, but the book looks to tell an interesting story, and Craib, “recognizes these efforts are not merely mercenary attempts to, say, avoid taxes or get rich quick.”'
Last Week’s Show
Finally, in case you missed it, listen to or catch the transcript / condensed summary of my conversation with Clark Neily about the much-talked-about Dobbs decision and the less-discussed (but vitally important) topic of Qualified Immunity:
“[Qualified Immunity] is a get-out-of-responsibility free card for rights-violating government officials.” – Clark Neily III