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Come on there, fella: Let’s see some tears over the pandemic! writes the NYT

Liberty Unyielding - Mon, 05/04/2020 - 5:15pm

Lest you think that the Times has adopted as its motto the title of the Niall Horan song 'No Judgement,' the author, Jessica Bennett, identifies for us the kind of troglodyte who thinks crying is for sissies.

The post Come on there, fella: Let’s see some tears over the pandemic! writes the NYT appeared first on Liberty Unyielding.

Internal Chinese report warns Beijing to prepare for armed conflict with U.S. over COVID-19 backlash

Liberty Unyielding - Mon, 05/04/2020 - 3:42pm

The Chinese intelligence community believes the report is similar to the ‘Novikov Telegram,’ a dispatch the Soviet ambassador to Washington, D.C. sent in 1946 to stress the dangers of U.S. belligerents against the Soviet Union.

The post Internal Chinese report warns Beijing to prepare for armed conflict with U.S. over COVID-19 backlash appeared first on Liberty Unyielding.

Coronavirus and the Future of Public Policy

Center for Freedom and Prosperity (CF&P) - Mon, 05/04/2020 - 12:34pm

I spoke last week about the “Economic Consequences of the Crisis” for a webinar organized by the Estonian Business School.

My remarks focused on the severity of the downturn, the likelihood of a new fiscal crisis in Europe, and how to balance the costs and benefits of re-opening the economy.

The full program, which was part of the Digital Free Market Road Show, can be viewed by clicking here.

For today’s column, I want to focus on my final slide, which asks whether politicians will use the crisis to permanently expand the size and scope of government.

I didn’t make any sweeping predictions when discussing this slide, though my tone was somewhat pessimistic. Simply stated, I fear we’ll have a bigger burden of government when the coronavirus crisis abates.

This doesn’t necessarily have to be the outcome. As I wrote two years ago, it’s possible for a crisis to produce either more statism or more liberalization.

Robert Higgs and Don Boudreaux, writing about this topic for Reason, fear that politicians will succeed in using the crisis to move the needle in the wrong direction.

Although everyone seems to agree that these measures are to be employed only in the short run, until the incidence of the disease has been reduced either by herd immunity or by new medical treatments, no one at the start put together an exit strategy from these extraordinary increases in governments’ size, scope, and power. Everything was done on a piecemeal basis from day to day, on the assumption that when an endgame came into view the governments would terminate their crisis actions. This assumption runs counter to how crisis-borne increases in government’s size, scope, and power have played out in the past. …the growth of government that attends national emergencies is not surrendered fully when the crisis ends. Instead, a ratchet effect operates whereby much of the crisis-borne growth of government becomes institutionalized in agencies and practices and, more important, in the dominant ideology of political elites and the general public.

Higgs and Boudreaux use insights from “public choice” to describe the process that produces ever-larger government.

As crisis followed crisis—World War I, the Great Depression, World War II, the multifaceted turmoil of the Johnson-Nixon years, the 9/11 attacks, the Great Recession that began in 2008—the ratchet effect ensured that government’s growth trajectory was displaced upward, time after time. …People sometimes regretted actions taken hastily during a crisis but found that reversing them was diabolically difficult. …The ratchet effect operates because of incentives and constraints built into the political and economic structure. …To disable the ratchet effect, people must rouse themselves to think more seriously about the long-run consequences of actions taken hastily in response to national emergencies—and about whether they want to keep their remaining economic freedoms and civil liberties or be content to surrender them one crisis at a time.

It’s hard to argue with their analysis, but I’ll close with a bit of optimism.

Here’s a chart based on data from Economic Freedom of the World, including research extending estimates back to 1950. It shows that – notwithstanding various crises – there has not been a decline in liberty for the United States since World War II.

This suggests that Higgs and Boudreaux are too gloomy.

I wonder, however, when going as far back as the 1950s-1970s, if the data is good enough to produce reliable estimates of economic liberty.

How can it be true, for instance, that overall economic liberty increased during the 1970s, when we had Nixon’s awful statism?

Though maybe I have tunnel vision because of my focus on fiscal policy. A Spanish scholar who put together long-run data on non-fiscal policy (going all the way back to 1850) found that economic liberty has been increasing.

In any event, let’s hope that economic liberty doesn’t shrink in the future. Assuming, of course, we care about national prosperity and poverty reduction.

———
Image credit: Erik Scheel | Pexels License.

Tara Reade’s sexual assault allegation against Joe Biden appears to be crumbling

Liberty Unyielding - Mon, 05/04/2020 - 8:37am

On Saturday, the Associated Press reported that Reade now maintains she filed a limited report with a congressional personnel office. In it, she says, she didn't explicitly accuse Biden of sexual assault or harassment.

The post Tara Reade’s sexual assault allegation against Joe Biden appears to be crumbling appeared first on Liberty Unyielding.

Don’t release prison inmates due to COVID-19

Liberty Unyielding - Sun, 05/03/2020 - 11:05pm

Unsafe for the community; no safer for inmates.

The post Don’t release prison inmates due to COVID-19 appeared first on Liberty Unyielding.

It’s time to reopen the schools

Liberty Unyielding - Sun, 05/03/2020 - 1:51pm

Several countries are reopening schools after temporarily closing them due to coronavirus. For example, Denmark and Norway have reopened their elementary schools. States in America should start reopening their schools, too. New research says that doing so won’t spread coronavirus to many adults, and it will have little effect on child mortality. Yet schools remain […]

The post It’s time to reopen the schools appeared first on Liberty Unyielding.

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