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[Josh Blackman] Today in Supreme Court History: July 5, 1867

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7/5/1867: Justice James Wayne dies.

Justice James Wayne
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StatsGuru
7 days ago
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Great grandfather of Batman?

As Bastiat Would Say, Peer Past the Obvious With Pandemic Policies

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spnphotosnine931093

This week marks the 219th birthday of the great 19th-century French economist Frederic Bastiat. It's the perfect time to talk about his famous essay, "That Which is Seen, and that Which is Not Seen," published in his book, The Law. This timeless work remains an essential guide to thinking about policymaking.

In that essay, Bastiat writes: "In the department of economy, an act, a habit, an institution, a law, gives birth not only to an effect, but to a series of effects. Of these effects, the first only is immediate; it manifests itself simultaneously with its cause—it is seen. The others unfold in succession—they are not seen: it is well for us if they are foreseen. Between a good and a bad economist this constitutes the whole difference—the one takes account of the visible effect; the other takes account both of the effects which are seen and also of those which it is necessary to foresee."

Oh, how I wish we would have remembered to earnestly account for the unseen effects of policies put into place during this pandemic that will pop up in its aftermath.

Take, for example, the massive amount of additional debt the federal government has imposed on future generations of Americans during the COVID-19 crisis. That which is seen is the money flowing from the federal government to the unemployed, to those taking leave due to rescue money given to businesses during the pandemic. While we might be aware in the abstract that there is an accompanying rise in U.S. government indebtedness, that which is not seen is the increase in taxes that must be paid by future generations. Nor do we see the slower economic growth that will be caused by the need to pay off this debt.

Even less obvious are the unseen effects of making permanent the supposedly temporary creation of federal paid-leave entitlements. While it's easy to point to all the advantages of such a move for the 35 percent of women who didn't have any such benefits pre-COVID-19, it's more difficult to see the lower wages and employment that will result. Also hidden from our vision is the increase in employment discrimination fueled by this policy: When governments arbitrarily increase employers' costs to hire certain groups, fewer members of those groups get hired. The academic literature is clear that such legislation inflicts very real negative effects on women.

Also harder to spot are the unseen effects of rent-control legislation. Such regulations exist in states and cities nationwide, though it wouldn't be surprising to see more such policies implemented in this crisis's wake. The benefits are easy to see. The rules promise to make housing in high-value rent markets more affordable for middle- and lower-class families. But once such legislation is implemented, reality kicks in.

We see rents going up more slowly than they likely would have otherwise. When paired with eviction protections, this policy gives an illusion of control to tenants who were already in rental homes when the regulation was adopted. What is unseen, however, is significant. Rent-control statutes reduce the incentives for property owners to supply their facilities as residential housing, and they make it less attractive for developers to build rental housing. Rent control even diminishes landlords' willingness to maintain the quality of their units. The final result is less and lower-quality housing for ordinary people.

There are also seen and unseen effects from the lockdown put in place to control COVID-19's spread. The seen effects of the policy are millions of people limiting their interactions with others as a protection from a virus that has killed many. The unseen effects of this policy are, among other things, the rise of depression, drug overdoses, and suicides; a decrease in diagnostics for other lethal diseases (which will lead to more deaths); the educational impact on children cut out from school; and the long-term economic devastation.

Peering past the obvious in order to get a more complete picture is what adults do when running their lives and managing households or business affairs. It's what good economists do when analyzing public policies. And it's what Frederic Bastiat did with unmatched skill and style more than two centuries ago. Unfortunately, it's not what most politicians tend to do today.

COPYRIGHT 2020 CREATORS.COM



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StatsGuru
10 days ago
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Excellent article.

"If there is one great and absolute enemy of totalitarianism, it is truth. And to reach the truth, one must think. It is only here, in the solitude of our own minds, that we can begin the slow process of resistance to those who would impose their will" quillette.com/2020/06/26/neo…

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"If there is one great and absolute enemy of totalitarianism, it is truth. And to reach the truth, one must think. It is only here, in the solitude of our own minds, that we can begin the slow process of resistance to those who would impose their will"
quillette.com/2020/06/26/neo…




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StatsGuru
14 days ago
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I like this tweet.

The two parties have failed America: Mimi Robson

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Why should Californians give up on the old parties? Because they’ve failed us!

In this year’s presidential election we don’t have to decide between two big-spending old white men, neither of which seem to have our interests in mind when determining the direction of the country. We now have a third serious choice.

I know that sounds too simple, but it’s something we can truly do. We can finally elect a Libertarian for president and Dr. Jo Jorgensen is the candidate that can make that happen. She’s the difference the county needs.

Jorgensen, a senior lecturer in psychology at Clemson University, was the Libertarian Party’s vice presidential candidate on a ticket with Harry Browne in 1996.

Her platform is straightforward: fix our $23 trillion dollar national debt, put an end to the non-stop involvement in expensive and deadly foreign wars, fix our broken healthcare and retirement systems, stop the tariffs that are destroying free markets for American consumers and producers and finally put an end to the immigration crisis.

In the past four years both of the old parties have failed us. Not just in California but across the nation. It once seemed that things were going along nicely; the economy was humming along, we saw the lowest unemployment in years, and most of us started the year thinking that 2020 was going to be great. But that all went to hell in a handbasket and it’s the old parties that are to blame.

The presidential election this year will give all Californians a chance to change the direction of both the country and the state. For too long we’ve let the Democrats and Republicans frame the narrative on the direction of the country, with the results being an unsustainable economy, unsustainable foreign intervention, and greater infringements on our personal liberties and freedoms daily.

In March, the country shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Although it can’t possibly be said that the government is responsible for the pandemic, they are most certainly responsible for their reaction to it. And that reaction has caused ramifications that will last for decades to come. At both the state and national level, our elected representative could have developed a plan to keep people safe from the virus while keeping people employed, but they instead decided to keep us in our homes and close our businesses.

Jo Jorgensen would have done things far differently. She would have allowed companies to start developing and employing testing immediately, by using the Emergency Powers Act to allow the FDA to more quickly approve tests.

Jorgensen would have also not supported the $3 trillion stimulus bill. She would have let people keep their money and decide how they wanted to spend it.

And then, after almost three months of our county being shut down, there was a flash point. George Floyd was killed at the hands of the Minneapolis police. This wasn’t an isolated incident and has been going on for far too long. Police officers have been acting with impunity for decades, including what happened in Los Angeles in 1992 with Rodney King. This happened in New York in 2014 with Eric Garner who died after being suspected of selling cigarettes. This happens again and again, and people have finally had enough. People want a change and neither of the major parties have set out to fix it.

Jorgensen believes that things need to be changed by first doing away with qualified immunity, along with no-knock raids and the militarization of the police.  She would support bills like the “tri-partisan” bill introduced by Rep. Justin Amash, L-Michigan, to end qualified immunity for police, unlike President Trump or Joe Biden who only wants to “reform” qualified immunity.

As the Libertarian Party’s presidential candidate, Jo Jorgensen will likely be on the ballot in all 50 states, as we were in 2016. This means that California voters will have a real choice this year.

Mimi Robson is chair of the Libertarian Party of California.



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StatsGuru
22 days ago
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We need a woman in the White House!
freeAgent
21 days ago
She’s also under 70!

Armed Agents of the State Shouldn't Be Enforcing Traffic Laws

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agerm136596

Police officers have difficult jobs, going up against murderers, rapists, muggers, thieves, and hardened traffic violators. 

Which of those groups doesn't belong? 

The question is especially relevant as protesters take to the streets over unaccountable, abusive policing. A majority of Americans now support police reform. And some of the most important reforms we could be enacting are changes that would simply reduce interactions between the public and armed agents of the state.

Cops pull over 20 million motorists a year—by far the most common form of police interactions with the American people. Those encounters occasionally end violently and tragically. Consider the cases of Darrius Stewart, Samuel DuBose, Philando Castile, and Maurice Gordon, all of whom were shot during routine traffic stops. Gordon was killed by a New Jersey state trooper just last month.

Those traffic stops often evolve into drug searches, which carry serious Fourth Amendment concerns. They also disproportionately impact black and Hispanic people. (Blacks are four times more likely to be arrested for drug offenses and 2.5 times more likely to be arrested for drug possession, though whites use drugs at comparable rates.) Those with fewer means are more likely to be fined, arrested, and shuffled through the legal system, notwithstanding the fact that they're less able to afford getting trapped in that cycle.

In Colorado and Washington, where marijuana has been legalized, search rates at traffic stops have dramatically declined, a testament to how often those arbitrary searches are tied to drug laws that have no impact on traffic safety.

But even traffic safety doesn't necessarily need to be enforced by the police. "Don't use a hammer if you don't need to pound a nail," writes economist Alex Tabarrok at Marginal Revolution. "The responsibility for handing out speeding tickets and citations should be handled by an unarmed agency. Put the safety patrol in bright yellow cars and have them carry a bit of extra gasoline and jumper cables to help stranded motorists as part of their job—make road safety nice."

It's a worthy idea. But it'll be tough to get state and local governments to accept it. Police departments, many of them furnished with weapons fit for a battlefield, often act as revenue raisers for the cities in which they serve.

"A Police Executive Research Forum report on St. Louis law enforcement found that local governments within the county were using police to 'plug revenue gaps' by running up the number of traffic citations, which coincided with many low-level arrests," writes Derek Thompson in The Atlantic. "As one St. Louis County resident told the report's authors: 'It's no secret that a lot of these municipal police officers are only supposed to be revenue drivers for their cities.'"

That isn't the only way to reduce police encounters with the public. Eric Garner died at the hands of New York City police officer Daniel Pantaleo after Garner was approached for selling loose cigarettes. A Louisville cop shot Breonna Taylor during a no-knock drug raid. Taylor was not a drug dealer, but had previously dated someone who had used her address to receive drugs. Nevertheless, her killing was not unlike that of Osama Bin Laden. She was shot 8 times.

We could avoid encounters like that just be having fewer laws. "Things like the war on drugs, they've given police officers multiple reasons to be present in [minority] communities," Reason's Zuri Davis recently told the Washington Examiner's Siraj Hashmi. That "gives rise to a lot more interaction—and negative interaction." If we want fewer innocent people to die at police officers' hands, we need to cut back on the encounters that keep spiralling into such deaths.



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StatsGuru
23 days ago
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Yes.

Bloody Well Pay Them

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The United States is one of the few countries in the world where plasma donors are paid and it is responsible for 70% of the global supply of plasma. If you add in the other countries that allow donors to be paid, including Germany, Austria, Hungary, and Czechia, the paid-donor countries account for nearly 90% of the total supply.

Countries that follow the WHOs guidance to rely exclusively on voluntary, unpaid donors all have shortages of plasma (hmmm…what’s the WHOs track record like?) So what do these countries do? Import plasma from the paid-donor countries. The United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and some Canadian provinces, for example, prohibit paid donors and they import a majority of their plasma from paid donor countries. (See chart at right).

As Nobel prize winner Al Roth puts it, in his gentle way:

I find confusing the position of some countries that compensating domestic plasma donors is immoral, but filling the resulting shortage by purchasing plasma from the US is ok.

The UK, Australia, New Zealand and Canada can afford their moral hypocrisy but their decision to forbid paid-donors reduces the world supply of plasma driving up the price and harming people in poorer countries.

I have cribbed from an excellent new report by Peter Jaworski, Bloody Well Pay Them: The Case for Voluntary Remunerated Plasma Collections.

Previous MR posts on plasma.

The post Bloody Well Pay Them appeared first on Marginal REVOLUTION.

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StatsGuru
26 days ago
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"Get the hell out of my way", comes to mind.
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