The Case of Jeanine Añez

If Jeanine Añez, the former president of Bolivia, were a woman of the left, she would be a “cause célèbre” by now. Because she is a Christian and a conservative (with some of whose ideas, I hasten to add, I do not agree), her recent ten-year prison sentence at the hands of an increasingly dictatorial government led by Luis Arce—a stooge of former president Evo Morales, a close ally of Cuba and Nicaragua—has given rise to less international furor than it should. She is a political prisoner and the case against her (she is accused of having grabbed power illegally in 2019) is grotesque by any standards.

Fauci and the Highest Stage of White Coat Supremacy

“Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, and Chief Medical Advisor to President Biden, tested positive for COVID-19 on a rapid antigen test,” the National Institutes of Health announced Wednesday. Embattled Americans have reason to be puzzled. 

Microsoft’s Internet Explorer and Antitrust
Goodbye and Good Riddance

United States v. Microsoft Corp., 253 F.3d 34 (D.C. Cir2001) was the first major antitrust case of the digital age. At its conclusion, Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson declared that Microsoft had violated the Sherman Act by monopolizing the U.S. market for “Intel-compatible” computer operating systems (see, e.g., here).

California’s State Psychiatrists and Taxpayers

According to the Sacramento Bee, California state prison psychiatrists earn about $300,000 a year, but apparently, that’s not enough. Their union wants a 15 percent across-the-board hike for the fiscal year starting July 1. That gives taxpayers plenty to ponder.

Noncompete Contract Clauses are Agreed-Upon Voluntarily

Eighteen percent of U.S. workers are bound by noncompete clauses in their employment contracts, according to a story by Dave Michaels and Ryan Tracy on p. A4 of June 9th’s Wall Street Journal. Lina Khan, the anti-Big Tech chairperson of the Federal Trade Commission, says that she wants the FTC to take steps to restrict private businesses’ use of such contractual provisions on the grounds that they “can stifle competition for talent.”

Arrival of High Inflation Sets Up Stagflationary Debt Crisis

Americans are experiencing the worst inflation they have in over four decades. The Federal Reserve is gearing up for a series of big interest rate hikes to try to slow it.

Those rate hikes mean big trouble lies ahead for the fiscal health of the U.S. government. Through June 9, 2022, Uncle Sam has racked up nearly $30.4 trillion worth of debt. That’s over $230,278 of national debt for each of the U.S. estimated 132 million households.

Social Security Benefits Will Not Be Cut

Fellow blogger Craig Eyermann did a good job of explaining that the Social Security trust fund is projected to run out of money by 2035. The result, the Social Security Administration trustees say, is that either payroll taxes will have to be raised or benefits will have to be cut.

Adam Smith, Technology, and Liberty

Adam Smith is often called the father of capitalism. It is certainly true that Smith saw the good in a system of what he called “natural liberty,” where people were free to dispose of their resources and skills as they see fit in a market system. But a certain popular caricature of capitalism might lead one to think that Smith was something he was not. In fact, Smith recognized the benefits of commercial society primarily in its tendency to raise the position of the least well off, the “labouring poor,” whose wages and standard of living increase in a thriving, growing, wealthy, free, well-governed nation. His concerns are moral and humane, with concern for what sort of system tends to benefit all without great injustices and finds that commercial society often meets these requirements well. 

Automated Decision Making Regulations
An Explanation of Privacy Rules

Over the last few years, many privacy regulations have come into effect both at the state level and globally. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the EU, Brazil’s data protection regulation (LGPD), the California Consumer Privacy Rights Act (CPRA), the Virginia Consumer Data Protection Act (VCDPA) and Colorado’s Privacy Act (CPA) are just a few of the new privacy regulations. Although all these laws are impactful in their own right, the GDPR was the first and had a far reaching impact, affecting the legal privacy landscape globally. It thrusted many changes onto businesses that operated in the EU. Further, regulators in other jurisdictions, such as California, consider how the EU has drafted and enforced the GDPR when deciding how to implement their privacy regulations, particularly in areas of new technology, like machine learning and automated decision making. 

The Research Interests of Academic Economists: Part II

In a recent post in The Beacon, I discussed the research interests of academic economists as indicated by articles presented at the American Economic Association annual meeting and published in the American Economic Review. This post focuses on the American Economic Association distinguished lecture, presented at the Association’s annual meeting and published in that same issue of the American Economic Review.

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