Murthy v. Missouri Puts Government Censorship on Trial

On Monday, the Supreme Court will hear arguments in Murthy v. Missouri, formerly Missouri v. Biden, the president whose administration has been accused of strong-arming Big Tech to remove “objectionable posts.” The attorneys general of Missouri and Louisiana, joined by doctors such as Jay Bhattacharya of Stanford, argue that the administration censored dissenting speech on COVID-19 and other policies by pressuring tech platforms to remove or restrict posts.

Unsustainable Spending Runs Wild in Biden Budget

On March 11, 2024, President Biden released his budget proposal for the U.S. government’s 2025 fiscal year. It’s a remarkable document because he seeks to permanently lock in the unsustainable spending that characterizes his administration’s fiscal policy.

The Politics of Inflation

February’s Consumer Price Index (CPI) showed prices up by 0.62% in the past month. If that rate of increase kept up for the rest of the year, the annual inflation rate would be 7.4%. But the CPI won’t keep rising that fast.

As Regulators Fight Big Tech Mergers, Startups Often Pay the Price
Regulators deterred Amazon’s acquisition of iRobot. They may also have deterred innovation and future competition.

Amazon announced on Jan. 29 that it would scrap its plans to acquire iRobot, maker of the popular vacuum Roomba. While a negative initial ruling on the merger from the European Commission in Nov. 2023 was likely the primary cause of Amazon walking away from a deal that had been valued at $1.7 billion in Aug. 2022, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reportedly also threatened action against the deal.

Another Year, Another Crisis

The one-year anniversary of the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) is upon us. And while some of the factors behind that catastrophe have been tamped down, a new crop of problems have emerged to cast a shadow over the banking system and the health of the US economy. In the year since, only the sources of difficulty have changed.

Borrowing $10 Billion a Day, Every Day

On average, Uncle Sam borrows $10 billion a day, every day. If you stack $10 bills high enough to add up to $10 billion, the stack would rise 67.9 miles above the Earth’s surface. During much of the past year, Uncle Sam has been borrowing enough money to do that daily.

President Biden’s Climate Aspirations

Most of what the political class calls policies are really aspirations with no policy content. They are feel-good statements that promote goals most people would support, with no associated policies that would move toward those goals. The following is an example.

Wendy’s Won’t Use Dynamic Pricing—But Should They?

They’re dead to me,” was the reaction of one friend when he learned of the plan, now characterized as an alleged plan, to introduce Uber-style surge pricing to Wendy’s fast food restaurants. No sooner did I begin writing this article (including the following line: “Given the initial reaction, it’s possible that the Wendy’s surge pricing plan will never see realization.”) than the company issued a statement saying that it would not implement those pricing methods. It characterized a phrase that CEO Kirk Tanner used during the 4th quarter conference call indicating that Wendy’s “w[ould] begin testing more enhanced features like dynamic pricing and daypart offerings along with AI-enabled menu changes and suggestive selling” as “misconstrued.”

Saying the Quiet Part Out Loud

Econ 101 instructors take note—a new illustration of the important microeconomic concept of incidence just dropped. Economists emphasize that there is a world of difference between legal and economic incidence. Legal incidence specifies who, on paper, has the right to claim a benefit or the obligation to bear a liability. Economic incidence analyzes which party receives a benefit or bears a cost in actuality. Who gets to command more or fewer resources?

Tariff Truths

In a classic case of damning with faint praise, former President Donald Trump recently expressed his affection for Chinese President Xi Jinping, while threatening to engage in a trade war with China if he is reelected as President. In typical Trumpian style, he feted Xi as a smart, strong leader while also stating that while he is not specifically looking for a trade war, import duties even greater than the 60 percent he was previously reported as considering are completely on the table. An equitable fellow if ever there was one, Mr. Trump has also announced plans to ostensibly revitalize American manufacturing by levying a 10 percent tariff on imported goods across the board. This is hardly new, nor limited to Trump, as President Biden has maintained his predecessor’s duties on some $370 million worth of Chinese imports. Both national conservatives and liberal protectionists are dead wrong about tariffs and growth.

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