WEEKLY UPDATE: Can economic freedom survive populism?
The future prosperity of the world hangs in the balance
The wave of populism that has swept the world in recent years had its origins in a number of converging trends, including large-scale migration, globalization, and the financial crisis of 2008, all of which fueled a sense that legacy elites are self-interested and out of touch. The result has been a continuing backlash against open economic policies, reflected in a turn to protectionism in the form of tariffs, “industrial policies” and other forms of state intervention.
Is there any way free market ideals can survive the age of populism? Advancing free market concepts in an often hostile environment will be challenging, but not impossible, according to Iain Murray of CEI and Johan Norberg of Cato, who urge free market advocates to adopt a pragmatic, tactical approach in a new op-ed for The Economic Standard. Read their analysis and advice here.
TES Editor-in-Chief Erik Sass: The debate over industrial policy ended… 35 years ago
The rise of populism has brought with it the return of statism in the economic sphere, especially regarding international trade, where previous moves towards freer trade have been roundly rejected in favor of old-fashioned mercantilism and bilateral brinksmanship. The return of the concept of national industrial policy is especially noteworthy because it has been debunked on so many occasions, recalled Veronique de Rugy, a Sorbonne-trained economist and senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. More
Ilya Shapiro and Dennis Garcia: Government Tries to Regulate Drug Prices by Violating the First Amendment
Part of the freedom of speech is the right not to speak against one’s will. In particular the notion of being forced to read from a state-drafted script against one’s beliefs or interests is anathema to the founding conception of discourse in a free society. Now on appeal, the government is again attempting to defend its regulation as not violating the First Amendment. More
Open Europe: EU transfers fuel corruption, white collar crime
EU regional transfers have failed to develop the economies of the EU’s poorer member states and, in return, risk worsening corruption in the member states receiving them. Instead of launching “rule of law” procedures against EU member states with a weaker democratic tradition, the EU should start with no longer transferring vast resources to member states with higher levels of corruption if the EU wants to promote the rule of law in these states. More
Stephen Booth and Anthony Egan: Pro- and anti-Brexit electoral alliances start to take shape
The UK’s general election campaign is yet to get into full swing. A few more details have emerged regarding the Brexit policies of the major parties but the most significant developments are how the parties are organising themselves into pro- and anti- Brexit alliances. Ultimately, it is the effectiveness of these alliances and electoral coalitions that could decide the result. More
Patrick Dümmler: Why does Switzerland have sugar subsidies? Why does anyone?
Something consumed by lots of people every day should never be in short supply, even in a crisis — or so the thinking goes. The Swiss Confederation therefore requires selected sectors to engage in stockpiling, in order to be able to ensure continued supply to the country if necessary. These so-called compulsory warehouses are usually financed by an import tax, for which consumers ultimately bear the costs. More
Gergely Varga: V4 countries diverge on European defense initiatives, but still have a lot to offer
With the new EU commission set to take its place sometime in the next few months, Europeans are in a stand-by mode with respect to how the EU will deliver on European defense. As in many other policy areas, it is the Visegrad Four (V4) seemingly counterbalancing some of the more ambitious Western European ideas with regards to the quest of accelerating further integration in the area of security and defense. More
Policy At Work…
WASHINGTON BEYOND THE HEADLINES
By Andy Blom, TES Correspondent
As impeachment lingers like that canker sore you can’t get rid of — (uh, obstruction…no, quid pro quo…no, bribery) — conservative and center-right organizations and individuals continue to work hard on issues and ideas that affect the American people. Read on for this week’s news…
Who Knew — “Right to Repair” is an Issue
Government can make anything complicated…and dangerous, even farm equipment. Obviously, Farmers have the right to repair their farm equipment, right? In fact, the Association of Equipment Manufacturers and the Equipment Dealers Association have committed to provide manuals, services, trainings, tools and more to help owners repair their machinery. But that’s not enough for some governments and politicians. In moves that would seriously threaten trade secrets and intellectual property, more and more states…and Presidential Candidates Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders…are pursuing “right to repair” laws that would force exposure of manufacturers’ trade secrets. Read more on this evolving issue here.
Medicare For All Means Higher Taxes for All
The Heritage Foundation has taken a hard, extensive look at all the economic ins and outs of the “Medicare for All” plan advanced by Democrat candidate and famed policy wonk Elizabeth Warren (and Bernie Sanders et. al.), and the results aren’t pretty. Their report, tellingly titled “How ‘Medicare for All’ Harms Working Americans” examines all the assumptions and scenarios and delivers cold, hard facts. See the entire detailed examination here.
And Speaking of Warren and Taxes…
Nicole Kaeding of the National taxpayers Union Foundation has looked at Senator Warren’s proposed tax changes and found them, to put it bluntly, unrealistic.She has tallied up all of Warren’s tax proposals and gives you the bad news here.
Secretary of Labor Takes on “Big Law”
Eugene Scalia, the new Labor Secretary, has accused big laws firms of being unwilling to defend conservative viewpoints. Scalia, himself previously a partner at Gibson Dunn in Washington, says fear of offending some observers has led some of the nation’s biggest law firms to shy away from defending free speech and ‘free trade in ideas”. Read about this disturbing trend here.
Politicized Banks…Protected by Privilege
The provision of financial services has become increasingly politicized as banks refuse service to firms and industries they disfavor. Within the rights of any business? Well, maybe. Except banks operate in a rare “regimen of privilege”, giving them public power to impose their private preferences on the market. A new research paper from the Mercatus Center at George Mason University takes an in depth look here.
It’s Time Congress Got with Modern Energy Policy
Congress appears mired in Bush/Obama era energy thinking, ignoring the dramatic impacts of fracking and the natural gas revolution. That’s Peter Roff’s analysis as he calls for an end to taxpayer funding of renewable energy pipe dreams and the end of the Sun Power Tax Credit. Read his compelling argument here.
We are All at the Mercy of the Administrative State. But NCLA is on Your Side
Ready for a truly sobering statistic? Americans are 10 times more likely to be tried by an unelected bureaucrat than by a federal judge. The present gigantic, all powerful administrative state is not what our Founding Fathers had in mind. And the New Civil Liberties Alliance is here to fight it for you. Visit www.nclalegal.org and learn some of the horror stories, and some hope-making victories.
Heartland Talks to Legislators. You Should be in the Loop.
The Heartland Institute is one the nation’s bigger and better think tanks and they produce publications read by 78% of state legislators. Get in the know by taking a look at the Heartland website.
WaPo Hates Vaping, Disses Vapers
As President Trump hits the pause button on banning flavored vaping, actually listening to additional information and opinion, the Washington Post launched into Vapers as “AstroTurf”. Why? Because they use a hashtag — #IVapeVote. Horrors. This is actually becoming an important political and personal freedom issue, buried under some specious medical findings. American for Tax Reform (www.atr,org) is on this. Read more here.
Upcoming events: It’s cold! It’s almost Thanksgiving! Time to stay home and watch YouTube…
- The Heartland Institute LIVE FROM COP25 MADRID, SPAIN. Rebutting the United Nation’s climate agenda. Tuesday, December 3 13:00 – 16:00 CET (7 AM – 12 PM ET). Madrid, Spain and live-streamed on YouTube. Info at ClimateRealityForum.com.
- The Inaugural Charter Cities Conference. March 17th and 18th, 2020 in Johannesburg. Ever wanted to build your own city? Well, here’s your chance. Participants will learn how to build the foundation for strong, economically vibrant charter cities from experts who are traveling from around the world to discuss projects both planned and in progress. This is your opportunity to get in on the ground floor of an exciting movement to build the future of governance for the cities of tomorrow. More
Andy Blom is a veteran political and public policy pro with decades of experience in Washington, D.C. circles.