The Virtues of Fiscal Discipline

– April 10, 2020

Deficits used to be temporary affairs racked up in exceptional periods as the result of shocks, and paid down with surpluses. Despite years of decent economic growth, public debts in most western countries remain at high levels relative to GDP. Consequently, capacity to respond to crisis – such as natural disasters, wars and the one we are facing now – through borrowing is considerably reduced.

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Capitalism Is Still Working, Thank Goodness

– April 10, 2020

Economists rarely get to run field experiments for the whole economy. And thank goodness for that, because field experiments can be very damaging. But the coronavirus that every American has been dealing with for the last month has given us as close to a field experiment as we’re ever likely to get.

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The 100-Day Disaster that Befell America

– April 10, 2020

It took only 100 days to asphyxiate the world economy and the suggestion of possible sickness to render a nation once characterized by rugged individualism, personal liberty, bravery and industry into house-bound milksops.

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Anatomy of the Great Suppression

– April 9, 2020

The Great Suppression, a severe contraction in business activity caused by a government crackdown on capitalist acts between consenting adults, is an awful calamity. Government’s grip will be loosened once the crisis passes, but it will likely be tighter post-crisis versus pre-crisis.

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Why the Political Class Freaked Out

– April 9, 2020

Politicians, including the President, try to adjust expectations about what a “good” or “bad” outcome would look like. If the outcome is bad and lots of people die they can always come out with the “good thing we did something or this would have been much worse” excuse.

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Our Ten Days that Shook the World

– April 8, 2020

After that day in New York, our worlds began to shut down. The following day, a national emergency was declared. Then the CDC recommended against 50 or more people. France locked down. Borders closed. Then the unthinkable scenario unfolded.

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Peter Navarro Has Got to Go

– April 8, 2020

To Navarro, the answer to every question is always and everywhere erecting barriers to the production of others. To say he amazingly believes something is to pretend a lot of thinking informs what he says. Probably not.

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Do Economists Believe in “Magic”? No, We Believe in Markets

– April 8, 2020

The entire dismal science rests on this very, very simple insight: specialization makes our labor more productive. We could complicate this in all sorts of different ways, and that’s exactly what we do when we move from specialization to supply and demand.

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No, Capitalism Did Not Fail

– April 7, 2020

Riding out storms and sharing risks across billions of people is a feature, not a bug, and the affluent capitalist nature of our institutions puts us in a better position to deal with them.

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The Press Conference Trump Should Hold Now

– April 6, 2020

“I have a new campaign slogan more in keeping with my new political view of things. It is, “Make Americans Free Again.” This is an idea and an ideal truly worth fighting for and reestablishing here in the United States.”

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With Knowledge Comes Calm, Rationality, and, Possibly, Openness

– April 5, 2020

To the extent we can replace fear-based mythology, predictions, and state power with knowledge rooted in empirical realities, that is to say, actual facts, we get closer to comprehending the possibility of calm and focus on what matters.

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Unwealthy is Unhealthy, So Why Mandate It?

– April 5, 2020

Standard claims about the supposed net benefits of mandatory lockdowns, shutdowns, and shut-ins are dubious on both economic and moral grounds; as such, they’re woefully improper, even dangerous, when used to justify destructive public policymaking.

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