Man really busy basically for all of June… To prevent some of you from going into horrible withdrawal, here are two recent articles:
==> Another of my columns at the The American Conservative, this time on government’s role in dividing us. I mention gay marriage and contraception coverage, but those are just a springboard to my more general point. And let’s just say there is no danger of the first commenter wanting to marry me. (I.e. he hated my article.) UPDATE: This is actually a pretty good summary of the article:
In other words, part of the reason people care so much about whether the government agrees on who can get married, is that the government exercises so much power over the rest of our lives. If the federal government were a minor institution in society — charged with repelling foreign armies, negotiating treaties, and not much else — then nobody would much care what the president of the United States thought about gay marriage. The reason President Obama’s recent “evolution” on the issue so energized his supporters is that the federal government sticks its nose into all areas of our lives. If federal officials think the globe is warming too quickly, that women aren’t paid enough, that speculators are pushing up the price of oil, that Americans are too obese, that a foreign ruler isn’t treating his dissidents properly, or a million other thing[s], then find your kids and hang on to your wallet. Infused with vast power over us, the opinions of federal officials come to be tremendously important to everyone. If Obama came out and said he doesn’t permit his daughters to listen to country music because of its historical ties to the Confederacy, that would cause a national uproar, not because anybody looks to Obama as a model parent or music critic, but because they’d worry that his administration might go ahead and ban music they consider offensive.
==> A rarity for me on the Internet: In this EconLib article, you wouldn’t be sure whether I favored more or less government intervention. It is close to a pure analysis of economic modeling, with just about no policy conclusions! Savor it while you can. An excerpt:
Non-economists often think that “economists study money.” The reality, though, is that most academic economists hardly think about money at all. Whether we’re talking about tariffs, wages, Social Security taxes, or pollution, the analysis (though often couched in dollar terms for the benefit of the general public) really is grounded in microeconomics and would work just as well if we were talking about a barter economy. In fact, in a typical Ph.D. program, students study models with money in them only when explicitly trying to answer questions about central-bank policy. Even in these cases—in which the very purpose is to draw conclusions about appropriate monetary policy—the underlying logic of the model doesn’t really have a role for money. Instead, economists insert money into the model somewhat awkwardly, through various ad hoc assumptions.