WaPo Debunks the Non-Scandal of “Anglo-American” Law

In a recent speech, Attorney General Jeff Sessions made a passing reference to the "Anglo-American heritage of law enforcement". Naturally, this sparked outrage and new accusations that Sessions is racist. Those accusations may be well-founded, but this is about the weakest evidence that could be offered to support them. A solid new piece at The Washington Post explains why. In short, descriptions of the US legal system as "Anglo-American" are actually quite mainstream, appearing routinely in legal arguments and even Supreme Court opinions. The reason this description is common is because...

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3 Forces Driving Interest Rates Higher

3 Forces Driving Interest Rates Higher

In the past two weeks, interest rates have gone up sharply, sparking turmoil in the stock market. To take one example, the rate on 10-year Treasury bonds went from 2.66% on Jan. 26 to close at 2.85% on Feb. 12. The recent moves have brought key interest rates up to levels they haven't seen since 2014. If the Federal Reserve sticks with its current policy course, chances are that interest rates will go higher still. Why Interest Rates Are Headed Higher There are three main forces that will help push interest rates up in the US: Federal Reserve Rate Hikes Federal Reserve Quantitative...

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Why Good News Was Bad News for the Market

Over the last two trading days (2/2 and 2/5), the Dow Jones Industrial Average has lost more than 1,800 points, or about 7%. Meanwhile, the S&P has lost 173 points, or more than 6%. These sharp downward moves have many people looking for an explanation. No big companies failed. No wars were started. No new policies were enacted. So why did the market lose nearly 7% of its value in two days? Part of the answer is this: a better-than-expected jobs report. That is, the markets received positive news on the US labor market, indicating that the US economy appears to be in good health. In...

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Low Prices Are Illegal in France

Low Prices Are Illegal in France

In a recent newscast, NPR carried a story on the so-called "Nutella Riots" in France, in which shoppers literally fought over discounted jars of chocolate-hazelnut spread. It seemed like a strange event, but everything else about the report felt pretty normal. That's when NPR dropped this bombshell on my afternoon: "In France, selling at a loss is illegal, except under very specific conditions." Sorry, what? I figured I must have misheard. Granted, France is a long ways from Bastiat at this point, but surely they still have some standards. Right? Wrong. On subsequent playbacks, NPR reporter...

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How DACA Became a Political Football

How DACA Became a Political Football

Democrats, Republicans, and regular Americans agree that DACA recipients should be allowed to stay in the US. In spite of this happy news, the DACA program remains in limbo nearly five months after it was revoked by President Trump. The government also just went through a brief shutdown because Republicans and Democrats in Washington couldn't come to a compromise on this issue. Needless to say, it's not an ideal situation. The problem is that both parties are more interested in using the plight of nearly 700,000 DACA recipients as political leverage than resolving their issue. There's plenty...

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Sometimes I Love the Trump Effect–Solar Tariff Edition

The Trump Effect is what causes millions of moderate and left-of-center Americans to immediately take the opposite position of President Trump whenever he makes a new decision. The issues in question are often obscure, but the popular center-left positions that emerge on them can be quite interesting. That is precisely what is happening now that President has unwisely decided to issue new tariffs on solar panels. In response, The Huffington Post released a critical article that  explains why the tariffs will harm downstream companies and consumers alike. It's refreshingly sound economics...

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Oprah 2020?

In case you're wondering why you're suddenly hearing about Oprah running for president, Reason's Christian Britschgi will get you up to speed in his latest piece: Will 2020 Be Oprah vs. Trump? There are several good lines in here, but I particularly enjoyed his description of center-left Twitter as the place "where endless optimism about government in general mixes with apoplectic rage and fear about the government we currently have".

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