Under the Government’s Wing

A water drop and ripples

Michael Munger’s reference to Bastiat’s proposal to grow the French economy by burning Paris is a worthwhile reminder.

By Justin Katz | December 27, 2022 |

For that lesson alone, readers should give it a few minutes.  But this paragraph near the end captures something far more intimately relevant to our times than even Munger may have intended: Once you are duped into believing destruction is productive, almost everything that a rational public policy would label as a cost becomes, by…

A water drop and ripples

We’ve entered the pervasive-rent-seeking phase of our nation’s decline.

By Justin Katz | July 28, 2022 |

Something about this story feels profoundly discouraging to me: Forty Rhode Island business owners traveled to Washington D.C. last week as part of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Summit to meet with hundreds of officials to discuss how to boost access to capital, child care and government contracting. Katie Schibler Conn, owner of KSA…

Image of COVID as planet Earth

Governor McKee Declines to Comment about 854 Unvaccinated Health Care Workers

By Monique Chartier | March 13, 2022 |

We recently learned, deep in a Rhode Island Department of Health report, that as of last month, 854 unvaccinated healthcare workers have been permitted to continue to work without medical exemption in violation of the state’s vaccine mandate.   Major credit to Dr. Andrew Bostom for finding and publicizing this remarkable and disturbing document. Further…

Piggybank with mask

Imagine no special-interest feeding frenzies.

By Justin Katz | March 4, 2022 |

Look, I know this is normal and human, and I wouldn’t actually fault the people involved, but for a little Friday-afternoon fantasizing, let’s imagine this not being the case: When Rhode Island received its $1.13 billion slice of federal American Rescue Plan Act funds, it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make tangible investments across the…

Let’s Hear ALL Information about Omicron, Even the Positive

By Monique Chartier | November 29, 2021 |

A new variant of COVID-19, Omicron, (don’t ask what happened to Xi!) has been identified in South Africa. It took only a ten second search to find this important and comparatively positive information about Omicron. Omicron is reported to be seven times more contagious than the Delta variant and yet in the last two months,…

A water drop and ripples

People’s interests (and economic reality) have to be considered in public policy (like mandates).

By Justin Katz | November 2, 2021 |

Further to my observation this morning about the McKee administration’s attitude toward people who lost their jobs thanks to his vaccine mandate, I note noises nationally from federal contractors that a similar mandate may force them to end their contracts with the government.  Sundance writes: As we have continued to point out, a federal vaccine…

An empty kitchen area

A Rhode Island rental owner has discovered that the law is only that which is enforced.

By Justin Katz | October 29, 2021 |

We’ve heard quite a bit about the terrors of eviction during the pandemic and the government-driven closure of our economy, and the talk tends to imply that people who own rental properties don’t need the money — as if the rentals merely contribute side cash to big piles in their basements.  That perspective has informed…

A utility pole and wires

Government should focus on its basics to maximize the Internet (and utilities) in RI.

By Justin Katz | October 26, 2021 |

Understandably, the president and CEO of the New England Cable and Telecommunications Association, Tim Wilkerson, is striving to get out ahead of rumors that the state government might give government-run Internet a try.  Not only do such projects have a track record of failure, but also: Rhode Island already is one of the best states in…

A needle, spoon, and drug

Safe injection sites create risk and confusion about drug policy.

By Justin Katz | October 25, 2021 |

The news is national that Rhode Island has become the first state to greenlight sites where users have heavy drugs can go to take them: Rhode Island plans to create supervised spaces for users to inject illegal drugs, in a big test of the idea that reducing harm to drug users is more effective than…

A fading man on train tracks

We must address the roots of our society’s depression and anxiety.

By Justin Katz | October 15, 2021 |

Russ Roberts’ conversation with writer Johann Hari on a recent episode of EconTalk was interesting for a variety of reasons, not the least because it seems Hari’s work on anxiety and depression changed his own mind a bit.  One might say he’s moved toward the conservative view of the world, at least on this question, and…