The Drive for Regulatory Harmonization

Contemporary social and economic affairs take place within a bewildering complex of regulatory restrictions and requirements. Already profuse beyond comprehension, the labyrinth grows ever more extensive. In the United States, at the federal level alone, the 4,000 to 5,000 new final rules put in place each year require some 20,000 pages of the Federal Register for their official promulgation (Clyde Wayne Crews, Jr., Ten Thousand Commandments: An Annual Policymaker’s Snapshot of the Federal Regulatory State [Washington, D.C.: Competitive Enterprise Institute, March 1999], 14–15). Simultaneously, the 50 states, 3,043 counties, 19,279…

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The Real Trickle-Down Effect: Making “Luxuries” Affordable to Regular People

Most readers are familiar with the notion of the “trickle-down effect.” This caricature is usually employed by left-leaning economists to denounce tax cuts for the entrepreneurial class. Writing for the Washington Post, Christopher Ingraham tells readers that slashing tax rates for the wealthy fails to stimulate employment, though rich people become more affluent. Unfortunately, free market economists often respond by demonstrating that there is a positive link between low tax rates and economic growth. Although their efforts are commendable, such writers are employing the wrong strategy. Instead of showing that…

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Why Producer Prices (Like Lumber Prices) Are Rising Faster Than the CPI

“Homebuilding rebounded less than expected,” NBC reported recently, “as very expensive lumber and shortages of other materials continued to constrain builders’ ability to take advantage of an acute shortage of houses on the market.” Lumber isn’t the only material that has experienced significant price increases over the past year. The same NBC article notes that steel and copper prices are also hampering the housing market. The general pattern of price inflation is that higher-order goods—those furthest from the consumer in the production process—tend to react sooner and more significantly to…

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