6 random things for Friday (Jerome Powell, ‘leveling the playing field’, slavery)

News Story of the Day: President Donald Trump has selected “Yellen Republican” Jerome Powell to lead the Federal Reserve once Janet Yellen’s current term expires. The Fed Governor was the favorite to succeed Yellen, but many libertarians are disappointed by this pick because it represents more of the same and a “stay the course” approach.

Here is what he said on the White House lawn on Thursday:

“In the years since the global financial crisis ended, our economy has made substantial progress toward full recovery. By many measures we are close to full employment, and inflation has gradually moved up toward our target,” he said.

“Inside the Federal Reserve, we understand that monetary policy decisions matter for American families and communities. I strongly share that sense of mission and am committed to making decisions with objectivity, based on available evidence and in the longstanding tradition of monetary policy independence.”

Remember when the president said he wanted to audit the Fed? Well, that is unlikely to happen now that Powell is heading the United States central bank.

Chart of the Day: the Republicans finally released the key details of their Tax Cut and Jobs Act, and it merely shifts the tax burden around. But if you want to know how it affects you, here is a great chart that summarizes the changes:

Illustration of the Day: legendary economist Milton Friedman understood what the drug was all about. It’s a shame that so many Republicans can’t listen to reason:

Image result for meme milton friedman

Quote of the Day: Cafe Hayek‘s Don Boudreaux on government “leveling the playing field”:

Mr. McKinney:

Long ago I tired of responding to protectionists’ incessant appeals for government to “level the playing field.”  Whoever uses that term to plead for trade barriers reveals a failure to understand trade.  Still, I’ll answer your e-mail in which you allege that Beijing “unfairly tilts the playing field against” Americans – and I’ll answer it while sticking with this tired sports analogy despite the fact that sports analogies are almost always inappropriate for discussing trade.

When Beijing subsidizes Chinese exports or tariffs Chinese imports (or both) it does indeed tilt the playing field.  But it tilts that field in favor of Americans (and others who who buy Chinese exports) and against its own citizens.  These interventions by Beijing raise our real incomes: our dollars buy more from China.  And any resulting job losses in America mean that resources are released to produce goods and services here that were previously too costly to produce.  Whenever a trading partner insists on giving you more for your money, you are made better off.  This fact isn’t altered if your trading partner happens to live abroad.

Those who are hurt by this tilted playing field are the Chinese people.  Their government forces them to exert more sweat and to sacrifice more resources than necessary to acquire imports.

A tilted playing field is unfair because one team, the one that must run uphill, has to work unnecessarily hard to advance, while the other team, the one that gets to run downhill, advances with artificial ease.  Beijing’s subsidies and tariffs, by obliging the Chinese people to spend more than necessary to acquire imports, force the Chinese people to run uphill economically.  We Americans (and others who buy Chinese exports) do, as you say, play on a tilted field, but it is one tilted in our favor.  We get to run downhill.

Donald J. Boudreaux
Professor of Economics
Martha and Nelson Getchell Chair for the Study of Free Market Capitalism at the Mercatus Center
George Mason University
Fairfax, VA  22030

Tweet of the Day: leftists are complaining that President Trump called for the death penalty of the New York City terrorist but not for the Las Vegas shooter. This isn’t just a couple of leftists, but it seems many publications and personalities are making this grievance, even GQ! Did they know he’s dead?

Video of the Day: the president has so far made plenty of blunders, and there is a lot you can disagree with. That said, some of the questions lobbied at the White House are just plain ridiculous. April Ryan asked Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the feisty Press Secretary, if this administration supports slavery. What?

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