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It Costs a Lot When Government Sets Prices: New at Reason

From sin taxes to tariffs to minimum wages, politicians of all stripes want to set prices. And you pay.

A. Barton Hinkle writes:

You probably couldn’t get New York Mayor Bill de Blasio and President Trump to agree on the time of day. But on the question of prices they are of one mind. Both of them think they know better than others what stuff should cost.

De Blasio recently boasted he will raise (apparently by decree) the price of a pack of cigarettes to $13—”the highest price in the country.” The New York Times said his goal “is to persuade or coerce 160,000 of the 900,000 New York City residents who smoke to stop doing so by 2020.”

De Blasio clearly understands the law of supply and demand: When you raise prices, demand falls. But he evidently hasn’t applied that lesson to labor; he supports raising the minimum wage to $15 (which, incidentally, would help the poor afford cigarettes again). Advocates of minimum wage hikes like to claim raising the price of labor doesn’t affect the demand for it. They’re about as convincing as skeptics of climate change.

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Trump Beats Clinton in New Poll, White House Pushes Congress to Use Government Shutdown to Secure Border Funding, Le Pen, Macron Headed to Second Round in French Presidential Elections: A.M. Links
  • A new Washington Poll finds the approval rating for President Trump at 42 percent—it also shows 43 percent of respondents saying they’d vote for Trump again and 40 percent saying they’d vote for Hillary Clinton, leading Trump to tweet that he’d “still” beat Clinton in the popular vote, which he lost.
  • Officials at the White House are pressing Republicans in Congress to use the prospect of a government shutdown to secure funding for the border wall.
  • Bernie Sanders says Ann Coulter has the right to speak at Berkeley “without fear of violence and intimidation.”
  • In France, Marine Le Pen and Emmanuel Macron head to the second round of presidential candidates, the first time neither of the two largest parties advance out of the first round.
  • North Korea says it’s ready to sink a U.S. aircraft carrier that’s supposed to be headed to the area.
  • An American monitor from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe was killed in Ukraine after his vehicle struck a land mine.
  • Five Somali soldiers were injured in a roadside blast in Mogadishu.

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