Western Europe, Wagner’s Law, and Economic Growth

The EU stopped catching up with the USA 50 years ago!

International Liberty

In this clip from an interview with Chile’s Axel Kaiser, I discuss “Wagner’s Law” and the lessons to be learned from fiscal policy in Western Europe.

If you don’t want to watch the video, my discussion can be summarized in three sentences.

  • Yes, welfare states in Western Europe are comparatively rich by world standards.
  • But those  countries became rich when they had relatively small governments.
  • Adopting high taxes and big welfare states has since stunted their economic growth.

And here’s a fourth sentence that I should have mentioned.

  • They compensate for bad fiscal policy by having laissez-faire policies in other areas.

I expect that some people won’t accept my argument without some supporting evidence, so I’m going to share some charts.

We’ll start with this chart from Our World in Data. As you can see, nations in Western Europe has almost no welfare states prior to…

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Schools presentation on free trade and inequality

Plain-speaking Economics

Here are the slides from a presentations I gave last week to A-level students of economics, politics and business studies…

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US Supreme Court Slams EPA’s Attempt to Wreck America’s Reliable & Affordable Power Supply


It appears as if adults are finally taking charge of energy policy, wresting it from the hands of boffins and bureaucrats determined to have us freezing or boiling in the dark.

Germany has restarted its coal-fired power plants and looks unlikely to shut down its nuclear power plants as previously mandated; the French are determined to maintain their 56 nuclear plants and have plans to build 14 all new plants in the near future.

In the US, its Supreme Court has just crushed Joe Biden’s surreptitious efforts to destroy America’s coal-fired power plants by a mixture of underhanded stealth and unlawful regulation.

The Epoch Times had this report on Joe’s latest constitutional blow.

Supreme Court Narrows EPA’s Ability to Regulate Carbon Dioxide Emissions
Epoch Times
Matthew Vadum
30 June 2022

The Supreme Court ruled 6–3 on June 30 that the Clean Air Act doesn’t give the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency…

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Anurag Deb and Nicholas Kilford: The UK Internal Market Act: Devolution Minimalism and the Competence Smoke Screen

UK Constitutional Law Association

The UK’s territorial constitution is, at present, under a great deal of pressure. Those familiar with one force unsettling the devolution framework — the attempts to override the Northern Ireland Protocol — will no doubt recall the legislation that first countenanced a similar approach: the UK Internal Market Act 2020 (UKIMA). This piece of legislation is, however, once again causing its own stir, this time in the form ofa clash between Scottish and UK ministers over gene-editing regulations.

The UKIMA, in short, effectively deprives future provisions of devolved legislation—even within competence—of effect to the extent that they are incompatible with its “market access principles”. In other words, although such devolved legislation would remain law, its practical effect is limited by the application of the market access principles. The UKIMA, we suggest, contributes not only to a growing momentum towards a minimalist conception of devolution, but does so by fundamentally…

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Part-time power

Arctic sea ice extent: spiraling down or doing just fine?

Trust, yet verify

There was some controversy about Arctic sea ice in May of this year. Back then, I saw some (contradictory) messages in a quick succession. First, there was a tweet claiming that Arctic sea ice extent was the same as in 1989, followed by a fact-check claiming that this was just cherry-picking and that it in fact going steadily downhill, finally a reply that also the fact-check was cherry-picking and overall sea ice extent was just fine.

So, what is it? Is Arctic sea ice going to hell in a handbasket or is it doing just fine, already recovered to 1989 levels?

It is several years ago since I looked at Arctic sea ice extent data and at that time there was what seems to be a modest beginning of a pause, so I was curious how it evolved since then. Did that pause continue or is it straight down again?

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The real “Elvis,” the real “Comeback Special”

Movie Nation

One of the better sequences in Baz Luhrmann’s “Elvis” is recreating that sacred piece of Elvis lore, “Singer Presents…Elvis,” the Xmas season TV show labeled “The ’68 Comeback Special.”

Luhrmann does spectacle like few filmmakers working today.

But you might be surprised how impressive that analog live on videotape show was for its day, and remains. Here’s a favorite but featuring a song by Burt Reynolds ‘ future sidekick, Jerry Reed.

You can find the entire special on YouTube, in pieces and in complete form. Some of it is teeth grindlingly dated. But what worked still works.

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Frasier – Lillith and the closet

Dumb & Dumber: Continued Wind & Solar Obsession Defies All Logic & Reason


The renewable energy pit deepens, but there’s no indication the dolts in charge will ever stop digging. The, by now obvious, consequences of attempting to rely on sunshine and breezes include another annual power price increase of over 20% this month and routine power rationing by postcode. In response, there’s a growing groundswell of hostility to the glib and superficial rhetoric that passes for energy policy debate in this country. Bewilderment is giving way to frustration and outright anger.

Australia’s new PM, Anthony Albanese and his gormless Energy Minister are odds-on to win the Dumbest Pair in Politics award, with their efforts to destroy what’s left of Australia’s reliable and affordable power generation system.

STT has consistently described the policies that got us here as “suicidal”. But the approach being taken now to double down on the debacle, evidences clearly murderous intent.

As Europe backtracks from its self-inflicted renewable energy…

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The 1970s Cooling Scare Was Real

Mother Cat Walking With Her Kittens And Hitting Them To Go Inside | White Cat Protecting Her Kittens

Green fuels adding almost £10 to the cost of filling up a family car

Tallbloke's Talkshop

For how much longer?
[image credit: thecostaricanews.com]
One of the many costs of carbon dioxide paranoia. How long do people want to go on paying, and allowing themselves to be bludgeoned into believing suspect climate theories while struggling to afford to run their own lives?
– – –
Green fuels are adding nearly £10 to the cost of filling up an average family car, according to new analysis that will add more pressure on the Government to scrap their use, says the Daily Telegraph.

Petrol and diesel contain between five and 10 per cent biofuels, made mostly from wheat, maize and used cooking oil, the price of which has shot up since the war in Ukraine, even more than the cost of regular fuel.

As part of the Government’s net zero drive, E10 petrol was made the standard last summer, while B7 diesel was introduced in 2019.

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Dr. Lilith Sternin and her charming exit

Soldier Welcomed Home by Excited Cat

Why Humans Are Obsessed with Cats | Annals of Obsession | The New Yorker

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