RealClearMarkets Articles

When Cryptocurrency and Climate Collide

Mitchell Silk & Timothy Fitzgerald - July 29, 2021

Intense focus on the carbon emissions attributable to mining Bitcoin has united in common cause among cryptocurrency critics and climate activists.  Their goal: ban cryptocurrencies – particularly Bitcoin – to avoid carbon emissions. Cryptocurrency and carbon reduction each have a role in global growth and stability:  crypto being the latest in a line of financial innovations that bring efficiency and security; lower emissions support sustainable and resilient growth.  The intersection of these two pressing global issues deserves, and requires, clear thinking based...

New Merger Bill Would Harm Small Businesses

Jessica Pastorino & John Chuff - July 29, 2021

Here we go again.  H.R. 935, the so-called “Small Business Mergers, Acquisitions, Sales, and Brokerage Simplification Act of 2021”, is back again after having been rejected by Congress on multiple occasions.  Having represented hundreds of small and medium sized businesses in M&A transactions – either in the sale of a business or in the purchase of one – the undersigned can say from experience that H.R. 935 is a bad idea.  It should be rejected again.   H.R. 935’s sponsors claim that it is aimed to help small businesses, but in fact...

How AI Is Expediting Medicine Development

Panna Sharma - July 28, 2021

The world of big data in the healthcare sector is vast and growing exponentially. Tools that leverage artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are critical to organizing, correlating, making sense of, and generating useful discoveries from this avalanche of healthcare and medical data. Analysts suggest that 30% of the world’s data now comes from healthcare and this is growing faster than any other industry, with a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 36%. In genomics and biomarker-driven drug development, the growth rate of data is even higher, with analysts...

The CDC's Hysterical Delta Flip-Flop Might Be Its Final Undoing

Jeffrey Tucker - July 28, 2021

The crazy, convoluted, mixed up messaging from the CDC – it's been this way from the beginning of the pandemic until now – has taken yet another turn. Now the CDC is recommending masks not just for the unvaccinated but for the vaccinated too. This is supposedly because of the discovery that the variant known as Delta is making an end-run around the vaccines, causing not only infections but infectious spread.  So we have an odd situation developing. The layperson’s understanding of a vaccine is that it protects a person against infection, like measles or smallpox. In...


Economic Lessons From the Failed War On Drugs

David Simon - July 28, 2021

The Department of Justice and law enforcement authorities in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C. recently announced yet another campaign to stop illegal distribution of guns. This campaign, like similar past campaigns, will fail. The failed war on drugs confirms that. For decades, as part of efforts to reduce the number of murders, shootings, and other crime using guns, law enforcement authorities at the federal, state, and local levels have initiated innumerable efforts to prevent illegal distribution of guns. Yet the vast number of crimes committed using...

$9 Reading Glasses, $16 Sunscreen, and the Genius of Economic Growth

John Tamny - July 27, 2021

As what you’re presently reading is being typed, your typist is wearing a $9.99 pair of reading glasses purchased last week at Safeway. These are +1.25 glasses, after the +1.00 pairs stopped working very well. Roughly five pairs of glasses are about to meet their demise thanks to increasingly farsighted eyes that require more powerful lenses. It’s nothing, or next to nothing to replace the glasses. At $9.99 the plan will be to purchase several pairs in case of loss, misplacement, or in some instances just to avoid walking down the stairs or out to the car to retrieve a pair. Which...

Sen. Ron Wyden Takes Aim at Pass-Through Businesses

Andrew Wilford - July 27, 2021

Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) recently rolled out a plan to overhaul the pass-through deduction instituted in the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA). While the deduction, known as Section 199A, is not without its flaws, Wyden’s “solution” would undermine much of the rationale that led to the deduction being passed into law in the first place. Even more bizarrely, it seems to work at cross purposes with Democrats’ efforts to reduce the use of the “independent contractor” employment designation. The 199A deduction allows taxpayers with...

The FTC Shouldn't Be a Lawless Agency

Kirk Arner & Harold Furchtgott-Roth - July 26, 2021

The Federal Trade Commission has been on the march.  Over the past month, the Commission has held two “open” meetings, rescinded two major bipartisanagreements by party-line vote, and positioned itself to write regulations for the first time in decades. In the words of a former commissioner, the current FTC is “Icarus flying without the constraints of history, economics, or law.”  He predicts that its “regulatory overreach…will end with the FTC’s wings melting in the courts.” Yet one of the most consequential...


Always Remember 'Rob's Rule' Trumps the 'Science' of Economics

Rob Smith - July 24, 2021

I don’t agree that economics is really a “hard” science. Economics is a function of human behavior, period. Now, if you go to a fancy Ivy League university, major in economics and then go on to get a  economics PHD and teach at Harvard, do you really know more than I do about how to run the country? I doubt it. My observation is the more elevated someone’s academic status is, the more impressed policy makers are in that someone’s opinions.  You’ve heard of the Phillips Curve, Moore’s Law and Occam’s Razor.  Well here is a new...

Liberating the Market for Corporate Control

Bernard Sharfman & Marc Moore - July 23, 2021

In a new article, Liberating the Market for Corporate Control, we recommend that state corporate law statutes be amended to include a safe harbor for hostile bidders who make all-cash, all-shares tender offers that include a guarantee of the same or higher price if a back-end or squeeze-out merger occurs. Thus, in the face of a non-coercive hostile bid, a board cannot use takeover defenses, such as a poison pill or other statutory defense, unless specifically provided for in the corporate charter. In this way, if the board and shareholders agree, a company can always use private ordering...

No Matter What They Say, the Future Isn't Inflationary

Jeffrey Snider - July 23, 2021

As hard as it may be to unpack the tangled mess that is the global monetary system, something I wrote many years ago about an important early stage of evolution away from gold exchange and into a very different arrangement perhaps best describes the process as well as the drastic implications we’d be left to deal with nearing six decades afterward. Everyone is taught that Bretton Woods ended in August 1971. No. The formal end was only that; the functional end came much earlier. In fact, that structure had only really made it to November 1961 before seriously breaking down into...

The Bigger, Beautiful Meaning of Electrodes Implanted In Our Brains

John Tamny - July 22, 2021

“He has not been able to speak since 2003, when he was paralyzed at age 20 by a serious stroke after a terrible car crash.” “He” is Pancho, who chose to not disclose his real name. The words in quotes come from Pam Belluck, of the New York Times. Belluck explains that in “a scientific milestone,” scientists “have tapped into the speech areas of his [Pancho’s] brain – allowing him to produce comprehensible words and sentences simply by trying to say them.” This is all made possible by electrodes “implanted in his brain”...


The U.S. Economy Desperately Needs Immigrants. Let's Reform the Process

Jonathan Russo - July 22, 2021

I voted for and donated to Joe Biden. The dozens of tell all’s already written about Trump’s conduct in office only confirmed my long-held beliefs. The scores more with pub dates from here to eternity will only fill in more sordid details. One of the reasons for my Biden vote was a hoped-for return to reality and some tangential connection to facts, not lies. On balance, Biden is making progress on many fronts. However on our southern border with Mexico reality is worse and the truth is being obfuscated. When the New York Times puts immigration on the front page and...

Why a Fed Digital Dollar Is a Bad Idea

Howard Adler & Alex Pollock - July 22, 2021

On July 19, the top-level President’s Working Group on Financial Markets met to address "the need to act quickly to ensure there is an appropriate U.S. regulatory framework in place" for stablecoins,  a form of cryptocurrency backed by assets, often denominated in dollars. The meeting cited "the risks to end-users, the financial system and national security."  This is a pretty clear message from a group composed of the Secretary of the Treasury, the Chairs of the Federal Reserve, SEC, CFTC, and FDIC and the Comptroller of the Currency.  Another element of federal policy...

A Few of the Many Things That I Love About America

Rob Smith - July 21, 2021

A friend of mine, a big muckety muck CEO of a national company with $14 billion in sales suggested that I write a positive article about “good things” going on in the US and quit bashing the Left.  I would list “Mr. Big’s” name, but I am afraid being associated with a flame throwing reactionary such as myself would make his company’s stock plummet.   I don’t want people picketing in front of his house and scaring his family, so he will remain anonymous. I promise to be completely unbiased and apolitical; no snarky comments! In the words...

A Republican Tech Tantrum Imperils Its Net Neutrality Win

Patrick Hedger - July 21, 2021

The freak-out over net neutrality falls somewhere between the Y2K paranoia and the Mayan Calendar on the Chicken Little scale. CNN declared the passage of the 2017 Restoring Internet Freedom Order the “End of the internet as we know it.” The official Twitter account of Senate Democrats Tweeted, “If we don’t save net neutrality, you’ll get the internet one word at a time,” with large spaces between each word. The rhetoric was so overheated a bomb threat was called in to the FCC meeting where the rollback of net neutrality rules was passed. Of course, the...


Some Bright Spots In President Biden's Executive Order on Competition

Yael Ossowski - July 21, 2021

Earlier this month, as Americans finished up the 4-day work week to enjoy midsummer weather, President Biden unveiled an executive order on promoting competition in our economy. While it contains several aspects that could negatively impact consumers, there are also some bright spots that could help spark new innovations, remove red tape, and help reduce prices. For one, Biden’s executive order creates a new White House Competition Council, made up of various department and agency heads. The council will address “overconcentration, monopolization, and unfair competition,”...

Biden's Assault on Property Rights Is An Odd Way to Boost Competition

James Edwards - July 20, 2021

President Biden’s July 9 executive order ("E.O."), “Promoting Competition in the American Economy,” purports to promote competition. Let’s just say the order presumes a whole lot. Its false presumptions lead to policies that weaponize a blunt instrument: antitrust.  The White House claims that the E.O. addresses anticompetitive problems arising from consolidation in industrial sectors such as banking, hospitals, agriculture, technology and biopharmaceuticals. Unfortunately, the “trust busting” order is long on concentrating Big Government’s...

Biden Can't Increase Competition With More Biden

Kirk Arner & Harold Furchtgott-Roth - July 20, 2021

Recently, President Biden signed a sprawling executive order entitled “Promoting Competition in the American Economy.”  The executive order is premised on the notions: (1) that America lacks competition under current laws and regulations; and (2) that the executive order can lead to new regulations that will enhance competition.  Among other things, the order calls for retrospective merger review, new Federal Trade Commission Section 5 rulemakings, and “greater scrutiny of mergers, especially by dominant [I]nternet platforms.”  The order...

Book Review: Ira Wells's "Norman Jewison: A Director's Life"

John Tamny - July 20, 2021

Who knows if it will turn out to be true, but auteur Quentin Tarantino’s publicly-stated plan is to retire from filmmaking after his tenth movie. He counts the two Kill Bills as one film, which means Once Upon a Time In Hollywood was his ninth. Tarantino’s intention to retire on his own terms came to mind while reading Victoria College (Toronto) professor Ira Wells’s very interesting new book, Norman Jewison: A Director’s Life. Quick: name some of the films Jewison directed. Tick tock. Tick tock. Which is kind of the point. A look at the films Jewison helmed (In the...

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