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If You’re Looking For Titanium Airplane Parts, Don’t Go To China

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#Economics – From the Committee to Unleash Prosperity: revised GDP numbers show that, once again, in Q1 2024, government spending outgrew personal consumption, which means that growth is fueled by (deficit-financed) government spending, not by the real economy. One does not have to be a free market libertarian to worry about an economy that needs constant deficit spending just to keep up. More.

#Process – Useful: Donald R. Wolfensberger, a former chief of staff in the House Rules Committee, gives us a primer on its function and operations.

#Globalization #AmericanManufacturing – This is your globalization success story of the day: apparently Boeing ordered some titanium parts from a Chinese supplier, and that supplier made those parts out of aluminium, not titanium. Guess they’re both shiny, so it’s the same thing? Via Simple Flying

#AI – Interesting analysis from Brookings’ Tom Wheeler: “AI is eating the web that enabled it.” As people use AI tools more and more, they have less and less of a need to visit the websites whose content is scraped and repackaged by generative AI tools. “Already, a quarter of all web pages developed between 2013 and 2023 no longer exist, and traffic from search engines to the web is predicted to fall by 25% in the next two years.”

#LGBT – The social scientist Jean Twenge points to a fact: mental health problems are growing among LGBT-identified youth. LGBT-identified people have worse mental health outcomes than heterosexuals, and have for as long as there has been research on the topic; the reason usually advanced is that this is the outcome of the discrimination and stigmatization LGBT people (it is axiomatically asserted) face in society. This poses a problem, however: LGBT acceptance has never been higher. And yet LGBT-identified people’s mental health is getting worse. (Via Eric Kaufman)

#BigTech #Chyna – Heritage’s Bryan Burack with the arguments against the “free speech” defense of TikTok.

#FamilyPolicy – From the Institute for Family Studies’ Laurie DeRose, some cold water on the notion that so-called family values are stronger in rural areas. Rural America is exhibiting increasingly urban family forms, and it seems that their family behaviors are driven more by economics than by the rural/urban divide. Rural Americans are more religious than urban Americans, but “their higher-than-urban cohabitation and nonmarital birth rates are explained by their greater poverty.” Full report.

#Healthcare #DrugPolicy – The Biden Administration intends to tackle rising drug prices through price controls. R Street’s Steven Greenhut argues that that’s a bad idea.

#FreeSpeech #BigTech – The “Stanford Internet Observatory” is one of those outfits funded with shady non-profit money to monitor and counteract so-called “online misinformation”, which in many cases happens to be just conventional right-of-center talking points or honest discussions of controversial topics (for example, cast your mind back to the debates about the origins of the Covid virus, when the lab leak hypothesis, now universally accepted as highly credible at least, was labeled “misinformation” and censored on various social media platforms). Anyway, Brownstone Institute’s Andrew Lowenthal reports that SIO, along with many similar outfits, seem to be running out of funding. “The contracts of its leading protagonists, Alex Stamos and Renee DiResta, have not been renewed.” Cheers to that. Even if NGOs are scaling down their efforts to bully Big Tech platforms into censoring discussion of controversial topics, we shouldn’t forget how the whole episode showed just how dependent our public discourse is on the say-so of a handful of privately-owned platforms.

#VicePolicing – Cato’s Chris Edwards has a nice article showing how, as states raise cigarette taxes, these increased taxes lead to more cigarette smuggling.

#Economics – Ryan Bourne and Sophia Bagley have a short primer on the definition of inflation, and why it matters to get it right.

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