Essentially everybody who actually understands economics agrees that rent control is bad for those seeking housing (or whatever “rent” is being controlled). That is: rent control is bad for the very people it is envisioned to help.
Payday lending, predatory lending, and other lending interest rate controls are no different than rent controls. By capping the rate that can be charged for whatever kind of loan is given, those seeking loans – for whatever reason – will suffer. They might not be able to get loans or perhaps they’ll be forced to pay in some non-traditional (non-regulated) fashion. It will happen. The market always finds a way to get the risk-reward profile approximately correct. (Because if it didn’t get the risk reward profile correct, the market for that good/service/whatever would not exist.) Capping prices (or restricting transactions entirely) causes some kind of black market.
So when the Times calls for capping rates as a way to help service members and poor people, what they’re doing is proposing a new system of rules that will make those people’s lives harder. One might put it differently: the Times wants service members and the poor to suffer.
In another apparent case of regulation and oversight not doing what they’re supposed to do, highway guardrails have come under scrutiny.
Part of the problem is this (it’s a problem inherent in large systems that cannot be avoided; which is why large systems should be avoided): many people in the regulatory agency decide to sign off on the use of these guardrails. Billions of dollars are spent. Then, a problem arises. Do those people, does the agency, want to admit it was wrong? No. Even if it wanted to admit it was wrong, does the agency have the financial capacity to correct or reverse the decision? Probably not. The problem is that large systems cannot correct bad behavior, assuming they even want to (which often they don’t).
George Will writes about a teeth whitening case that the Supreme Court will hear this week. Yes, it’s about teeth whitening. Yes, it’s important. Why? Because it’s really about the absurd and abused practice of occupational licensure. Occupational licensure, that would be the practice of a group of people banding together to create a government sanctioned monopoly. Oh, sorry for the redundancy, I meant, simply, a monopoly; as it is ONLY with government intervention that monopolies can exist in the first place.
Two teasers from Will’s article:
The [North Carolina State Board of Dental Examiners], whose members are elected by licensed dentists and dental hygienists, regulates the practice of dentistry in North Carolina. To the surprise of no one acquainted with human nature, the board wields its power for the benefit of fellow members of the cartel of licensed dental practitioners.
and my favorite:
North Carolina’s dental board says it should be presumed to act in the public interest.
Yes, because we all know that there is no way a “dental examiner” – a human – would ever act against the public interest. Just like politicians always act in the public interest. WHAT EVEN IS THE PUBLIC INTEREST?
Kudos to the Washington Post for continuing to report on the travesty of justice known as civil asset forfeiture.
From the first two directors of the Federal version of “the initiative”, here is a piece in the WaPo that clearly explains why CAF is corrupt, immoral, and should be abolished.
It’s a tale of incentives, emergent order, unintended consequences, corruption, mission creep, abusing the law, … it’s actually quite similar to Evolve.