Six Degrees of Brett Kavanaugh

In 2010, Ryan Young and I had an op-ed in IBD detailing how a recent regulation would empower the IRS to license tax preparers. We argued that it was a bad idea for several reasons. To my knowledge, we were the first people to write about this particular illegal IRS scheme.

At the time I was dating a girl who later became my wife. Her grandfather, as luck would have it, is a tax preparer. He would have been put out of business immediately if that regulation had persisted.

My girlfriend, now wife, worked at the Institute for Justice. Her grandfather soon became one of three clients in a case handed by IJ challenging that regulation. The case was Loving (et al) v. IRS.

Now I’m searching for interesting opinions from Brett Kavanaugh since he’s been nominated to the Supreme Court and I have to have some idea of what he’s done as a judge, and wouldn’t you know it …

You Can Keep Your Van if You Like It

The last of Volkswagen’s iconic vans will roll off a VW production line in Brazil later this year:

Safety regulations mandate that every vehicle in Brazil must have air bags and anti-lock braking systems starting in 2014, and the company says it cannot change production to meet the law.


My issue with the end of the VW van is effectively the same as an issue with the Affordable Care Act. By mandating the one-size-fits-all solution (in this case, that every car have air bags and anti-lock braking), it’s not just innovation that’s lost, it’s products that people like and are willing to buy despite not having Important Safety Features That Experts Agree Are Necessary. We unfortunately lose many choices we might like because someone else has decided we need something else even more.

Brazilian lawmakers could trumpet this safety equipment as a lifesaver while simultaneously crowing that the change would not affect commercial production of any popular products. They’d be wrong on the last part, of course, but because the cascading effects in the economics of these situations makes it a challenge for most people to piece together causes and effects, they retain plausible deniability.

In the case of the Affordable Care Act’s claimed lack of any substantive impact on every single last doggone insurance plan, when an insurer or employer makes the calculation that offering certain insurance products (or offering them to certain low-productivity employees) won’t be profitable, ACA supporters get to grouse to their fans that these companies are emblems of vanishing public spiritedness and the entrepreneur’s crass focus on the bottom line.

In any case, wouldn’t you love to drive one of these things?