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Dr. David Hebert on COVID-19 pandemic economics

Ep. 243

The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020 has brought with it enormous costs. These include, first and foremost, an enormous cost in the terms of human life, with more than 178,000 deaths from the coronavirus in the United States alone, and at least 814,000 deaths worldwide, as of late August 2020. But also, with the pandemic have come significant economic costs, fiscal costs, and personal costs to our happiness and quality of life.


Why is living under quarantine so hard for people? In large part it’s because, prior to the pandemic, many people have enjoyed living under a system of mostly-free markets. But when we’re robbed of our ability to work in a lockdown, we’re also robbed of part of what comprises our innate human dignity, as this pandemic takes a toll not only in the loss of human life but in the loss of community.


What can we learn from the economic cost of the coronavirus pandemic? How can economics and public choice theory help us better understand the actions of political leaders during this time? And how can entrepreneurship allowed for under free market systems innovate solutions to these problems?


In this episode, Acton’s managing director of programs Stephen Barrows speaks with Dr. David Hebert, chair of the economics department and associate professor of economics at Aquinas College, about the economics of the quarantines and lock-downs in the Covid-19.


Dr. David Hebert at Aquinas College


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Ilya Shapiro on Supreme Disorder and SCOTUS politics

Ep. 248
The untimely death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia in February of 2016 amplified questions about the Supreme Court in the 2016 election to new highs. Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s high wire act in denying a hearing and vote on President Barack Obama’s nominee to fill that seat, Judge Merrick Garland, ultimately paid off for him: President Donald Trump nominated Judge Neil Gorsuch, who was then confirmed by the Republican-controlled Senate.A year later, the political world was rocked again by the retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy and President Trump’s nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the bench. Following one of the most contentions confirmation hearings in modern American political history, Kavanaugh was also confirmed.Now, the passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has created another election year vacancy on the nation’s highest court. President Trump has nominated Judge Amy Coney Barrett to fill the seat. The political temperature has again risen.In his new book, “Supreme Disorder: Judicial Nominations and the Politics of America’s Highest Court,” Cato’s Ilya Shapiro examines the history of the judicial confirmation hearings, how politics has invaded the Supreme Court itself, and how appointments to the Court have become one of the most explosive features of our system of government.In this episode, Ilya Shapiro discusses his new book, how our politics of the judiciary got this way, how that politics affecting us as a nation, and what, if anything, can be done about it.Ilya Shapiro at the Cato InstituteSupreme Disorder: Judicial Nominations and the Politics of America's Highest Court - Ilya ShapiroTerm Limits Won’t Fix the Court - Ilya ShapiroRoberts Rules - Ilya ShapiroEverything you need to know about Amy Coney Barrett - Rev. Ben Johnson‘A different kind of lawyer’: Amy Coney Barrett on Christian vocation - Joseph SundeHigh Court, high stakes: Replacing Ruth Bader Ginsburg - Trey DimsdaleReligious liberty at the Supreme Court - Acton Line