RECOMMENDED READING
American Compass Releases Conservative Economic Agenda for 118th Congress
Hayek’s Broken Promise
Comparative Disadvantage

Four years ago, Donald Trump gave hope to all apostates from the Church of Reagan and Latter-Day Fusionists.

The modern conservative movement is the child of a marriage between military hawks, business libertarians, and (white) social traditionalists. This union the fusion of political elements that is known as fusionism was a bit tense from its inception. Not only was there little inherent relationship between the concerns of the movement’s disparate factions but, in some cases, those concerns even appeared contradictory: Some libertarians retained an attachment to the right’s pre–World War II isolationism, while many cultural conservatives bristled at the corporate right’s cosmopolitan attitude towards immigration.

American Compass represents the most intellectually honest tendency within the anti-Establishment right. Founded by Oren Cass, the onetime policy director of Mitt Romney’s decidedly anti-populist 2012 campaign, the think tank takes the GOP Establishment to task for its actual, material betrayals of the party faithful. It packages this dissent in policy papers not Twitter tantrums. Where the right’s other dissidents routinely exaggerate the Republican leadership’s treachery, Cass invariably downplays it. In his narrative, the elites did not sell out the people, they merely failed to update their well-intentioned ideas for new circumstances. This framing is self-serving — Cass is himself an erstwhile Establishmentarian — but it also reflects the seriousness of his substantive challenge to GOP orthodoxy. American Compass isn’t using histrionic rhetoric to disguise the thinness of its policy disagreements with Mitch McConnell. It’s arguing with exquisite politeness that upholding conservative values requires giving labor more power over capital.

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Recommended Reading
American Compass Releases Conservative Economic Agenda for 118th Congress

Today, American Compass is releasing New Direction: Conservative Principles & Policies for the 118th Congress, an agenda for economic renewal, focused on the interests of worker, their families and communities, and the nation.

Hayek’s Broken Promise

It is a tragedy that Friedrich Hayek’s excesses, invested with the authority of his (deserved) reputation, became the unexamined default for right-of-center economic thinking in America.

The resulting orthodoxy too often combines a Panglossian insistence on defending market outcomes regardless of their quality with a reflexive belief that policy intervention can only be distortive for the worse.

But when it comes to international trade’s effect on the American economy, a knowing assertion that nothing should be done, followed by yet another “analysis” working backward to an argument that nothing needs doing, will no longer do.

Comparative Disadvantage

If comparative advantage is created rather than discovered, refusing to play the game has consequences.