Acton Institute Powerblog Archives

Acton Occasional Series

25 Facts about Africa

May 25 is Africa Day, a holiday originally created to celebrate the foundation of the Organization of African Unity (now known as the African Union) on May 25, 1963. In honor of the commemoration, here are 25 facts you should know about the continent: 1. Continue Reading...

Understanding the President’s Cabinet: White House Chief of Staff

Note: This is the post #18 in a weekly series of explanatory posts on the officials and agencies included in the President’s Cabinet. See the series introduction here. White House / WhiteHouse.gov Cabinet position: White House Chief of Staff Department:  Executive Office of the President Current staffer: Reince Priebus Department Budget: Primary Duties of the Secretary: While the roles of the chief of staff varies by presidential administration, they usually include the following: • Select key White House staff and supervise them; • Structure the White House staff system; • Control the flow of people into the Oval Office; • Manage the flow of information; • Protect the interests of the president; • Negotiate with Congress, other members of the executive branch, and extra-governmental political groups to implement the president’s agenda; and • Advise the president on various issues, including telling the president what he does not want to hear. Continue Reading...

The problem with tariffs and protectionism

Note: This is post #34 in a weekly video series on basic microeconomics. How do tariffs affect consumers? What about producers? Who wins and who loses? In this video by Marginal Revolution University, economist Alex Tabarrok looks at the costs and consequences of tariffs, quotas, and protectionism. Continue Reading...

Explainer: What you should know about NAFTA

The Trump administration formally announced to Congress today that it intends to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). According to the Associated Press, U.S. Trade Rep. Robert Lighthizer sent a letter to congressional leaders to start 90 days of consultations with lawmakers over how to revamp the pact. Continue Reading...

Understanding the President’s Cabinet: Vice President

Note: This is the post #17 in a weekly series of explanatory posts on the officials and agencies included in the President’s Cabinet. See the series introduction here. Seal of the VP / WhiteHouse.gov Cabinet position: Vice President (VPOTUS) Current: Mike Pence Succession: The Vice President is second in the presidential line of succession. Continue Reading...

Should Martha Stewart iron her own shirts?

Note: This is post #33 in a weekly video series on basic microeconomics. Comparative advantage explains why people trade and what goods they should trade. To illustrate the concept of comparative advantage, Marginal Revolution University’s Alex Tabarrok asks, “Should Martha Stewart iron her own shirts?” Even if Martha Stewart has an absolute advantage in ironing shirts, her opportunity cost is simply too high. Continue Reading...

Understanding the President’s Cabinet: Attorney General

Note: This is post #16 in a weekly series of explanatory posts on the officials and agencies included in the President’s Cabinet. See the series introduction here. Dept. of Justice logo / DOJ.gov Cabinet position: Attorney General Department: Department of Justice Current Secretary: Jeff Sessions Succession: The Attorney General is seventh in the presidential line of succession. Continue Reading...

What is comparative advantage?

Note: This is post #32 in a weekly video series on basic microeconomics. What is comparative advantage? And why is it important to trade? In this video by Marginal Revolution University, economist Don Boudreaux guides us through a specific example surrounding Tasmania — an island off the coast of Australia that experienced the miracle of growth in reverse. Continue Reading...