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Search Results for '"government thuggery"'

What word best describes the actions of government? Would it be greed? How about thuggery? Or cronyism? Writing for Reason, Eric Boehm has a story showing that “all of the above” may be the right answer. At first it seems like a story about government greed. When Mats Järlström’s wife got snagged by one of […]

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According to Gallup, Americans now identify “government” as the most important problem facing the United States. That doesn’t surprise. Gallup also found last year that big government is considered a far greater danger to the nation that big business or big labor. Moreover, a poll from NPR earlier this year found that government was the […]

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I don’t particularly care how people vote, but I do care whether they believe in freedom. That’s why I periodically share stories that should convince everyone to believe in the libertarian philosophy of small government, individual liberty, and personal responsibility. The stories that get me most agitated are the ones that involve innocent people being […]

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Two years ago, I shared a video about the Environmental Protection Agency’s brutal and thuggish tactics against an Idaho family. That story had a very happy ending because the Supreme Court struck a blow for property rights and unanimously ruled against the EPA (too bad that similarly sound analysis was absent when the Justices decided […]

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Mostly for the humor value, I’ve shared stories about brainless anti-gun political correctness by America’s “educators.” I realize this is a serious issue and I should be figuratively banging my fist on the podium and demanding negative consequences for these foolish teachers and school administrators. But I share my outrage for stories like this one […]

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When I first read this story about a woman getting arrested because her kids were playing outdoors, I figured it would be a perfect addition for my ongoing series that tries to determine whether the United States or the United Kingdom has the most incompetent, stupid, and/or venal government officials making the most brainless and/or […]

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It is common to mock paper-pushing bureaucrats and nanny-state politicians for silly laws and mindless regulations, but sometimes absurd policies translate into genuine oppression. John Stossel outlines some of the disturbing ways that the American people are being mistreated. Something’s happened to America, and it isn’t good. It’s become easier to get into trouble. We’ve become a nation […]

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Congressman Henry Waxman is one of the most odious statists in a town dominated by people who love big government. From his perch as Chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, this career politician played a big role in concocting Obamacare – including the costly provisions that will burden the business community and undermine job […]

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Writing about the sub-par single-payer healthcare system in the United Kingdom, Paul Krugman infamously claimed that,“In Britain, the government itself runs the hospitals and employs the doctors. We’ve all heard scare stories about how that works in practice; these stories are false.” I’ve pointed out that there are plenty of “scare stories” about the National […]

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Last night, I retweeted an image that rubbed me the wrong way. It showed three kids who were handcuffed by undercover cops for criminal activity. And what was their crime? Were they picking pockets? Beating up tourists? Slashing tires? Nope, none of those things. Instead, they were (gasp!!) selling water to thirsty people. And they […]

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One of the unfortunate features of Washington is that people often wind up in places that bring out their worst behaviors. The classic example is Jack Kemp, who did great work as a member of Congress to push a supply-side agenda of low marginal tax rates and less double taxation. Indeed, it’s no exaggeration to […]

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One of the big challenges for libertarians is that we understand “public choice theory.” In other words, we know that people attracted to government will have both the incentive and the power to do bad things, so our quandary is how to give government the authority to provide so-called public goods without sowing the seeds […]

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When I first read about armed protesters taking over a federal building in Oregon, I thought some nutjobs were about to cause some real trouble. Was this a right-wing version of the loons from the Occupy Wall Street movement, only with guns? Then I learned that the “federal building” was nothing more than a remote […]

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Since it’s basically a way of protecting property rights, environmental protection is a legitimate function of government. That’s the easy part. It gets a lot harder when calculating costs and benefits. Everyone surely agrees that a chemical company shouldn’t be able to dump toxic waste in a town’s reservoir because the costs would out-weigh the […]

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I have a Bureaucrat Hall of Fame to recognize government workers who have demonstrated special skills in ripping off taxpayers. And I’ve created a Moocher Hall of Fame to highlight deadbeats and scroungers who best illustrate the entitlement mentality. But maybe it’s now time to create Victims of Government Thuggery Hall of Fame (though I […]

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I wrote last week about the lunacy of a tax system that created the conditions that led to the death of Eric Garner in New York City. But I wrote that column in the context of how high tax rates lead to tax avoidance and tax evasion. Let’s now zoom out and look at the […]

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When people ask me why I mock government for being a slovenly, bloated, and malicious entity, I’m sometimes not sure what to say. Do I give them examples of corrupt corporate welfare? Do I share instances of government thuggery? Do I direct them to preposterous examples of waste? Do I show them details about an […]

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I believe that protecting the environment is both a good thing and a legitimate function of government. But I’m rational. So while I want limits on pollution, such policies should be determined by cost-benefit analysis. Banning automobiles doubtlessly would reduce pollution, for instance, but the economic cost would be catastrophic. On the other hand, it’s […]

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I’ve shared horror stories about government thuggery and I’ve shared horror stories about government stupidity. Thanks to Mark Steyn, we have a story that exemplifies both the brain-dead nature of the public sector and the nasty nature of our bureaucratic overlords. You may have read about the federal milk police. Well, here’s some of what […]

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Since I’m a public finance economist, I realize I’m supposed to focus on big-picture issues such as tax reform and entitlement reform. And I do beat those issues to death, so I obviously care about controlling the size and power of government. But I like to think I’m also a decent human being. And this […]

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Government officials do some really crazy things in the name of law enforcement. I recently wrote about an armed raid on an animal shelter in order to execute a baby deer. That was paramilitary overkill (pun intended), though it probably didn’t waste as many tax dollars as the regulatory overkill of the year-long sting operation […]

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The bad news is that governments do a lot of things they shouldn’t do. The good news is that I never run out of material. I’ve even created some sub-categories, such as my U.S. vs U.K. government stupidity contest and my great-moments-in-local-government series. But I never thought I would have a special category about bureaucrats […]

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I’m a strong believer in federalism, but not because I think state and local governments are competent. Politicians and interest groups are a toxic combination in all circumstance. But at least people have considerable ability to cross borders if they want to escape greedy and despotic governments at the state and local level. And when […]

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In early January, I shared a “libertarian purity test” based on 64 questions. I was a bit disappointed that I only scored a 94 out of a possible 160, but my excuse is that it was really a test of anarcho-capitalism. And as I explained when sharing this amusing video, I’m only in favor of […]

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As a public finance economist, I normally focus on big-picture arguments against excessive government. If the public sector is too large, for instance, that undermines economic growth by diverting resources from the productive sector of the economy. The damage is then compounded by a needlessly destructive and punitive tax system. But I’ve also discovered that […]

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I’ve already written about the despicable practice of “civil forfeiture,” which allows governments to confiscate the property of innocent people who have not been convicted of any crime. And I’ve cited great columns on the issue from George Will and John Stossel., as well a sobering report on the topic from the Wall Street Journal. […]

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I periodically provide mind-blowing examples of individuals who have their lives turned upside down by evil bureaucrats. You may think “evil” is too strong a word, but it sticks in my mind after perusing these examples of abusive actions by the federal government. A story of vicious IRS persecution. Two stories of innocent people who […]

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I hope you’re a libertarian already. But if you’re not, I hope you’ll be one after you finish reading this post. And if you’re not a libertarian after reading this post, I suggest you emigrate to Zimbabwe, or some other place where government has unchecked and arbitrary power to steal. You’ll feel right at home. […]

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In some recent polling data, most Americans expressed a negative view of the federal government, with many of them in another poll saying it poses an “immediate threat to citizens.” That probably sounds extreme to some people, but this story about IRS abuse should be enough to convince any normal person the the federal government […]

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Speaking earlier this week to a group of kids, President Obama invoked Jesus and the three wise men to justify his agenda of redistribution. I’m not exactly a religious scholar, but this surely is absurd. Doesn’t Christianity (and, I assume, Judaism and other faiths) require individuals – using free will – to act charitably? Using […]

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