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Search Results for '"state government"'

States such as Illinois, California, New York, Connecticut, and New Jersey have very serious structural problems because of high tax burdens and unsustainable spending levels (often associated with excessive pay and benefits for bureaucrats). I frequently write about those big issues, but I also like to periodically share examples of other bone-headed policies at the […]

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When I write about the actions of state governments, it’s usually to highlight a specific bad policy. As you can imagine, states like California, Connecticut, Illinois, New York, and New Jersey give me a never-ending amount of material. But I frequently run across things that are happening in the states that don’t really merit an […]

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I’m either a total optimist or a glutton for punishment. I recently explained the benefits of “tax havens” for the unfriendly readers of the New York Times. Now I’m defending a different form of tax competition for CNN, another news outlet that leans left. In this case, the topic is whether states can reach beyond […]

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Back in 2010, I shared parts of a Dave Barry column that mocked the government for bizarre examples of stupid law enforcement. Barry was specifically making fun of OSHA bureaucrats for fining a company for the horrible transgression of saving a worker when a trench collapsed. But there are many other examples of law enforcement […]

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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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If you saw my speech to Capitol Hill staff on the topic, you know I’m strongly opposed to schemes that would allow greedy state politicians to impose taxes on online sales that occur outside their borders. I reiterated these sentiments in a debate that was posted today by U.S. News & World Report. Here’s some […]

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I spend much of my time focusing on the dangers of a bloated federal government. And if you’ve ever paid attention to the name of this blog, you know I have a special interest in monitoring the ill-advised actions of foreign governments. But that doesn’t mean I have a Pollyanna view about state governments or […]

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I’m an over-protective parent. Even now, with my kids ranging between 18 and 23, I will try to herd them together while skiing so I can follow them down the slopes and watch for potential injuries. And I never got them a jungle gym when they were young, even though I somehow managed to survive […]

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Make sure you don’t save an injured deer in Virginia. Not only will the bureaucrats take the animal away from you, but they’ll nail you with three misdemeanor charges just for good measure. I guess the legal approach would have been to let the dogs kill the helpless creature. Here’s part of the WTOP.com report. […]

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Last November, voters in some states had the opportunity to accept or reject some very important initiatives, including votes on Colorado’s flat tax, Arizona’s school choice system, and a carbon tax in the state of Washington. Since 2019 is an off-year election, there aren’t as many initiatives and referendums. But one of them is vitally […]

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As reported by the Washington Examiner, Crazy Bernie thinks the American people will be happy to pay more taxes in exchange for more goodies from Washington. Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders said more taxes would be necessary in order to pay for things like universal healthcare and tuition-free college. …”a lot of people in the country […]

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I spend much of my time analyzing the foolish and counterproductive policies imposed by Washington. Often accompanied by some mockery of politicians and their silly laws. And I also employ the same approach when reviewing the bone-headed policies often pursued by state governments and local governments. And since this is “International Liberty,” I obviously like […]

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There are some remarkable stories of the private sector showing initiative when governments fail to maintain infrastructure. In response to dithering by government, residents and businesses in Hawaii put up $4 million to fix an important community road. Smugglers in Russia repaired a road to facilitate untaxed trade between Russian and Belarus. I also wrote […]

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I wrote a couple of weeks ago about how New York is committing slow-motion fiscal suicide. The politicians in Illinois must have noticed because they now want (another “hold my beer” moment?) to accelerate the already-happening collapse of their state. The new governor, J.B. Pritzker, wants to undo the state’s 4.95 percent flat tax, which […]

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It’s not easy being a libertarian. Thanks to senseless and harmful government policies, you run the risk of being perpetually outraged. One day, you get angry because an innocent person is being harassed by the bureaucracy. The next day, you’re upset because insiders are using their political connections to get unearned wealth. The following day, […]

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Like any sensible person, I want victimless crimes to be legalized. In part because I believe in freedom, but also for utilitarian reasons. I don’t approve of drugs and I’ve never used drugs, but I think the social harm of prohibition is greater than the social harm of legalization. I don’t particularly like alcohol and I am […]

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I’ve advocated for some of the President’s policies, but I’ve never defended Donald Trump when he’s personally attacked. That’s partly because I’m a policy wonk rather than political pundit, but also because many of the attacks seem justified. Indeed, his boorish behavior is one of the reasons I thought he would lose the presidential race. […]

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Yesterday, I wrote about the newest edition of Economic Freedom of the World, which is my favorite annual publication. Not far behind is the Tax Foundation’s State Business Tax Climate Index, which is sort of the domestic version of their equally fascinating (to a wonk) International Tax Competitiveness Index. And what can we learn from […]

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With Florence about to hit, it’s time to preemptively explain how the federal government makes damage more likely and why post-hurricane efforts will make future damage more likely. There are just two principles you need to understand. When Washington subsidizes something, you get more of it, and the federal government subsidizes building – and living […]

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I don’t like it when poor people receive handouts from government, though not because I think they’re being grifters. I mostly view them as victims who are vulnerable to getting trapped in the quicksand of government dependency. The people I despise are the rich people who manipulate the levers of power to get undeserved goodies. […]

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Given the routine corruption and reckless spending in Washington, I frequently get asked how I keep my sanity. It’s possible, as some of my friends argue, that I’m not actually sane. That would explain why I try to put my finger in the dyke of big government as more and more new leaks keep developing. […]

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As part of my collection of libertarian humor (both pro and con), I provide an answer to the age-old question of “why did the libertarian chicken cross the road?” Sticking with that theme, here’s some amusing satire from Babylon Bee. Clad in his favorite Sunday Gadsden flag T-shirt, local libertarian believer John Revere reportedly screamed, […]

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When I wrote about “crazy Bernie Sanders” in 2016, I wasn’t just engaging in literary hyperbole. The Vermont Senator is basically an unreconstructed leftist with a disturbing affinity for crackpot ideas and totalitarian regimes. His campaign agenda that year was an orgy of new taxes and higher spending. Though it’s worth noting that he’s at […]

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When I did a poll earlier this year, asking which state would be the first to suffer a fiscal crisis, I wasn’t terribly surprised that Illinois wound up in first place. But I was surprised by the margin. Even though there’s a good case to be made for basket-case jurisdictions such as New Jersey, California, […]

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California is a lot like France. They’re both wonderful places to visit. And they’re both great places to live if you already have a lot of money. But neither jurisdiction is very friendly to people who want to get rich. And, thanks to tax competition, that’s having a meaningful impact on migration patterns. I’ve previously […]

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On April 17, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in South Dakota v. Wayfair, Inc., a case dealing with whether states should have the power to levy taxes on companies in other states. Most observers see this issue as a fight over taxing the Internet, taxing online sales, or a battle between Main Street merchants […]

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While much of my analysis focuses on the mess created by Washington, I periodically show my ecumenical nature by sharing “Great Moments in State Government” and “Great Moments in Local Government.” And in keeping with the title of this page, I even occasionally share “Great Moments in Foreign Government.” Today, though we’re going to get […]

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I’m not a fan of conspiracy theories. When people ask me whether there is some sinister, behind-the-scenes cabal running Washington, I tell them that petty corruption, self interest, and “public choice” are much better explanations for the nonsensical policies being imposed on the country. So you won’t be surprised that rhetoric about the “deep state” […]

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If you’re reading this, you are a very lucky person because you were born at the right time. If you were born 500 years ago, 1000 years ago, or 1500 years ago, the odds are overwhelming that you would have endured a very short and difficult life, one that was characterized by unimaginable poverty. But […]

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Federalism is the gold standard for reforming redistribution programs. This was the approach used in the very successful Clinton-era welfare reform, and it should be replicated for other means-tested programs. The core argument is that the federal government does a very poor job of managing such programs, resulting in a maze of handouts that produce […]

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