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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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Assuming they behave ethically and earn money honestly, I applaud big companies and their wealthy owners. That’s why I recently defended Jeff Bezos’ large fortune. The owner of Amazon mostly (but not entirely) became rich by providing value to the rest of us. Today, though, I’m very disappointed in Bezos and Amazon. Why? Because the […]

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If you ask normal people about the biggest thing that happened in 2020, they’ll probably pick coronavirus, though some might say the 2020 election. But if you ask a policy wonk, you may get a different answer. Especially if we’re allowed to tweak the question a bit and contemplate the most under-appreciated development of 2020. […]

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According to the Fraser Institute’s Economic Freedom of North America, the most economically free jurisdiction in North America used to be the Canadian province of Alberta. But Alberta then slipped and New Hampshire claimed the top position. And, according to the the 2020 edition of Economic Freedom of North America, the Granite State is still […]

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Since I’m an economist specializing in public finance, I get very upset about punitive tax policy and wasteful government spending. But what really gets my blood boiling is reading about the horrific policy of civil asset forfeiture, which literally allows government to steal your property even if you haven’t been convicted of a criminal offense. […]

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Since Americans are not as sensible as the Swiss, I’m generally not a fan of direct democracy in the United States. Simply stated, I don’t like untrammeled majoritarianism, which occurs when 51 percent of voters can pillage 49 percent of voters. But I’ll admit that the level of my angst fluctuates depending on whether voters […]

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Way before we had a pandemic, I wasn’t a fan of the government school monopoly. To paraphrase Winston Churchill, never have so many taxpayers paid so much money into a system that produced such mediocre results for so many people. Now that we have a pandemic, the argument against government-run schools is even stronger. Simply […]

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I recently speculated whether Seattle should be considered the worst-governed city in the country. Though there’s lots of competition for that honor from places like San Francisco, Detroit, New York City, and Chicago. And John Stossel makes a compelling case for Minneapolis in this new video. As I’ve previously noted, statist policies are never a […]

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When considering which state has the greediest politicians, the flippant (but understandable) answer is to say “all of them.” A more serious way of dealing with that question, though, is to look at overall rankings of economic policy. According to the Fraser Institute, we can assume that Delaware apparently has the worst politicians and New […]

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I’ve already written that state governments shouldn’t get a bailout from Washington. Today, let’s specifically focus on California, a beautiful state that – as explained in this video – is being ruined by an even-worse-than-average collection of politicians. This video was produced in 2018, so it goes without saying that California is in even worse […]

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Back in 2014, I wrote about “The Unsavory History of Gun Control” to document how many of the first gun control laws in the United States were used as a tool to oppress blacks. Today, let’s take a closer look at this issue. And since we have a lot of material, we’ll follow a chronological […]

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Some people say that California is the worst-governed state (I would probably choose Illinois or New Jersey, but it’s a close race). And if you wanted to pick the worst-governed place in California, San Francisco might be at the top of the list. The city manages to combine horrible zoning laws with insufferable red tape […]

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I’m a long-time critic of the Federal Reserve, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac, but I had no idea they would produce something as bad as the 2008 financial meltdown. It’s not easy to predict the timing and severity of a crisis. Unless we’re talking about the ticking time bomb described in this video. In theory, […]

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As indicated by one of my columns last week, I’m a big believer in federalism. Indeed, I’ve even proposed that Washington shouldn’t operate any social programs. No food stamps. No Medicaid. No redistribution programs of any kind. Such programs, to the extent they should exist, should be handled by state and local governments. The welfare […]

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One week ago, I wrote about how the welfare state creates high implicit marginal tax rates, thus making it difficult for low-income people to climb out of poverty and dependence. But that’s not the only way that poor people are victimized by big government. Another very serious problem is the way local and state governments […]

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Should high-tax states such as California and New York get a bailout? I explained last month why that would be a mistake, in large part because bailouts would reward states for irresponsible fiscal policy (similar to my argument that countries like Austria and the Netherlands shouldn’t be bullied into providing bailouts for Italy and Spain). […]

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From the perspective of lifestyle (factors such as climate, scenery, and recreational opportunities), there’s probably no better state in which to live than California. But if you want to be an entrepreneur, start a business, and create jobs, the Golden State is one of the worst places in America. I’ve already written about the state’s […]

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A Supreme Court Justice pointed out in 1932 that “a state may, if its citizens choose, serve as a laboratory; and try novel social and economic experiments without risk to the rest of the country.” Well, we’ve had several experiments in higher taxes and higher spending, and they don’t work. States with heavier fiscal burdens […]

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I’ve written that policy makers need to consider both the human toll of the coronavirus and the human toll of a depressed economy. I also discussed this tradeoff with Brian Nichols, beginning about seven minutes into this podcast. And, as you can see from this tweet, even the United Nations has acknowledged that a weak […]

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I’m a big fan of federalism. After all, compared to what happens when Washington screws up, there’s a lot less damage if a state or city imposes a bad law. Moreover, it’s relatively easy to move across a border if a state or city is doing something foolish. Leaving the country, by contrast, is a […]

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As explained in this short video, a spending cap limits how fast a government’s budget can grow each year. That’s a very sensible approach, sort of like having a speed limit in a school zone, and even left-leaning international bureaucracies have concluded it’s the best fiscal rule. That being said, not all spending caps are […]

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I wrote yesterday how cumbersome bureaucracies and foolish regulations have hindered an effective response to the coronavirus. This isn’t because governments are run by bad people. Some of them probably are that way, of course, but the real problem is that politicians and bureaucrats are dealing with a perverse incentive system. They’re largely motivated by […]

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