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One of America’s leading public intellectuals, Walter Williams, has passed away. In 2014, I shared a teaser for Suffer No Fools, a video biography of his life. To commemorate the life of this great man, here’s the full video. I first got to know Walter when I was a Ph.D. student at George Mason University […]

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The biggest mistake of well-meaning leftists is that they place too much value on good intentions and don’t seem to care nearly as much about good results. Pope Francis is an example of this unfortunate tendency. His concern for the poor presumably is genuine, but he puts ideology above evidence when he argues against capitalism […]

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What’s the relationship between the Rahn Curve and the Laffer Curve? For the uninitiated, the Rahn Curve is the common-sense notion that some government is helpful for prosperous markets but too much government is harmful to economic performance. Even libertarians, for instance, will acknowledge that spending on core “public goods” such as police protection and […]

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I periodically mock the crazy statists of California. The state is almost surely doomed to suffer a Greek-style fiscal chaos. The only unknown is whether Illinois will beat the Golden State into default. The politicians in Sacramento impose very high taxes to fund a bloated bureaucracy that oversees a bunch of politically correct nonsense. But […]

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Since starting this blog, I’ve cited several columns by Walter Williams (see here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here), in large part because he’s so good at explaining economic concepts, but also because he’s very effective when demonstrating how big government undermines both freedom and […]

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It isn’t fair to compare and contrast the views of a distinguished economist with the envious ramblings of a career politician/community activist. But it’s also not right for the government to use coercion to impose bad policy, so I don’t feel guilty about sharing this excerpt from a recent Walter Williams column. President Barack Obama, […]

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I’ve been fortunate to know Walter Williams ever since I began my Ph.D. studies at George Mason University in the mid-1980s. He is a very good economist, but his real value is as a public intellectual. He also has a remarkable personal story, which he tells in his new autobiography, Up from the Projects. I’ve […]

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I don’t think I’ve ever promoted a book since starting this blog, but the new autobiography from Walter Williams is too good not to recommend. But don’t believe me. Walter was just interviewed by the Wall Street Journal, and you can get a flavor for his blunt style and crisp analysis. Speaking for myself, I’m […]

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Walter Williams has a column about the House GOP’s commitment to make sure legislation is consistent with the Constitution. As with most things he writes, it is very much worth reading. Walter starts by explaining what Boehner and the rest of the Republicans have promised to do. He then points out that – if they’re […]

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Just because something is free, that doesn’t mean there is no cost. This is the core message of Walter Williams’ column, which uses the example of “employer-paid” Social Security taxes to explain how politicians specialize in giving us very expensive things for “free.”  Scarcity means there’s no free lunch. Having more of one thing requires […]

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With his usual bluntness, Professor Walter Williams of George Mason University explains why profiling is not always a sign of racism or sexism. And it certainly doesn’t necessarily indicate animus. His column explains that rational profiling can lead to injustice for law-abiding young black men, but he hits the nail on the head by stating […]

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I’ve only excerpted three paragraphs, but you should read his entire column. It is very tragic that the vision of liberty put forth by the Founders has been so undermined by modern politicians who swear an oath to the Constitution without having any idea what the document actually says. In 1794, when Congress appropriated $15,000 […]

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I have mixed feelings about the right response to illegal immigration. I don´t favor amnesty because of my respect for the rule of law and because it would encourage more illegal immigration. On the other hand, I certainly do not want law enforcement resources diverted to hassling people who are in America solely in search […]

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Because the looters and moochers in Washington have made a mockery of the Constitution, Professor Williams wonders whether the only solution is for advocates of limited government to split off and create an America based on traditional principles of self reliance and individual freedom: I believe we are nearing a point where there are enough […]

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Walter Williams correctly summarizes what it means to make healthcare a “right.” And he also dusts off that quaint document, long forgotten in Washington, called the U.S. Constitution.

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Back in the 1980s, the irreplaceable Walter Williams produced a documentary based on one of his more controversial books, The State Against Blacks. Someone has done a great service and posted the documentary on Youtube.com. Everything Walter said back then is true today – and just as applicable. The only discordant note is that when […]

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Our friends on the left believe (or at least claim to believe) that the United States is an unfair nation because the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. More specifically, they assert that the economy is a fixed pie and that when people like Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos become rich, then there […]

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Since this is America’s Independence Day, I’m going to continue my tradition (see 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020) of authoring a July 4-themed column. What will make this year special, though, is that we’re going to tackle the heavy topic of whether the United States lives up to […]

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Last week, I shared Part I of my discussion with John Stossel about “capitalism myths.” Here’s Part II. In the first video, we discussed three myths about free enterprise. Myth #1 – Capitalists get rich by ‘taking’ money from others. Myth #2 – The rich getting richer, and the poor getting poorer. Myth #3 – […]

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California is a fascinating state for people who follow public policy. It has some immense advantages, such as climate, coastline, and natural resources. But it also has high taxes, absurd regulations, a bloated bureaucracy, and a costly welfare state. The net result of all these factors is mixed. There are some sectors that are still […]

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Illegal immigration is again becoming a big issue, which always leaves me with mixed feelings. I think it’s great that the United States is a beacon of hope and opportunity for people around the world. I think it’s great when immigrants add more dynamism and entrepreneurship to our economy. I think it’s not-so-great that we […]

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There are several false narratives about economic history, involving topics ranging from the recent financial crisis to 19th-century sweatshops. But probably the biggest falsehood, as explained in this video by Prof. Lee Ohanian, is the notion that big government saved us from the Great Depression. The only shortcoming of Ohanian’s video is that he’s analyzing […]

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When politicians target “the rich” with class-warfare schemes like wealth taxes, it’s often ordinary people that bear the costs. For a painful example of how this works in the real world, check out the first 42 seconds of this video. From an economic perspective, this is a story about secondary or indirect effects. Or, as […]

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To begin the seventh edition of our series comparing policy in Texas and California (previous entries in March 2010, February 2013, April 2013, October 2018, June 2019, and December 2020), here’s a video from Prager University. There will be a lot of information in today’s column, so if you’re pressed for time, here are three […]

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There’s a recipe for growth and prosperity. It’s called capitalism. As Dan Hannan explains in this video, it’s the way to help all groups in a society become richer. This is a great video about how free enterprise delivers prosperity for the masses. And because wealthy societies have lots of financial resources, capitalism also is […]

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My late friend Walter Williams was a first-rate economist, an important public intellectual, and a truly great American. He also was an amazing communicator, with an unparalleled ability to make important points in a succinct and easy-to-understand manner. My favorite Walter quote is about how capitalism enabled positive-sum wealth creation. Today, though, I want to […]

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I asked a couple of years ago, “How long can California survive big government?” Based on migration patterns, the answer is “Not much longer.” Simply stated, bad fiscal and regulatory policy have produced a long-run decline for the Golden State. So we shouldn’t be surprised that people are fleeing. And it appears Californians like escaping […]

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I’ve written a couple of times about a disturbingly large share of young people support statist economic policies. A good example can be seen in this polling data from the Pew Research Center (relevant data circled in red). Christopher Ingraham wrote about this survey in the Washington Post. According to the Pew Research Center, 39 […]

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Back in 2013, I wrote about Phil Mickelson escaping high-tax California and moving to zero-income tax Florida. The famed golfer grew up in California, but decided that the 2012 decision to boost the top tax rate to 13.3 percent mattered more than beautiful climate and wonderful scenery. Needless to say, Mickelson’s not the only tax […]

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Part I of this series featured Dan Hannan explaining how the emergence of capitalism led to mass prosperity, while Part II featured Madeline Grant explaining how competition and cooperation make markets so successful. Today, in Part III, Andy Puzder compares capitalism with socialism. The core theoretical argument in the video is that capitalism is based […]

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