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Search Results for 'cronyism'

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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One of the points I repeatedly make is that big government breeds corruption for the simple reason that politicians have more power to reward friends and punish enemies. It’s especially nauseating when big companies learn that they can get in bed with big government in order to obtain unearned wealth with bailouts, subsidies, protectionism, and […]

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I have a very consistent view of victimless crimes. 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 almost a teetotaler, but I’m glad there’s now a consensus that the […]

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It’s easy to define and/or understand most statist policies. We know that a tax increase is when politicians take (or, given the Laffer Curve, try to take) more of your money based on your decisions to work, save, shop, or invest. We know that protectionism is when politicians use taxes and other policies to restrict […]

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Why did a for-profit college pay former President Bill Clinton the staggering sum of $16.5 million to serve as an “honorary chancellor for Laureate International Universities”? Was it because he had some special insight or expertise on how to improve education? Why did Goldman Sachs pay former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton hundreds of thousands […]

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Last year, I shared the most depressing PowerPoint slide in Danish history. Back in 2011, I wrote about a depressing picture of tax complexity in America. Let’s continue with the “depressing” theme today. James Bessen, from Boston University Law School, has an interesting article in the Harvard Business Review about the source of corporate profits […]

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According to Economic Freedom of the World, there are five major factors that determine a nation’s economic performance. Here’s the recipe for growth and prosperity. Rule of law and property rights. Small government. Stable monetary policy. Reasonable regulatory policy. Free trade. This great publication is the first thing I check when I want to see […]

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When debating and discussing the 2008 financial crisis, there are two big questions. And the answers to these questions are important because the wrong “narrative” could lead to decades of bad policy (much as a mistaken narrative about the Great Depression enabled bad policy in subsequent decades). What caused the crisis to occur? What should […]

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Let’s compare two politicians, Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Congressman Jeb Hensarling of Texas, to see which one actually has the courage to fight against powerful interest groups. We’ll start with Senator Warren. She portrays herself as the scourge of Wall Street, but it appears that the Massachusetts lawmaker isn’t merely a fake Indian, […]

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I thought TARP was the sleaziest-ever example of cronyism and corruption in Washington. The Wall Street bailout rewarded politically well-connected companies, encouraged moral hazard, and ripped off taxpayers. Heck, it was so bad that it makes the sleaze at the Export-Import Bank seem almost angelic by comparison. But I may have to reassess my views. […]

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No matter how much I pontificate about Washington corruption, there’s no way I can get across the true extent of the DC establishment’s self-serving behavior. Washington is rich because government is big and the beneficiaries of this system are enjoying their status as America’s new gilded class. It’s even gotten to the point where children […]

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The Bible says that “the wages of sin is death,” but the same can’t be said of Washington, DC. The bureaucrats, lobbyists, politicians, contractors, insiders, cronyists, and influence peddlers have rigged the system so that they get rich by diverting money from people in the productive sector of the economy. How bad is the disconnect […]

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One of my first posts on this blog featured this video showing how big government breeds corruption. I’ve periodically provided examples of how this process works, citing Alaska, Chicago, Wall Street, and Washington. Here’s another example, explicitly showing how big business and big government get in bed together to rape and pillage taxpayers. The sleazy […]

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I’ve written (many, many times) about how the best way to help the poor is to focus on economic growth rather than inequality. After all, in a genuine market economy (as opposed to socialism, cronyism, or some other form of statism), the poor aren’t poor because some people are rich. Today, let’s look at a […]

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I’ve shared a number of online tests that allow users to see where they fit on the political spectrum. The Definitive Political Orientation test. The Circle test. The Libertarian Purity test. The 8 Values test. But if you don’t like taking quizzes, you can simply scan this list of issues and see where libertarians fit […]

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Nations usually don’t suffer overnight economic collapse. Indeed, Adam Smith was right about the ability of a country to survive and withstand lots of bad public policy. But at some point, as a nation gravitates in the wrong direction on the statism spectrum, it goes from prosperity to stagnation to decline. Which is sort of what […]

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It’s not that much fun to be a libertarian, at least if you work in public policy. You spend your days hoping that “Public Choice” can be overcome, which means you’re laboring to fulfill Sisyphean tasks. Trying to convince politicians and bureaucrats to voluntary give up power and control over the economy. Good luck with […]

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Although I gave him a good grade for his first 100 days, it’s no secret that I’m not overly optimistic about the long-term policy implications of the Trump presidency. Simply stated, I fear he’ll wind up being a big-government Republican like Bush (either one) or Nixon rather than a small-government Republican like Reagan or Coolidge. […]

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When contemplating the importance of good public policy, we can learn a lot from bad examples. Why did the Soviet Empire collapse? Why are Cuba and North Korea so poor? Why is Venezuela falling apart? The answer, in no small part, is that economies suffer immensely when politicians don’t allow markets to function. An unfettered […]

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Every so often, I share an image that is unambiguously depressing. Usually because it suggest that freedom is slowly eroding. A chart showing that corporations are using cronyism to pad their bottom line. A table on the rapid rise of dependency in the United States. A grim chart on the ever-growing number of pages in […]

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The true test of libertarianism is Professor Bryan Caplan’s famous 64-question quiz. Though if you don’t have time for that many questions, there’s also a very simple “circle test.” Now we have a new poll for those of us that are tempted by such things. I don’t know who put it together, but I was […]

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To pick the state with the best tax policy, the first step is to identify the ones with no income tax and then look at other variables to determine which one deserves the top ranking. For what it’s worth, I put South Dakota at the top. Picking the state with the worst tax policy is […]

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It appears that Venezuela is on the brink of collapse as it enters the fourth circle of statist hell. And the death of Cuba’s long-time dictator gives hope that the people of that island nation may soon escape communist tyranny. Moreover, one certainly hopes that the lunatic leadership of North Korea’s brutal regime won’t last […]

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Donald Trump’s Budget Blueprint doesn’t thrill me, largely because it’s silent on the very important issues of tax reform and entitlement reform. All that he’s proposing is to rearrange the allocation of annually appropriated spending (the so-called discretionary outlays). Here’s a chart from a summary prepared by the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. As […]

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President Trump has released his budget blueprint. From a big picture perspective, the size of government won’t change. He’s kicking the can down the road on entitlements, which is obviously disappointing for people who can add and subtract. He does cut some domestic programs, but taxpayers won’t reap the benefits since those savings will be […]

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A couple of years ago, filled with disgust at the sleazy corruption of the federal Leviathan, I put forth a simple explanation for what happens in Washington, DC. I call it the “First Theorem of Government,” and I think it accurately reflects the real purpose and operation of government. Except I probably should have added […]

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The story of the private sector is that competition generates ever-more output in ways that bring ever-higher living standards to ever-greater numbers of people. By contrast, the story of the government is inefficiency and waste as interest groups figure out how to grab ever-larger amounts of unmerited goodies, often while doing less and less. In […]

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I focus most of my ire on the federal government because bad policy from Washington is the biggest threat to our nation’s freedom and prosperity. But we also get plenty of bad policy from other levels of government. I periodically focus on the foibles of states such as California, Illinois, and New York. Today, though, […]

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All forms of statism are despicable because they’re morally and practically evil. They’re morally evil since they’re based on coercion. And they’re practically evil since they deliver such awful results for ordinary people. The good news is that some forms of statism are widely discredited. Outside of universities, you don’t find many people who defend […]

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I’ve written many times that Washington is both a corrupt city and a corrupting city. My point is that decent people go into government and all too often wind up losing their ethical values as they learn to “play the game.” I often joke that these are people who start out thinking Washington is a […]

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