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Search Results for 'cronyism'

Because of their aggressive support for bigger government, my least-favorite international bureaucracies are the International Monetary Fund and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. But I’m increasingly displeased by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, which is another international bureaucracy (like the OECD and IMF) that is backed by American taxpayers. And what […]

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I explained back in 2013 that there is a big difference between being pro-market and being pro-business. Pro-market is a belief in genuine free enterprise, which means companies succeed of fail solely on the basis of whether they produce goods and services that consumers like. Pro-business, by contrast, is a concept that opens the door […]

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I have a fantasy of junking the entire corrupt tax system and adopting a simple and fair flat tax. I have an even bigger fantasy of shrinking the size and scope of the federal government to what America’s Founders intended, in which case Washington wouldn’t need any broad-based tax. But in the real world, where […]

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In my 30-plus years in Washington, I’ve lived through some very bad pieces of legislation. George H.W. Bush’s betrayal of his “read my lips” promise with the 1990s tax increase. Bill Clinton’s 1993 tax hike, which OMB admitted 18 months later was a failure. All sorts of bad policies under George W. Bush, starting with […]

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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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In 2016, I posed a rhetorical question about whether young people are so stupid that they shouldn’t be allowed to vote. After all, many of them thought Bernie Sanders would make a good president (of America, not Greece or Venezuela). Well, maybe we really should increase the voting age. It seems 2016 was not an […]

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Last week, I shared a graph showing that there are more guns than people in the United States, and I wrote that it was the “most enjoyable” chart of the year, mostly because it gets my leftist friends so agitated. But I’m more likely to share gloomy visuals. The “most depressing” chart about Denmark, which […]

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I very much suspect Obama partisans and Trump partisans won’t like this column, but the sad reality is that both Obamacare and Trump’s protectionism have a lot in common. In both cases, government is limiting the freedom of buyers and sellers to engage in unfettered exchange. In both cases, the fiscal burden of government increases. […]

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I often share quizzes and tests to help people determine whether they are libertarian. Though I wonder if these two sentences are all people need to know. But maybe the right approach is to use pictures. So here are five images that summarize libertarianism. Let’s start by looking at the one group of people who […]

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I don’t think I’m a glass-half-empty kind of person, but I realized that I have a habit of sharing “depressing” charts. The “most depressing” chart about Denmark. A “very depressing” chart about the United States. The “most depressing” chart about Japan. Well, as the Monty Python folks advised, it’s time to look on the bright […]

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During the Obama years, I criticized the President for various green-energy scams that squandered money and produced scandals such as Solyndra. And I also noted that many Republicans were happy to support corrupt subsidies to inefficient sources of energy so long as their voters got a slice of the loot. Sadly, the same thing is […]

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Ordinary Americans have a low opinion of Washington, but they’re underestimating the extent of the problem. The nation’s capital is basically a playpen for special interests. It’s now the richest region of the country, with lobbyists, bureaucrats, contractors, politicians, and other insiders and cronies getting fat and happy thanks to money that is taken from […]

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I wrote last July about how greedy politicians in Seattle, Washington, were trying to impose a local income tax. That effort has been stymied since there’s anti-income-tax language in the state constitution (Washington is one of nine states without that punitive levy), but that doesn’t mean the city’s tax-and-spend crowd has given up. There’s a […]

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The good news is that some honest leftists have thrown in the towel and now openly admit that capitalism generates more prosperity. They still don’t want free markets, of course. For ideological reasons, they continue to push for a big welfare state. But at least they admit their redistributionist policies lead to weaker economic performance. […]

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I’ve been in Prague the past few days for a meeting of the European Resource Bank. I spoke today about a relatively unknown international bureaucracy called the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and I warned that it is going through a process of OECD-ization, which is simply my way of saying it is pursuing […]

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I try not to pay much attention to the staffing decisions of President Trump’s “Boston-phone-book presidency.” Yes, I realize those choices are important, but my focus is policy. As such, I don’t have any strong opinions on the ouster of David Shulkin, the now-former Secretary at the Department of Veterans Affairs. But I definitely have […]

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One of the key principles of a free society is that governmental power should be limited by national borders. Here’s an easy-to-understand example. Gambling is basically illegal (other than government-run lottery scams, of course) in my home state of Virginia. So they can arrest me (or maybe even shoot me) if I gamble in the […]

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Every time I write a column criticizing Trump’s protectionism, I get pushback. Some of the resistance is from people who genuinely think trade barriers are a good thing, and I routinely respond by asking them to ponder these eight questions or these five charts. But I also get negative feedback from people who point out […]

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