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When writing yesterday’s column about new competitiveness rankings from the IMD business school in Switzerland, I noticed that I have not yet written about this year’s edition of the Index of Economic Freedom. Time to rectify that oversight. We’ll start with a look at the nations with the most economic freedom. Interestingly, Singapore has now […]

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I explained yesterday that Denmark is not a good role model for American leftists. Simply stated, Otto Brøns-Petersen’s video shows that the admirable outcomes in that country are the result of laissez-faire markets and the bad outcomes are the result of the welfare state imposed beginning in the 1960s. In any event, Denmark is not […]

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I’ve repeatedly dealt with the argument over Denmark’s supposed socialism. My core argument is that Denmark is very bad on fiscal policy, but very laissez-faire on other issues such as regulation. The net effect is that Danes have about the same amount of economic liberty as Americans. The bottom line is that Denmark isn’t socialist. […]

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Paul Krugman has butchered numbers when writing about fiscal policy in nations such as France, Estonia, Germany, and the United Kingdom. Today, we’re going to peruse his writings on Denmark. Here’s some of what he wrote earlier this month. Denmark can teach us…about the possibilities of creating a decent society. …Denmark, where tax receipts are 46 percent of GDP compared with […]

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The United States has a bankrupt Social Security system. According to the most recent Trustees Report, the cash-flow deficit is approaching $44 trillion. And that’s after adjusting for inflation. Even by DC standards of profligacy, that’s a big number. Yet all that spending (and future red ink) doesn’t even provide a lavish retirement. Workers would […]

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I’m still in China, as part of a week-long teaching assignment about markets, entrepreneurship, economics, and fiscal policy at Northeastern University in Shenyang. One point that I’ve tried to get across to the students is that China should not copy the United States. Or France, Japan, or Sweden. To be more specific, I warn them […]

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I periodically make comparisons of the United States and Europe that are not very flattering for our cousins across the Atlantic. Though this isn’t because of any animus toward Europe. Indeed, I always enjoy my visits. And some of America’s best (albeit eroding) features, such as rule of law and dignity of the individual, are […]

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I suggested earlier this year that Denmark’s ratio of private sector workers compared with government dependents produced the world’s most depressing Powerpoint slide. It’s hard to be optimistic, after all, if a nation has an ever-growing number of people riding in the wagon (or the “party boat“) and a stagnant population of productive people. But […]

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Okay, I’ll admit right away that the title of this column is an exaggeration. But if you’re a public policy wonk and you worry about the rising level of government dependency and the erosion of self reliance, then you’ll understand why the chart below, which was presented earlier today at the Copenhagen conference of the […]

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My all-time most-viewed blog post wasn’t the parable about beer and the tax system. Nor was it the joke about California, Texas, and the Coyote. Those won the silver and bronze trophies. The gold medal belongs to the two pictures that explain how the welfare state begins and how it ends. Those images make a […]

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I’m not a big fan of government conspiracy theories, largely because the people in Washington are too bloody incompetent to do anything effectively. Heck, sometimes they can’t even waste money properly even though they have lots of practice. But it recently crossed my mind that maybe President Obama was born in Denmark. Not in a […]

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It’s simple to mock Democrats like Joe Biden, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Bernie Sanders. One reason they’re easy targets is they want people to believe that America can finance a European-style welfare state with higher taxes on the rich. That’s nonsensical. Simply stated, there are not enough rich people and they don’t earn enough money (and […]

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The 2021 edition of the Index of Economic Freedom was released today (as I’ve repeatedly stated, it’s my favorite annual publication from the Heritage Foundation). There are five things that merit attention 1. Hong Kong is no longer in first place. Indeed, it’s no longer even part of the rankings because the authors have determined […]

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There are many compelling economic arguments against entitlement programs. They discourage savings. They discourage work. They are funded with taxes. They are funded with debt. Since I’m a libertarian, I also have moral concerns about tax-and-transfer programs. Today, though, let’s address the big problem of entitlements and demographics, especially with regards to social insurance programs […]

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Two years ago, I explained that socialism is an economic failure, regardless of how it is defined. In today’s follow-up column, let’s start with an excellent video from John Stossel. Before addressing the three myths mentioned in the video, it’s worth noting that there’s a technical definition of socialism based on policies such as government […]

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As I wrote last November, the one good thing about socialism is the endless opportunities it creates for satire. Indeed, I have an entire collection of socialism humor (along with jabs at communism, its authoritarian cousin). We’re adding to that page today and our first item involves some commentary on the taste preferences of bees […]

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I’ve written many times about demographic change and the implications for public policy – both in the United States and around the world. Simply stated, it will be increasingly difficult to maintain tax-and-transfer entitlement programs in societies where people are having fewer children and people are living longer. I’m raising this issue because I spoke […]

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Ethical people, regardless of ideology, should be motivated by an empathetic desire to help the poor rather than a spiteful thirst to punish the rich. That was the message in Part I and Part II of this series. That’s also today’s message, and we’ll start with this video. There’s a lot of information in this […]

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When examining state public policy, big jurisdictions such as California, Texas, New York, and Florida get a lot of attention. But what about Mississippi? It has mediocre scores for overall economic policy. It’s #29 according to the American Legislative Exchange Council. It’s #39 according to the Fraser Institute. It’s #35 according to Freedom in the […]

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I’m a big fan of New Zealand because the nation is a great example of how sweeping free-market reforms lead to very good results. The Kiwis got rid of all agriculture subsidies and farmers benefited. The Kiwis put the clamps on government spending, both in the 1990s and 2010s. The Kiwis used private property rights […]

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I’m a voracious consumer of publications that rank economic liberty and national competitiveness. Simply stated, these apples-to-apples rankings tell us which countries have policies that are friendly to growth (and thus the places that will enjoy rising living standards). I’m also very interested in “societal capital,” which is the degree to which the people of […]

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Given my complete and utter disdain for socialism, I’m obviously a big fan of this discussion between Rand Paul and John Stossel. In the video, Paul and Stossel draw a distinction between market-friendly welfare states in Scandinavia and genuinely socialist nations such as the Soviet Union, Nazi Germany, and modern-day Venezuela. That’s because, from a […]

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When I opine about class-warfare taxation, I generally focus on the obvious argument that it’s not a good idea to penalize people for creating prosperity. This argument against punitive tax policy is based on the fact that entrepreneurs, investors, business owners, and other successful people can choose to reduce their levels of work, saving, investment, […]

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For a land-locked nation without many natural resources, Switzerland is remarkably successful. One reason for the country’s success is pro-market policy. Switzerland routinely scores in the top 5 according to both Economic Freedom of the World and Index of Economic Freedom. More specifically, I’m a big fan of the country’s fiscal policy, especially the “Debt […]

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Whether we’re examining Economic Freedom of the World, Index of Economic Freedom, World Competitiveness Ranking, the Global Competitiveness Report, or the World Bank’s Doing Business, publications that endeavor to give us apples-to-apples comparisons of economic policy provide useful measuring sticks. We can learn how Hong Kong compares to Singapore. We can determine the freest nation […]

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Every so often, I’ll grouse about media sloppiness/media bias, most often from the Washington Post or New York Times, but also from other outlets (Reuters, Time, ABC, the Associated Press, etc). Let’s add to the collection today by perusing an interesting – but frustrating – article in the New York Times about Venezuela’s near-decimated oil […]

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Back in 2017, I shared this video explaining why capitalism is unquestionably the best way to help poor people. I’m recycling the video today because it’s a great introduction for a discussion about how best to help poor people. As part of my Eighth Theorem of Government, I made the point that it’s wrong to […]

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What’s the best economic news of the past 40 years? Was it Reaganomics, which restored America’s economic vitality? Was it the collapse of the Soviet Empire, which freed many nations from communist tyranny and allowed at least some of them to successfully shift to markets? Was it partial economic liberalization in China, which lifted hundreds […]

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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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Last week, I gave a presentation on the Laffer Curve to a seminar organized by the New Economic School in the nation of Georgia. A major goal was to help students understand that you can’t figure out how changes in tax rates affect tax revenues without also figuring out how changes in tax rates affect […]

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