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Search Results for 'great moment 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 periodically share this poster, in part because it’s funny, but mostly because it’s true. After all, can you think of many “success stories” involving government? When I pose this question to my statist friends, I usually get a blank stare in response. Though some of them will offer answers such as the GI Bill, […]

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I’ve periodically cited the great 19th-century French economist, Frederic Bastiat, for his very wise words about the importance of looking at both the seen and the unseen when analyzing public policy. Those that fail to consider secondary or indirect effects of government, such as Paul Krugman, are guilty of the “broken window” fallacy. There are […]

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I’ve been asked whether I’m a hypocrite because I support decentralization while at the same time being critical of state and local governments. I don’t think there’s any inconsistency in my position. Here’s some of what I wrote last July. I’m a strong believer in federalism, but not because I think state and local governments […]

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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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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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I wrote last month about a group of leftist millionaires who said they should pay more in taxes. My response was to ask why they aren’t taking advantage of the existing process that allows them to send extra money to the federal government? There’s even a special website that facilitates payments from people who want […]

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Every so often, I share very weird stories about government regulations, from both America and around the world. And when I say weird, I’m not exaggerating. But we also have some strange examples of tax loopholes. I’m not talking about corporate jets, which should be characterized as a business expense. Instead, I’m referring to bizarre […]

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San Francisco used to be famous for cable cars. Now it’s getting well known for its “poop patrol” and maps that warn people about the ubiquitous presence of human excrement. Why are people defecating on city sidewalks? Because there’s a major problem with government-created homelessness thanks to rent control and zoning restrictions. And homelessness gives […]

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I spend much of my time analyzing the foolish and counterproductive policies imposed by Washington. Often accompanied by some mockery of politicians and their silly laws. And I also employ the same approach when reviewing the bone-headed policies often pursued by state governments and local governments. And since this is “International Liberty,” I obviously like […]

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The so-called Green New Deal is only tangentially related to climate issues. It’s best to think of it as the left’s wish list, and it includes a paid leave entitlement, government jobs, infrastructure boondoggles, and an expansion of the already bankrupt Social Security system. But the most expensive item on the list is “Medicare for […]

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Germany is like the Nordic nations. It gets a decent ranking (#20) for overall economic freedom, but mostly because a bad score for fiscal policy is offset by reasonably good scores in other policy areas. Taking a closer look at fiscal policy, there’s a heavy burden of government spending (not as bad as France, for […]

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When I think of over-bearing governments with myopic enforcement of silly rules, I obviously think of the United States, especially the IRS, EEOC, FDA, and EPA. And I also think of Germany, Japan, and other straight-laced societies. But I don’t think of Canada. After all, that’s the home of Dudley Do-Right. Canadians are too nice […]

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What’s the most inefficient and wasteful part of the federal government? It’s impossible to answer that question without greater detail. Are we supposed to identify the worst cabinet-level department? If that’s the case, then bureaucracies such as the Department of Housing and Urban Development or the Department of Education would be high on the list. […]

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I wrote back in 2011 about a bizarre plan in California to regulate babysitting. You may be thinking that’s no big deal because California is…well…California. But other governments also want to control private child care decisions. The latest example is from the District of Columbia, which is going after children’s play groups. Lenore Skenazy explains […]

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When Trump imposes protectionist trade barriers, he doesn’t realize that the harm imposed on other nations is matched by damage to the U.S. economy. As I warn in this interview, something similar could happen if the federal government convinces other nations to reject the dollar because they no longer want to acquiesce to the extraterritorial […]

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I don’t think I’ll ever stray from libertarianism. But if I ever get tempted by the siren song of statism, I’ll bolster my resistance by reminding myself of how people have been victimized by venal government. Andy Johnson Anthony Smelley The Hammond family Charlie Engle Tammy Cooper Nancy Black Russ Caswell Jacques Wajsfelner Jeff Councelller Eric Garner […]

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When Crazy Bernie became a national political phenomenon back in 2015, I pointed out that the Vermont Senator isn’t actually a socialist. As I remarked in this brief interview with Melissa Francis, the technical definition of socialism involves government ownership and control over the “means of production.” In other words, policies such as collective farms […]

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Given the routine corruption and reckless spending in Washington, I frequently get asked how I keep my sanity. It’s possible, as some of my friends argue, that I’m not actually sane. That would explain why I try to put my finger in the dyke of big government as more and more new leaks keep developing. […]

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While much of my analysis focuses on the mess created by Washington, I periodically show my ecumenical nature by sharing “Great Moments in State Government” and “Great Moments in Local Government.” And in keeping with the title of this page, I even occasionally share “Great Moments in Foreign Government.” Today, though we’re going to get […]

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As a policy wonk, I mostly care about the overall impact of government on prosperity. So when I think about the effect of red tape, I’m drawn to big-pictures assessments of the regulatory burden. Here are a few relevant numbers that get my juices flowing. Americans spend 8.8 billion hours every year filling out government forms. The economy-wide […]

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In yesterday’s column, I shared a humorous video mocking the everywhere-its-ever-been-tried global failure of socialism. And I tried to preempt the typical response of my left-wing friends by pointing out that Scandinavian nations are not role models for statism. In global ranking of economic liberty, Nordic nations score relatively high, with Denmark and Finland in the […]

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One of the great insights of “public choice” is that politicians engage in self-serving behavior just like everyone else. But there’s a profound difference between them and us. In the private economy, we can only make ourselves better off by providing value to others. In government, by contrast, politicians oftentimes make themselves better off by […]

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Centralization of government power is generally a very bad idea. Schemes for “global governance” are the worst since they usually result in cartels for the benefit of uncompetitive nations. National policies are the second-worst, often producing one-size-fits-all approaches accompanied by suffocating bureaucracy. But this does not mean that state governments and local governments do a […]

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Back in 2013, I wrote about a gay guy adopting his long-time lover in order to escape the evil and pernicious death tax. I speculated that this would cause confusion and angst in some circles. Traditional leftists would want to applaud the adoption because of their support for gay rights, but they would be conflicted […]

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Too much government can be hazardous to your health. But I’m not talking about government killing you because you bet on a football game. And I’m not talking about government killing you for selling an untaxed cigarette. Nor am I talking about government killing you with bureaucrat-run healthcare. Instead, this is a column about the […]

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The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (BATF) must be anxious to get on my list of government bureaucracies that shouldn’t exist. The bureaucrats have engaged in some really silly and petty behavior (such as confiscating Airsoft toy guns because they might be machine guns), and they’ve engaged in some behavior that is criminally stupid […]

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I’ve called for the abolition of the Department of Transportation. On more than one occasion. So I was very excited to see this new video about infrastructure from Johan Norberg. Very well put. As Johan says (channeling Bastiat), we should remember that jobs are destroyed when money is taken out of the private sector to […]

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