Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Search Results for 'great moments 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 […]

Read Full Post »

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 […]

Read Full Post »

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, […]

Read Full Post »

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 […]

Read Full Post »

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 […]

Read Full Post »

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 […]

Read Full Post »

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 […]

Read Full Post »

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. […]

Read Full Post »

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. […]

Read Full Post »

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 […]

Read Full Post »

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 […]

Read Full Post »

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 […]

Read Full Post »

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 […]

Read Full Post »

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 […]

Read Full Post »

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 […]

Read Full Post »

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 […]

Read Full Post »

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 […]

Read Full Post »

In my writings about “Great Moments in Foreign Government,” I’ve come across amazing examples of bone-headed and incompetent behavior by politicians and bureaucrats in other nations. The British government giving welfare to people with multiple wives. The German government having a jihadist working in one of its intelligence agencies. The Italian government appointing the wrong […]

Read Full Post »

Why does government waste so much money? In so many ways? With such reckless abandon? I suppose I could answer with mockery and say it’s because they have lots of experience squandering our tax dollars. But let’s seriously contemplate that question and explore one of the reasons for waste. Simply stated, government programs are a […]

Read Full Post »

Writing about the sub-par single-payer healthcare system in the United Kingdom, Paul Krugman infamously claimed that,“In Britain, the government itself runs the hospitals and employs the doctors. We’ve all heard scare stories about how that works in practice; these stories are false.” I’ve pointed out that there are plenty of “scare stories” about the National […]

Read Full Post »

Last night, I retweeted an image that rubbed me the wrong way. It showed three kids who were handcuffed by undercover cops for criminal activity. And what was their crime? Were they picking pockets? Beating up tourists? Slashing tires? Nope, none of those things. Instead, they were (gasp!!) selling water to thirsty people. And they […]

Read Full Post »

If there was a ranking of international bureaucracies, the World Bank would be my favorite (or, to be more accurate, least unfavorite). Yes, it sometimes produces bad studies, but it also is the source of good research on topics such as government spending, Social Security reform, tax complexity, financial regulation, and economic liberty. And the […]

Read Full Post »

While most of my disdain is reserved for the federal government in Washington, I periodically share horror stories about foreign governments and state governments. And today we’re going to add to our collection of bone-headed policies by local governments. In some past cases, the examples captured systemic flaws. In other cases, we looked at specific […]

Read Full Post »

Republicans control the House, the Senate, and the White House. In theory, that means a long-overdue opportunity to eliminate wasteful programs and cut pork-barrel spending. In reality, it mostly means business as usual. Politicians in Washington just reached a deal to fund the government for the rest of the current fiscal year. As reported by […]

Read Full Post »

Several years ago, I would regularly share horror stories about innocent kids being abused by politically correct government school administrators who overreacted to anything remotely resembling a gun. I even had a U.S. vs. U.K. stupidity contest that featured many examples of anti-gun lunacy, though Canada may actually win the prize for the most absurd […]

Read Full Post »

You would think the never-ending mess in Afghanistan would have taught us lessons. Or maybe we might have learned lessons from the never-ending mess in Iraq. Notwithstanding those unpleasant experiences, President Trump is expanding America’s intervention in Syria with missile strikes. This rubs me the wrong way, but let’s look at what others are writing […]

Read Full Post »

What’s the right way to define good tax policy? There are several possible answers to that question, including the all-important observation that the goal should be to only collect the amount of revenue needed to finance the legitimate functions of government, and not one penny above that amount. But what if we want a more […]

Read Full Post »

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 […]

Read Full Post »

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, […]

Read Full Post »

Since I’m always reading and writing about government policies, both in America and around the world, I’m frequently reminded of H.L. Mencken’s famous observation about the shortcomings of “tolerable” government. If you take a close look at the world’s freest economies, you quickly learn that they are highly ranked mostly because of the even-worse governments […]

Read Full Post »

Next »