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I’ve just finished up a week of lectures and meetings in India. It was an interesting trip, but not an encouraging trip. My first observation is that Indians are enormously successful when they emigrate to the United States. And they also do very well when they migrate to Singapore, South Africa, and other place around […]

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I wrote yesterday about the global evidence showing that more money does not improve the lackluster performance of government schools. Those results are not surprising because we see the same thing in the United States. More money is good for the education bureaucracy, but it doesn’t lead to better student outcomes. Now let’s focus on […]

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I wrote a four-part series about how governments are waging a war against cash, with the first two columns looking at why politicians are so interested in taking this radical step. In Part I, I looked at the argument that cash should be banned or restricted so governments could more easily collect additional tax revenue. In […]

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As part of yesterday’s column about global growth, poverty, and inequality, I realized that I’ve written several columns about economic policy in China, but never once focused on overall policy in India. Indeed, a quick look through the archives reveals only three columns that even addressed specific policies in India. And all of them were […]

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The War against Cash is a battle that shouldn’t even exist. But politicians don’t like cash because it’s hard to control something that people can freely trade back and forth. So folks on the left are arguing that governments should ban or restrict paper money. In Part I, we looked at the argument that cash […]

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One (hopefully endearing) trait of being a policy wonk is that I have a weakness for jurisdictional rankings. At least if they’re methodologically sound. This is why I was so happy a couple of weeks ago when I got to peruse and analyze the 2016 version of Economic Freedom of the World (even if the […]

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I’m impressed, in a dark and gloomy way. I thought the Italian healthcare official who showed up for work only 15 days in a nine-year period set the record for bureaucratic loafing. Based on longevity of laxity, he definitely out-did the San Francisco paper pusher who didn’t work at all in 2012 yet still got […]

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I’m a libertarian because I believe in individual freedom and greater prosperity, but what really motivates me is the desire to protect people from predatory government. So even though the economist in me wants to reduce the burden of government spending and implement a flat tax because such policies will boost growth and lead to […]

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That line is from a great column by Steve Chapman, who wonders why NATO still exists. If you read this column and Mark Steyn’s recent National Review article (which I blogged about here), you will have a good grasp of what makes libertarian foreign policy very compelling. Defense Secretary Robert Gates went to Europe recently […]

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As a taxpayer, I’m not overly happy that we still have an Indian Affairs Committee. And I’m definitely not happy that the Committee is wasting my money by holding a hearing about stereotypes. And I’m rolling my eyes that some folks on the Committee are upset that Osama bin Laden was given the code-name Geronimo. […]

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Over the past four years, Donald Trump presumably was the biggest threat to global trade. His ignorant protectionism hurt American consumers and businesses – and undermined the competitiveness of the U.S. economy. Over the next four years (and beyond), it’s quite likely that the biggest threat to global trade will be the European Union. More […]

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Back in 2010, I applauded Paul Krugman for acknowledging that government unemployment benefits can encourage joblessness. And I even cited Krugman in this 2012 debate on the topic. We’re debating this issue again today, but it’s an even bigger problem because politicians in Washington have added a special bonus payment for people who stay unemployed. […]

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After three columns on the topic in the past five weeks (see here, here, and here), I wasn’t expecting to write again about school choice anytime soon, but this speech by State Senator Justin Wayne of Nebraska must be watched. What a great idea! All politicians who vote against school choice have to send their […]

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I’m pessimistic about the direction of public policy, especially on fiscal issues such as taxes and spending. But there is a silver lining to this dark cloud of statism. We’re seeing continuing progress on school choice, most notably a big expansion of educational freedom in West Virginia. It appears more and more state and local […]

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Time to add to the collection of humor about gun control. We’ll start with this observation from Ron Swanson (who periodically makes cameo appearances since he was TV’s most famous libertarian) about the relationship between gun laws and crime rates. Next is a cartoon strip with an amusing twist. For what it’s worth, I buy […]

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A couple of days ago, I criticized officials at the United Nations for advocating higher taxes and bigger government. Fortunately, that bureaucracy is so sclerotic and inefficient that its efforts to promote statism are not very effective But it still galls me that international bureaucrats who receive lavish, tax-free salaries spend their days trying to […]

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Back in August, I shared some examples of Joe Biden Humor followed by some examples of Donald Trump Humor. One of these clowns (hopefully!) will soon be fading from the public eye, so let’s take advantage of this opportunity for a final round of mockery. Today is Biden’s turn – starting with this trailer for […]

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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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Back in July, I wrote a three-part series designed to identify the states with the greediest politicians. Part I was based on the top income tax rate in each state. Part II was based on the sales tax rate in each state. Part III was based on the burden of government spending in each state. […]

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On election day, most people focus on the big-ticket partisan battles, such as this year’s contest between Trump and Biden. Let’s not forget, though, that there are sometimes very important referendum battles at the state (or even local) level. In 2019, I was very pleased when Colorado voters upheld their state’s TABOR spending cap. In […]

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I have a “Bureaucrat Hall of Fame” to acknowledge individuals who go above and beyond the call of duty. As measured by sloth and waste, of course. But maybe I also need a “Bureaucracy Hall of Fame” for examples that capture the self-serving nature of departments, bureaus and agencies. I already have several examples. In […]

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Last November, I criticized Nancy Pelosi’s scheme to impose European-style price controls on pharmaceutical drugs in the United States. I wasn’t the only one who objected to Pelosi’s reckless idea. We have forty centuries of experience demonstrating that price controls don’t work. The inevitable result is shortages and diminished production (sellers won’t produce sufficient quantities […]

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Earlier this month, as part of my ongoing series about convergence and divergence, I wrote about why South Korea has grown so much faster than Brazil. My main conclusion is that nations need decent policy to prosper, and Johan Norberg shares a similar perspective in this video. Let’s see what academic researchers have to say […]

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The latest edition of Economic Freedom of the World has been released by the Fraser Institute. The good news is that the United States is in the top 10 (we dropped as low as #18 during Obama’s first term). The bad news is that Australia jumped in front of the United States, so America is […]

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Milton Friedman was one of the the 20th century’s greatest defenders of capitalism and individual freedom. He had marvelous insights on issues such as fiscal policy, Sweden, tax competition, and other people’s money, but one of my favorite Friedman quotes is about the role of business. This should be non-controversial, but we need to remember […]

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In an interview with an economic organization from India last month, I discussed many of the economic issues associated with coronavirus (fiscal fallout, excess regulation, subsidized unemployment, etc). But I want to highlight this short clip since I had an opportunity to explain how the “New Deal” made the Great Depression deeper and longer. For […]

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I’m a long-time critic of the Federal Reserve, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac, but I had no idea they would produce something as bad as the 2008 financial meltdown. It’s not easy to predict the timing and severity of a crisis. Unless we’re talking about the ticking time bomb described in this video. In theory, […]

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Yesterday’s column focused on the theoretical argument for tax havens. At the risk of oversimplifying, I explained that the pressure of tax competition was necessary to prevent “stationary bandits” from saddling nations with “goldfish government.” And I specifically explained why the left’s theory of “capital export neutrality” was only persuasive if people just paid attention […]

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Back in 2016, I shared an image that showed how the welfare state punishes both the poor and rich. Rich people are hurt for the obvious reason. They get hit with the highest statutory tax rates, and also bear the brunt of the double taxation (the extra layers of tax on saving and investment resulting […]

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Last year, I released this video to help explain why the World Trade Organization has been a good deal for the United States. My argument was – and still is – very straightforward, and it’s based on two simple propositions. Free trade is good because societies are more prosperous with free markets and open competition. […]

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