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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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I’ve written repeatedly about how anti-money laundering (AML) laws are pointless, expensive, intrusive, discriminatory, and ineffective. And they especially hurt poor people according to the World Bank. That’s a miserable track record, even by government standards. Now it’s time to share two personal stories to illustrate how AML laws work in practice. Episode 1 Last […]

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It’s not easy being a libertarian. Thanks to senseless and harmful government policies, you run the risk of being perpetually outraged. One day, you get angry because an innocent person is being harassed by the bureaucracy. The next day, you’re upset because insiders are using their political connections to get unearned wealth. The following day, […]

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I wrote a couple of days ago about America’s best and worst cities for pro-market policy, and I noted that there are several rankings of economic liberty for states and nations. But what if you want to know the place with the most overall freedom? In other words, what is the most libertarian place to […]

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There are several options if you want to measure economic freedom and competitiveness among nations (rankings from the Fraser Institute, Heritage Foundation, and World Economic Forum). You also have many choices if you want to measure economic freedom and competitiveness among states (rankings from the Tax Foundation, Mercatus Center, and Fraser Institute). But there’s never […]

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Since trade promotes prosperity, I want increased market-driven, cross-border commerce between China and the United States. But you can see in this CNBC interview that I’m worried about achieving that outcome given protectionism from President Trump and mercantilism from President Xi in China. There’s never much chance to elaborate in short interviews, so here’s some […]

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Last November, I shared a one-minute video from Freedom Partners on the economics of trade. Here’s a full-length (but still only four minutes) treatment of the issue from the Center for Freedom and Prosperity. The first part of the video is a quick glimpse at some of the academic evidence for open trade, and I […]

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I’ve written many times about people and businesses escaping high-tax states and moving to low-tax states. This tax-driven migration rewards states with good policy and punishes those with bad policy. And now we have some new data. The Wall Street Journal recently opined on the updated numbers. …some states are booming while others are suffering […]

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There was a book last decade by Thomas Frank, What’s the Matter with Kansas?, that asked why lower-income voters in the state didn’t vote for greater levels of redistribution. The author claimed these voters were sidetracked by cultural issues, which may very well be part of the story. I like to think that these Kansans […]

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While I have no objection to applauding Donald Trump’s good policies such as tax reform and deregulation, I also don’t hesitate to criticize his bad policies. His big missteps are protectionism and fiscal profligacy, but he also does small things that are misguided. I’ve already written about his energy socialism and his increased handouts to […]

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I’m at the Capetown Airport, about to leave South Africa, so this is an opportune time to share some thoughts on what I learned in the past seven days. 1. Land Seizures – The number-one issue in the country is a plan by the government to impose Zimbabwe-style land confiscation. I already wrote about that […]

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As a fiscal policy wonk, I’ve come across depressing examples of counterproductive tax provisions (health benefits exclusion, ethanol credits) and spending programs (the entire HUD budget, OECD subsidies). But the folks who work on regulatory policy may get exposed to the most inane government policies (Fannie-Freddie mandate, EEOC rulings). For example, consider how the government […]

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Time for some political humor. Though some may consider this tragedy rather than comedy since the theme will be the potential contest between Donald Trump and Elizabeth Warren in 2020. But some people are happy about the possible match-up. For instance, both likely candidates are a gold mine for satirists. We’ll start with Elizabeth “Soul […]

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Back in April, I chatted with Stuart Varney about how some states were in deep trouble because they were being squeezed by having to finance huge unfunded liabilities for bureaucrats, yet they were constrained by the fact that taxpayers have the freedom to move when tax burdens become excessive. I now have a reason to […]

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Yesterday, I wrote about the newest edition of Economic Freedom of the World, which is my favorite annual publication. Not far behind is the Tax Foundation’s State Business Tax Climate Index, which is sort of the domestic version of their equally fascinating (to a wonk) International Tax Competitiveness Index. And what can we learn from […]

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I’ve written many times about socialism, which is sometimes a frustrating task because the definition is slippery. I suspect the average supporter of Bernie Sanders or Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez thinks that socialism is big government, with lots of handouts financed by class warfare taxation. Since that’s the common perception, is that the definition we should use? […]

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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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A key insight of international economics is that there should be “convergence” between rich countries and poor countries, which is just another way of saying that low-income nations – all other things being equal – should grow faster than high-income nations and eventually attain the same level of prosperity. The theory is sound, but it’s […]

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It’s no secret that I’m a critic of Trump’s protectionism. He doesn’t understand the benefits of trade, misinterprets trade data, and – to coin a phrase – he’s “making cronyism great again.” But, as shown in this interview, even I’m shocked that he’s “blaming the victim” by going after Harley-Davidson. I’m disappointed, though, that I […]

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In June 2017, I shared an image and made the bold claim that it told us everything we needed to know about government. In July 2017, I shared a story and similarly asserted that it told us everything we needed to know about government. In that grand tradition of rhetorical exaggeration, here’s a court case […]

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A couple of days ago, citing bizarre government policies in India, Belgium, Malaysia, Romania, and Spain, I wrote about some “great moments in foreign government.” Today, we’re going to give special attention to the United Kingdom. I’m not claiming there’s an above-average level of government stupidity in the United Kingdom (though that’s distinctly possible). Instead, […]

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