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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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For a multitude of reasons, I wasn’t a fan of Mitt Romney’s candidacy in 2012. But when supporters of Barack Obama accused him of somehow being responsible for a woman who died from cancer, I jumped to his defense by pointing out the link between unnecessary deaths and bad economic policy. Simply stated, market-friendly policies […]

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Since Elizabeth Warren is now the supposed frontrunner for the Democrats, she merits closer inspection. That includes serious analysis of her policy proposals. I’ve already done some of that (reviewing her statist views on Social Security, corporate governance, federal spending, taxation, Wall Street, etc). And, since all politicians deserve mockery, it also includes humor. Needless […]

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I’ve shared some amazing stories about leftist hypocrisy over the years. John Kerry criticizing tax havens while keeping much of his fortune in the Cayman Islands. Bernie Sanders agitating for a $15 minimum wage while paying his staff a lower amount. Bill and Hillary dodging the death tax, while supporting plans to force others to […]

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I’m constantly surprised by what happens in the world of politics. I didn’t think Donald Trump had any chance of winning in 2016, yet I was obviously wrong. I also thought Elizabeth Warren’s political career would be crippled after people found out she fraudulently claimed Indian ancestry to gain special preferences in hiring at law […]

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‘Two years ago, I wrote about how Connecticut morphed from a low-tax state to a high-tax state. The Nutmeg State used to be an economic success story, presumably in large part because there was no state income tax. But then an income tax was imposed almost 30 years ago and it’s been downhill ever since. […]

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Bernie Sanders is a delusional hard-core statist, but that’s part of what makes him attractive for some voters. Simply stated, they think he’s authentic rather than a finger-in-the-wind politician. But I’m not so sure that’s true. I pointed out in 2015 that he’s not even true to his socialist ideology. Rather than promoting government ownership, […]

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Every so often, I’ll see a story (or sometimes even just a photo, a court decision, or a phrase) that sums up the essence of government – a unseemly combination of venality and incompetence. Today, we’re going to review three examples that make my point. We’ll lead with a story that is a perfect case […]

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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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Donald Trump is an incoherent mix of good policies and bad policies. Some of his potential 2020 opponents, by contrast, are coherent but crazy. And economic craziness exists in other nations as well. In a column for the New York Times, Jochen Bittner writes about how a rising star of Germany’s Social Democrat Party wants […]

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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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