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Search Results for 'pork barrel spending'

Years ago, I shared a very funny poster that suggests that more government is hardly ever the right answer to any question. Yet in Washington, the standard response to any screwup by government is to make government even bigger. Sort of Mitchell’s Law on steroids. And that’s exactly what’s happening with the Ebola crisis. The […]

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My major long-run project during Obama’s presidency was to educate Republicans in Washington about the need for genuine entitlement reform. I explained to them that the United States was doomed, largely because of demographics, to suffer a Greek-style fiscal future if we left policy on autopilot. Needless to say, I didn’t expect any positive reforms […]

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When politicians create programs and announce projects, they routinely lie about the real costs. Their primary goal is to get initial approval for various boondoggles and they figure it will be too late to reverse path once it becomes apparent that something will cost for more than the initial low-ball estimates. Obamacare is a classic […]

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I don’t like election years because the policy debate tends to revolve around the various proposals put forth by candidates. And since those ideas generally don’t make much sense, it’s a frustrating period. But the silver lining to that dark cloud is that it does create opportunities to comment on what the candidates are saying…and […]

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We have good news and bad news. The good news is that President Obama has unveiled his final budget. The bad news is that it’s a roadmap for an ever-growing burden of government spending. Here are the relevant details. The President wants the federal budget to climb by nearly $1.2 trillion over the next five […]

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Here’s a simple rule. When a politicians says a new program will cost X, hide your wallet because it actually will cost three or four times as much. Or even more. Obamacare is a particularly painful example from recent history. Simply stated, politicians and bureaucrats routinely under-estimate costs because they figure once a project or […]

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Let’s celebrate some good news. When politicians can be convinced (or pressured) to exercise even a modest bit of spending restraint, it’s remarkably simple to get positive results. Here’s some of what I wrote earlier this year. …one of the few recent victories for fiscal responsibility was the 2011 Budget Control Act (BCA), which only […]

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So what should libertarians, Reagan conservatives, and other advocates of smaller government think of the “cromnibus” spending bill? The answer depends on your benchmark. If you dislike insider deals, pork-barrel spending, and you think the federal government should be limited to the enumerated powers put in the Constitution by our Founding Fathers, then the cromnibus […]

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With Florence about to hit, it’s time to preemptively explain how the federal government makes damage more likely and why post-hurricane efforts will make future damage more likely. There are just two principles you need to understand. When Washington subsidizes something, you get more of it, and the federal government subsidizes building – and living […]

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Howie Rich has a very good column at Townhall.com. He asks whether Republicans have learned any lessons during their time in the minority, specifically whether they recognize that bloated and wasteful spending under Republicans is just as bad as bloated and wasteful spending under Democrats: The GOP’s new revisionist message was summed up in a […]

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I wrote about “Coronavirus and Big Government” on March 22 and then followed up on March 27 with “Coronavirus and Big Government, Part II.” Now it’s time for the third installment, and we’ll start with this hard-hitting video from Reason, which shows how red tape has hindered the development and deployment of testing in the […]

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Some folks are using the coronavirus crisis to say that libertarianism is an inadequate approach to governance. Noah Smith got the ball rolling with a snarky tweet. Since total government spending is at an all-time high and since even left-leaning fact checkers have debunked the assertion that public health bureaucracies have been reduced, Smith’s core […]

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In 2016, here’s some of what I wrote about the economic outlook in Illinois. There’s a somewhat famous quote from Adam Smith (“there is a great deal of ruin in a nation“) about the ability of a country to survive and withstand lots of bad public policy. I’ve tried to get across the same point […]

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Happy New Year! We listed yesterday the good and bad policy developments of 2017, so now let’s speculate about potential victories and defeats in 2018. Here are two things I hope will happen this year. Welfare reform – If my friends and contacts on Capitol Hill are feeding my accurate information, we may see a […]

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In 2011, I wrote about how taxpayers were getting pillaged to finance a new metro line in Fairfax County, Virginia. But you won’t be surprised to learn that California taxpayers are getting screwed even worse. I’ve since learned, however, that the real experts at wasting money are in the Big Apple. Earlier this year, as […]

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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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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 […]

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I’m not a big fan of Donald Trump, mostly because I fear his populist instincts will deter him from policies that we need (such as entitlement reform) while luring him to support policies that are misguided (more federal transportation spending). But I admit it’s too early to tell. Maybe my policy predictions on Trump will […]

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Most folks in Washington are still digesting last night’s debate between Tweedledee and Tweedledum. If that’s what you care about, you can see my Twitter commentary, though I was so busy addressing specific issues that I failed to mention the most disturbing part of that event, which was the total absence of any discussion about […]

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When Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton agree on things, it’s always bad news for taxpayers. They both want to boost the capital gains tax rate on private equity investment. They both want to let the entitlement problem fester and worsen. They both want more federally financed pork-barrel spending on infrastructure. Now they both agree that […]

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I have an entire page dedicated to libertarian-related humor. Unfortunately, the majority of my collection makes fun of libertarians. So I’m always on the lookout for new items that will even up the balance. And here’s something clever, at least for people who are familiar with both Gary Johnson’s failure to know the supposed significance […]

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I periodically get asked who should be in the White House. Since I’m a policy wonk rather than a political pundit, I generally sidestep the question. Though it probably isn’t too hard to figure out my preference if you peruse what I’ve written about previous presidents. I’m a huge fan of both Ronald Reagan and […]

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Maybe future events will require a reassessment, but right now the biggest danger to the western world isn’t terrorism. Nor is it climate change. Or Zika. Or even Donald Trump. The real threat is demographic change. America’s population profile already has changed, but the future shift will be even more dramatic. But demographics changes are […]

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What were the most noteworthy events from 2015? Regarding bad news, there’s unfortunately a lot of competition. But if I’m forced to pick the very worst developments, here’s my list. Resuscitation of the Export-Import Bank – I did a premature victory dance last year when I celebrated the expiration of the Export-Import Bank’s authority.  I […]

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I’ve argued (repeatedly) that we should abolish the Department of Transportation and allow states to make decisions on how to fund and whether to fund transportation projects. As an interim measure to control federal spending, involvement, and intervention, I’ve explained that Congress should do nothing to increase revenues into the highway trust fund. Supporters of […]

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Remember Solyndra, the festering symbol of green-energy corruption that resulted in hundreds of millions of dollars of taxpayer money being flushed down the toilet? And that was just one example. Based on the ratio of energy produced compared to insider enrichment, the entire green-energy racket is a sleazy boondoggle. For taxpayers, this is a lose-lose […]

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Because of the need to control the size and scope of government, it’s critically important to reject all tax hikes. Simply stated, once politicians think there’s a possibility of more revenue coming to DC, any commitment to spending restraint and entitlement reform will quickly evaporate. It’s especially important not to let politicians get new sources […]

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When people figure out ways to keep the money they earn in their own pockets, rather than having it confiscated by government, I’m almost always happy. That’s because governments tend to waste money (should any of us pay for corrupt pork-barrel spending?). And it’s because government impose bad tax policy (is it fair to have […]

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I wrote a few days ago that advocates of smaller government have won a very significant victory over the past five years, as measured by the fact that there’s been zero growth in overall federal spending. And because the private economy has grown while the federal budget has been flat, this means that the burden […]

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It’s unfortunate that Senator Tom Coburn is retiring. He hasn’t been perfect, but nobody can question is commitment to limited government. He’s been a rare voice in Washington against wasteful spending. And he’s going out with a bang, having just released the 2014 edition of the Wastebook. It’s a grisly collection of boondoggles and pork-barrel […]

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