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If you don’t like the NSA collecting and monitoring all your communications, you probably won’t be thrilled about new technologies that will give government power to monitor where you drive and control how you drive. Let’s look at a couple of options and then ponder which is more offensive. We’ll start with government monitoring of […]

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We have a very interesting question from a reader in Nebraska. Is Obamacare such a cluster-you-know-what that the law will self-destruct? Well, I’ve already explained why I’m optimistic about the possibility of turning Obamacare lemons into free-market lemonade. Simply stated, the law took a healthcare system that already was a mess because of government intervention […]

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Last year, I showed an image of evolutionary stages that was so accurate that it would earn approval even from many strict creationists. Here’s a new image of evolutionary stages that sets the stage for today’s discussion. Simply stated, Americans are becoming bigger. In some cases, a lot bigger. Is this trend toward greater obesity […]

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I’m a big proponent of tax reform, so at first I was very excited to learn that Senators Max Baucus (D-MT) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT) were launching an effort to clean up the tax code. But on closer inspection, I don’t think this will lead to a simple and fair system like the flat tax. […]

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To save readers some time, the honest answer to the question is that I don’t have many profound thoughts about the controversy surrounding Edward Snowden and snooping by the National Security Agency. But since I’ve been asked by several people to pontificate on the matter, I won’t let trivial obstacles such as lack of knowledge […]

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As part of my question-of-the-week series, a reader sent me a story and asked if I could identify why putting the Puerto Rican flag on a beer can – as part of a celebration of New York City’s Puerto Rican Day – was politically incorrect. I may not be the best judge of such matters, […]

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Among the right-leaning policy wonks and intellectuals in Washington, there’s a lot of attention being given to the something called “reform conservatism.” Underlying this school of thought is the notion that the Reagan-era message no longer works since Republicans have lost the popular vote in five out of the last six elections. A few people […]

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I feel like I’m on the witness stand and I’m being badgered by a hostile lawyers. Readers keep asking me to identify the revenue-maximizing point on the Laffer Curve. But I don’t like that question. In the past, I’ve explained that the growth-maximizing point on the Laffer Curve is where enough revenue is raised to […]

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I’ve been peppered with all sorts of questions about immigration this week. Many of them deal with the Heritage Foundation study, including the “dynamic scoring” issue and Jason Richwine’s resignation. I’m also getting asked about other aspects of this debate, ranging from the desirability of a border fence to what I think about skills-based immigration […]

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A reader wants to know if I think the American people are becoming more statist over time. I’m conflicted. More and more people get lured into some form of government dependency every year, and this suggests Americans eventually will adopt a  European-style moocher mentality. This worries me. On the other hand, I periodically see polls […]

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I’ve received several requests to comment on the controversy surrounding the famous Rogoff-Reinhart study on government debt and economic performance. For those who haven’t followed this issue, Kenneth Rogoff and Carmen Reinhart wrote an influential paper in 2010 arguing that government debt above 90 percent of GDP was associated with weaker economic performance. It turns […]

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I’ve received several variations of this question since starting my “Question of the Week” series. Having never studied the terrorism issue, I’ve been ignoring those queries. But I got several new emails on the topic after what happened in Boston, so I’m answering simply to make one point. There’s no way to create a perfectly […]

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A reader from overseas wonders about my views on immigration, particularly amnesty. I confess that this is one of those issues where I’m conflicted. On the general topic of immigration, I think the United States has benefited in the past – and can benefit in the future – from newcomers. And I express that position […]

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Back in 2010, I wrote a post entitled “What’s the Ideal Point on the Laffer Curve?” Except I didn’t answer my own question. I simply pointed out that revenue maximization was not the ideal outcome. I explained that policy makers instead should seek to maximize prosperity, and that this implied a much lower tax rate. […]

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A month ago, I answered a question about reconciling the absence of libertarian societies with the supposed superiority of libertarian principles. I gave an uncharacteristically optimistic response, arguing that the world in many ways has become more free thanks to libertarian policies (or, to be more accurate, a decline in statism). This led to several […]

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If you asked me that question 30 years ago, I would have said Jeff MacNelly without hesitation. Not that I was exposed to many options in the pre-Internet dark ages, so my choice may have been driven by lack of knowledge. Nonetheless, MacNelly was a genius with the details, as you can see from these […]

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This is an easy question and a hard question. It’s an easy question because the obvious answer is to say “none-of-the-above.” After all, voters in Italy have four horrible choices. Silvio Berlusconi, who is an Italian version of George W. Bush. He’ll occasionally dish out some good rhetoric and promise tax relief, but he’s shown […]

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While I generally have a happy-go-lucky attitude toward life, I’m pessimistic about public policy. So when I got an email asking me how I would reconcile the supposed superiority of libertarian principles with the absence of libertarian societies, I initially was tempted to assert that our principles are sound and then give reasons why I […]

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This is probably the most difficult question that I’ve received. I’m not an expert on the legal issues, I’m not an expert on defense issues, and I don’t even have any strong gut instincts. On the pro side, I suspect the world is a better place every time a drone wipes out a nest of […]

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A reader from New York has a follow-up question for me. Referencing a “Question of the Week” from last month, in which I expressed guarded optimism that America could be saved, she wants to know what I would do if things go the wrong way. In other words, what if things go really wrong and […]

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I was asked last week which entitlement program is most deserving of reform. While acknowledging that Social Security and Medicare also are in desperate need of modernization, I wrote that Medicaid reform should be the first priority. But I’d be happy if we made progress on any type of entitlement reform, so I don’t think […]

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This is a tough question. I obviously want comprehensive reform of all entitlement programs, so selecting just one is a bit of a challenge. Sort of like being asked to pick your favorite kid. Would I reform Social Security? That’s a logical choice. It’s the biggest program in the federal budget, so it’s presumably the […]

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I’ve frequently commented on Europe’s fiscal mess and argued that excessive government spending is responsible for both the sovereign debt crisis and the economic stagnation that plagues the continent. But it does seem that things have calmed down, so the readers who have submitted questions about whether the fiscal crisis has ended obviously are paying […]

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Since I routinely spread a message of doom and gloom about the ever-expanding welfare state and warn about the potential for European-style fiscal collapse, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that I’ve received several emails asking me variants of this question: “Do you think the United States can be rescued?” Or sometimes, I get questions […]

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For five consecutive weekends, I responded to your “questions of the week.” That involved queries about my views on when the monetary system will begin to unravel, whether I hated Republicans, what I thought about Senator Jim DeMint moving over to the Heritage Foundation, the degree to which the media is biased, and if my […]

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This is an easy question for me to answer. To be honest, I have no idea. If I knew such things, I could time the market and I’d be rich beyond my wildest dreams and relaxing on the beach in the Cayman Islands instead of sitting in my kitchen in chilly Virginia. Heck, I don’t […]

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Most of the questions I received were in the past couple of days and almost all of them dealt with gun control. But I think what I wrote earlier today is a good response to those queries. So let’s deal with a question (actually two questions) from Minnesota, both of which are very simple and […]

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Having dealt with queries about whether I hate Republicans and whether my views have changed on anything, the newest edition of “Question of the Week” asks for my opinion about Senator DeMint moving over to become President of the Heritage Foundation. Variants of this question came from several people, perhaps because folks know that I […]

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I’m almost too depressed to write anything today. The Georgia Bulldogs came within five yards on the final play of the game of winning college football’s national championship (the game against Notre Dame being a mere formality for the winner of the Southeastern Conference), but fell 32-28 to the Alabama Crimson Tide. But if the […]

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I get several emails per week asking my view on various topics and many of the questions raise very interesting issues. So I’ve decided to start a new feature. Every weekend, I will endeavor to answer one question. My first chore is to explain why I hate Republicans, and as you can see here and […]

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