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Earlier this year, I borrowed from Dante’s Inferno and created the Five Circles of Statist Hell. At the time, I suggested that Venezuela was on the cusp of moving from the third circle (“widespread poverty and economic misery”) to the fourth circle (“systematic and grinding poverty and deprivation”). Since we now know that children in […]

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Over the years, I’ve shared some clever images, jokes, and cartoons to expose the flawed mindset of those who hope to achieve coerced equality of outcomes with redistribution and high tax rates. The size of a pizza vs the share of a slice. The modern version of the Little Red Hen. Washington’s Byzantine welfare state. […]

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Two days ago, I contrasted the views of Pope Francis and Walter Williams about capitalism and morality. I explained that Walter had the upper hand because free markets are a positive-sum game based on voluntary exchange while redistribution (at best) is a zero-sum game based on coercion. That’s the theoretical argument. Now let’s look at […]

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Political cartoonists like Michael Ramirez and Chuck Asay are effective because they convey so much with images. But we need more than clever cartoons if we’re going to educate the general population about how government harms the economy and undermines freedom. And that’s why Thomas Sowell is so invaluable. He’s one of the nation’s top […]

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Public finance experts are quite familiar with the budgetary shenanigans of cossetted government bureaucracies. They even have terms to describe how agencies and departments try to manipulate outcomes by claiming that any requirement for fiscal restraint will necessitate cuts to the most politically popular parts of the budget. The “fireman first principle” – Describes how […]

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When speaking about the difference between the private sector and the government, I sometimes emphasize that mistakes and errors are inevitable, and that the propensity to screw up may be just as prevalent in the private sector as it is in the public sector. I actually think the government is more likely to screw up, for reasons […]

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The great Ronald Reagan famously said (and I am paraphrasing, since I do not remember the exact phrase) that the most dangerous words in the English language were “I am from Washington and I am here to help you.” Those are very wise words, especially when we think of the damage politicians have done because of […]

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Even though it’s important – particularly in a world with slippery politicians – to define words and terms accurately, I haven’t focused on this issue. Indeed, a quick search through my archives shows that the only glossary I’ve ever published was this humorous list of financial terms. And the only dictionary I’ve ever published was […]

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A couple of years ago, Newt Gingrich accused Obama of being a socialist, causing some squawking and grousing about incivility from the more sensitive types in Washington. I jumped to the President’s defense, pointing out that Obama is a different type of statist. I’m gratified that Thomas Sowell of Stanford University’s Hoover Institution agrees with […]

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A few days ago, I wrote about Article 1, Section 8, of the Constitution, which lists the “enumerated powers” of the federal government. That post included a reference to Wickard v. Filburn, an infamous Supreme Court case that opened the door to unlimited intervention from Washington. Why was this case important? As is so often the […]

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Welcome, Instapundit readers. This school choice video shows the best way of dealing with the problems described in this post (though, as Walter Williams explains, that’s only part of the answer). ======================================================= If you care about helping the less fortunate succeed, I’m commenting today on a Thomas Sowell column that will make you sad and […]

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I recently posted an excellent video showing how the War on Poverty has been a disaster for both taxpayers and poor people. Let’s now look at a specific example of the income-redistribution racket. Professor Thomas Sowell has a superb column, which begins by noting that the left tried to build support for more income redistribution […]

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Thomas Sowell just completed a three-part “Back to the Future” series, looking at a couple of fiscal policy issues. His unifying theme is how the political class fails (perhaps deliberately) to learn from mistakes. In Part I, he decimates President Obama’s new stimulus scheme. Once we get past the glowing rhetoric, what is the president […]

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As far as I can tell, everything that Thomas Sowell writes is worth reading, but I especially like how he is so effective at linking his arguments to the underlying principles of a free society. And when he writes a column focused on those underlying principles, I can’t help but get inspired. He reminds me […]

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In addition to noting that gun control tends to increase crime by reducing the cost of being a criminal (i.e., thugs are less likely to meet armed resistance), Tom Sowell also explains that people who don’t like the Constitution should amend the document rather than appointing ideologically-motivated Justices who ignore what it says. …there is no […]

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As usual, Sowell is right on the mark. By expanding the size and burden of government, Obama is making it more difficult for the economy to prosper: President Obama keeps telling us that he is “creating jobs.” But more and more Americans have no jobs. The unemployment rate has declined slightly, but only because many […]

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As usual, Tom Sowell uses basic economics to explain a confusing topic. His core insight is that government has undermined market forces, which is leading to rising costs. Obama and the other statists somehow think more government will make things better: …policies based on political hype over the years are what have gotten us into […]

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I’ve always been mystified by GOP politicians, pollsters, and consultants who argue that the GOP needs to support big government in order to win votes. The biggest victories for Republicans in living memory, after all, are the 1980 and 1994 landslides, when the GOP was most aggressive in promoting an anti-government message. The big-government, compassionate-conservative […]

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Do stores in low-income neighborhoods charge higher prices because of racism, or greed? That’s what some academics argue, but Tom Sowell points out that there are real economic factors that drive priciing decisions. The example below is about stores, but his IBD column also has a great example using financial services: Low-income neighborhoods tend to […]

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Sowell for President

In his Random Thoughts column, Thomas Sowell shows more wisdom in his questions than politicians could demonstrate if they ever had to provide answers. The three questions excerpted below underscore the importance of thinking about both the underlying morality of public policy as well as the unintended consequences of government actions: Since this is an […]

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Government did not help us in the 1930s, and it is not helping us today.

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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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If Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez didn’t exist, I might have to invent her since she helps to make socialism such an easy target for mockery. Though I actually admire the fact that she doesn’t try to disguise her agenda. Like “Crazy Bernie,” she openly and boldly pushes for an ideological agenda that would put the United […]

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I have a very low opinion of leftist politicians, in large part because I suspect most of them privately understand their policies don’t work, but they don’t care because their main goal is the accumulation of political power (Crazy Bernie is an exception since he seems to genuinely believe in socialism). But I don’t dislike […]

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Argentina is a sobering example of how statist policies can turn a rich nation into a poor nation. I’m not exaggerating. After World War II, Argentina was one of the world’s 10-richest nations. But then Juan Peron took power and initiated Argentina’s slide toward big government, which eroded the nation’s competitiveness and hampered growth. Even […]

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What’s the biggest problem with the Federal Reserve? The obvious answer is that the Central Bank is susceptible to Keynesian monetary policy, which results in a harmful boom-bust cycle. For instance, the Fed’s artificially low interest rates last decade played a key role (along with deeply misguided Fannie Mae-Freddie Mac subsidies) is causing the 2008 […]

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What’s socialism? Is it the centrally planned economies of Cuba and North Korea? Or the kleptocracies of Zimbabwe and Venezuela? How about the interventionist welfare states of Greece, Italy, and France? Or the redistribution-oriented Nordic nations? Since socialism means different things to different people, the answers will be all over the map. But there’s one […]

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Redistribution has a corrosive impact on both ends. Recipients are harmed because they get trapped in dependency, and workers are harmed because taxes discourage productive behavior. Yet young people seem susceptible to this ideology, even when they are among the main victims. While it might be tempting to shrug and assume they’re hopelessly clueless, this […]

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Today is the 10th anniversary of International Liberty, and I was initially tempted to commemorate the day with another introspective column. But I decided on a different focus because I just read a story that combines two things – wasteful spending and Washington dishonesty – that I don’t like. Let’s look at the article, which […]

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I relentlessly mock socialism, in part because it’s such a target-rich environment. But I’m also hoping that humor is a way of debunking this wretched ideology. I’m worried, after all, that socialism may triumph thanks to a combination of “public choice” and diminishing societal capital. Today, let review the case against socialism. We’ll start with […]

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