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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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Barack Obama’s strategy during the 2008 campaign was very shrewd. His statist policy positions and doctrinaire Senate voting record (almost identical to Bernie Sanders) made him very appealing to the left, yet he also made himself acceptable to other voters with a calm and moderate demeanor (Mayor Buttigieg is trying to follow the same strategy […]

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Regulatory policy has been one of the bright spots of the Trump Administration (along with tax policy). But it’s not a perfect record. In a column for Townhall, Steve Sherman describes how the Labor Department launched a regulatory attack against Oracle in the final days of the Obama Administration. President Obama was not a good […]

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Building on the success of state-level reforms in Kansas, Maine, Wisconsin, Alabama, and Georgia, the Trump Administration has proposed to tighten rules that impose work requirements on childless and able-bodied adults who receive food stamps. Since I want to get Washington out of the business of redistribution, this is not the ideal solution. But are work […]

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If I had to identify the most economically destructive part of Senator Elizabeth Warren’s agenda, I’d have a hard time picking between her confiscatory wealth tax and her so-called Medicare-for-All scheme. The former would dampen wages and hinder growth by penalizing saving and investment, while the latter would hasten America’s path to Greece. By contrast, […]

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According to the union bosses at the National Education Association, November 18-22 is National Education Week and a “wonderful opportunity to celebrate public education.” I care about facts and I care about kids, and all the evidence shows that government schools do a terrible job. So, instead of celebrating, I’m going to focus this week […]

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When non-libertarian audiences ask my opinion about immigration, I generally point out that it is a very good sign that so many people want to come to the United States. Almost everyone agrees with that statement, but that doesn’t put them in the pro-immigration camp. Instead, I find that many people have a “what’s in […]

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I first opined about Pope Francis in 2013, when I told a BBC audience why the Pope was wrong on economic policy. The following year, I expanded on that point, explaining that statist policies are bad for the poor. And I revisited the issue again last year. I’m not the only one making these arguments. […]

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Three years ago, I shared a cartoon that succinctly summarized the problem with socialism and the welfare state. It’s the same lesson that we also get from Thomas Sowell, which is that redistribution over time creates an ever-larger number of dependents financed by ever-higher taxes on workers. Or, as this Wizard-of-Id parody and this Little-Red-Hen […]

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Earlier this year, I identified Trump’s “worst ever tweet.” I was wrong. That tweet, which displayed an astounding level of economic ignorance, is now old news. Trump issued a tweet yesterday that is far worse because it combines bad economic theory with horrifying support for massive economic intervention. Pay special attention to the part circled […]

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