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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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In an interview with an economic organization from India last month, I discussed many of the economic issues associated with coronavirus (fiscal fallout, excess regulation, subsidized unemployment, etc). But I want to highlight this short clip since I had an opportunity to explain how the “New Deal” made the Great Depression deeper and longer. For […]

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Before our depressing discussion today about the fiscal impact of entitlement programs (Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, EITC, Food Stamps, welfare, and Obamacare, etc), here’s a video of how it all began. I think this is a great introduction to the issue, particularly since you learn how “public choice” (i.e., politicians engaging in self-serving behavior) played […]

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Today is Thomas Sowell’s 90th birthday. The man is a living legend. I’ve cited his great work many times, and I definitely urge people to read what Walter Williams just wrote about his long-time friend. And I also recommend this Mark Perry column, which contains 15 of Sowell’s most insightful quotes, as well as two […]

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Yesterday, I shared some research showing how misguided redistribution policies lead to high implicit marginal tax rates that discourage work. Then I was interviewed about a very tangible example of this phenomenon – jobless benefits that give people more money than they could earn by working. I wrote about this specific issue in late April […]

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Back in 2016, I shared an image that showed how the welfare state punishes both the poor and rich. Rich people are hurt for the obvious reason. They get hit with the highest statutory tax rates, and also bear the brunt of the double taxation (the extra layers of tax on saving and investment resulting […]

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In this interview from last March, I groused that the Supreme Court – largely thanks to statist Justices appointed by one of America’s worst presidents – basically decided, starting in the 1930s, that it would no longer be bound by the Constitution’s provisions that protect economic liberty. I’m not a lawyer, much less an expert […]

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Earlier this month, Neil Ferguson was awarded membership in the Bureaucrat Hall of Fame after he and his mistress were caught violating lockdown rules that Ferguson – in his role as a supposed public health expert – demanded for the entire United Kingdom. This was a stunning display of hypocrisy, perhaps even to the extent […]

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I would prefer not to write about President Trump’s new budget, largely because I know it’s not a serious proposal. Even before he was elected, I pointed out that Trump was a big-government Republican who had no intention of dealing with serious fiscal issues such as the rising burden of entitlement spending. So I wasn’t […]

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Back in 2013, I talked to the BBC about Pope Francis and his bizarre hostility to free enterprise. Sadly, it doesn’t appear that the Pope took my advice (though I think it’s amusing that at least someone in the Vatican is paying attention). There’s a wealth of evidence that markets are the best way of […]

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