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Search Results for 'great moment state government'

I don’t think I’ll ever stray from libertarianism. But if I ever get tempted by the siren song of statism, I’ll bolster my resistance by reminding myself of how people have been victimized by venal government. Andy Johnson Anthony Smelley The Hammond family Charlie Engle Tammy Cooper Nancy Black Russ Caswell Jacques Wajsfelner Jeff Councelller Eric Garner […]

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When Crazy Bernie became a national political phenomenon back in 2015, I pointed out that the Vermont Senator isn’t actually a socialist. As I remarked in this brief interview with Melissa Francis, the technical definition of socialism involves government ownership and control over the “means of production.” In other words, policies such as collective farms […]

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Given the routine corruption and reckless spending in Washington, I frequently get asked how I keep my sanity. It’s possible, as some of my friends argue, that I’m not actually sane. That would explain why I try to put my finger in the dyke of big government as more and more new leaks keep developing. […]

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While much of my analysis focuses on the mess created by Washington, I periodically show my ecumenical nature by sharing “Great Moments in State Government” and “Great Moments in Local Government.” And in keeping with the title of this page, I even occasionally share “Great Moments in Foreign Government.” Today, though we’re going to get […]

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As a policy wonk, I mostly care about the overall impact of government on prosperity. So when I think about the effect of red tape, I’m drawn to big-pictures assessments of the regulatory burden. Here are a few relevant numbers that get my juices flowing. Americans spend 8.8 billion hours every year filling out government forms. The economy-wide […]

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In yesterday’s column, I shared a humorous video mocking the everywhere-its-ever-been-tried global failure of socialism. And I tried to preempt the typical response of my left-wing friends by pointing out that Scandinavian nations are not role models for statism. In global ranking of economic liberty, Nordic nations score relatively high, with Denmark and Finland in the […]

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One of the great insights of “public choice” is that politicians engage in self-serving behavior just like everyone else. But there’s a profound difference between them and us. In the private economy, we can only make ourselves better off by providing value to others. In government, by contrast, politicians oftentimes make themselves better off by […]

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Centralization of government power is generally a very bad idea. Schemes for “global governance” are the worst since they usually result in cartels for the benefit of uncompetitive nations. National policies are the second-worst, often producing one-size-fits-all approaches accompanied by suffocating bureaucracy. But this does not mean that state governments and local governments do a […]

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Back in 2013, I wrote about a gay guy adopting his long-time lover in order to escape the evil and pernicious death tax. I speculated that this would cause confusion and angst in some circles. Traditional leftists would want to applaud the adoption because of their support for gay rights, but they would be conflicted […]

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Too much government can be hazardous to your health. But I’m not talking about government killing you because you bet on a football game. And I’m not talking about government killing you for selling an untaxed cigarette. Nor am I talking about government killing you with bureaucrat-run healthcare. Instead, this is a column about the […]

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The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (BATF) must be anxious to get on my list of government bureaucracies that shouldn’t exist. The bureaucrats have engaged in some really silly and petty behavior (such as confiscating Airsoft toy guns because they might be machine guns), and they’ve engaged in some behavior that is criminally stupid […]

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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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In my writings about “Great Moments in Foreign Government,” I’ve come across amazing examples of bone-headed and incompetent behavior by politicians and bureaucrats in other nations. The British government giving welfare to people with multiple wives. The German government having a jihadist working in one of its intelligence agencies. The Italian government appointing the wrong […]

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Why does government waste so much money? In so many ways? With such reckless abandon? I suppose I could answer with mockery and say it’s because they have lots of experience squandering our tax dollars. But let’s seriously contemplate that question and explore one of the reasons for waste. Simply stated, government programs are a […]

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Writing about the sub-par single-payer healthcare system in the United Kingdom, Paul Krugman infamously claimed that,“In Britain, the government itself runs the hospitals and employs the doctors. We’ve all heard scare stories about how that works in practice; these stories are false.” I’ve pointed out that there are plenty of “scare stories” about the National […]

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Last night, I retweeted an image that rubbed me the wrong way. It showed three kids who were handcuffed by undercover cops for criminal activity. And what was their crime? Were they picking pockets? Beating up tourists? Slashing tires? Nope, none of those things. Instead, they were (gasp!!) selling water to thirsty people. And they […]

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If there was a ranking of international bureaucracies, the World Bank would be my favorite (or, to be more accurate, least unfavorite). Yes, it sometimes produces bad studies, but it also is the source of good research on topics such as government spending, Social Security reform, tax complexity, financial regulation, and economic liberty. And the […]

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While most of my disdain is reserved for the federal government in Washington, I periodically share horror stories about foreign governments and state governments. And today we’re going to add to our collection of bone-headed policies by local governments. In some past cases, the examples captured systemic flaws. In other cases, we looked at specific […]

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What word best describes the War on Drugs? Inane? Lunacy? Indecent? Harmful? Thuggery? The right answer is All of the Above. Politicians have ruined lives and wasted money in a futile campaign to stop people from recreational drug use. It may be true that people who use drugs are being stupid. Or even immoral. But […]

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What word best describes the actions of government? Would it be greed? How about thuggery? Or cronyism? Writing for Reason, Eric Boehm has a story showing that “all of the above” may be the right answer. At first it seems like a story about government greed. When Mats Järlström’s wife got snagged by one of […]

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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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Several years ago, I would regularly share horror stories about innocent kids being abused by politically correct government school administrators who overreacted to anything remotely resembling a gun. I even had a U.S. vs. U.K. stupidity contest that featured many examples of anti-gun lunacy, though Canada may actually win the prize for the most absurd […]

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You would think the never-ending mess in Afghanistan would have taught us lessons. Or maybe we might have learned lessons from the never-ending mess in Iraq. Notwithstanding those unpleasant experiences, President Trump is expanding America’s intervention in Syria with missile strikes. This rubs me the wrong way, but let’s look at what others are writing […]

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What’s the right way to define good tax policy? There are several possible answers to that question, including the all-important observation that the goal should be to only collect the amount of revenue needed to finance the legitimate functions of government, and not one penny above that amount. But what if we want a more […]

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The story of the private sector is that competition generates ever-more output in ways that bring ever-higher living standards to ever-greater numbers of people. By contrast, the story of the government is inefficiency and waste as interest groups figure out how to grab ever-larger amounts of unmerited goodies, often while doing less and less. In […]

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I focus most of my ire on the federal government because bad policy from Washington is the biggest threat to our nation’s freedom and prosperity. But we also get plenty of bad policy from other levels of government. I periodically focus on the foibles of states such as California, Illinois, and New York. Today, though, […]

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Since I’m always reading and writing about government policies, both in America and around the world, I’m frequently reminded of H.L. Mencken’s famous observation about the shortcomings of “tolerable” government. If you take a close look at the world’s freest economies, you quickly learn that they are highly ranked mostly because of the even-worse governments […]

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President Trump says he wants to roll back the burden of regulation. Give the morass of red tape that is strangling the economy, this is a very worthy goal. It’s also a daunting task. Fixing the sprawling regulatory state is the modern version of cleaning the Augean stables and I’m not brimming with confidence that […]

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What do Andy Johnson, Anthony Smelley, the Hammond family, Charlie Engle, Tammy Cooper, Nancy Black, Russ Caswell, Jacques Wajsfelner, Jeff Councelller, Eric Garner, Martha Boneta, James Slatic, Carole Hinders, Salvatore Culosi, and James Lieto, as well as the Sierra Pacific Company and the entire Meitev family have in common? They are all victims of brutal, […]

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Last month, I explained that America’s fiscal problems are almost entirely the result of domestic spending programs, particularly entitlements. Some critics immediately decided this meant I favored a blank check for the Pentagon, even though I specifically stated that “I’m very sympathetic to the proposition that trillions of dollars that have been misspent on foreign […]

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