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Search Results for 'great moments in state government'

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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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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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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One of the big challenges for libertarians is that we understand “public choice theory.” In other words, we know that people attracted to government will have both the incentive and the power to do bad things, so our quandary is how to give government the authority to provide so-called public goods without sowing the seeds […]

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Back in 2013, I got very upset when I learned that senior bureaucrats at the IRS awarded themselves big bonuses, notwithstanding the fact that the agency was deeply tarnished by scandal because of its efforts to help Obama’s reelection campaign. That’s when I decided to put forth my “First Theorem of Government,” which simply states […]

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I thought it was a remarkable development last year when a columnist from the New York Times reported that supposedly pro-feminist policies actually backfire against women. Maybe this would help readers recognize that there are adverse unintended consequences of government intervention. Bastiat would be very happy! Now we have a new example from the academic […]

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Over the years, I’ve repeatedly tried to explain why socialism is a terrible system while also explaining that we should be careful not to label people as socialists if it’s more accurate to refer to them as statists, redistributionists, cronyists, or fascists. To help illuminate this issue, here’s a four-quadrant matrix. Free markets are on […]

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It would be impossible to pick the most hare-brained government policy. We have all sorts of bizarre examples from the United States. And we have equally “impressive” examples from other nations. And today, we’re going to augment our collection of bone-headed policies from elsewhere in the world. We’ll start with the United Kingdom, which already […]

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Sex and Government

My collection of oddball stories about what happens when politicians and bureaucrats get involved with matters relating to sex. California bureaucrats are regulating participants in porn films, as humorously described by Mark Steyn. The World Bank is paying poor young women so they don’t take up with sugar daddies. Obamacare is so costly that some […]

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Over the years, I’ve run into oddball stories about what happens when politicians and bureaucrats get involved with matters relating to sex. California bureaucrats are regulating participants in porn films, as humorously described by Mark Steyn. The World Bank is paying poor young women so they don’t take up with sugar daddies. Obamacare is so […]

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In America’s sprawling intelligence network, costing tens of billions of dollars, who got fired after the 9-11 terror attacks for failing to connect the dots? Who in the military got fired after the Fort Hood terrorist attack for failing to connect the dots? More recently, who in the FBI or Department of Homeland Security got […]

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I used to think the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission was the worst federal bureaucracy. After all, these are the pinheads who are infamous for bone-headed initiatives, such as: The EEOC making it hard for trucking companies to weed out drunk drivers. The EEOC telling a coffee shop it had too many attractive waitresses. The EEOC […]

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While I’m a big fan of federalism, this isn’t because I have a starry-eyed view of non-Washington politicians. Of course there is plenty of grotesque misbehavior by state and local governments. And it’s most troubling when it involves law enforcement and the legal system. David French of National Review has a very powerful and compelling […]

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Back in 2011, I shared a video that mocked libertarians by claiming that Somalia was their ideal no-government paradise. I pointed out, of course, that the argument was silly. Sort of like claiming that North Korea is the left’s version of policy paradise. But the video was very clever, and I’m more than willing to […]

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