TGIF: Clueless Presidential Candidates

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are no friends of liberty. This is not breaking news, of course. In fact, I can't think of a less controversial statement: unlike past Democratic and Republican presidential candidates, they don't even pay lip service to liberty. I can't recall either of them talking about the need to roll back government power to give individuals more room...

Obamacare Continues Its Predicted Slide

All the negatives predicted for Obamacare (the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act) are coming to pass. But what would you expect of a program in which the government defines the insurance product that (licensed) companies must offer and people must buy, sets the terms of coverage, issues strict price rules, subsidizes buyers and sellers -- and calls the resulting crazy-quilt scheme marketplace competition? Obviously,...

TGIF: Come and See the Anarchy Inherent in the System!

Donald Trump says the presidential election is "rigged." Although he provides no evidence for his charge, lots of things can be said about it. For one thing, he equivocates over the word rigged to include voter fraud along with news-media/polling bias -- two very different things. The former suggests that the outcome is predetermined, the latter only that influential...

Donald Trump, Hawk

Donald Trump is no peacenik. Leave aside Trump's proclamation that he "love war" and unpredictability, and that he is more "militaristic" than anyone. Forget that he wants to enlarge the military and that he refuses to forswear first use of nuclear weapons. Ignore his bellicosity toward Iran and China or his promise to support Israel unconditionally. Pay no attention...

TGIF: Shimon Peres and 9/11

The death of former Israeli prime minister and president Shimon Peres (age 93), the last major figure of Israel's founding generation, has brought an outpouring of tributes for a man who reputedly had, as President Obama put it in his eulogy, "the capacity to see all people as deserving of dignity and respect." Unfortunately, the Polish-born Peres's life did not...

TGIF: Neither Democracy nor Elitism

Whenever we libertarians point out democracy's perverse incentives (as I do here) we risk being accused of elitism. However, those who assume that the only alternative to rule by the people is rule by an aristocracy reveal a tragically incomplete awareness of the choices before us. Rather than choose among rulers, we should ask why anyone at all must rule. But even if...

TGIF: Trade is a Labor-Saving “Device”

Democratic politics makes savvy people stupid, at least when they act politically. This has long been demonstrated, and it applies both to voters and policymakers. Several things account for it: the impotence of one vote, the consequent futility and hence wastefulness of acquiring information, the dispersal of the costs of government, and the resulting theatrical mood-setting farces called election...

America’s Counter-Revolution Reviewed

Independent historian (and old friend) Joseph R. Stromberg reviewed America's Counter-Revolution: The Constitution Revisited at The American Conservative magazine website. He opens "The Federalists' Revenge" with: America’s Counter-Revolution, dedicated “To the constitutionalists of all parties,” gives new meaning to the word pithy. In 20 short chapters (most of which were previously columns in the Freeman and elsewhere) Sheldon Richman achieves a remarkable...

Is the Government’s Budget Equal to GDP?

Memo to news people: tax cuts don't have to be paid for. The money is ours; the government takes it from us by threat of force, i.e., taxation. It's government programs that have to be paid for. Tax cuts are not government programs. So if you want to ask how government programs will be paid for if taxes are...

Victimless-Crime Laws Breed Police Violence

As long as the police are charged with detecting and stopping consensual transactions -- concerning, for example, drugs, guns, gambling, sex, and untaxed cigarettes and CDs -- tension and violence will continue. Abolishing victimless-crime laws won't end institutional racism, but many opportunities for it will be eliminated. The key feature of a victimless-"crime" transaction is that unlike, say, battery, it...

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