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California Secession Would Force West-Coast Leftists to Confront Reality

I’m not a big fan of Donald Trump, mostly because I fear his populist instincts will deter him from policies that we need (such as entitlement reform) while luring him to support policies that are misguided (more federal transportation spending). But I admit it’s too early to tell. Maybe my policy predictions on Trump will […]

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Great Moments in Foreign Government

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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In One Story, Everything You Need to Know about France

What best symbolizes France’s statist political culture? Is it bloated public sector that consumes more than half of the economy’s output? Is it a tax system that is so onerous that households sometimes pay more than 100 percent of their income to government? Is it cossetted bureaucrats with cars and drivers who nonetheless still rack […]

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Greece and the Folly of Trying to Solve an Overspending Problem with Tax Increases

I’ve put forth lots of arguments against tax increases, mostly focusing on why higher tax rates will depress growth and encourage more government spending. Today, let’s look at a practical, real-world example. I wrote a column for The Hill looking at why Greece is a fiscal and economic train wreck. I have lots of interesting […]

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Just Say No to the Debilitating Drug of Keynesian Stimulus

I’m glad that Donald Trump wants faster growth. The American people shouldn’t have to settle for the kind of anemic economic performance that the nation endured during the Obama years. But does he understand the right recipe for prosperity? That’s an open question. At times, Trump makes Obama-style arguments about the Keynesian elixir of government […]

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Smaller Government Is the Best Strategy for Reducing Corruption in Romania

In 2016, there were three very worthy candidates for the highly coveted Politician of the Year Award. In May, I gave the prize to Rodrigo Duterte, the newly elected president of the Philippines, because he assured voters that none of his mistresses were on the public payroll. Gee, what a swell guy! In July, I […]

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Centralization and the Decline of Europe

The famous French diplomat Charles Maurice de Talleyrand supposedly said that a weakness of the Bourbon monarchs was that they learned nothing and forgot nothing. If so, the genetic descendants of the Bourbons are now in charge of Europe. But before explaining why, let’s first establish that Europe is in trouble. I’ve made that point […]

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Trump’s Hiring Freeze for Bureaucrats: A Good Step, but No Substitute for Program Cuts and Agency Terminations

Having lived in the Washington area for more than three decades, I have many friends who work for the federal government. Most of them will privately admit that they are very lucky since federal salaries and benefits are considerably higher than what they could earn in the private sector. And they’ll also admit that there’s […]

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Will Trumponomics Mean More Freedom and Prosperity?

I was sitting directly under a television in a Caribbean airport yesterday when Trump got inaugurated, so I inadvertently heard his speech. The bad news is that Trump didn’t say much about liberty or the Constitution. And, unlike Reagan, he certainly didn’t have much to say about shrinking the size and scope of Washington. On […]

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Kelm-Helgen’s arrogance showing

When the Strib first reported that the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Authority, aka MSFA, had used 2 suites at the Vikings new stadium to entertain family members and DFL political allies, Minnesotans were rightfully outraged. According to this article, that outrage hasn’t diminished much, if at all. I’m sure, though, that Minnesotans will sleep easier knowing […]

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Obama Dismal but Forgettable Legacy

President Obama gave his farewell speech last night, orating for more than 50 minutes. As noted by the Washington Examiner, his remarks were “longer than the good-bye speeches of Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush combined.” But this wasn’t because he had a lengthy list of accomplishments. Unless, of course, you count the […]

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The Negative Macroeconomic Impact of Overpaid Bureaucrats

Last year, I shared some remarkable research from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development about the negative relationship between government spending and economic performance. The economists at the Paris-based bureaucracy looked at data from its member nations (primarily Europe, North America, and the Pacific Rim), discovered that the countries with bigger government experienced less […]

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Help Veterans by Abolishing the Veterans Administration

With Christmas approaching, people are putting together their lists for Santa Claus. I’m not sure I’ll find any of these things under my tree, but here’s what I want. Get rid of the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Shut down the Department of Agriculture. Eliminate the Department of Transportation. Abolish the Department of Education. […]

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More Tax Dollars for Government Schools ≠ Better Education

While I have great fondness for some of the visuals I’ve created over the years (especially “two wagons” and “apple harvesting“), I confess that none of my creations have ever been as clear and convincing as the iconic graph on education spending and education outcomes created by the late Andrew Coulson. I can’t imagine anyone […]

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The Lavish Life of Overcompensated Bureaucrats

Yesterday I shared some very good news about Brazil adopting a spending cap. Today, I also want to share some good news, though it’s not nearly as momentous. Indeed, it’s not even good news. Instead, it’s just that some bad news isn’t as bad as it used to be. I’m referring to the fact that […]

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The “Austerity” Debate: More Academic Evidence against Big Government

In the world of fiscal policy, there are actually two big debates. One debate revolves around the appropriate size of government in the long run. Folks on the left argue that government spending generates a lot of value and that bigger government is a recipe for more prosperity. Libertarians and their allies, by contrast, point […]

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Defending the World Bank

To be blunt, I don’t think the World Bank should exist. We don’t need an international bureaucracy to promote economic development in poor nations. Particularly since the policies that we know will work – free markets and small government – oftentimes are hindered by intervention from multilateral institutions such as the World Bank. For example, […]

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A Libertarian Quandary: Should Federal Bureaucracies Be Moved to the Hinterland?

I’m not a fan of federal bureaucracies and I don’t like the undeserved wealth of the Washington, DC metro region. So I’m very open to ideas that would address these problems. Paul Kupiec of the American Enterprise Institute suggests, in a thought-provoking column in the Wall Street Journal, that one possible solution would be to […]

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Great Moments in Pentagon Incompetence and Waste

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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Tomah VA and drain the swamp

When I wrote this post about President-Elect Trump’s drain-the-swamp initiative, one of the things I wrote about was the Tomah VA hospital. This article provides more detail on the things that allegedly happened there. The biggest thing that the Wisconsin Watchdog article talks about is the dentist that infected people with HIV and hepatitis C. […]

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