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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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Bureaucracy and Political Correctness vs Common Sense

A few years ago, I put together an amusing collection of stories comparing truly bizarre examples of political correctness and bureaucratic idiocy in the United States and United Kingdom. I was especially impressed (in a you-must-be-joking fashion) that a British job placement office got in trouble for discrimination because they sought “reliable” and “hard-working” applicants. […]

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More Welfare-Subsidized Terrorism in Europe

When I was young and innocent, I thought that giving welfare handouts to advocates of terrorism was the most perverse and disgusting way to abuse taxpayers. Now that I’m old and jaded, I’ve learned that governments are so masochistically stupid that they routinely give taxpayer-financed goodies directly to the people who actually engage in terrorist […]

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Great Moments in Foreign Government

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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Failure in Government Means Never Having to Say You’re Sorry

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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The Silly and Harmful Drug War

I’m not a fan of the War on Drugs, even though I’m personally very socially conservative on the use of drugs. Regardless of my individual preferences, I recognize that prohibition gives government the power to trample our rights, that it is borderline (if not over-the-line) racist, and that it leads to horrible injustices. I’d much […]

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More Great Moments in Federal Government Incompetence

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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In One Phrase, Everything that You Need to Know about the Failure of Big Government

I realize it’s presumptuous, but I periodically make grandiose claims that a single column will tell readers “everything” they need to know about a topic. I’ve used that tactic when writing about tax loopholes, entitlements, fiscal policy, bureaucracy (twice), tax evasion, France, Greece, corporate inversions, and economic policy. Sometimes I even claim a single image, […]

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Great Moments in Defense and Foreign Policy

If you did a word-association test with people after describing jaw-dropping examples of government incompetence, you would probably get answers like “angry” or “wasteful.” Especially if you asked around April 15. Though in some cases of spectacular and inexplicable ineptitude by government, you reach a stage where the answers might even be “preposterous” or “comical.” […]

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Make Up Your Minds, Crazy Statists: Is Terrorism Caused by Climate Change or Inequality?

I’ve admitted before that I have no idea whether global warming is a real problem, but I can say with considerable certainty that there are two reasons why I’m very skeptical of the environmental policy agenda. First, the serious environmentalists believe in central planning and other forms of statism. Second, radical environmentalists are nutjobs. In […]

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The TSA: A Perfect Symbol of the Federal Government’s Waste and Incompetence

The Transportation Security Administration has become infamous over the years for things that it doesn’t allow on planes. Consider these examples of the Keystone Cops in action. o Confiscating a plastic hammer from a mentally retarded man. o Detaining a woman for carrying breast milk. o Hassling a woman for the unexplained red flag of having sequentially numbered […]

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More Odious Examples of Welfare-Subsidized Terrorism

When I wrote earlier this year about “Europe’s suicidal welfare state,” it wasn’t so that I could make points about excessive spending and demographic decline. Yes, those are very important issues. But I was focusing instead on the fact that Europe’s welfare states have a masochistic habit of giving handouts to terrorists. So I wasn’t […]

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More Great Moments in Spectacular Government Incompetence

Advocates of limited government favor a small public sector because more resources in the productive sector of the economy translates into faster growth, more job creation, and higher living standards. Statists, by contrast, favor big government for two main reasons. First, many of them belong to well-connected interest groups that have their snouts in the […]

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Instead of Fighting to Protect Taxpayers, Politicians Are Enabling Medicare Fraud

Yesterday, I shared several stories that exposed the festering corruption of Washington. Today, let’s look at one issue that symbolizes the pervasive waste of Washington. Medicare is the federal government’s one-size-fits-all health program for the elderly. Because of its poor design, it bears considerable responsibility for two massive problems. It contributes to the systemic third-party […]

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Great Moments in Federal Government Insanity

My first instinct, when arguing against higher taxes, is to pontificate about the negative impact of high marginal tax rates and punitive effect of double taxation on saving and investment. Those are very legitimate concerns, and they’re the obvious things for an economist to highlight. But I’m going to confess that my main motive for […]

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The Japanese Version of Another Great Moment in Government Incompetence

Remember the scene in Monty Python and the Search for the Holy Grail, when the Knights of the Round Table have to answer three questions before they can cross the Bridge of Death? Sir Galahad is cast into the Gorge of Eternal Peril because he changes his mind when asked his favorite color. I can […]

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The Canadian Version of Great Moments in Human Rights

Just like I have a Bureaucrat Hall of Fame and a Moocher Hall of Fame to draw attention to spectacular cases of overpaid sloth and entitled dependency, I may have to set up something similar to commemorate bizarre examples of government-manufactured human rights. Most recently, for example, I cited a case in European courts dealing […]

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The Foreign Edition of Great Moments in Government

It would require several people, working around the clock, to provide daily updates about the bizarre and senseless actions of the crowd in Washington. And you’d need many additional people to monitor the foolish decisions in state capitals. I certainly try to do my small part, sharing example of jaw-dropping vapidity by our overseers in […]

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The Regulatory State’s War against Modern Life

When writing about the burden of regulation, I often share big numbers about aggregate cost, job losses, time wasted, and foregone growth. But I sometimes wonder if such data is effective in the battle for good policy. Maybe it’s better, at least in some cases, to focus on regulations that affect quality of life for […]

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Great Moments in Masochistic Government Incompetence

I’ve argued that we’ll get better government if we make it smaller. This is important because government is responsible for some things – such as national defense and protection of property rights – that are genuinely important. Yet a bloated public sector distracts officials from effectively focusing on those things that matter. There are some legitimate […]

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