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Libertarian Humor: Everything You Need to Know about Statism in One Image

When trying to educate people about the superiority of free enterprise over statism, I generally show them long-run data comparing market-oriented jurisdictions with those that have state-driven economies. Here are some of my favorite examples. North Korea vs. South Korea Cuba vs. Chile Ukraine vs. Poland Hong Kong vs. Argentina Singapore vs. Jamaica It’s my […]

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Venezuela and Santa Claus vs Thomas Sowell and the Little Red Hen

Earlier this year, I borrowed from Dante’s Inferno and created the Five Circles of Statist Hell. At the time, I suggested that Venezuela was on the cusp of moving from the third circle (“widespread poverty and economic misery”) to the fourth circle (“systematic and grinding poverty and deprivation”). Since we now know that children in […]

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Trump Should Follow the Texas (or Hong Kong) Model of Small Government

I’m very happy that we don’t have a one-world government, but my views have nothing to do with conspiratorial fears involving blue helmets and black helicopters. Instead, I’m happy that there are lots of independent nations because that means lots of different approaches to public policy. And that means we have lots of real-life experiments […]

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Tesla, SpaceX, SolarCity, and the Cancer of Cronyism (Plus some Post-Election Humor)

It’s easy to define and/or understand most statist policies. We know that a tax increase is when politicians take (or, given the Laffer Curve, try to take) more of your money based on your decisions to work, save, shop, or invest. We know that protectionism is when politicians use taxes and other policies to restrict […]

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Europe’s Dismal Future

A couple of days ago, I wrote about Clemens Schneider’s hypothesis, presented at the European Students for Liberty regional conference in Maastricht, that 1356 was a very important year in European history because of two events that promoted decentralization and federalism. I also participated in the event and was asked to speak about “Ensuring Sustainable […]

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The Rise and Fall (and Rise) of Sweden

I’m in Sweden today, where I just spoke before Timbro (a prominent classical liberal think tank) about the US elections and the implications for public policy. My main message was pessimism since neither Donald Trump nor Hillary Clinton support genuine entitlement reform. But I’ve addressed that topic many times before. Today, motivated by my trip, […]

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Is Bernie Sanders Crazy, Blind, or Evil?

I live-tweeted last night’s debate between the Governor Mike Pence and Senator Tim Kaine. As the debate closed, I summed up my reaction with two tweets, one of which sadly observed that Donald Trump does not share Ronald Reagan’s belief in smaller government and more freedom. And because I’m fair and balanced, I also reminded […]

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Trevor Noah Does a Facepalm by Accidentally Debunking the Obama-Clinton Mantra on Gun Control

I like when leftists accidentally make the case for limited government. The IMF, for instance, accidentally put together some solid evidence showing that a value-added tax is a money machine for bigger government. A story in the New York Times, meanwhile, accidentally showed that politicians will hike taxes if they’re not constrained by tax competition. […]

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The Decline of Economic Liberty During the Bush-Obama Years

When Economic Freedom of the World is released every September, it’s like an early Christmas present. This comprehensive yearly publication is a great summary of whether nations have policies that allow people economic liberty. I eagerly peruse this annual survey every year (here’s what I wrote in 2015 and 2014 if you’re curious about a […]

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Clinton and Trump (Clump?) vs. Taxpayers and Free Enterprise

When Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton agree on things, it’s always bad news for taxpayers. They both want to boost the capital gains tax rate on private equity investment. They both want to let the entitlement problem fester and worsen. They both want more federally financed pork-barrel spending on infrastructure. Now they both agree that […]

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The Economic Misery of Cuban Communism

Communism should be remembered first and foremost for the death, brutality, and repression that occurred whenever that evil system was imposed upon a nation. Dictators like Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, the North Korean Kim dynasty either killed more than Hitler, or butchered higher proportions of their populations. But let’s not forget that communism also has […]

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Venezuela Is Heading for the Fourth Circle of Statist Hell

Maybe it’s just because I’m a wonk, but it seems that comparing long-run growth rates in various nation sets up a slam-dunk argument for the superiority of free markets and small government. Whether it’s North Korea vs. South Korea, Cuba vs. Chile, or Ukraine vs. Poland, nations with bigger governments and more intervention inevitably decline […]

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The Chinese Miracle and the Economics of Growth

I’m in Shenyang, China, as part of the faculty for Northeastern University’s International Economics and Management program. My primary role is to talk about the economics of fiscal policy, explaining the impact of both taxes and spending. But regular readers already know my views on those issues, so let’s look instead at the vaunted Chinese […]

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A Very Depressing Chart on Creeping Cronyism in the American Economy

Last year, I shared the most depressing PowerPoint slide in Danish history. Back in 2011, I wrote about a depressing picture of tax complexity in America. Let’s continue with the “depressing” theme today. James Bessen, from Boston University Law School, has an interesting article in the Harvard Business Review about the source of corporate profits […]

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Free Markets and Small Government vs. Redistributionism and State Planning

Over the years, I’ve repeatedly tied 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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Italy’s Fiscal and Demographic Death Spiral

European economic analysts are paying too much attention to the United Kingdom and too little attention to Italy. Yes, the Brexit decision is important, and the United Kingdom is the world’s 5th-largest economy so it merits attention to see if there are any speed bumps as it escapes from the slowly sinking ship otherwise known […]

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Untrammeled Majoritarianism and the Venezuelan Disaster

The economic and humanitarian crisis in Venezuela is the predictable result of statism run amok. And I will confess a bit of Schadenfreude has suffused my columns on the topic. I very much enjoyed mocking leftists who have tried to rationalize Venezuela’s economic collapse. I gleefully compared Venezuela’s long-run stagnation with South Korea’s long-run economic […]

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Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton: The Tweedledee and Tweedledum of Statism?

It’s not easy being a libertarian, especially in election years. Do you choose not to vote because you either reject your choices or even the entire principle of majoritarianism? Do you vote for the Libertarian Party even though that historically is nothing more than an ineffective way of sending a message? Or do you strategically […]

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Congressman Nadler Wins Prize for Historical and Constitutional Illiteracy

It sounds arcane and pedantic, but the United States has a democratic system of government but is not (or at least was not) designed to be a democracy. A democracy implies that 51 percent of the people have the power to elect a government with unlimited powers to exploit 49 percent of the people. The […]

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Perverse: The Obama Administration Gives Money to the OECD from American Taxpayers so the OECD Can Propose More Burdens on American Taxpayers

There are many reasons why I don’t like the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, an international bureaucracy that ostensibly represents the developed world but in reality is controlled by European welfare states. The main problem is that the OECD is financed by mostly left-leaning governments and supports policies that reflect the ideology of […]

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