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New “Tax Oppression Index” Shows Grim Toll of OECD’s Statist Agenda

Back in 2009, I shared the results of a very helpful study by Pierre Bessard of Switzerland’s Liberal Institute (by the way, “liberal” in Europe means pro-market or “classical liberal“). Pierre ranked the then-30 member nations of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development based on their tax burdens, their quality of governance, and their […]

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The Best and Worst News of 2016

There was some genuinely good news in 2016, which is more than I can say for 2015 (my “best” development for that year was some polling data, followed by some small-ball tinkering). Though the good news for 2016 was mostly overseas. Here are the four things from around the world that made me happy this […]

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The United States Has the Third-Most Competitive Economy, but Could Be #1 if Government Was Smaller and Less Expensive

Most folks in Washington are still digesting last night’s debate between Tweedledee and Tweedledum. If that’s what you care about, you can see my Twitter commentary, though I was so busy addressing specific issues that I failed to mention the most disturbing part of that event, which was the total absence of any discussion about […]

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Switzerland’s Self-Destructive Wealth Tax Should Be Abolished

While Switzerland is one of the world’s most market-oriented nations, ranked #4 by Economic Freedom of the World, it’s not libertarian Nirvana. Government spending, for instance, consumes about one-third of economic output. That may be the second-lowest level among all OECD nations (fast-growing South Korea wins the prize for the smallest public sector relative to […]

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Switzerland’s Improbable Success and the Important Role of Federalism

Programs about the improbable success of Chile and Estonia already have aired on nationwide TV, and those were joined last weekend by a show about the “sensible nation” of Switzerland. Here’s the 28-minute program. When I first watched the program, I was slightly irked that there was very little discussion of the role of fiscal […]

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National Competitiveness and Economic Freedom

At the risk of oversimplifying, libertarians want to minimize the level of government coercion is society. That’s why we favor both economic liberty and personal liberty. Simply stated, you should have the right to control your own life and make your own decisions so long as you’re not harming others or interfering with their rights. […]

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The “Sensible Swiss” Strike Again, Rejecting Universal Handouts by Landslide Margin

Like America’s Founders, I like constitutional constraints on government and dislike untrammeled majoritarianism. So my gut instinct is to reject Swiss-style direct democracy as a governing system. Yet I have to give credit to the Swiss people for being very sensible when asked to vote in national referendums. Here are some recent results. In 2010, […]

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From Ironic to Asinine: Global Gun Control Developments

I recently wrote about gun control, noting how there’s less murder in demographically similar U.S. states than there is in matching Canadian provinces. This is one of the reasons why I’m optimistic about protecting the Second Amendment. The empirical evidence is so strong that law-abiding people are safer in well-armed societies. But let’s see how […]

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Even the OECD Now Admits Spending Caps Are the only Effective Way of Restraining Government

I’m not a big fan of the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. That international bureaucracy is controlled by high-tax nations that want to export bad policy to the rest of the world. As such, the OECD frequently advocates policies that are contrary to sound economic principles. Here are just a few examples of […]

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Secession in the Modern World: Should Sardinia Leave Italy and Join Switzerland?

What’s the best country in the world? My emotional response is that the United States belongs in the top spot. But a more dispassionate analysis suggests that Switzerland is more deserving of the honor. It has the 4th-freest economy according to the most recent rankings from Economic Freedom of the World, eight spots above the […]

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Ranking Nations for Overall Freedom, not Just Economic Liberty

I’m a huge fan of the Fraser Institute’s Economic Freedom of the World. I always share the annual rankings when they’re released and I routinely cite EFW measures when writing about individual countries. But even a wonky economist like me realizes that there is more to life than economic liberty. So I was very excited […]

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Is Switzerland the World’s Most Sensible Country?

I’m in Geneva, Switzerland, where I just gave a speech about how international bureaucracies such as the OECD are seeking to undermine tax competition in hopes that the welfare state can be propped up for a few more years with ever-higher taxes. But regular readers already know my views on these issues, so instead I […]

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Proven Reforms to Restrain Leviathan Government

Back in March, I shared a remarkable study from the International Monetary Fund which explained that spending caps are the only truly effective way to achieve good fiscal policy. And earlier this month, I discussed another good IMF study that showed how deficit and debt rules in Europe have been a failure. In hopes of […]

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Landslide Vote against Single-Payer Healthcare Confirms that Switzerland Is an Outpost of Rationality in a Statist Continent

I’m a huge fan of Switzerland, largely because its voters approved a spending cap that should be a role model for other nations. It’s called the “debt brake” and it has helped reduce the burden of government spending in Switzerland at a time when most nations in Europe have been moving in the wrong direction. […]

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Beyond Breaking California Up into Six States: A Federalist Alternative

In any epoch and in any culture, the human mind displays a marked tendency to accept the status quo as the default—being so ensconced in fact that efforts at real change almost inevitably face formidable road-blocks. In this essay, I analyze the 2014 failed ballot-petition that would have put the proposal of breaking California into six separate states to Californians. I contend that the proponents could alternatively have taken up a more optimal alternative—one much easier to put into effect. Interestingly, that idea comes from the E.U. rather than the U.S.

The entire essay is at “Beyond Breaking California Up

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Medtronic fleeing high federal, state taxes

According to this article, medical device manufacturer Medtronic is leaving Minnesota’s high state taxes. In fact, it’s leaving the federal government’s high corporate rates, too: Medtronic Inc. (MDT), the globe-spanning medical device maker founded in a Minneapolis garage in 1949, is poised to become the biggest company yet to escape the U.S. tax system by […]

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Bragging about the Debt Brake…but Failing to Explain What Makes It Successful

What happens when you mix something good with something bad? To be more specific, what happens when you have a big success story, like the spending cap in Switzerland that has dramatically slowed the growth of government, and then expect intelligent and coherent coverage by a government-run media outfit that presumably wants a bigger public […]

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Bragging about the Debt Brake…but Failing to Explain What Makes It Successful

What happens when you mix something good with something bad? To be more specific, what happens when you have a big success story, like the spending cap in Switzerland that has dramatically slowed the growth of government, and then expect intelligent and coherent coverage by a government-run media outfit that presumably wants a bigger public […]

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Mirror, Mirror, on the Wall, Which Nation Has Increased Welfare Spending the Fastest of All?

There’s an old joke about two guys camping in the woods, when suddenly they see a hungry bear charging over a hill in their direction. One of the guys starts lacing up his sneakers and his friend says, “What are you doing? You can’t outrun a bear.” The other guys says, I don’t have to […]

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Economic Growth Is the Best Way to Help the Poor, not Redistribution in Pursuit of Coerced Income Equality

Switzerland’s left-wing party has instigated a referendum for November 24 that asks voters to limit pay ranges so that a company wouldn’t be able to pay top employees more than 12 times what they’re paying their lowest-level employees. I talked with Neil Cavuto about this proposal and made several (hopefully) cogent points. Since Swiss voters […] . . . → Read More: Economic Growth Is the Best Way to Help the Poor, not Redistribution in Pursuit of Coerced Income Equality . . . → Read More: Economic Growth Is the Best Way to Help the Poor, not Redistribution in Pursuit of Coerced Income Equality