At a standard political hot-air snoozefest, a typical politician was making the usual empty promises that his inspired plan for spending taxpayer dollars would bring huge economic and cultural benefits to the rest of us. Magic Multipliers, right? I turned to a fellow standing next to me, who happened to be a lawyer, and remarked… Continue reading Politics Applies To Thee, Not Me
Quite understandably, most people now deeply distrust the government. Many of these same folks have become aware of the extent to which crony capitalism - an unholy marriage of State and private interests - impedes and impoverishes their lives. Up to this point, libertarians such as myself can say "welcome to the club." But here things oft… Continue reading Liberty: Enemy of Crony Capitalism
Random comment from the 'Net: "I think a tax break for home schooled families is a great idea. However, you forget that we live in a community, and no man is an island. Those families do benefit from living in a community where others are educated." Whoa! This argument cuts both ways: the community arguably… Continue reading Home Education: Public Benefit?
A standard argument for government provision of education is that it would otherwise be under-provided. The theory is that, since one's education also benefits other people, one who purchases education for one's own self would only pay enough for the benefits to oneself. If we take this argument seriously, we must determine how much education… Continue reading Pedants: Converting Good to Bad
My father taught me something wise. "When you hear somebody say 'blah blah blah but such-and-such,' the word 'but' is a signal. Everything before the 'but' is preamble, which you can safely ignore. After the 'but', that's the real substance, that's what they were leading you to. That's the important part." Whenever politicians speak, I… Continue reading Skip The Whereases
Economist Julian Simon passed away on the 8th of February, 1998. This anniversary is a good time to recommend one of his books, the Ultimate Resource II. Published in 1996, this book updated Simon's 1981 book Ultimate Resource, which was itself a response to the many doomsayers who told us that mankind is running out… Continue reading People: Resource or Burden?
Bryan Caplan, author of The Myth of the Rational Voter, compared average voter beliefs to the beliefs of economic experts. He found four systemic voter biases - areas where voters as a whole tend to systematically diverge from expert knowledge. These biases are the anti-market bias, the anti-foreign bias, the make-work bias, and the pessimism… Continue reading The Rot of Systemic Biases
It's no secret that I object to many of Donald Trump's policy proposals. But I can certainly get behind one: deregulation. It has been estimated that the cost to an average household is about $15,000 per year, in terms of more expensive food, housing, education, health care, and many other goods and services. We can… Continue reading Deregulation Of Innovation
Before trying to "make America great," it would be wise to ask what sort of America we wish to be - a question raised by William Graham Sumner. Many of today's ideas are old nonsense, cribbed from mercantilists and crony capitalists, not from the great liberal ideas which define the best of American thoughts. If… Continue reading Losing or Making Great Again?
I most gladly thank Jerry Bowyer for tipping me to the real target of Charles Dickens' ire in his famous Christmas Carol. When Ebenezer Scrooge said "If they would rather die, they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population," he was parroting the idea of Thomas Mathus: that there are not enough resources… Continue reading Malthusian Misery Versus Abundance