A Deficit of Proper Language

The words and phrases we use shape our thought. Bad language can lead to bad policy decisions. Daniel B. Klein and Donald J. Boudreaux take aim at a deeply misleading phrase: "trade deficits." Deficits sound bad. But deficits look only at part of a trade: the units of account, or dollars in the United States. What… Continue reading A Deficit of Proper Language

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Politics Applies To Thee, Not Me

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

In America, TV Watch You

Wikileak's Vault 7 release of information about the CIA's cyberwarfare operations confirmed what many computer professionals have suspected. The target of the CIA's cyberwarfare operation is you, dear readers. The CIA was not improving the security of your smartphones, your laptops, and your computers. No, it was searching for ways to hack your devices. Once… Continue reading In America, TV Watch You

May It Please The Crown, Let Our Children Go

One of the most viral posts this year involved a parent humbly begging the Crown for permission to take their child on an educational trip without risking the threat of force. The post reproduced a letter to a parent. The principal who signed that letter thought this highly unfair, since her goals were allegedly aligned… Continue reading May It Please The Crown, Let Our Children Go

Liberty: Enemy of Crony Capitalism

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

Home Education: Public Benefit?

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?

Pedants: Converting Good to Bad

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

Skip The Whereases

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

Borders != Doors

Having locks on some doors does not mean that every door, every road, every shopping mall, every border should be locked and should require ID checks. I say this in response to BCFs (Border Control Freaks) who constantly draw a false analogy between sealed borders and a locked door. The analogy is doubly false. First… Continue reading Borders != Doors