Two Cheers for the Fiscal Changes in the GOP’s Obamacare Repeal-and-Replace Legislation

As I wrote yesterday (and have pontificated about on many occasions), the main problem with America’s healthcare system is that various government interventions (Medicare, Medicaid, Obamacare, tax code’s healthcare exclusion, etc) have created a system where people – for all intents and purposes – buy healthcare with other people’s money. And as Milton Friedman wisely […]

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Another Grim Reminder that Obamacare Has Made Healthcare More Expensive

Way back in 2009, some folks on the left shared a chart showing that national expenditures on healthcare compared to life expectancy. This comparison was not favorable to the United States, which easily spent the most money but didn’t have concomitantly impressive life expectancy. At the very least, people looking at the chart were supposed […]

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Is Anybody Shocked that Higher Minimum Wage Mandates Are Resulting in Fewer Jobs?

While economists are famous for their disagreements (and their incompetent forecasts), there is universal consensus in the profession that demand curves slope downward. That may be meaningless jargon to non-economists, but it simply means that people buy less of something when it becomes more expensive. And this is why it makes no senseto impose minimum […]

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Big Government Means Big Corruption (especially when the Clintons are involved)

Back in 2009, I shared some academic research showing the unsavory link between lobbying expenditures and bailout cash from TARP. Just in case anybody naively thinks that such distasteful favor-swapping no longer occurs, here’s some more evidence. A column in the International Business Times summarizes some new scholarly research, once again showing the corrupt nexus between […]

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Japan’s Slow-Motion Fiscal and Monetary Suicide

Remember Bill Murray’s Groundhog Day, the 1993 comedy classic about a weatherman who experiences the same day over and over again? Well, the same thing is happening in Japan. But instead of a person waking up and reliving the same day, we get politicians pursuing the same failed Keynesian stimulus policies over and over again. […]

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The Growing Crisis of Excessive and Unfunded Retirement Benefits for State and Local Bureaucrats (and a Libertarian Quandary)

As a taxpayer, I don’t like the fact that government employees get paid more than folks in the private sector.  But the big difference between bureaucrats and regular workers isn’t so much the pay, it’s the fringe benefits. And perhaps the  biggest difference of all is that government bureaucrats get far more  lavish retiree benefits. […]

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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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The Ever-Growing Fiscal Burden of Obamacare

Based on what’s been happening, those of us who have been warning about the fiscal burden of Medicaid, Medicare, and Obamacare could rest on our laurels and say “we told you so.” But it’s a Pyrrhic victory because being right means bad news for the country. Earlier this year, The Hill reported some very sobering […]

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The Welfare State Hurts Everybody

Thomas Sowell on the Economics of Redistribution: Quicksand at One End and Beatings at the other End: Over the years, I’ve shared some clever images, jokes, and cartoons to expose the flawed mindset of those who hope to achieve coerced equality of outcomes with redistribution and high tax rates. The size of a pizza vs the […]

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Postal Service: Return to Sender

I don’t mind being polemical on occasion, but I generally don’t accuse my opponents of being “socialists.” American leftists generally focus on redistribution and regulatory intervention and socialism technically means that the government directly owns, operates, and controls various sectors of the economy (think, for example, of the difference between Obamacare and the U.K.’s system, where […]

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Sex, Government, and the Laffer Curve

Over the years, I’ve run into oddball stories about what happens when politicians and bureaucrats get involved with matters relating to sex. California bureaucrats are regulating participants in porn films, ashumorously described by Mark Steyn. The World Bank is paying poor young women so they don’t take up with sugar daddies. Obamacare is so costly […]

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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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Since Upper-Income Taxpayers Finance the Welfare State, Leftists Should Be Nice to Rich People

As I’ve pointed out before, the big difference between the United States and Europe is not taxes on the rich. We both impose similar tax burden on high-income taxpayers, though Europeans are more likely to collect revenue from the rich with higher income tax rates and the U.S. gets a greater share of revenue from […]

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The Productive People in France Need a Frexit

The United Kingdom is getting a lot of attention because voters just chose to leave the European Union. I think this was the smart choice. Yes, there will be some short-run economic volatility, but the long-run benefits should make it worthwhile. Sort of like chemotherapy being painful, but still being much better than the alternative […]

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The Recipe for Job Creation: Less “Help” from Washington

  The American economy is in the doldrums. And has been for most this century thanks to bad policy under both Obama and Bush. So what’s needed to boost growth and create jobs? A new video from Learn Liberty, narrated by Professor Don Boudreaux (who also was the narrator for Learn Liberty’s superb video on […]

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Hillary’s Anti-Gun Agenda: An Attack on the Constitution and an Assault on Common Sense

The Constitution and Bill of Rights exist to protect our civil liberties from government. And that’s true whether the attack on our rights is legislative or bureaucratic. For instance: Our 1st Amendment rights to participate in the political process are – or at least should be – inviolate, even if some politicians think they can […]

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FDR: Worse than Barack Obama, Maybe even Worse than Woodrow Wilson

Who is the worst President in U.S. history? No, regardless of polling data, the answer is not Barack Obama. Or even Jimmy Carter. Those guys are amateurs.   At the bottom of the list is probably Woodrow Wilson, who gave us both the income tax and the Federal Reserve. And hewas a disgusting racist as well. However, Wilson has some strong competition from […]

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Government = Corruption = Undeserved Wealth = Insider Favoritism

In hopes of learning some lessons, let’s take a tour through the dank sewer of government, the place where malice is rewarded and malfeasance is a stepping stone to success. Writing for the Washington Post, Professor Stephen Medvic argues that America’s political system is mostly clean. …there is very little political corruption in the United States. …According to Transparency International’s 2015 Corruption […]

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The Necessary and Valuable Economic Role of Tax Havens

Economists certainly don’t speak with one voice, but there’s a general consensus on two principles of public finance that will lead to a more competitive and prosperous economy. Lower tax rates are more conducive to work and entrepreneurship than higher tax rates. Reducing the tax bias against capital formation will improve growth by increasing saving and investment. To be […]

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Taxing Lessons from Europe for Hillary Clinton (a Supposed Fiscal Conservative)

I wrote yesterday about the Obama Administration’s head-in-the-sand approach regarding the anti-competitive nature of America’s corporate tax system (though maybe fiddling while Rome burns is a better metaphor). Fortunately, some nations have more sensible policy makers. Even in Europe, which might come as a surprise to the pair of class warriors battling for the Democratic nomination. Consider, for instance, what’s happening in Norway. […]

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Is “Capitalism” a Dirty Word and “Liberal” a Good Word?

I’m a proud advocate and defender of capitalism for the simple reason that it is a system that is consistent with human freedom while also producing mass prosperity that was unimaginable for much of human history. Jurisdictions that embrace capitalism enjoy great progress while nations that veer in the other direction suffer economic decline, as vividly demonstrated by comparisons such […]

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The Healthcare Exclusion Is the Tax Code’s Most Harmful Loophole

  What’s the worst loophole (properly defined) in the cluttered internal revenue code? I think the deduction for state and local taxes is very bad policy since it enables higher tax burdens in states such as California, New Jersey, and Illinois. The exemption for municipal bond interest is another misguided provision since it makes it easier for states to finance […]

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One Strike, Two Strikes, Three Strikes (and Many More Strikes) for Obamacare

The ongoing cluster-you-know-what of Obamacare is a source of unhappy satisfaction. Part of me is glad the law is such a failure, but it’s tragic that millions of people are suffering adverse consequences. These are folks who did nothing wrong, but now are paying more, losing employment, suffering income losses, and/or being forced to find new plans and new doctors. And it seems […]

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Debt, Bubbles, and Reckless Government

As a general rule, I’m not overly concerned about debt, even when looking at government red ink. I don’t like deficit and debt, to be sure, but government borrowing should be seen as the symptom. The real problem is excessive government spending. This is one of the reasons I’m not a fan of a balanced budget amendment, Based on […]

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Regulation Nation

If you look at the methodology behind the major measures of economic liberty, such as Economic Freedom of the World and Index of Economic Freedom, you’ll notice that each nation’s regulatory burden is just as important as the overall fiscal burden. Yet there doesn’t seem to be adequate appreciation for the importance of restraining red tape. I’ve tried […]

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Bernie Sanders Is Crazy even by Left-Wing Standards

Since Pope Francis is very critical of capitalism, I suppose it’s fitting that he had a special meeting with America’s crazy-Uncle-in-the-attic, Bernie Sanders. With my sixth-grade sense of humor, I confess that my initial instinct (perhaps motivated by the famous line from Animal House about “a wimp and a blimp“) was to write about “the Pope and the dope,” […]

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Will “Mind-Blowing” Demographic Change Lead to Fiscal Disaster?

Maybe future events will require a reassessment, but right now the biggest danger to the western world isn’t terrorism. Nor is it climate change. Or Zika. Or even Donald Trump. The real threat is demographic change. America’s population profile already has changed, but the future shift will be even more dramatic. But demographics changes are neither good nor […]

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Three Simple Reasons Why Hillary and Bernie’s Real Plan Is to Soak the Middle Class

If you follow the contest between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, most of the tax discussion is about who has the best plan to squeeze the rich with ever-higher tax rates. For those motivated by spite and envy, Bernie Sanders “wins” that debate since he wants bigger increases in the tax rates on investors, entrepreneurs, business owners, and other […]

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Correcting White House Anti-Inversion Propaganda

I wrote recently about the Pfizer-Allergan merger and made the case that it was a very sensible way to protect the interests of workers, consumers, and shareholders. That’s the good news. Why? Because companies should be allowed to engage in a do-it-yourself form of territorial taxation to minimize the damage caused by bad tax policy coming out of Washington. The […]

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A False Tax Trilemma

I’m hoping the “Panama Papers” issue will quickly fade from the news (as happened after a similar data theft from BVI in 2013)  for the simple reason that even left-leaning reporters will get bored when they discover it is mostly a story about internationally active investors legally using structures designed for cross-border investment. Yes, statists have a broader agenda of trying […]

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Ranking States for Income Taxes and Government Efficiency

There’s no agreement on the most important variable for state tax competitiveness. You could make a strong case that it is the overall share of income taken by politicians in the state. Or you could argue that the tax system for employers is the key metric. And the top tax rate obviously is an important measure of a state’s economic attractiveness. […]

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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 forcing companies to make […]

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A Horrifying Socialist Future for America?

The debate over socialism shouldn’t even exist. Everywhere big government has been tried, it has failed. And we have reams of evidence  that free-market economies dramatically out-perform statist economies. Yet the siren song of socialism still appeals to a subsection of the population, either because of naiveté or an unseemly lust to exercise power over others. So […]

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