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Politics

State and local governments need some tough love from Uncle Sam

State and local governments want more funds from the federal government to patch their budgets. Lack of revenue due to the recession and self-inflicted damage from the COVID-19 shutdowns of their economies, as well as larger-than-ever expenditures on top their regular overextended budgets, mean that many of them are hurting for cash. And while ...Read more

Assessing Unemployment Insurance, Incentives and Economic Activity

Earlier this year, the U.S. government passed the largest piece of stimulus legislation in our nation's history. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act included a very generous expansion of unemployment insurance benefits. The idea was to help people to keep paying their bills during the forced COVID-19 shutdowns. These benefits ...Read more

When mob mentality and moral suasion meet the markets

A wave of hasty firings is sweeping across the country, driven by demands from what some call the "cancel culture." The New York Times editorial page editor James Bennett ran an op-ed from Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., that displeased the paper's readers and some colleagues, so he lost his job. The chief curator at the San Francisco Museum of Modern ...Read more

Responsible states shouldn't bail out the irresponsible ones, their taxpayers should

There's no doubt that this pandemic-induced recession is hitting states hard. But that's no reason to bail them out, especially when many failed to prepare for emergencies, which are inevitable.

States today are dealing with a huge mess because of a sudden and steep reduction in their revenues while their pandemic spending is going up. But lost...Read more

There's a legal challenge to the Big Apple's newest rent-control laws

Government growth and abuses are not challenged nearly enough. This results in a proliferation of bad policies that restrict freedom without achieving the policies' stated goals. As such, there are reasons to celebrate when someone steps in and challenges bad rules. Case in point: a legal challenge to New York City's Rent Stabilization Law, or ...Read more

As Bastiat would aay, peer past the obvious with pandemic policies

This week marks the 219th birthday of the great 19th-century French economist Frederic Bastiat. It's the perfect time to talk about his famous essay, "That Which is Seen, and that Which is Not Seen," published in his book, "The Law." This timeless work remains an essential guide to thinking about policymaking.

In that essay, Bastiat writes: "In...Read more

Congress predictably drops the ball on small business rescue

The Payroll Protection Program, or the PPP, is the crown jewel of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act's attempt to rescue small businesses from effects of the coronavirus pandemic. Unfortunately, the program has been a mess in its implementation and its results. This predictable failure is likely to distort and delay our ...Read more

Give individuals and small businesses a government-backed line of credit

The economy is reopening. Consumer spending increased by almost 18% last month, sending the stock market soaring. That's the good news. The bad news is that with no COVID-19 vaccine or cure on the horizon, consumers have not fully resumed their prepandemic activities, and they might not do so for quite a while. There are no silver bullets to ...Read more

The Tariff Man and Lobster King could learn from Confucius

Apparently, the United States now has a Lobster King. This great title was bestowed upon the Trump administration's trade adviser, Peter Navarro, when the president recently threatened to impose tariffs on European Union cars if the bloc does not drop its tariff on American lobsters. Needless to say, the president is upset.

Trade wars are ...Read more

Is a universal basic income program worth the costs?

Spain is the latest country talking about adopting a universal basic income, or UBI, program in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many libertarians, including myself, have always been open to the idea of moving away from traditional welfare programs to cash payments. That said, I have never come around to endorsing the concept, which suffers ...Read more

Economist Alesina's voice will be sorely missed

The world has lost a great economist. Alberto Alesina suddenly passed away from cardiac arrest while on a walk with his wife on May 23. He was 63. A prolific researcher, his voice will be missed in the coming years, as we must yet again debate the merits of austerity in the aftermath of COVID-19-inspired, all-out spending.

For the few last ...Read more

Even if the rich only give .8% it's still a lot of money and we should appreciate it more

One of the new ways critics like to slice and dice rich people these days is to question the value they provide to others by minimizing the importance of their charitable giving. For instance, the top 20 richest people in America gave a cumulative $8.7 billion to charity in 2018, but we are told that this sum is only 0.8% of their wealth....Read more

Turning 50 in a time of pandemic

It was going to be the party of the year: my 50th birthday. I rented a fantastic place, picked a great menu and sent funny invitations designed by my hilarious friend Brooke. I was counting down the weeks. Then COVID-19 hit. Lockdowns were ordered. No party for me. Yet what replaced it was the purest expression of the best that humanity has to ...Read more

 

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David Horsey Steve Breen Brian Duffy Gary Markstein Darrin Bell Paul Szep