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What to do when technology outpaces the law?

June 17, 2014

The recent cease-and-desist letters from the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles to taxi alternatives Uber Technologies and Lyft remind me of my first trip to D.C. in 1997. An awkward high school junior traveling alone, I landed at National Airport, followed the signs and hopped into a filthy Virginia-sanctioned taxicab. The heavy stench of stale […]

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The barriers to brewing

June 16, 2014

Recently, Evan Feinberg of Generation Opportunity described some of the barriers craft brewers face. In one instance, a brewer — who does not prepare any food — was told he had to install a hood for a food oven that he did not even own. Another brewer — who does not use poultry in his beer — […]

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Strong words from the SEC on Public Sector Pensions

June 3, 2014

As state and local governments begin to pull back the curtain on the true value of their pension liabilities with the implementation of GASB 68, Daniel Gallagher, Commissioner of the SEC issued an important statement last week, noting in plain terms that how governments measure their liabilities would have serious repercussions in the private sector. […]

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The first lesson in economics is a lesson in English

May 21, 2014

Professor Newton: Okay class. Today we are going to talk about my 3rd law. Imagine I am standing on a small, unmoored boat. I am about to step off on to a dock. What advice do you have for me?   Susie: Be careful. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. As you step […]

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Municipal pension news: Baltimore to offer DC plan

May 12, 2014

Earlier this month, Baltimore’s city council approved a measure to give the city’s workers a choice between a defined contribution or defined benefit plan plan. According to Pensions and Investments, new hires will contribute 5 percent of their salary to whichever plan they choose, a significant increase from the 1 percent that workers were required […]

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Is American Federalism conducive to liberty?

May 7, 2014

In new Mercatus research, Dr. Richard E. Wagner, Harris professor of Economics at George Mason University tackles a fascinating question: Is the American form of federalism supportive of liberty? His answer is a qualified ‘yes.’ Under certain conditions, American federalism does support liberty, but that very same system can also be modified resulting in the expansion […]

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What would a business-cycle balanced budget rule look like in Illinois?

May 5, 2014

A few years ago, I testified before the U.S. House Judiciary Committee. I’d been invited to talk about the design of a federal balanced budget amendment and much of my testimony drew on the lessons offered from state experience. Since 49 of the 50 states have such requirements, and since these requirements vary from state […]

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Conservatives, Liberals, and Privilege

May 2, 2014

Utah Senator Mike Lee (R) delivered an important, and timely address at the Heritage Foundation this week. It was focused squarely on what he called “America’s crisis of crony capitalism, corporate welfare, and political privilege.” It is a problem, he said, that “simultaneously corrupts our economy and our government.” He pointed to a number of […]

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What is the greatest threat to freedom and prosperity?

April 30, 2014

FLORENCE— Bernardo Caprotti was a 45-year-old entrepreneur when he agreed to buy a suburban plot of land for a new supermarket. Building permits recently came through. He’s now 88. So begins an enlightening story in today’s Wall Street Journal on Italy’s sclerotic economy. The story continues: Italy has emerged as a Technicolor example of the […]

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The unseen costs of the Ex-Im bank

April 29, 2014

The great 19th Century French economist Frederic Bastiat had good advice when thinking about economics. Actions, habits, and laws, he said, [produce] not only one effect, but a series of effects. Of these effects, the first alone is immediate; it appears simultaneously with its cause; it is seen. The other effects emerge only subsequently; they […]

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