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Archive for April, 2009
Does Regulation Prevent Financial Fraud?

Predictably, the Bernie Madoff financial scandal has prompted calls for stricter regulation of the investment industry, just as the collapse of the Manhattan Capital hedge fund led to calls, by the Securities and Exchange Commission and others, for new anti-fraud regulations in 2004. If those regulations reduced fraud significantly, they would seem to be…
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Why Do Progressives Love Trains?

The headline reads “Obama’s Rail Plan Speeds Ahead,” and the article explains that President Obama has “unveiled his plan to develop a high-speed passenger rail (HSR) system in the United States.” These “specifics” are evidently not actually very specific, however, because reporter Bruce Watson tells us only that the plan is three-fold: “initially, it will pour investment…
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The Unintended Consequences of Common Property: Nazi Rallies

Per John Lennon’s request, I’m imagining no possessions, and I don’t like the result: Nazis staging a rally and march on property paid for with tax dollars.  They were also protected by cops who were paid with tax dollars.  That’s what I call a tragedy of the commons: when you have commonly-owned resources for…
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Externalities and Culture

This is why I’m skeptical of government intervention even in the face of externality arguments.  Local preservation and development offers an example.  A legal battle is brewing between the city of Memphis (which owns Beale Street), the management company that runs Beale Street, and some of the merchants.  Let’s grant the assumption that there…
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Hummel, Henderson, the Fed, and the Housing Bubble

My old friends Jeffrey Rogers Hummel and David R. Henderson continue to argue that the Fed had little or nothing to do with fueling the housing bubble during the first five or six years of the present decade. Their latest article along these lines appears in Forbes. This is the third rendition of their…
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St. Augustine’s Analysis of Emperor Obama and the Somali Pirate

The U.S. Navy, it appears, will be directed to take more vigorous action against pirates off the coast of Somalia. “We are resolved to halt the rise of piracy in that region,” Emperor Obama said. Moral philosophers must busy themselves in answering the question: Is this action just? For classical authors, justice consisted of “giving to each man what is…
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Robert Higgs on Reason TV

When Bob Higgs flew to D.C. to interview on C-SPAN recently, he stopped in to Reason TV to talk with Nick Gillespie about The Decline of American Liberalism by Arthur A. Ekirch, Jr., as well as his own Depression, War, and Cold War. We are publishing both books in paperback this month. Check out…
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Onion News Network on “Green” Recall of All U.S. Currency

A sudden confiscation of all U.S. currency by the Federal government for environmental health reasons? In an insightful parody of monetary nationalism/socialism, taxation, and environmental fear-mongering, the Onion News Network reports on a “no questions allowed” press conference by Treasury Department spokesman Ronald Schuler, announcing the immediate recall of all $776 billion pieces of…
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The Myth of Fair or Easy Taxation

We can expect to hear calls around this time for tax reform. Some say we need to make the tax code so simple that you can fill out your return on a postcard. Looking at the 1040 forms going back to 1913, it appears as though the Income Tax form was never that simple….
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I’d Like My Money Back

April 15, 2009 President Barack Obama Representative Barbara Lee Senators Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger Donald R. White, Alameda County Tax Collector Mayor Ron Dellums Messieurs and Mesdames, Rather than my usual practice of remitting taxes to you on this, your high holy day of April 15, I am this year…
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