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FEE - 2018-06-19 - Original post - cached version

Ever wonder why installations of household solar photovoltaic (PV) systems and utility-scale solar power have surged since 2014? The declining cost of solar technology is part of the reason. But a bigger factor may be the profusion of state and federal “incentive” programs, i.e. subsidies.

FEE - 2018-06-19 - Original post - cached version

I think financial privacy is a good thing since predatory governments are less likely to misbehave if they know taxpayers have safe (and confidential) places to put their money. Now that privacy has been weakened, however, anti-tax competition folks at the OECD are openly chortling that there...

FEE - 2018-06-19 - Original post - cached version

Former White House economist Gary Cohn expressed concerns yesterday that Trump’s tariffs would erode the benefits from tax reform. Since the on-again-off-again 25 percent tariffs on imports from China are—as of 3:23pm, Friday, June 15, 2018—“on again,” let me share this back-of-the-envelope...

FEE - 2018-06-19 - Original post - cached version

National security is easier to finance with a strong economy. Yet protectionism reduces economic vitality. All the more reason why Section 232-instigated trade barriers are so senseless and illogical. And all the more reason why I wish Trump was serious when he proposed zero trade barriers with...

FEE - 2018-06-19 - Original post - cached version

My Instagram feed fills this time of year with photos announcing the last day of school, for both homeschoolers and conventional schoolers alike. These photos are vivid reminders of how different unschooling is from standard schooling or school-at-home. With unschooling, there is no beginning...

FEE - 2018-06-19 - Original post - cached version

The policy question here, however, is whether some of us should be allowed to use the power of government against others in order to keep changes from happening that we don’t like. Is it right to use political power, the power to initiate violence, against other people who haven’t used violence...

FEE - 2018-06-18 - Original post - cached version

"Colorado voters adopted The Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights in 1992. TABOR allows government spending to grow each year at the rate of inflation-plus-population. Government can increase faster whenever voters consent. Likewise, tax rates can be increased whenever voters consent. …The Taxpayer’s Bill...

FEE - 2018-06-18 - Original post - cached version

Things are looking pretty bleak right now for U.S. trade policy. Congress could and should step in here, but that does not look likely at the moment. Retaliation by U.S. trading partners might get the administration’s intention, but as noted, the administration may see all the additional tariffs...

FEE - 2018-06-18 - Original post - cached version

Even the structure of Pulp Fiction is an instance of chaos, a disordered jumble of scenes that forces the audience to pay close attention in order to discern the film’s plot and message. That message, so often lost in catchy one-liners and bizarre touches like The Gimp—a denizen of the chaotic...

FEE - 2018-06-17 - Original post - cached version

Bernie Sanders and members of the Democratic Socialists of America choose to “step around the Everest of bodies ... without a tear, a scruple, a regret, an act of contrition, or a reevaluation of self, soul, and mind.” By giving socialism and communism intellectual cover and acceptability,...

FEE - 2018-06-17 - Original post - cached version

The problem of the Surveillance State is not so much what it knows as what it can do with what it knows. The Surveillance State is dangerous not so much because it violates some standard of privacy, but because surveillance fuels control. Once in place, a high level of everyday surveillance,...

FEE - 2018-06-17 - Original post - cached version

The fundamental problem is that Trump genuinely seems to believe that a “trade deficit” is evidence that a nation is somehow losing or being mistreated. In reality, a trade deficit is simply the flip side of a capital surplus. And that’s generally evidence of a nation’s economic strength.

...
FEE - 2018-06-16 - Original post - cached version

Jeremy Lent argues that Pinker is insufficiently concerned about depletion of the planet’s natural resources, including freshwater reserves. He faults the Harvard University psychologist for embracing a “neoliberal, technocratic belief that a combination of market-...

FEE - 2018-06-16 - Original post - cached version

If the Canadian tech scene continues to thrive, fuelled by new workers from abroad, it could be genuinely transformative for the economy. No wonder, then, that Canada’s government is so open to immigration. Perhaps some other countries should take note.

FEE - 2018-06-16 - Original post - cached version

"…Schedule B requires 501(c) organizations to include certain contributors’ names and addresses with their annual Form 990 reports. Yet the IRS has acknowledged that this information has no enforcement value. Instead, its collection creates opportunities for abuse and chills speech and civic...

FEE - 2018-06-15 - Original post - cached version

"The reduction of labor taxes paid by firms reduces the gross wage bill of firms and hence increases the value of having a worker. Workers are able to obtain part of the increase in firms’ surplus in the bargaining process, which results in a real wage increase. Nevertheless, the wage increase...

FEE - 2018-06-15 - Original post - cached version

Which brings us to Google’s business relationship with Huawei. When we remember the quantity of supercomputers being shipped by Huawei, it’s only logical that Google would have a relationship with the Chinese company. To not have one would be self-defeating. At the same time, it doesn’t really...

FEE - 2018-06-15 - Original post - cached version

It is amusing that it is English people making this mistake. Our own class and social system puts the plumber a number of steps down the pecking order from the schoolteacher, despite the first earning perhaps three times the second. We’ve centuries of disdain for those...

FEE - 2018-06-15 - Original post - cached version

Some news outlets wrongly state that Venezuela’s crisis is due to lower oil prices and that its oil production has collapsed due to mismanagement and corruption, claiming socialist policies are not to blame. However, what these analysts fail to understand is that widespread mismanagement and...

FEE - 2018-06-15 - Original post - cached version

Given the lack of competition in many markets, the skepticism of pro-net neutrality activists towards the anti-competitive motives of the ISPs is not unwarranted.

However, the same skepticism should be directed towards the major corporate sponsors of the pro-net neutrality push. As much...

FEE - 2018-06-15 - Original post - cached version

Country Time Lemonade just announced that it is assembling a team dedicated to protecting child-run lemonade stands. “Legal-Aide,” as it is so appropriately named, will help children launch their lemonade businesses by providing financial assistance to those met with licensing obstacles. The...

FEE - 2018-06-14 - Original post - cached version

Last year, Intel generated $4 in foreign sales for every dollar in domestic sales, and Mondelez, Apple, Exxon, and Coca-Cola generated close to $2 or more in foreign sales for every dollar of sales in the US. It, therefore, makes perfect economic sense for those US-based multi-national...

FEE - 2018-06-14 - Original post - cached version

On June 1st, the White House announced that President Trump ordered Energy Secretary Rick Perry to take immediate steps to save several coal and nuclear power plants from closing. According to a leaked draft memo, one part of the administration’s plan would order grid operators to buy...

FEE - 2018-06-14 - Original post - cached version

An Internet Sales Tax would force you to calculate, collect, and pay sales taxes for every buyer’s home state, not just where your business is. That’s right. In addition to everything else, you’d have to figure out the sales taxes for every sales tax jurisdiction that you sell in—that involves...

FEE - 2018-06-14 - Original post - cached version

Often times, there's more than meets the eye when it comes to branding. In Starbucks’ case, an “open-access” policy is just the latest foray by private enterprise into the smorgasbord of government favoritism. And, instead of altruism, opening up to the non-paying public could be a cynical...

FEE - 2018-06-14 - Original post - cached version

What these individuals have in common is that, in the pursuit of truth and free expression, they offended arbiters of politically correct opinion. These thinkers are the new heretics who challenge the religious convictions of society and they are excommunicated in the same way that those who...

FEE - 2018-06-13 - Original post - cached version

It’s not a matter of electing the right politicians or enacting the right policies. It’s about what kind of people we are, individually.

FEE - 2018-06-13 - Original post - cached version

First, remember that no insurance company pays the list price, ever. Second, the higher the list prices for medical care, the more people feel compelled to obtain the insurance to protect them from the painfully hyper-inflated prices. And third, the high prices of medical care prompt politicians...

FEE - 2018-06-13 - Original post - cached version

Trump doesn’t want the government to own energy companies. Instead, he wants to control them.

As Thomas Sowell observed when writing about Obama-era intervention, that’s technically fascism.

FEE - 2018-06-13 - Original post - cached version

It's a well-established fact that Social Security and Medicare are in serious trouble and have been for a while. The newest projections released last week have Social Security being insolvent in the year 2034 and Medicare in 2026. A fair amount of this trouble can be laid at the feet of the...

FEE - 2018-06-13 - Original post - cached version

In yet another stunning turn of events at the current G7 meeting in Canada, Donald Trump has argued for a tariff-free G7 area. This would mean zero tariffs and no subsidies. Regardless of whether Trump's suggestion is to be taken seriously, the reactions speak for themselves.

FEE - 2018-06-13 - Original post - cached version

"This forced us to think broader about carryout and meant that we had to consider the drive or walk home, on the pothole-ridden roads and icy sidewalks that we don’t own and can’t control ourselves. So, we decided to go where no other pizza company would go."

And where they’re going, they...

FEE - 2018-06-12 - Original post - cached version

The moment when TK Coleman's talk went from good to great came in the Q&A. A man asked about how to overcome a fear of public speaking. Instead of just giving advice, TK called the guy up to the mic and gave him a minute to confront his fear and speak to the audience.

FEE - 2018-06-12 - Original post - cached version

If we forswear military intervention in other countries’ affairs, there will be times, to be sure, when we see bad things happening around the world that our government could have had the power to change. That is, to paraphrase the 19th-century French economist Frederic Bastiat, what’s seen....

FEE - 2018-06-12 - Original post - cached version

Writings of the Ancient and Medieval periods are filled with self-deprecation. While some writers praised their own era, such optimists were rare and outnumbered by swathes of pessimists. Pessimism, then, seemed to have been the norm for much of written history. In that respect, modern people...

FEE - 2018-06-12 - Original post - cached version

With capitalism, the working people really do hold ultimate sway over the means of production. They just don’t do it in their role as workers but in their role as consumers. They exert their sway in checkout aisles and website shopping carts, and not in the halls of labor unions or revolutionary...

FEE - 2018-06-11 - Original post - cached version

FEE put together a great track of speakers and content for this year’s FEEcon, and I was lucky to attend many on Friday. Here’s a short play by play of my Friday at FEEcon 2018.

FEE - 2018-06-11 - Original post - cached version

Is this the only way people can and should live? By means of power, plunder, privilege, and political position? Is group conflict the only way the social and economic system can be arranged to serve humanity?

The answer is, no! There is a better way. But it requires thinking about man,...

FEE - 2018-06-11 - Original post - cached version

The good news is that Donald Trump is not imitating all of Herbert Hoover’s statist policies.

The bad news, as I explain in this interview, is that his protectionist mistakes could trigger a repeat of Hoover’s beggar-thy-neighbor protectionism that wreaked havoc in the global economy...

FEE - 2018-06-11 - Original post - cached version

The good news is that Donald Trump is not imitating all of Herbert Hoover’s statist policies.

The bad news, as I explain in this interview, is that his protectionist mistakes could trigger a repeat of Hoover’s beggar-thy-neighbor protectionism that wreaked havoc in the global economy...

FEE - 2018-06-11 - Original post - cached version

The nineteenth-century French economist Frederic Bastiat exhorted us to look beyond what is immediately apparent to the harder-to-see but still-real effects of policies like tariffs. Tariffs produce “prosperity” for some very visible people and their very noisy advocates in Washington, but they...

FEE - 2018-06-11 - Original post - cached version

Irwin Schiff wrote a great comic book about how an economy works—with fish—and Dan Sanchez breaks it down.

"If every time someone saves more, he is pressured to relinquish his “excess wealth,” that can only discourage savings. And knocking out savings knocks people off the Cycle of Growth...

FEE - 2018-06-10 - Original post - cached version

In one of my favorite articles in recent years, my friend, mentor, and sometimes-internet troll Michael Munger pointed out that we live in a world inhabited by people who believe in strawberry-farting unicorns. Or at least they believe in their political equivalent:...

FEE - 2018-06-10 - Original post - cached version

Instead of nickel-and-diming taxpayers and creating onerous restrictions, the state should focus on getting its finances in order and prioritizing basic infrastructure needs over fruitless left-wing welfare schemes.

 

FEE - 2018-06-10 - Original post - cached version

The search for the Great American Novel should have ended in 1957 when a Russian immigrant named Ayn Rand published 'Atlas Shrugged'. Arresting in its breadth, depth, and style, 'Atlas Shrugged' is a manifesto on politics, philosophy, and economics wrapped up in a compelling narrative...

FEE - 2018-06-09 - Original post - cached version

“Won’t we eventually outstrip the planet’s ability to sustain us?” No. No, we won’t, as long as we keep our ethical wits about us and continue the world’s uneven-but-upward march in the direction of economic freedom.

FEE - 2018-06-09 - Original post - cached version

Not that long ago, everyday Americans made heroes of the pilots with “the right stuff,” dreaming that soon they, too, would break the sound barrier. That was no flight of fancy. After all, in a single lifetime, aviation had progressed from the Wright Brothers’ wood-and-canvas fliers to rocket-...

FEE - 2018-06-09 - Original post - cached version

We are wasting massive amounts of what economists call human capital—the mental abilities and skills people use to produce goods and services—because of the global disease environment. Rather than focusing our attention on going over there in order to “fix” their infrastructure and do for them...

FEE - 2018-06-08 - Original post - cached version

The world has been plagued with periodic bouts of the economic rollercoaster of booms and busts, especially during the last one hundred years. The main culprits responsible for these destabilizing and disruptive episodes have been governments and their central banks.

FEE - 2018-06-08 - Original post - cached version

"The moral and intellectual gains of foreign commerce were formerly much emphasized. Commerce is an agent of progress; it stimulates the arts and sciences; it creates bonds of common interest; it gives an understanding of foreign peoples and an appreciation of their merits; it raises a...

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