The Nationalist Politics of the al-Megrahi Release

The release of the terminally ill Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, convicted of involvement in the Lockerbie airplane bombing, is in the news again, due to the oil spill, of all things. The U.S. Congress wants to know whether there was a quid pro quo: whether BP lobbied the Scottish government to release Megrahi so that Libya would … Continue reading The Nationalist Politics of the al-Megrahi Release

Rants and Raves

1. The state government of Massachussets is engaged in a brinksmanship battle over gambling: how many casino resorts to allow, how many slots-only casinos, etc.  Why is this up to the state government? I don't think there is any compelling state interest here. If the owners of the relevant property, which is apparently properly zoned … Continue reading Rants and Raves

Operation “Drain the Swamp” Update

In 2006, Speaker-elect Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) famously pledged to "drain the swamp" of corruption" and to "turn this Congress into the most honest and open Congress in history. That's my pledge — that is what I intend to do."  Time for an update on Operation Drain the Swamp. Following the resignation of Rep. Eric Massa … Continue reading Operation “Drain the Swamp” Update

Recovery Summer Update

The Summer Recovery Tour has just completed its scheduled stop at Yellowstone National Park, as the touching account on the White House Blog informs us. Meanwhile... The Beige Book, released yesterday, “underscored the Fed’s view that the recovery, while still moving forward, is progressing at a slower pace than earlier in the year.” (BusinessWeek) James … Continue reading Recovery Summer Update

Atlas Shrugged – Movie Edition

Well, it looks like an Atlas Shrugged movie is going to get made after all.  Reason TV has a short clip with the director and the actor playing Hank Rearden here.  In case you haven't heard, the plan is for this to be a trilogy - so we'll only get the first 127 pages in Part I. … Continue reading Atlas Shrugged – Movie Edition

What’s in the Sausage?

As commentators begin to read the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, they are discovering some hidden gems. The most recent discoveries: Diversifying the Portfolio (via Carrie Budoff Brown at Politico): Congress gives the federal government authority to terminate contracts with any financial firm that fails to ensure the “fair inclusion” of women … Continue reading What’s in the Sausage?

Advice for the GOP: Soak the rich

I don't remember that much from my public finance class in graduate school except one thing: all taxes (except politically irrelevant lump-sum taxes) cause market distortions.  In other words, they all cause dead weight losses.  This is true of payroll taxes, consumption taxes, income taxes, capital gains taxes.  Indeed, a popular exercise in public finance … Continue reading Advice for the GOP: Soak the rich