Yahoos of Media Lore

Wall Street Journal editorials are usually very good, the WSJ's editorial page being one of the few of major newspapers whose authors are economically literate. The editors recently argued that last Friday's late-hour budget agreement was "The Tea Party's First Victory." Maybe it was. But consider this passage from the piece: Republicans also showed they are … Continue reading Yahoos of Media Lore

Public Union Wage Fix

Another day, another budget battle between public unions and newly elected officials over how to address states' deficits and debts. Ohio is now about to follow Wisconsin's lead in requiring its public unions to contribute more toward their own benefits and in limiting their legal rights to bargain collectively. An Ohio firefighter said that his … Continue reading Public Union Wage Fix

Religious harassment, French style

According to this account in the NY Times, France has officially adopted a ban on wearing facial veils.  Thousands of Muslim women (the number is in dispute) wear the niqab as a matter of religious practice.   "The law does not mention Islam or women," says the Times. "It bans the covering of the face in … Continue reading Religious harassment, French style

The Future of Free Cities, Part 2

In my first post on last week's "Future of Free Cities" conference, I discussed the legislation Honduras has put forward to authorize the creation of new "free-market cities." In this second look at the conference, I summarize the discussions and some of the points I came away with. The first talk on the main day … Continue reading The Future of Free Cities, Part 2


The City of Boston and Carney Hospital in Dorchester, Massachusetts are banning the sale of sugar-sweetened drinks at their facilities and events.  This includes the much-loved Gatorade.   Mayor Thomas "Mumbles" Menino justified the ban by arguing: "I want to make this a healthier choice, the easier choice in people’s daily lives, whether it’s the schools, the … Continue reading Shove

In Search of a Plan

I posted initial reactions to the Ryan plan a few days ago. To recap, I said it was a good starting point for discussions, although I have problems with the lack of defense cuts (they need to be significant in my opinion), the lack of attention to eliminating tax expenditures (I would eliminate ALL tax … Continue reading In Search of a Plan

Government Shutdown: the Stakes are High

As we approach a possible government shutdown, the consequences seem almost unbearable. As noted in the April 6 New York Times: Administration officials, who declined to be quoted by name, focused on the economic consequences of a shutdown. But they also said that national parks would close, the Smithsonian would stop operating and the Cherry Blossom … Continue reading Government Shutdown: the Stakes are High

Reality-Based Budgeting

The budget and related issues (the continuing resolution, the debt ceiling) will likely receive a good deal of attention in the weeks months years to come. Congressman Paul Ryan (R-WI) has released his Path to Prosperity and generated the expected responses. Believe it or not: Nancy Pelosi presented it as “path to poverty for America's … Continue reading Reality-Based Budgeting

Hayek versus Habermas

Jurgen Habermas is one of the most influential political philosophers of the last fifty years. Though he has now, thankfully, abandoned the neo-Marxism of his early career, his theory of ‘communicative ethics’ and ‘deliberative democracy’ lurks behind the claim that social institutions should be ‘democratised’ and that market relations based on consumer and producer ‘exit’ … Continue reading Hayek versus Habermas

Interposition: Part Three: Virginia and the Reservation of Powers

James Madison frequently contended that the proper means by which to understand the meaning of the Constitution was to consult the sense given to the document in the ratifying conventions of the states. Thus, he contended to Nicholas Trist in December of 1831, “If we were to look, therefore, for the meaning of the instrument … Continue reading Interposition: Part Three: Virginia and the Reservation of Powers

The Future of Free Cities, Part 1

I am currently blogging from Roatán, Honduras, where I am participating in the "Future of Free Cities" conference, sponsored by Universidad Francisco Marroquín. The conference is about the economic and political preconditions for the establishment of free-enterprise zones in developing countries, as well as the internal governance of these territories. In his opening talk last … Continue reading The Future of Free Cities, Part 1

2012 or 2016?

With the surprising and shocking news appearing that President Obama is going to run for re-election, it is timely that Ross Douthat has an op-ed column in the New York Times today discussing the meagre Republican field.  It seems as if every possible "good" (or potentially competitive) candidate may stay out of the race.   My guess is that these candidates are … Continue reading 2012 or 2016?

Opening day

To enjoy literature, one has to “willingly suspend disbelief,” as Coleridge says. Enjoying sports is really the same thing, especially this time of year.  One has to willingly put aside the essential fact about elite-level sports: it is (almost) all about random variation. In a given sport, a good high school team will always crush … Continue reading Opening day

Not an April Fools’ Joke…

Stephen Moore has a depressing piece in today's WSJ. Money quote: Today in America there are nearly twice as many people working for the government (22.5 million) than in all of manufacturing (11.5 million). This is an almost exact reversal of the situation in 1960, when there were 15 million workers in manufacturing and 8.7 … Continue reading Not an April Fools’ Joke…