George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley testified before the House Judiciary Committee this week, addressing the nonenforcement of the laws. In Turley’s words: “We are in the midst of a constitutional crisis with sweeping implications for our system of government. There has been a massive gravitational shift of authority to the Executive Branch that … Continue reading The Duty to Faithfully Execute the Laws
Month: February 2014
They Really Are at War with Us, Aren’t They?
Our rulers, I mean. The story inspiring today's rant is the revelation that the NSA and the UK's GCHQ have collected millions of webcam images from ordinary Internet users, including their most private conversations. They have no respect for our privacy, our rights, or our dignity as human beings. To agents of the state, we … Continue reading They Really Are at War with Us, Aren’t They?
Chart of the Day – Comparative Military Spending
From the Peter Peterson Foundation:
Ukraine interim president warns of "separatism risk" - I don't believe that there's any such risk, but it's obviously useful to the new government to propound such a risk as an excuse for a crackdown on Yanukovych supporters "On libertarian stupidity and the Civil War" Bitcoin at Liberty Forum Interested in speaking at PorcFest or … Continue reading Assorted Links
Moving On from the Debt
There was a brief moment a few years back when concerns over the size of the budget deficit were leading to some discussions of the long-term fiscal imbalances and the potentials for a grand bargain. But with last month’s budget deal, the debt is no longer on the agenda. As Alex Seitz-Wald notes in National … Continue reading Moving On from the Debt
The Risk of Civil War in Ukraine
The government and the opposition in Ukraine have begun to shoot each other, leading to 26 deaths overnight. The Ukrainian army is being mobilized, and protestors have started to storm police stations and arm themselves. Could Ukraine be facing civil war? Several factors point to a high likelihood of civil war. The first is the … Continue reading The Risk of Civil War in Ukraine
Is Graduate School for Me?
Jason Brennan has a nice talk on this question over at BHL. My crankier piece, "Don't Go to Grad School," is here.
Freedom of Information versus the Security State
Reporters without Borders has issued its annual World Press Freedom Index (map here, discussion here). The US has tumbled to 46, just above Haiti. To place things in context, the US was 17 in 2002 when the first index was published. As Reporters without Borders explains: Countries that pride themselves on being democracies and respecting … Continue reading Freedom of Information versus the Security State
Walmart’s “Made in the USA” Ad
I was just taking in a few minutes of the Olympics when I saw a new Walmart ad touting its pledge to purchase $250 billion of American-made products (or perhaps more accurately, its "pledging [of] $250 billion to products purchased from American factories"). Roll the tape and see for yourself: It is a bit odd to see Walmart pitching this "Made … Continue reading Walmart’s “Made in the USA” Ad
This One Figure Shows How the New Deal Made the Great Depression Worse (updated)
Source: Barry Eichengreen, "The Origins and Nature of the Great Slump Revisited" So U.S. real wages rose more or less throughout the Great Depression. During the Hoover years, you can write this phenomenon off as sticky wages plus the Federal Reserve's disastrous policy of deflation, plus some of Hoover's jawboning of executives to get them … Continue reading This One Figure Shows How the New Deal Made the Great Depression Worse (updated)
Can Acting on Moral Falsehood Ever Be Warranted?
I was never persuaded by Aristotle's argument that happiness is the highest good (because it is the only thing that humans seek for its own sake rather than for any other end). The reason I never accepted it is that it is either circular (happiness gets defined as whatever it is you seek for its … Continue reading Can Acting on Moral Falsehood Ever Be Warranted?
N.H. Liberty Forum
In nine days, the New Hampshire Liberty Forum begins. This should be by far the biggest and glossiest yet (seriously, check out the website). Speakers include feminist author Naomi Wolf, antifeminist author Karen Straughan (there will be a panel), Overstock.com CEO Patrick Byrne, NSA whistleblower Thomas Drake, civil liberties lawyer Jesselyn Radack, creator of the … Continue reading N.H. Liberty Forum
Once Again, We Chase the Shiny Objects
This week the Congressional Budget Office released The Budget and Economic Outlook: 2014-2024. From the press coverage, one would have guessed the report was either entitled Obamacare: the Job Killer that is Almost as Bad as Benghazi or Obamacare: Ending the “Job Lock” and Opening the Door to Leisure. In reality, the impact of the … Continue reading Once Again, We Chase the Shiny Objects
The Last Thing We Need Is More Moderates
Academics are given to bemoaning partisan polarization. But the mushy centrism being pushed by the No Labels crowd frequently just amounts to special-interest whoring. Bipartisanship usually means the people get screwed, and the lobbyists win. Latest case in point: the morally corrupt Farm Bill. Congress is claiming it has reformed the program and cut it … Continue reading The Last Thing We Need Is More Moderates
U.S. Infrastructure and Subsidy Spending: Not What You Might Expect
In my last two posts, I showed that the U.S. has a large social welfare state by cross-national standards, maybe even the second-largest in the OECD. However, the U.S. welfare state is much less redistributive from rich to poor than most other welfare states. In this post, I tackle spending on infrastructure ("gross fixed capital … Continue reading U.S. Infrastructure and Subsidy Spending: Not What You Might Expect
Here and here are some brief pieces on a bill in New Hampshire to provide the option of “none of the above” (or NOTA) on ballots. As the sponsor (Charles Weed) explains: “Real choice means people have to be able to withhold their consent,” Weed said. “You can’t do that with silly write-ins. Mickey Mouse … Continue reading NOTA