Tyler Cowen thinks Scotland should stay in the UK, and so do I. But this bit of his blog post I can't quite agree with: If a significant segment of the British partnership wishes to leave, and for no really good practical reason, it is a sign that something is deeply wrong with contemporary politics … Continue reading Why Some Scots Want to Leave the UK
Early Friday morning, the House passed an important amendment to the appropriations bill for Commerce, Science, Justice and Related Agencies. As Billy House reports (National Journal): Using states' rights as a bipartisan rallying cry, the House voted 219 to 189 early Friday to prohibit the Justice Department from using federal funds to conduct raids or … Continue reading Finally! Some Bipartisan Support for the 10th Amendment
At the end of the term, I always hold team debates in my introductory international relations course. After each team has presented, I hold a "just-for-fun" vote of the class on each resolution. This term, I had them debate the following resolutions. Some of the results surprised me, particularly since I try to craft reasonably … Continue reading What My Students Think on Some International Issues
Has anyone noticed that Paul Krugman has been strangely silent on the scandal at the VA, in which there seems to be a massive fraud in the failure to accurately report the real time that veterans have to wait for needed health care. Perhaps this has something to do with this column, in which he … Continue reading Waiting for Paul
President Obama’s announcement about further troop drawdowns and a time-certain exit from Afghanistan has drawn some sharp responses. As the Washington Post editorial board writes: “YOU CAN’T fault President Obama for inconsistency. After winning election in 2008, he reduced the U.S. military presence in Iraq to zero. After helping to topple Libyan dictator Moammar Gaddafi … Continue reading The Withdrawal
There's been a lot of commentary in the press about last weekend's elections to the European Parliament. Most noted has been the rise of euroskeptic and far right parties in several countries. The far left also made advances, with a Marxist party coming first in Greece and a surprisingly strong performance from a new far … Continue reading The European Elections
Graduation is upon us. Many of my students are graduating with higher student loan debt than they would have imagined and limited job prospects. A few weeks back when I discussed future plans with several graduating seniors, there was a sense of dismay and a sense that the odds were against them given the poor … Continue reading The Other 99 Percent
My friend Damon Linker has a new piece for The Week arguing that George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and Condoleezza Rice cannot be war criminals, because the laws they are accused of violating are merely "international law," which is no law at all: [I]t's inaccurate to describe these rules and regulations as laws. They are, … Continue reading Sorry, Damon, International Laws Are Laws
Today we go back into the archives to find a quote that is every bit as timely today as it was when first issued. We will also play a game: name the author. The rules are simple. If you can identify the source, feel free to add it to the comments (no cheating). I know … Continue reading Quote of the Day
This paper of mine is now available online in Constitutional Political Economy. It empirically investigates competing theories of how fiscal federalism constrains government. The main conclusion is that different federal systems conform roughly to different theoretical models, with the U.S. - a bit surprisingly - coming closest to "market-preserving federalism." Some of the early findings … Continue reading “Fiscal Federalism, Jurisdictional Competition, and the Size of Government”
"The state," wrote sociologist Max Weber, "is a relation of men dominating men." I agree. Furthermore, no human being should dominate another human being. Therefore, the state should not exist. But I'm not an anarchist. How can that be? We have to distinguish between "governments" and "states." Anarchy is the absence of formal government, and … Continue reading The Difference Between Governments and States
The London School of Economics has released a new report entitled Ending the Drug Wars and it is available here. The report is collection of papers that might be of some help for those hoping to think through the issues. The forward takes the form of a statement signed by a long list of notables … Continue reading The War on Drugs
Quite a few libertarians have yet to sign up for the Free State Project. Why not? One reason is that libertarians take their commitments seriously and are therefore reluctant to enter into them lightly. Yet I argue that the FSP's Statement of Intent isn't a commitment or a promise of any kind. It's just a … Continue reading The Statement of Intent Isn’t a Promise
The Independent Institute has released a video of a talk given by Ron Paul on April 9, 2014 ("Liberty Defined: The Future of Freedom"). http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X-uAMz8xFH0 Some of you may enjoy a little Ron Paul to start those engines this Monday.
This has been a mixed week for economic news. On the positive front, the Bureau of Labor Statistics announced that the economy added 288,000 jobs, bringing the unemployment rate to 6.3 percent, the lowest since 2008 (see New York Times coverage here). While this would appear to provide evidence that things are, in fact, improving, … Continue reading The Economy: Good News, Bad News?
"Why did the autonomous city-state die?" asks political-economic historian David Stasavage in a new American Political Science Review article. He finds that new autonomous city-states enjoyed higher population growth rates than nonautonomous city-states, up to 108 years. After that point, their population growth was lower than that of nonautonomous city-states. His argument is that the … Continue reading More Evidence on Law of Political Entropy