Regulation Policy & Welfare

The Lynching of Microsoft

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Reading Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson's findings of fact in the Microsoft case, you can't help but conclude that the software company wouldn't be in trouble if it didn't make life so easy for consumers. That, of course, is at odds with the judge's explicit conclusion that Bill Gates has stifled innovation ... [click for more]

Welfare Is Welfare

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When is welfare not welfare? When it goes to the middle class. At least that's what many people want to think. A controversy in Bill Clinton's state of Arkansas illustrates the point. A few years ago President Clinton and the Republican Congress created the Children's Health Insurance Program, which ... [click for more]

Has Compassion Gone Astray?

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As part of his presidential-campaign theme of "compassionate conservatism," Texas Gov. George W. Bush recently announced nearly $500,000 in state-financed grants to Christian groups in Texas. "America will be changed because people of faith and good heart are willing to help people in need," Bush said. "I believe rallying ... [click for more]

Parity: Bureaucratic Tyranny by Moral Fraud

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The word "fairness" sometimes has the same mesmerizing effect upon people's critical faculties that the phrase "divine right" had a few centuries ago. Modern morality is based on "push-button fairness": the government announces a new regulation, enforcers twist arms, and — voilà! — fairness triumphs. The vast expansion of ... [click for more]

Watering Down the Separation of Powers

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Maryland Governor Parris N. Glendening is exercising political power that would be the envy of dictators all over the world. Declaring an emergency due to the current drought, Glendening has issued orders criminalizing the usage of water in Maryland. The governor's decrees prohibited watering lawns; topping swimming pools; washing ... [click for more]

Bad Verdicts

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People who care about justice should be concerned by the recent spate of jury verdicts holding manufacturers responsible for the harmful consequences of their products. In recent months a jury returned a civil verdict against the firearms industry after someone used a gun to commit a crime. Four ... [click for more]

The Mirage of Administrative Justice

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The trademark of modern political thinking is faith in discretionary power wielded by benevolent politicians and administrators and in letting government employees treat private citizens as they think best. We have far more federal agencies than we used to have, and they are under less restraint than what they ... [click for more]

Why Are They Poor?

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President Clinton has been visiting what he calls "pockets of poverty" in America. He still thinks government can make people prosperous. You'd think after the government has spent tens of trillions of dollars on poverty programs since the 1960s he'd have gotten the point. But he wants to spend more ... [click for more]

Order by Agreements or by Iron Fists

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In his 1651 classic, Leviathan, Thomas Hobbes warned: "To obey the King who is God's lieutenant, is the same as to obey God. We shall have no peace till we have absolute obedience." Many contemporary statists share Hobbes's assumption that near-total control is the only way to avoid near-certain destruction ... [click for more]

There’s No Third Way

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If a gunman approaches you on a dark street and demands your money, you naturally prefer not to give it to him. Apparently our political leaders would consider this an unreasonable clash of extremes. The gunman wants your property. You want to keep it. Surely there's a compromise, ... [click for more]

Cutthroat Competition and Dead Chickens

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President Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal created much of the moral framework of contemporary political thought. The National Industrial Recovery Act (NIRA), a hallmark of Roosevelt's first hundred days in office, symbolizes blind faith in government as moral savior. In a May 17, 1933, message, Roosevelt called for Congress to "provide for the machinery necessary for a great cooperative movement throughout ... [click for more]

Freedom to Farm Washington

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Nothing better symbolizes the collapse of Republican principles than the multiple farm bailouts that Congress enacted late last year. Agricultural subsidies are skyrocketing, and the 1996 "Freedom to Farm Act" - ritually invoked as a triumph of the Republican Revolution - is as much in ruins as a Sudanese pharmaceutical factory. The 1996 act, which supposedly set the following seven ... [click for more]
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