Regulation Policy & Welfare

Do We Need the Government’s Permission for Everything?

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The other day I caught the television news report about America Online's plan to buy out its largest rival, CompuServe. At the end of the report the broadcaster said that "the government will have to approve the deal." It got me thinking: does the government have to approve everything we do? President Clinton says we've left the era of big ... [click for more]

Service to Whom? Part 1

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Part 1 | Part 2 Service has a long and venerable history in the United States. It has perhaps become a cliché, but Americans' generosity and penchant to organize to meet community needs were both noted by Alexis de Tocqueville in his classic, Democracy in America. And so it continues today. Three-quarters of American households give to charity. Some ... [click for more]

Recall the Government Meat Inspectors

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The record recall of hamburger meat from the Hudson Foods plant in Nebraska should prompt us to ask whether the government should be certifying the safety of America's food supply. That may come as a shock. Doesn't the E. coli-contaminated beef show that we badly need government inspection? ... [click for more]

Freedom in Transactions

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On entering Paris, which I had come to visit, I said to myself — Here are a million of human beings who would all die in a short time if provisions of every kind ceased to flow towards this great metropolis. Imagination is baffled when it tries to appreciate the vast ... [click for more]

Capitalism, Socialism, or a Third Way?

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Political economy has been debated for many years and yet so little progress has been made. The debate is littered with false alternatives and other fallacies that keep us locked into thinking that guarantees eventual stagnation and then decline. The recent summit of industrial countries in Denver is a case ... [click for more]

Should We Be Thankful for the FDA?

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The television anchorman presented the news in an excited tone: "The Food and Drug today approved use of a new laser technology that will replace the drill at the dentist's office." According to the story, most patients tested with the new laser device needed no pain killer. The announcement ... [click for more]

Smoke If You Want, and Pay for It

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Tobacco has become a four-letter word. The cigarette companies are getting it from all sides. The federal Food and Drug Administration wants to regulate tobacco as a drug. State governments are suing to recover Medicare money spent on elderly people with tobacco-related illnesses. Heirs of long-time ... [click for more]

The Nature of the Welfare State

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Welfare-state programs have three central characteristics: plunder, deception, and obfuscation. Because those programs always effect a forcible transfer of wealth from one group of individuals to another, they involve what the great 19th-century economist Frederic Bastiat called "legalized plunder." The law sanctions stealing in these cases and is thereby changed from its original purpose, which was to protect people's ... [click for more]

Stop the Flood of Taxpayer Money

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Once again spring is heralded by swollen rivers in the Midwest. The overflowing Ohio River and its tributaries have caused heartbreak and millions of dollars of damage in several states in the region. And once again a colossal public-policy blunder is being committed: the handing out of millions of taxpayer dollars in ... [click for more]

The FTC Strikes Again

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The Federal Trade Commission has once again dealt a blow to our allegedly free enterprise economy. The FTC plans to move against a proposed merger between Staples and Office Depot, two office supply chains. The commission claims the merger would violate the antitrust laws. Displaying its standard confusion over ... [click for more]
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