Regulation Policy & Welfare

Viva La Lemonista Revolución!

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August 20 is Lemonade Freedom Day and everyone who can do so is asked to set up a stand; everyone else is urged to imbibe. The reason? Authorities across America are closing down kids’ lemonade stands because, in many states and localities, they violate health codes, licensing laws, and other permit requirements. A recent headline in Reason ... [click for more]

Liberty and License

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Same-sex couples in New York City can now apply for marriage licenses using online forms that feature gender-neutral terminology. This follows the passage of the Marriage Equality Act, the New York law that legalized same-sex marriage. The bill became law on June 24, 2011, and took effect thirty days later. Marriage licenses in New York City cost $35. The state ... [click for more]

Sinking Entrepreneurship

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It happens every spring. Umpires shout out to grown men, “Play ball,” and bureaucrats shout out to kids, “Shut down that lemonade stand.” While the latter might not happen every year, it happens often enough. Sometimes a mayor will trot out, tell the bullying code-enforcement officers to go away and then he buys a glass of lemonade to show what ... [click for more]

Whither U. S. Energy Policy?

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President Obama has authorized the release of 30 million barrels of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR). The oil reserve is currently at a historically high level of 727 million barrels. “We are taking this action in response to the ongoing loss of crude oil due to supply disruptions in Libya and other countries and their impact on ... [click for more]

Red-Light Camera Feud Reveals Ulterior Motives

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By their very name, public servants claim to work for their fellow community members. The recent stand-offs over red-light cameras, however, indicate that many such officials have, to put it gently, conflicting interests. Twenty-five states and Washington, D.C., use red-light cameras, and the U.S. Conference of Mayors last week agreed to a resolution (p188) ... [click for more]

Strong Helmets and the Stronger Hand of Government

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Concussions among youth who play sports are said to be on the rise. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), more than 920,000 athletes under the age of eighteen were treated in emergency rooms, doctors’ offices, and clinics for football-related injuries in the year 2007. Sports injuries are the second leading cause of traumatic brain injury ... [click for more]

France Forgets Voltaire

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“France’s burqa ban: Has Europe forgotten the gas chambers?” The Christian Science Monitor (April 14) headline is followed by the text, “As we’ve seen with France’s burqa ban that went into effect this week, global religious tolerance — especially in Europe — is under threat.” France is arresting women who wear a burqa or niqab in public ... ... [click for more]

The Fluoridation Question Revisited

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Municipalities and other water providers throughout the United States — and the general public they serve — are universally concerned about the amount of industrial chemicals, toxic metals, carcinogens, pesticides, and pollutants present in the drinking water supply. On the surface, it seems rather strange to add foreign substances to drinking water other than what is necessary to purify and ... [click for more]

The Ultimate in Nanny-State Paternalism

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Aside from the air we breathe, nothing is more important than the food and drink we consume. Not healthcare, not employment, not housing — nothing. Obviously, the best healthcare, the highest-paying job, and the biggest mansion in the world can’t do anything for you if you don’t eat. For someone to dictate to someone else the food and drink ... [click for more]

The Gambling Question

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My state of Florida, like many other states, is facing a budget shortfall. Although our new Republican governor, Rick Scott, maintains that the budget gap is “nothing” compared with other large states, $3.6 billion is still a lot of money. Although some states are turning to tax increases to make up their budget deficits — like Illinois, which just raised ... [click for more]

The Nanny State and Baby Cribs

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The federal government is routinely condemned for being cruel, inept, paternalistic, evil, inefficient, and intrusive — except when it comes to the subject of child safety. Indeed, in the name of child safety the most flagrant violations of civil liberties, private property, and the Constitution are routinely accepted by those who might ordinarily have nothing but condemnation for the ... [click for more]
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