Sheldon Richman's TGIF

TGIF: The Pope Dabbles in Economics

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Pope Francis wrote in his recent apostolic exhortation, “Just as the commandment ‘Thou shalt not kill’ sets a clear limit in order to safeguard the value of human life, today we also have to say ‘thou shalt not’ to an economy of exclusion and inequality.” He’s right — but not in the way he intends. Before I elaborate, ... [click for more]

TGIF: Will 2016 Be a Good Year for the Corporate State?

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If you share my belief that the major obstacle to the free society is the national-security/corporate state, 2016 is shaping up to be a year of apprehension. The Wall Streeters, who are among the biggest advocates of partnership between big government and big business, are looking forward to a presidential contest between Hillary Clinton and Chris Christie, a contest ... [click for more]

TGIF: Crime and Punishment in a Free Society

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Would a free society be a crime-free society? We have good reason to anticipate it. Don’t accuse me of utopianism. I don’t foresee a future of new human beings who consistently respect the rights of others. Rather, I’m drawing attention to the distinction between crime and tort — between offenses against the state (or society) and offenses against individual persons ... [click for more]

TGIF: Property and Force: A Reply to Matt Bruenig

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Last week’s TGIF, “One Moral Standard for All,” drew a curious response from Matt Bruenig, a contributor to the Demos blog, Policy Shop. In reading his article, “Libertarians Are Huge Fans of Initiating Force,” one should bear in mind that the aim of my article was not to defend the libertarian philosophy, but to show ... [click for more]

TGIF: One Moral Standard for All

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Libertarians make a self-defeating mistake in assuming that their fundamental principles differ radically from most other people’s principles. Think how much easier it would be to bring others to the libertarian position if we realized that they already agree with us in substantial ways. What am I talking about? It’s quite simple. Libertarians believe that the initiation of force is ... [click for more]

TGIF: The Affordable Care Act Doesn’t Go That Way

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Web problems can be fixed. The problems inherent in the so-called Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) are another story. Let’s stipulate that most people who favor the ACA have honorable intentions: they want everyone, including people in ill health, to have access to good and affordable medical care. All decent people should want that. (How many favor ... [click for more]

TGIF: Default Circus — er, Crisis — Averted?

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“The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, most of them imaginary.” — H.L. Mencken Even the sagacious Mencken might be amazed by what’s happening these days. Wherever we look, there are hobgoblins. The latest is — insert [click for more]

TGIF: The Housing-Financial Meltdown Revisited

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Five years after the housing and financial meltdown, self-styled progressives are still peddling their pseudoexplanation: that it was largely the fault of the 1999 repeal of a provision of the New Deal–era Glass-Steagall Act, which mandated the separation of commercial and investment banking. This tale is favored by Sen. Elizabeth Warren and others of her ilk, who hold the ... [click for more]

TGIF: Treating People Like Garbage

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The government “closed” this week. The quotation marks are meant to indicate that the worst parts of the government remain open at some level. It would be preferable to keep the monuments and national parks, like the Grand Canyon, going while closing the Pentagon, the State Department, the CIA, the NSA, ICE, FBI, ATF, and all related so-called national-security ... [click for more]

TGIF: Lysander Spooner on the National Debt

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Treasury Secretary Jack Lew says if Congress doesn’t raise the debt ceiling — or, as I call it, the debt sky, because apparently the sky is the limit — the government won’t be able to pay all its bills starting October 17. The Congressional Budget Office says that dire condition won’t set in until sometime ... [click for more]

TGIF: The People Say No to War

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The Constitution did not keep President Obama from attacking Syria. The people did. Think about that. Obama, his top advisers, and many of his partisans and opponents in Congress insist that the president of the United States has the constitutional authority to attack another country without a declaration of war or so-called “authorization for the use of military force” even ... [click for more]

TGIF: The Cynical U.S. Policy on Chemical Weapons

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“I didn’t set a red line. The world set a red line.” That was President Obama’s response this week to those who believe he wants to attack Syria in order to defend his own credibility. Secretary of State John Kerry said the same thing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. They were referring to the 88-year-old [click for more]
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