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Robbery and the Welfare State

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Stealing from Each Other: How the Welfare State Robs Americans of Money and Spirit by Edgar K. Browning (Praeger, 2008); 226 pages. In the Sherlock Holmes story “Silver Blaze,” the key to Holmes’s solution of the case rested on something that didn’t happen — the dog that didn’t bark in the night. Few people (such as Dr. Watson in the story) are inclined to think about the importance of things that do not happen, but we can make great mistakes if we fail to do so. Edgar Browning, professor of economics at Texas A&M University, implores us, in his new book, Stealing from Each Other, to think as Holmes did and as economists do when they contemplate opportunity costs, namely, what we give up when we choose to do X rather than Y. Specifically, he wants us to consider the opportunity costs of our vast federal ...

The Police State’s Deadly Toll on America’s Children

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“Mommy, am I gonna die?”— 4-year-old Ava Ellis after being inadvertently shot in the leg by a police officer who was aiming for the girl’s boxer-terrier dog, Patches “‘Am I going to get shot again.’”—2-year-old survivor of a police shooting that left his three siblings, ages 1, 4 and 5, with a bullet in the brain, a fractured skull and gun wounds to the face Children learn what they live. As family counselor Dorothy Law Nolte wisely observed, “If children live with criticism, they learn to condemn. If children live with hostility, they learn to fight. If children live with fear, they learn to be apprehensive.” And if children live with terror, trauma and violence—forced to watch helplessly as their loved ones are executed by police officers who shoot first and ask questions later—will they in turn learn to terrorize, traumatize and inflict violence on the world ...

End All State Support to Colleges and Universities

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While Democratic Party presidential candidates are stumbling over themselves in offering people free college tuition and other political candy in the hope of buying their votes, I’ve got a better idea. Let’s end all state support of colleges and universities entirely. State support of colleges and universities is part of the mandatory-charity system that we call the welfare state, a system that is supported by both Democrats and Republicans. It is a system in which the state forces people to be good, caring, and responsible by forcibly taking their money from them and giving it to others. In the case of higher education, the state taxes people and then doles out the money to colleges and universities, which the state then uses to control their activities. Where is the morality involved in a system based on mandatory charity? Where is the care, compassion, and responsibility in such a system? How can a system that ...