Archive for October, 2011

How Van Halen Explains the U.S. Constitution’s Third Amendment »

How are the big-hair rock band’s contractual prohibitions against brown M&M’s similar to the Third Amendment’s limitations on the quartering of soldiers? Professor Tom W. Bell of Chapman University School of Law explains: In the grand struggle to protect individual rights against government trespass, the Third Amendment plays a role akin to the provision,...
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Sentences to Ponder »

From Guido Hülsmann’s masterful biography of Ludwig von Mises: [Mises's] impact in [the early 1920s] was limited primarily by his deficiencies as a communicator. He was not an orator and lacked the charismatic personality to win over an audience. He had a fine and dry wit, but was often too subtle for those outside...
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Ron Paul’s “Plan to Restore America” »

Political platforms tend to be vague promises for something better in the future, and deliberately so. Lots of people favor making things better than they are today, but far fewer will be in favor of any one specific alternative. That’s why “Hope and Change” was such a good campaign platform for President Obama. (I’m...
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Further Thoughts on Herman Cain’s 999 Plan »

Yesterday I passed along some thoughts on Herman Cain’s 999 plan, and on thinking about it some more, I probably underestimated the amount that would be paid through the Business Flat Tax. I estimated it assuming the tax base would be corporate profits, but it appears the tax base, which is gross revenues minus...
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Magna Carta 2011 »

As did many, former Mayor Willie Brown wrote a tribute of Steve Jobs in his San Francisco Chronicle column this week. Except, in inimitable Willie Brown fashion, his was rather more a tribute to himself—an accolade to Brown’s magnanimous use of his discretionary power to make a San Francisco Apple store possible. It seems...
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Nordhaus on Monetary Reform »

Yale economist William Nordhaus, with the typically enlightened attitude of a Yale professor, offers his thoughts on monetary reform: Mr. Nordhaus dismissed notions of scrapping the central bank, as well as criticism of its chairman, Ben Bernanke, as “partisan” and “ignorant.” “Return to the gold standard? Give me a break. We’re not in Kansas....
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Herman Cain’s 999 Plan »

I’ve been asked a few times about Herman Cain’s 999 Plan, so here are some initial thoughts. I haven’t seen the details, and perhaps the specifics haven’t been hammered out at this point, but my information about the 999 plan comes from Cain’s website. Essentially, the plan is to replace the current federal tax...
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Internet Taxes »

The following updates a column published in the Utah Statesman on September 14, 2011: Proposals to allow the collection of taxes from consumers making purchases online are like vampires or zombies. They apparently cannot be killed unless stakes are driven through their hearts or their heads are blown off. I don’t know how to...
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Can Big Government Be Rolled Back? »

The U.S. government is involved in the American economy on a scale that few would have predicted a century ago. In 1900, Uncle Sam spent about 3 percent of national income, and state and local governments spent about 6 percent. Today, federal spending amounts to about 30 percent of national income—roughly double what state...
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No Surprise: Lobbyists Rule the Deficit “Supercommittee” »

In the “everything old is new again” category, USA Today reports: Sixty-six former aides to lawmakers serving on a congressional panel charged with finding ways to slash the federal deficit have represented powerful defense and health care industries that face colossal cuts in government spending, a new analysis shows. Meanwhile, as the article also...
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