Archive for November, 2012

The Fiscal Cliff »

Despite the dramatic terminology and a flood of news stories, the economy is not about to go over a fiscal cliff. The fiscal cliff is a change in the budgetary status quo that will occur if no agreement is made to stop it. We would go back to a Clinton-era tax structure and have...
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I, Pencil: The Movie »

In 1958, Leonard E. Read wrote “I, Pencil”—a short, brilliant essay about how markets coordinate the countless steps that go into making an ordinary pencil. In addition to its insightful substance, the essay is also noteworthy for Read’s clever literary device: the story is told from the perspective of a pencil. The piece ran...
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The Proper Focus of Immigration Reform »

Immigration reform has seemingly become an important part of the agenda. It is good that attitudes of tolerating the presence of illegal immigrants rather than wanting them deported have overtaken the majority. A higher percentage of Americans also favor more immigration rather than less, which is also a happy development. Yet I fear that the...
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Robert Reich to Dems: Hold the Middle Class Hostage »

In a recent blog post Robert Reich takes the Obama administration to task for—gasp—trying to forestall “Taxmageddon”—the potentially devastating combination of expired tax rate cuts and new taxes slated to go into effect automatically on January 1. Mr Reich suggests Mr. Obama ought instead let it occur as scheduled: his strongest bargaining position would...
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Setback for the Surveillance State in San Antonio Schools »

The fight for civil liberties continues in San Antonio. The Northside Independent School District recently launched its controversial “Student Locator Project,” which requires students to carry ID badges equipped with radio frequency tracker chips. If they refuse, they could face fines, “involuntary transfers,” or suspensions. John Jay High School officials insisted the trackers were...
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Reforming the Tort System, Part 1: Freeing the Patient »

A reformed tort system is one that is governed by the ten principles of a rational tort system. This is the default system, and all cases of malpractice will be tried in this system unless patients and providers contract out prior to the occurrence of the alleged malpractice. The following is how liability by...
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Carbon Taxes »

One suggestion for dealing with greenhouse gas emissions is to implement a revenue-neutral tax on carbon emissions. If we implemented a carbon tax and cut income taxes by the same amount, we would be reducing taxes on something we want (income) and increasing taxes on something we don’t (air pollution). As good as it...
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Crisis and Leviathan, 25th Anniversary Edition »

The Independent Institute is delighted to announce the publication of the 25th Anniversary Edition of Crisis and Leviathan: Critical Episodes in the Growth of American Government, by Independent Institute Senior Fellow Robert Higgs. First published in 1987, this classic work introduced to the reading public the notion that national crises—the Great Depression, the two...
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Medical Malpractice Reform: Ten Principles of a Rational Tort System »

The medical malpractice system in the United States has a poor track record and imposes heavy social costs—up to $2,500 per household, including defensive medicine. In a recent blog post, I proposed a voluntary, contractual, no-fault alternative to the current system. Here, I name some of the principles that should guide tort reform. Principle...
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Help Wanted: Economists Who Understand the Economy »

Ronald Coase, the 101-year old, Nobel Prize-winning economist from whose essay, “The Lighthouse in Economics” the Independent Institute takes its logo, is at it again: tweaking his fellow economists for being out of touch with reality in a new piece in the December 2012 Harvard Business Review (HBR), “Saving Economics from the Economists.” Economics...
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