The Independent Institute

 
        

Lawrence J. McQuillan Archive

Lawrence J. McQuillan is a Senior Fellow and Director of the Center on Entrepreneurial Innovation at the Independent Institute. He is the author of the Independent book, California Dreaming: Lessons on How to Resolve America’s Public Pension Crisis.
Full biography and recent publications

How Soviets in 1960 Imagined 2017, and the Biggest Changes They Missed



A 1960 Soviet filmstrip surfaced earlier this year depicting a vision of life in 2017. As Russia prepares for the 100th anniversary of the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution, it is interesting to reflect on the filmstrip to see what Soviet propagandists got right and what they got wrong. The 45-frame filmstrip, found in a family...
Read More »

Pope Francis’s Failure to See Entrepreneurs as Good Samaritans Undercuts the Poor



On April 25, a videotaped talk by Pope Francis was released at the international TED conference in Vancouver, Canada. The 18-minute talk, titled “Why the Only Future Worth Building Includes Everyone,” can be viewed here. Francis highlighted three themes, beginning with the observation that community is central to human existence: [L]ife flows through our...
Read More »

Is the Largest Cost of Federal Regulation Not Measured? Insights from the (Growing) Wells Fargo Bank Scandal



A widely-cited study by W. Mark Crain and Nicole V. Crain estimates the cost of complying with U.S. government regulations at a staggering $2 trillion per year, an amount equal to 12 percent of gross domestic product. Annual compliance costs average about $10,000 per employee. Businesses in the service sector shoulder the biggest burden...
Read More »

The Federal Budget in Plain English



According to the President’s Office of Management and Budget, the 2016 federal budget looks like this (p. 115): Now let’s pretend this is a household budget by removing eight zeros: Clearly, this family is financially irresponsible, as rising debt and debt-service costs consume the family budget. To continue the analogy with the federal government,...
Read More »

Why Pro-Soda-Tax Ad in Bay Area Is Misleading, Part II



The November ballot in Oakland and San Francisco will feature proposals for a soda tax in each city, known as Measure HH and Proposition V, respectively, which would charge soda distributors an additional one cent per ounce of soda they sell in each city (or $2.88 per case). The tax would also apply to...
Read More »

Why Michael Bloomberg’s Pro-Soda-Tax Ad Is Misleading



Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is helping to bankroll a television-commercial campaign in favor of proposed soda taxes in Oakland and San Francisco, known as Measure HH and Proposition V, respectively, which will appear on each city’s November ballot. You can’t miss the commercial if you live in the Bay Area, as...
Read More »

Why One in Five Americans Are on Government Assistance (in One Image)



More than 52 million people in the United States, 21 percent of the population, participate in major means-tested government assistance programs each month, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. More than 80 federal programs dole out roughly $1 trillion of benefits and services to low-income people annually (see the amazing image above from the...
Read More »

Caltrans Wins Golden Fleece Award for Its $10 Billion Highway Robbery



The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) has won the Independent Institute’s second California Golden Fleece Award, given out quarterly to state or local agencies or government projects that swindle taxpayers or break the public trust. With primary responsibility for highway maintenance projects in California, the irresponsible Caltrans has wasted billions of taxpayer dollars and...
Read More »

Voting Reform: Putting Lipstick on the Collective Pig Is a Dumb Idea



In 2010, California voters approved a “top-two” primary system for congressional and statewide elected positions where primary voters choose among all candidates in all parties for each position. The top two vote getters in the primary, regardless of party affiliation, move on to the general election to face each other. The argument at the...
Read More »

Rock Music, Censorship, and Zimbabwe’s War of Independence



Independence Day in the United States is a good time to reflect on independence movements elsewhere. Before there was Zimbabwe, there was Rhodesia, where a white minority government oppressed blacks and “colored” (mixed race) people using force and apartheid-style policies. In the 1970’s, the last decade of the country’s War of Independence, rock music...
Read More »

  • MyGovCost.org
  • FDAReview.org
  • OnPower.org
  • elindependent.org