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Randall Holcombe Archive

Randall G. Holcombe is Research Fellow at the Independent Institute and DeVoe Moore Professor of Economics at Florida State University. His Independent books include Housing America: Building Out of a Crisis (edited with Benjamin Powell); and Writing Off Ideas: Taxation, Foundations, and Philanthropy in America .
Full Biography and Recent Publications

Introduction to Public Choice



Public choice uses economic methods to analyze political decision-making. Too often, both “policy experts” and the general public perceive problems and conclude that the government should do something about them, without evaluating whether government intervention could actually make things better. Public choice examines how the political process actually works rather than relying on a...
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Students for Democratic Society?



I am the faculty advisor for the Florida State University Students for Liberty. I am guessing that is the reason I received an email from the FSU Students for Democratic Society which says, in part: Anyone who has been following Donald Trump’s campaign has seen examples of Trump’s racist, xenophobic, and misogynistic, far-right ideology....
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Money in Politics



We’ve heard the complaints about how money influences politics, but the recent presidential election shows that money doesn’t always Trump voter preferences. Before the primary elections, Jeb Bush had raised far more money and received more support from major Republican figures than other Republicans in the race; yet he was one of the earlier...
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Entitlement Mentality?



I’m not sure what to think about the anti-Trump protests following the election. If the protests occurred before the election (and there were some), I’d think the protesters were expressing their views that people should not vote for Trump or support his policies. Now that he’s been elected, that decision is behind us, and...
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I Voted . . .



. . . and I don’t feel good about it. I’m writing this on election day, so I don’t know the outcome of the election. Clinton? Trump? The lesser of two evils is still evil. I conjecture that many people—even Clinton and Trump voters—see it this way, based on some casual evidence: I still...
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The Last of Those Entertaining Presidential Debates



Watching the presidential debates is like watching the aftermath of an automobile accident. You’ve all seen it: people holding up traffic as they gawk at the wreckage, trying to get a glimpse of someone else’s misfortune. The presidential debates hold the same fascinating horror, except that the gawkers share in the misfortune. There’s something...
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Hillary Clinton’s Exit Tax



In the Cold War era, Eastern bloc countries prevented their citizens from leaving. The Berlin Wall was the most iconic symbol of the Eastern bloc’s no exit policy. Hillary Clinton’s proposed exit tax “on the untaxed overseas earnings of multinational companies that leave the U.S.” falls short of being a Berlin Wall for U.S....
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Gary Johnson Finally Gets Some Media Attention



I am amazed at the lack of media attention Gary Johnson, Libertarian Party candidate for president, has received. He’s polling at about 10%, and despite the huge negative perception many voters have of Clinton and Trump, the media rarely notes that Johnson is a relatively popular alternative. With much discussion throughout the political spectrum...
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When Should We Have to Present a Photo ID?



This article explains that a Federal Appeals Court recently struck down a requirement that voters in North Carolina must show a photo ID to vote. I realize that this is a partisan issue and I’m not trying to make a partisan argument. I’m just wondering when it is reasonable to be required to show...
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Trump’s Talk: Aspirations, Not Policies



Donald Trump’s acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention was a list of aspirations, without any explanation of the policies he had in mind to meet those goals. That’s not surprising, because that is the nature of political campaign rhetoric. Politicians rarely say what they plan to do. Rather, they talk about perceived problems...
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