Randall Holcombe Archive

Randall G. Holcombe is Research Fellow at The Independent Institute, DeVoe Moore Professor of Economics at Florida State University, past President of the Public Choice Society, and past President of the Society for the Development of Austrian Economics.
Full Biography and Recent Publications

Government’s Burden on Young Americans



The Independent Institute’s Love Gov videos offer an amusing look at the raw deal government policies give to America’s youth. In the videos, sometimes government tempts young people into bad deals, such as student loans, and other times it offers them little choice but to take bad deals, as with health insurance. But the...
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Cake Politics



Following the recent news, I’m not sure under what conditions a baker can decline to provide a cake to potential customers. I’ve seen this story in which an Oregon bakery was fined $135,000 for declining to make a cake for a same-sex wedding, but I’ve also seen this one in which a Wal-Mart refused...
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Red Light Cameras: Safety or Revenue?



Five years ago my hometown of Tallahassee, Florida contracted with Xerox to set up 19 red light cameras at seven busy intersections in town. The contract had the city pay Xerox about $87,000 a month to operate the cameras, and charged drivers a fine of $142 for being caught on camera running a red...
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Donald Boudreaux’s The Essential Hayek



Readers who want to get a flavor for the ideas of Friedrich Hayek will find an excellent introduction in Donald Boudreaux’s The Essential Hayek. The book can be downloaded free by clicking here. Each chapter begins with a quotation from Hayek, but the book’s chapters explain Hayek’s ideas in Boudreaux’s words. Those ideas come...
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Government Charges Hastert with “Crime” of Withdrawing His Own Money



Dennis Hastert, former Speaker of the US House of Representatives, has been charged with lying to the FBI about the reason he was withdrawing money from bank accounts. Should what Hastert did be illegal, or any of the government’s business? Let’s look at the facts. From the charges, it appears that Hastert (1) withdrew...
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Hackers Stole Data from Whom? An Example of Media Bias



This story’s headline reports, “Hackers Stole Data From More Than 100,000 Taxpayers, IRS Says.” The headline is wrong. Hackers stole data from the IRS, not from taxpayers. This is an example of the subtle kind of media bias that minimizes government shortcomings, in this case by pointing the finger at taxpayers. This particular headline...
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Progressivism: Rhetoric versus Reality



Contemporary supporters of an expanded role for government are increasingly moving away from calling themselves liberals and toward referring to themselves Progressives, so it is worth considering what the ideology of Progressivism entails. Progressivism began in the late 1800s as a political movement that advocated expanding the role of government. Before the Progressive era,...
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The Individual Mandate



As most people know by now, the Individual Mandate is one of the key elements in the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The Supreme Court ruled in 2012 that the Individual Mandate is constitutional. Prior to that ruling, both proponents and opponents of the ACA agreed that it is essential enough that the ACA would...
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Florida’s Financial Health Care Follies, and a Problem with a Part-Time Legislature



The one constitutional responsibility of Florida’s legislature is to pass a budget—something Florida’s solidly Republican House and Senate could not do by the end of their regular legislative session. The big issue that divided them was how to deal with the Affordable Care Act’s mandates. Here’s the issue. Florida has been receiving about $1.3...
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Competition and Cooperation



Competition is often used to describe market activity, and cooperation is often used to describe political activity, but competition more accurately describes politics and cooperation more accurately describes markets. Market activity is based on voluntary exchange, and transactions take place only if all parties agree. Parties engage in voluntary exchange for their mutual benefit,...
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