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

Police Take More Property from People than Burglars

Most readers of The Beacon are probably familiar with the rise in civil asset forfeiture, which gives police the power to seize property they claim was used in criminal activity, often without accusing the property owner of a crime. They don’t have to. It’s up to property owners to prove they are innocent to...
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Is an Interest Rate Hike Overdue?

While I’m reluctant to attribute movements in stock prices to specific events, this article says that the big run-up in stock prices (around 1.5%) today was due to the release of the Federal Reserve’s minutes of their last meeting indicating that “a core of officials backed a possible rate hike in December.” The conventional...
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Right Problem; Wrong Solution. Obama’s Push for Reduced Prison Sentences

President Obama is pushing for reductions in prison sentences for non-violent drug offenders. As this article notes, the federal prison population is more than eight times higher today than in 1980, before the Reagan administration’s War on Drugs. The United States has a larger share of its population behind bars than any other nation...
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College Campuses Are Not Gun-Free Zones

Wishing for something to be true does not make it true. Declaring an area to be gun-free is wishful thinking. We know campuses are not gun-free zones from the news reports of campus shootings. Declaring an area to be a gun-free zone discourages law-abiding citizens from carrying guns there, but it encourages people who...
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Be Prepared for Active Shooter Threats

I received an email from bereadyflorida.org with a link to this website that contains six videos on being prepared to respond to active shooter threats in a number of different situations. I’m not sure why I got the email, but I am a faculty member at Florida State University. (I have talked with several...
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The Fed’s Interest Rate Hike Is Overdue

I am not the only one who thinks the Federal Reserve should have raised its target federal funds rate at its September 17 meeting, as they suggested they would do months ago, although opinion was mixed on whether the Fed would raise the rate, and whether it should. The Fed is holding the federal...
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Free Kim Davis... And Fire Her!

Kim Davis, a county clerk in Kentucky, has made the news by refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. She’s now in jail for contempt of court, because she has refused to uphold the recent court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry. I have some sympathy for Davis, because when she...
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Many Americans Don’t Pay Income Taxes

Here’s an interesting article from the National Taxpayers Union, based on IRS data, showing that well over a third of people who file income tax returns have no tax liability, or a negative tax liability. In 1985, in the middle of the Reagan years, less than 20% of income tax returns showed no tax...
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Aspirations and Policies

Political rhetoric tends to obscure the difference between aspirations and policies. Aspirations are goals people would like to achieve, whereas policies are the means for achieving them. For example, the Obama administration has mandated automobile fuel efficiency standards that require a fleet average of 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025. This is an aspiration,...
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Atlas Shrugs

Three months ago, the CEO of Gravity Payments, a Seattle credit card processing firm, announced that all of the firm’s employees would be paid a minimum of $70,000 a year, according to this story. Now, the firm has fallen on hard times, and some of the firm’s “higher valued” employees have quit. One employee...
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