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

Politics and Inequality



The Federal Reserve has just released a survey indicating that income and wealth inequality has been growing in the United States since 2007. Meanwhile, President Obama has called for government action to reduce inequality. So, it is worth a remark that the growth in inequality reported by the Fed pretty much coincides with the...
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Imposing Costs on Russia: How about a Food Embargo?



President Obama has threatened to impose costs on Russia for their intervention in Ukraine, but so far, his involvement has been high on rhetoric but low on action. Here’s a proposal that ought to hit Russia where it hurts: impose a food embargo on them. Americans and Europeans of a certain age can remember...
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Orwellian Language: Peace Abroad; War at Home



Governments often misuse language to build emotional and patriotic support for their policies. This Orwellian use of language is clearly evident in the way that US government policy uses the words “war” and “peace.” Everyone is well aware of the US military invasions in Iraq and Afghanistan. Initiated during the Bush administration and continued...
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The War on Poverty and the War on Drugs



As an apparently war-minded people, Americans (or at least, our American political leaders) have been comfortable framing parts of the domestic policy agenda as wars for decades. Two of the most prominent have been the War on Poverty and the War on Drugs. Despite the similarity in their names, there is an important difference...
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Gun Violence Is a Consequence of War



My hometown of Tallahassee, Florida, has recently shown an increased concern about gun violence. Not only are Tallahasseans shooting each other, so far in 2014 the Tallahassee Police have shot four people, killing two. A related concern is that people seem to have little trust in the police. The concern has been manifested in...
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Ralph Nader’s Unstoppable



Ralph Nader’s new book, Unstoppable, describes a convergence of ideas on the political left and political right against the corporate state. The book says there is a broad consensus, from socialists to libertarians, who oppose government policies that provide corporate welfare and bailouts for the economic elite and impose the costs on everyone else....
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Political Spam



I don’t know if you are as popular with the political insiders as I am, but already today I have received emails from Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi, and Debbie Wasserman Schultz. In fact, I’ve received more than a dozen emails today alone from either the Democratic Party, Democrats involved in election campaigns, or Democratic...
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The Economics of Offensive Trademarks



My fellow blogger William Shughart recently gave a good critique of the Patent and Trademark Office’s decision to rescind protection of the Washington Redskins’ name. I agree with him that whether some people view a trademark as offensive should not be a criterion for determining whether it should be protected. If a large number...
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Taxpayers Are Shocked to Discover That When They Vote for Government Services, They Have to Pay for Them



Taxpayers in Austin, Texas, are upset that their property tax bills are rising. This article reports that taxpayer Gretchen Gardner is “at the breaking point” because of her increasing property taxes. Gardner says, “I have voted for every park, every library, all the school improvements, for light rail, for anything that will make this...
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How Valuable Is a Federal Grant?



Sometimes, a federal grant is worthless. The federal government has the ability to attach enough costly provisions to its grants that the net value is less than zero. A recent case in my home town of Tallahassee illustrates this. The Tallahassee Democrat, May 21, page A1 (sorry, no link because a subscription is required)...
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