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

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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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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