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The Anniversary of the Boston Tea Party and the Importance of Precedent »

December 16 is the 243rd Anniversary of the Boston Tea Party. The British taxed tea, the colonists got mad, dressed up like Indians, and tossed the tea into the ocean—that’s a fair summary of what most Americans know about the Boston Tea Party. It was, we are told, a mere tax protest that shows...
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Trump and Clinton Are Both (Partly) Right on Economics »

Neither of the major party presidential candidates is a font of economic wisdom. However, if you look hard enough, you can find a glimmer of truth in some of their rhetoric. In this post I’ll analyze two of the issues raised by the candidates, showing how each contained some truth but also confusion. Economic...
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Whether You Know It or Not, You Are a Tax Slave »

In the antebellum South, it was not uncommon for slaves to rent themselves from their masters. As a young man, Frederick Douglass did so, for example. His owner gave him leave to go out on his own, to find employment where he could, and to pocket the pay he received for such work, except...
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What Bible School Taught Me About Taxes »

One of my first lessons in economics and politics came from an unlikely place—vacation Bible school. I must have been about six or seven. For a week, I went to church to learn with other children my age about our faith and the Church. Throughout the week we had the opportunity to earn stickers....
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An 1883 Memo to Bernie, Hillary, and Donald on How to Help Ordinary People: Leave Them Alone! »

In 1883, William Graham Sumner wrote a series of essays for Harper’s Weekly, which paid him $50 apiece. The excerpted essay below on “The Forgotten Man” is as relevant today as in 1883—even more so. Politicians continue to pile more burdens on ordinary people in the name of this or that professed well-intentioned cause,...
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Trump’s Health Reform Won’t “Make America Great Again”—or Do Anything »

I recently wrote a blog entry on one plank in Donald Trump’s health reform plan: imposing foreign prices on medicines sold in the United States. As Mr. Trump is currently the leading Republican presidential candidate, it behooves us to examine his health plan overall. Don’t worry: It won’t take long. Mr. Trump proposes to...
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Keep the Immigrants, Dump Trump’s Immigration Policies »

Regardless of whether you find him remarkable or repulsive, there is no denying that the political machine known as Donald Trump has gone further than pretty much anyone anticipated. From winning key early races, to garnering a massive number of general election voters, there is the real possibility that Trump could be the GOP...
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Congress Set to Deficit-Fund Obamacare by Almost $40 Billion »

I had always feared that Congress’s alternative to Obamacare was a deficit-funded Obamacare, and it looks like that is coming to pass. This is being done through the so-called “taxibus,” a legislative package that combines popular “tax extenders” (items like research and development tax credits that are legally temporary but practically permanent) with funding...
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Did Lefty Need to Apologize for Tax Comments? »

Phil Mickelson is being targeted for his comments on California’s and the Feds’ tax hikes. The offending statements, as reported by the Chicago Tribune, are as follows: “Well, it’s been an interesting offseason, and I’m going to have to make some drastic changes,” Mickelson told reporters Sunday after tying for 37th place at 17 under...
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A Simple Way to Control Healthcare Spending »

As I wrote in my recent book, Priceless: Curing the Healthcare Crisis, there is something rather simple the federal government could do that would have enormous impact in controlling healthcare costs: Allow deposits to FSAs to roll over at year end and grow tax-free.[1] Here’s the backstory. Like HSAs and HRAs, Flexible Spending Accounts...
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