Archive for October, 2017
The Boon of Growing U.S. Imports from Mexico

Since NAFTA went into effect in 1994, U.S. imports of goods from Mexico have grown from about $4 billion per year to about $28 billion (annual rate as of March 2017). Americans have also purchased a lot more services, not counted in this measure, from Mexicans during the past two decades (e.g., tourist services...
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The JFK Files

I’ve heard it said that “you never forget where you were when you heard that President Kennedy was shot.” I remember, but most American’s don’t because Kennedy’s assassination was 54 years ago and most Americans weren’t alive then. Like many Americans, I am convinced that Lee Harvey Oswald, the person who shot President Kennedy,...
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Enabling California K-12 Students to Thrive through Education Savings Accounts

California is an innovation leader in lots of areas except one: K-12 education. Enacting education savings accounts (ESAs) would help. As I detail in a new policy report, California’s public-school system, which largely rations education based on where a child’s parents can afford to live, is a relic of a bygone era. Such a...
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A Few Thoughts on Catalonia

The Catalan independence movement has drawn some support among libertarians. From a theoretical standpoint, any group’s attempt to break away from a larger political entity is hard to argue with. Ultimately, though, the principle of self-determination, taken to its logical extreme, would mean dissolving the state and replacing it with voluntary associations. Which is...
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Fred S. McChesney, Rest in Peace

I first met Fred S. McChesney (1948–2017) at the Federal Trade Commission in the early 1980s. Ronald Reagan had just been elected to the presidency and had appointed James C. Miller III as the FTC’s chairman. Robert D. Tollison had been confirmed as the Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Economics. I am not...
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A Brief History of Silicon Valley

Tech Insider created a four-minute video on the history of Silicon Valley. It’s fun to watch and informative, especially for younger people who weren’t alive when “the Valley” went from groves and orchards to Apples and Googles. The video doesn’t address one key question: How long will Silicon Valley survive? I discuss this in...
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Don’t Shed Any Tears over the Repeal of Cook County’s Soda Tax

On Wednesday, the commissioners of Cook County, Illinois, repealed the controversial soda tax that went into effect in August of this year. December 1, 2017, will be the first day residents of Cook County will no longer be required to pay a one-cent-per-ounce tax on sugar sweetened beverages—and they’re better off without it. Although...
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Spanish Central Government Threatens Catalonia

From the BBC: The prime minister of Spain has two requests for the leader of Catalonia. First: Clarify whether the region is, indeed, declaring independence from Spain. And second: If that is the case, take it back. Otherwise, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy says, Spain will suspend Catalonia’s current autonomy, institute direct rule and possibly...
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Google Scientist Takes On “Robogeddon”

The future of work has always been a hotly debated subject. The heat has been turned up recently with advances in robotics and artificial intelligence (AI). One view, expressed by Stowe Boyd, lead researcher at GigaOM Research, is that robots will yield a net reduction in jobs for humans, “The central question of 2025...
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Crisis in Catalonia Caused by Judiciary

After the violence unleashed at the polls by the Spanish national government, many in Europe are holding their collective breath waiting for Catalonia to declare independence. As we reflect on this crisis in Spain, we would do well to recall just who made all this trouble: the judiciary. The legislature of Catalonia and the...
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