Posts by James L. Payne
James L. Payne is a Research Fellow at the Independent Institute and Director of Lytton Research and Analysis.
The Program No One Dares to Question: Social Security

I recently exchanged letters with Joe Davidson, columnist for the Washington Post, about the Social Security program, in which I raised a central problem with this program, a defect consistently ignored by all its supporters. (Incidentally, the $1,000 reward I promised Mr. Davidson—which he did not attempt to claim—remains open to any staff member […]

A Modest Proposal for Shrinking Big Government

Proposed law: “Be it enacted, etc. etc. that the total personnel count of the Internal Revenue Service may not exceed 80,000 for the fiscal year 2011 and henceforth.” As every American knows, and more importantly, feels, the IRS is big brother. The IRS collects private information on every one of us; the IRS pays […]

Conservatives and the Trap of “Liberalism Lite”

Recent electoral tides have brought conservatives to the fore—again. The last time this happened, in 1994, the overall effect of a “conservative revolution” was precisely . . . nil. Today the country is still lurching toward big government. Unless a new approach is adopted, the conservative surge in the 2010 election is likely to […]

What’s a Disaster?

How bad is the BP oil spill? Remember, many people make big bucks scaring you!

Are Americans as Cynical as the Census Bureau Thinks?

The form letter in the mail today from the Census Bureau—which I suppose everyone in the United States has received—urged me to participate in the upcoming census. “Your response is important,” it said, because “Results from the 2010 Census will be used to. . . .” Can the reader guess how the sentence ends? […]

Anthrax Attacks Show Government Officials Made of (Flawed!) Human Material

“The federal government is supposed to protect us from terrorism.” This may have been a plausible theory at one time, but now, after a decade of goofs and lapses, it sounds more like the opening line of a late-night comedy routine. The latest revelation about government’s anti-terrorism programs makes for rather dark comedy indeed. […]

  • Catalyst