Posts by Lawrence J. McQuillan
Lawrence J. McQuillan is a Senior Fellow and Director of the Center on Entrepreneurial Innovation at the Independent Institute. He is the author of the Independent book California Dreaming.
Caltrans Wins Golden Fleece Award for Its $10 Billion Highway Robbery


The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) has won the Independent Institute’s second California Golden Fleece Award, given out quarterly to state or local agencies or government projects that swindle taxpayers or break the public trust. With primary responsibility for highway maintenance projects in California, the irresponsible Caltrans has wasted billions of taxpayer dollars and...
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Voting Reform: Putting Lipstick on the Collective Pig Is a Dumb Idea


In 2010, California voters approved a “top-two” primary system for congressional and statewide elected positions where primary voters choose among all candidates in all parties for each position. The top two vote getters in the primary, regardless of party affiliation, move on to the general election to face each other. The argument at the...
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Rock Music, Censorship, and Zimbabwe’s War of Independence


Independence Day in the United States is a good time to reflect on independence movements elsewhere. Before there was Zimbabwe, there was Rhodesia, where a white minority government oppressed blacks and “colored” (mixed race) people using force and apartheid-style policies. In the 1970’s, the last decade of the country’s War of Independence, rock music...
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Gov. Jerry Brown Proves Me Right on Public Pensions


As part of a year-long national campaign promoting my book California Dreaming: Lessons on How to Resolve America’s Public Pension Crisis, I’ve been saying that it’s impossible to have both public governance of defined-benefit public pension plans and responsible management of these plans. Politicians face strong perverse incentives to mismanage the plans for their...
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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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California’s High-Speed Rail Authority Wins Dishonor of the California Golden Fleece Award


The California High-Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA) has won the Independent Institute’s first California Golden Fleece Award for its lack of transparency and history of misleading the public about key details of the state’s “bullet-train” project, which no longer reflect what voters approved in 2008. The agency’s “bait-and-switch” strategy justifies a statewide vote on whether...
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Why Bernie Sanders Is Morally Unfit to Be President


Bernie Sanders is proud to be a socialist. In July 2015, he told The Nation: “Do they think I’m afraid of the word? I’m not afraid of the word.” As far back as 1989, Sanders said: “I think there has been too much of a reluctance on the part of progressives and radicals to...
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How Socialism is Destroying Baseball in Venezuela


Spring is around the corner, which means the 2016 Major League Baseball season starts soon. Baseball has long been an international game, but more so today than ever. On opening day last year, 230 players on the 25-man rosters and inactive lists were born outside the 50 U.S. states, or 27 percent of the...
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CBO’s Big Mistakes Highlight Need to Privatize Economic Data Series


On February 10, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) admitted a mistake in its projections of the share of earnings replaced by Social Security for people approaching retirement. Last fall, the CBO said the annual Social Security benefit for those born in the 1960s and retiring at age 65 would replace 60 percent of their...
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The Truth about Tesla Motors


During a January 19th panel discussion at the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Tesla Motors general counsel Todd Maron said: “We make money from one thing: car sales and car sales alone.” In reality, electric vehicle (EV) manufacturer Tesla Motors loses more than $4,000 on every car it sells on a “full-cost” basis (keep in...
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