Maryland Meets the Laffer Curve

Greedy politicians in Annapolis doubled the cigarette tax in Maryland for the ostensible purposes of reducing a budget deficit and financing more government spending. They increased spending (of course), but their tax hike is not generating much additional revenue. As the Washington Post reports, consumers are adjusting their behavior to minimize their tax burden: Cigarette […]

The Mysterious Mr. Obama

Yesterday, one minute apart, I received two email messages that sort of sum up the mixed libertarian views on Barack Obama. First, an old friend forwarded an AP story in which Obama promised to repeal any executive orders that “trample on liberty”: Barack Obama told House Democrats on Tuesday that as president he would order […]

Typical Bad Advice from the IMF

The International Monetary Fund has a dismal reputation for peddling snake-oil economic advice, with higher taxes and currency devaluation always high on their list. Sometimes, I wonder whether that is an unfair characterization, but then I see that their latest analysis of the Japanese economy endorses higher taxes. Tax-news.com has a summary: While welcoming the […]

Milton Friedman on Drug Prohibition

Since it’s Milton Friedman’s birthday today, take a moment to watch this brief video clip.  It is an interview conducted by our friends at the Marijuana Policy Project shortly before Dr. Friedman passed away. For related Cato work on the disastrous drug war, go here.

State Government Spending and Borrowing Is Soaring

The Department of Commerce released second quarter national income data today. The data includes estimates of state and local spending and revenues. (See Table 3.3) Here is what I found comparing the first two quarters of 2008 with the first two quarters of 2007. – State and local tax revenues have grown about 2.1 percent over last year, with personal income […]

Steve Chapman on Consent Searches

Steve Chapman takes a look at the problem of ‘voluntary’ roadside searches.  Excerpt: If I approach as you pull into a parking space and ask if you’d mind my rummaging through your car, the chances are at least 90 percent that you’d decline. But if a police officer stops you with the same request, the chances […]

It’s Midnight in America

You could be excused for getting that vibe from this McCain campaign video, what with its vaguely X-Files-esque theme music and apocalyptic imagery (am I the only one who finds the little girl picking flowers reminiscent of “Daisy” the famous anti-Goldwater ad from the ‘64 campaign?). The Teddy Roosevelt tape is from TR’s unhinged speech […]

EPI Gets Trade and Jobs Story Wrong Again

According to a report released today by the Economic Policy Institute, trade with China has caused a loss of 2.3 million American jobs since the Asian giant joined the World Trade Organization in 2001. The study will get a lot of coverage, but its numbers and methodology are shockingly flawed. This is a well-traveled road […]

The Stevens Scandal

Don Boudreaux of George Mason University sent out the following missive about Ted Stevens’s indictment. I don’t see it posted at Cafe Hayek, though it might yet be. But since I can’t improve on his pithy commentary, I offer it here: I’m delighted to see Sen. Ted Stevens face jail time for his crimes while […]

Building Afghanistan

Building a state in Afghanistan is the job of the Afghans. The United States can help, especially with infrastructure projects and military training, but our principle objective there should not be counter-insurgency, but counter-terrorism. That mission requires no surge in American or NATO forces. Don’t take it from me, take it from Rory Stewart, the crazy […]