A History Lesson for Trade Bashers

Candidates from both parties are trying to win votes this fall by criticizing free trade and trade agreements. As John Steele Gordon points out in a wonderful historical essay, “The Great Mistake,” in the latest Barron’s Weekly: We’ve been down this unfortunate road before. Recall the Smoot-Hawley tariff, named after its chief congressional sponsors, Sen. […]

This Week in Government Failure

Over at Downsizing Government, we focused on the following issues this week: It’s another day and another cost overrun in the federal government. This time it’s the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Sentinel project. Postmaster General John Potter has announced that he is stepping down. Will he embrace privatizing the U.S. Postal Service like his predecessor? […]

Bootleggers & Baptists, a Welcome Correction

In my recent “Bootleggers & Baptists, Sugary Soda Edition” post, I wrote that environmentalists and agribusiness team up to support ethanol subsidies. An alert Cato@Liberty reader writes to my colleague Jerry Taylor: [Cannon] is no doubt right that environmentalists and agribusiness worked together to promote government subsidies to ethanol through about 2006. But by 2007 […]

Dusty Bookshelves and Long-Dead Writers

New York Times reporter Kate Zernike generated a lot of spit-takes in the blogosphere when she wrote on October 2 about how Tea Party activists are reading “once-obscure texts by dead writers“: The Tea Party is a thoroughly modern movement, organizing on Twitter and Facebook to become the most dynamic force of the midterm elections. But when it […]

‘What Can We Get Away With?’

A New York Times account, based on an open-records request, sheds light on how Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s famously nannyish health department makes up its mind how far to go in food-scare advertising. In particular, a proposed YouTube campaign to scare consumers away from sweetened sodas resulted in a protracted dispute in the department over the […]

Hispanics And Proposition 19

Polls suggest that Hispanics in California are largely opposed to Proposition 19, which would legalize marijuana in that state. This is unfortunate since Hispanics have historically been disproportionate victims of drug prohibition. Earlier this week, David Kopel wrote a historical analysis in Encyclopedia Britannica of the racist origins of marijuana prohibition, which targeted Mexicans in […]

So Long, Wonder Woman

Today is Michelle Rhee’s last day heading up DC’s public schools, and her departure should serve as a stern reminder: We’ve been forcing children to wait for Superman — or Wonder Woman — for far too long. There are no superheroes, and even when we think we’ve found one, they are almost always defeated by teachers unions, or internecine politics, or […]

Try the 9/11 Conspirators in Both Federal Courts and Military Commissions?

That’s the proposal Benjamin Wittes makes in today’s Washington Post. Wittes says that by splitting the legal baby, by “charging the 9/11 case in both military commissions and federal court,” the Obama administration can satisfy political considerations on both sides of the aisle. This is a path fraught with legal issues. The constitutional bar against […]

Halloween: Uncle Sam Style

The Office of Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) has released an appropriately timed report on federal subsidies that have gone to the deceased. From the introduction: In the past decade, Washington sent over $1 billion of your tax dollars to dead people. Washington paid for dead people’s prescriptions and wheelchairs, subsidized their farms, helped pay their […]

Is the FAIR Tax a Political Liability?

In the past 15 years, I’ve debated in favor of a national sales tax, testified before Congress on the merits of a national sales tax, gone on TV to advocate for a national sales tax, and spoken with dozens of reporters to explain why a national sales tax is a good idea. Even though I […]