The Beacon: Blog of Independent Institute

Michael J. Novak, Jr., 1933-2017
Saturday February 18, 2017 | David J. Theroux

Our very dear friend and Founding Member of the Board of Advisors of the Independent Institute, Michael Novak, passed away at the age of 83, on February 17th. A man of immense generosity, integrity, joyfulness, and good will, Michael was one of the most important scholars, theologians, prolific authors, and public intellectuals of the...
Read More »

Was Hillary Clinton’s Progressive Presidential Bid Doomed from the Start?
Saturday February 18, 2017 | Sam Staley

Hundreds of thousands of people protested Donald Trump’s presidential election win, many believing he “stole” the presidency because Clinton “won” the popular vote. Digging below the surface of the November 2016 election results, however, suggests that Clinton’s presidential bid was doomed from the beginning. Moreover, the popular vote “win” may actually have been a...
Read More »

Review: Moonlight’s Focus on Drugs, Sexuality Make It a Film for Our Times
Thursday February 16, 2017 | Sam Staley

On the surface, Moonlight is a heart-wrenching film about a young African-American boy coming to terms with his sexuality while growing up in the impoverished public housing projects of Miami. But the Golden Globe winner (Best Motion Picture—Drama) is much more than a compelling, poignant, and uncompromisingly relevant movie; it’s a provocative portrayal of...
Read More »

Will Ecuador’s Voters Reject Failed Populism?
Tuesday February 14, 2017 | Alvaro Vargas Llosa

It is a pity that Ecuador’s presidential election, which will be held this coming Sunday, is not attracting more international attention. It should, now that the world is witnessing the rise of populist nationalism. For the past decade Ecuador has been governed by Rafael Correa. Like other Latin American populists, he won free elections...
Read More »

American Patients Can Access Far More New Cancer Drugs than Others Can
Monday February 13, 2017 | John R. Graham

New research by scholars at the University of Pittsburgh shows that American patients have significantly better access to new cancer medicines than their peers in other developed countries: Of 45 anticancer drug indications approved in the United States between January 1, 2009, and December 31, 2013, 64% (29) were approved by the European Medicines...
Read More »

Introduction to the Austrian School of Economics
Monday February 13, 2017 | Randall Holcombe

My book, Advanced Introduction to the Austrian School of Economics, is being translated into Korean, and the translator asked me to provide a short preface for the Korean edition. I’m reproducing it below, partly just to give my book a bit more publicity (it’s affordably priced, if you go with the paperback), partly to...
Read More »

Tariffs, Pickpockets, and the Nationalist Snake in the Moral Grass
Monday February 13, 2017 | Robert Higgs

Like nearly all economists, I am inclined to explain to people who favor tariffs that such taxes entail inefficiencies. They make the consummations of otherwise desirable trades more costly and hence discourage people’s actions that, absent the tariffs, would result in the creation of new wealth. After all, people who voluntarily purchase goods and...
Read More »

» More from The Beacon ...

MyGovCost: Project of Independent Institute

Why Not Replace Bureaucrats with Robots?
Thursday February 16, 2017 | Craig Eyermann

Over the years, MyGovCost has told many stories of bureaucrats behaving badly, but technology may have finally advanced enough to provide a real solution for bad bureaucrats: we can replace them with robots! That possibility is now being discussed in the United Kingdom, where one think tank believes that up to a quarter million...
Read More »

BART Sweeps In More Toll Hikes
Wednesday February 15, 2017 | K. Lloyd Billingsley

Bridge tolls are high in the Bay Area but rapid transit bosses are worried that they are not quite high enough. As Phillip Matier and Andrew Ross note in the San Francisco Chronicle, a $3.5 billion bond approval has BART bosses panting for another $1.5 billion in toll hikes on the area’s seven state-owned...
Read More »

“Stuff Happens.” Oroville Dam Crisis Is a Failure of Government
Tuesday February 14, 2017 | K. Lloyd Billingsley

A massive spillway failure at Northern California’s Oroville Dam prompted an evacuation order that sent 200,000 people running for shelter anywhere they could find it. As the Sacramento Bee reported, the dam itself “has not been compromised. But experts say that if the emergency spillway collapses, it wouldn’t be much different than a total...
Read More »

Pension Retro-Ripoff
Monday February 13, 2017 | K. Lloyd Billingsley

  Back in 1999, under governor Gray Davis, the State of California boosted pensions and allowed most government employees to retire at the age of 55. This led to a surge of unfunded liabilities, and even Jerry Brown pushed for minor reforms. State employees hired after January 1, 2013, would have to work to...
Read More »

The Cost of Building a Border Wall
Monday February 13, 2017 | Craig Eyermann

During the 2016 election campaign, President Donald Trump called for the construction of a wall along the 1,954 mile border with Mexico for the purpose of minimizing “the illegal flow of drugs, cash, guns, and people across our border.” During his first week in office, one of President Trump’s first executive actions was to...
Read More »

What President Trump Should Know about California’s Bullet Train
Friday February 10, 2017 | K. Lloyd Billingsley

In his State of the State address, California governor Jerry Brown went off on President Trump with unusual fury, but he also extended an olive branch of sorts. California has “roads, tunnels and railroads” that the president “could help us with,” Brown said, and that will “create good-paying American jobs.” Before he gets on...
Read More »

Federal Funds and Sanctuary Cities
Thursday February 9, 2017 | Craig Eyermann

On January 25, 2017, President Trump followed up on his campaign promises to fight illegal immigration and issued an executive order that threatens to stop federal funds from being spent in the 300 U.S. jurisdictions that have established official policies that bar their local law enforcement officials from cooperating with federal immigration law enforcement...
Read More »

» More from MyGovCost ...