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The Main Blog of Independent Institute

The Economic Costs of the National Debt and How to Avoid Them
Tuesday December 3, 2019 | Craig Eyermann

One week ago, noted Stanford University economist John Taylor testified at a hearing before the U.S. House of Representatives’ budget committee, whose members are reexamining the economic costs of the national debt. After the hearing, Taylor summarized his remarks and reflected on previous testimony he provided on a related topic back in 2015: (more…)

Only Markets Can Alleviate Drug Shortages
Tuesday December 3, 2019 | Raymond J. March

The American Heart Association finds that over 1 million heart attacks occur in the United States every year. Fourteen percent of all heart attacks are fatal. Many heart attacks and other cardiovascular issues result from heart disease, which is even more common (and often more deadly). When a heart attack happens, victims need immediate medical attention. In some cases, emergency heart surgery may be necessary. When it is, physicians often turn to a drug named Heparin. (more…)

Eight Turkeys of Government Waste That Survived Thanksgiving
Tuesday December 3, 2019 | Craig Eyermann

Senator Rand Paul last week released a Fall 2019 edition of his Waste Report, describing some of the more unusual ways in which bureaucrats have wasted U.S. taxpayer dollars in recent years. Because many of us were either traveling for Thanksgiving or were otherwise distracted with holiday plans, it pretty much flew under the radar, but these turkeys of government spending are too good to go unnoticed. Here’s the list! (more…)

Cal Fire’s Nothing Burger Lawsuit
Tuesday December 3, 2019 | K. Lloyd Billingsley

“Fast food chain In-N-Out was responsible for a 2017 grass fire in rural Arroyo Grande,” Kaytlyn Leslie of the San Luis Obispo Tribune reports, but an overcooked cheeseburger with fries did not touch off the blaze. According to a lawsuit filed by Cal Fire, a tractor mowing grass on property owned by In-N-Out caused the fire. As the suit charges, a hot clutch on the mower ignited chaff, which then spread to dry grass and scattered brush. Cal Fire claims that such fires “ordinarily do not happen unless someone was negligent,” and seeks $1.2 million from the popular burger chain to recover costs. The two-year delay might cause taxpayers to wonder, and Leslie cites other reasons for reasonable doubt.  (more…)

Neo-Noir Motherless Brooklyn Puts Power, Corruption at Center Urban Renewal Story
Monday December 2, 2019 | Samuel R. Staley

Motherless Brooklyn is a stylish homage to classic film noir. It also provides a powerful narrative for the uncompromising way in which power can be wielded by those with access to it. Add in the story’s unusual context—urban renewal in post-war New York City—and Motherless Brooklyn might well contend for the most pro-liberty film to come out of Hollywood in 2019. (more…)

Data Sell-Off Gives New Meaning to DMV Golden Fleece Award
Monday December 2, 2019 | K. Lloyd Billingsley

As Lawrence McQuillan noted in March, “The DMV took its sloth-like reputation to a new level last summer when average wait times in branch offices grew nearly 50 percent from the year before. Five-to-seven-hour waits were common.” The DMV also “botched record-keeping duties in 2018 by mishandling thousands of voter registrations from its motor-voter program.” And last December, California’s DMV “failed to comply with regulations when it issued nearly 2.5 million federally mandated Real IDs in 2018 after requiring only one residency document instead of two.” As this corruption, waste and incompetence marches on, Michelle Mears of the California Globe has uncovered what the DMV is up to behind the scenes.  (more…)

Democrats Duel Over Taxes and Wealth Creation
Tuesday November 26, 2019 | K. Lloyd Billingsley

At Wednesday’s debate in Atlanta, Sen. Elizabeth Warren touted her plan to hike taxes on the wealthy. The socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders liked Warren’s idea, and spoke of criminally prosecuting private companies. The sole dissenter on the stage was Sen. Cory Booker, who expressed a need for wealth creation. The New Jersey Democrat had discovered in the African American community a keen interest in entrepreneurship. That failed to pique the attention of other candidates, leaving Booker all alone, a kind of non-Spartacus moment. (more…)

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