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The Main Blog of Independent Institute

National Idolatry and Constitution Day
Sunday September 17, 2017 | William Watkins

By federal statute, September 17 is designated as a holy day in the American civic religion. On that day in 1787, the delegates to the Philadelphia Convention affixed their signatures to the document that they had created and that governs us today. The website constitutionday.com encourages public demonstrations of love for the Constitution and...
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Is Trump Destroying the GOP?
Friday September 15, 2017 | Sam Staley

Of all the concerns raised about President Donald Trump and his behavior in the Oval Office, perhaps one of the more sobering one is the way he and his allies have elevated a minority position within the GOP to a dominant policy agenda at the national level. Throughout his primary campaign, Trump spoke to...
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Compounding California’s Student Preparation Problem
Friday September 15, 2017 | Vicki Alger

California State University officials want more undergraduates to earn their degrees and do so more quickly. Yet their “solution” could compound the more fundamental problem that too many students are graduating without being prepared. CSU Chancellor Timothy P. White issued an executive order last month that changes policies affecting entering freshmen’s knowledge assessments and...
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Review: The Hitman’s Bodyguard and the Ethics of Assassination
Wednesday September 13, 2017 | Sam Staley

The Hitman’s Bodyguard is an action/drama that would normally be considered standard fare for the summer season. Yet this movie does more than careen through dead bodies and extended vehicle chases. The story is driven by the relationship between the core characters and turns on a serious question of ethics and forgiveness. At the...
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$13 Billion in the School Supplies “Poorhouse”
Wednesday September 13, 2017 | Vicki Alger

This summer Tulsa Public Schools third-grade teacher Teresa Danks made national headlines when she decided to panhandle for school supplies. Sick of spending as much as $2,000 of her $35,000 salary each year on the school supplies her classes needed, Danks decided to beg for supplies instead. Dubbed the “Panhandling Teacher,” Danks received over...
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Transcending Government — Consensual Governance and New Technology
Monday September 11, 2017 | Lawrence J. McQuillan

“Any useful statement about the future should at first seem ridiculous.” –Jim Dator Humans are three-dimensional animals. They require physical space to live, work, and play. Over thousands of years, humans built physical communities of different shapes, sizes, and compositions to accommodate their three-dimensional existence. But increasingly, humans are also building virtual communities that...
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Hurricane Haikus
Wednesday September 6, 2017 | Robert Higgs

Price gouging sounds bad Stupid laws make it a crime Shortage continues **** Houses at high risk Subsidized flood insurance What would you expect? **** Storm’s victims galore Government to the rescue Mixed blessing at best

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A Project of Independent Institute

California’s BOE Nepotistas Get a Promotion
Tuesday September 19, 2017 | K. Lloyd Billingsley

California’s Board of Equalization does not equalize anything, so even its name is misleading. It’s a tax agency, with a budget of more than $650 million, so no surprise that the BOE has misallocated $50 million in tax revenue and members use BOE events to promote their own careers, at taxpayer expense. State government...
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National Debt Passes Grim Milestone, but Growth Slows
Monday September 18, 2017 | Craig Eyermann

The U.S. government’s total public debt outstanding finally surpassed the grim milestone of $20 trillion on September 8, 2017, following President Trump’s surprising deal with Congressional Democrats to suspend the statutory debt ceiling through December 15, 2017. On that Friday, the national debt jumped by $317.6 billion to reach $20.16 trillion. The total public...
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Government Nearing Default on Debt to Russia
Thursday September 14, 2017 | Craig Eyermann

The government in question is that of Venezuela, which is nearing default as it is running out of resources to pay back the money it owes to its Russian creditors according to the terms it accepted when it chose to borrow money from them. MOSCOW, Sept 8 (Reuters) – Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov...
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Government Money Grab Is Institutionalized Abuse
Tuesday September 12, 2017 | K. Lloyd Billingsley

As hurricanes assail the nation, President Trump is tweeting up a storm on a “once-in-a-generation” opportunity to cut taxes and simplify the tax code. So far, the president is short on details, but he did say, “It’s your money, not the government’s money,” and tax reform should start with that reality. The money that...
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Dealing Away the Debt Ceiling
Monday September 11, 2017 | Craig Eyermann

Following up President Trump’s surprising deal with Congressional Democrats to suspend the U.S. government’s statutory debt ceiling through December 15, 2017 as part of providing funding to support hurricane damage relief in Texas, Louisiana and Florida, President Trump also appears to have reached a “gentleman’s agreement” to permanently eliminate the statutory debt ceiling altogether....
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President Trump’s Surprising Debt Deal
Thursday September 7, 2017 | Craig Eyermann

While it won’t be news to MyGovCost readers, President Trump did indeed tie together aid to fund the recovery to large-scale damage caused in Texas and Louisiana by Hurricane Harvey with an increase in the U.S. government’s statutory debt ceiling. What may be surprising however is who he reached the deal to do both...
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High School Administrators Incented to VA-Style Fraud
Monday September 4, 2017 | Craig Eyermann

In 2001, the U.S. Congress passed the “No Child Left Behind” Act, which promised to improve the academic performance of the nation’s K-12 schools in part by holding elementary and secondary school administrators to a higher level of accountability while also pouring up to $23 billion of federal spending annually into poorly performing local...
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