The Beacon: Blog of Independent Institute

Is the Largest Cost of Federal Regulation Not Measured? Insights from the (Growing) Wells Fargo Bank Scandal
Thursday April 27, 2017 | Lawrence J. McQuillan

A widely-cited study by W. Mark Crain and Nicole V. Crain estimates the cost of complying with U.S. government regulations at a staggering $2 trillion per year, an amount equal to 12 percent of gross domestic product. Annual compliance costs average about $10,000 per employee. Businesses in the service sector shoulder the biggest burden...
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Trump’s Tax Plan: A Move in the Right Direction
Thursday April 27, 2017 | Randall Holcombe

President Trump released an outline of changes he hopes to see in the federal income tax. If his proposal became law, we would have a better tax system than we do now. One major change would be reducing the corporate income tax rate from 35% to 15%. The US has one of the highest...
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Brexit Can Herald a New ‘Golden Era’ for the City of London as a Global Powerhouse
Wednesday April 26, 2017 | Kevin Dowd

On June 23, 2016, the British people voted to leave the European Union. Prime Minister Theresa May’s Lancaster House speech on January 17, 2017 then made it clear that the United Kingdom would opt for a hard Brexit: It would leave not just the EU, but also the European Economic Area, membership of which...
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Review: The Promise, the Armenian Holocaust, and the Origins of Genocide
Tuesday April 25, 2017 | Sam Staley

If you want to know the origin of the term “genocide,” watch the film The Promise. Literally. The movie is billed as a romantic drama, but it’s really a well-produced, narratively complex story of the Ottoman Empire’s systematic and targeted extermination of 1.5 million Christian Armenians through starvation, forced labor, rioting, and massacres in...
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Think Twice before You Find Fault with Modernity
Tuesday April 25, 2017 | Robert Higgs

Modernity has never lacked for critics, people who see only regression from a nobler or more glorious past when men were men and women liked them that way. But for the economic or cultural historian, such an outlook is the sheerest balderdash. If I had lived a thousand years ago, I would almost certainly...
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State Governments Are Becoming the Biggest Drug Lords of All
Friday April 21, 2017 | Robert Higgs

The so-called war on drugs—actually a war on certain people associated in various ways with certain drugs—has served since the Nixon administration as a major profit center for governments at every level. Owing to the ostensible efforts to suppress the possession, use, and commerce in these drugs, governments have been able to justify great...
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Thoughts on the Trinity Lutheran Case and SCOTUS
Thursday April 20, 2017 | William Watkins

The media has been reporting on the arguments in Trinity Lutheran Church v. Comer, the so-called “playground case.” I’ve had a chance to examine the briefs and arguments and wanted to share these thoughts. First, a bit of background. The state of Missouri operates a program whereby it reimburses nonprofits when they install rubber...
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MyGovCost: Project of Independent Institute

Reject UN-Healthy Intervention
Friday April 28, 2017 | K. Lloyd Billingsley

Dainius Puras is professor of child psychiatry at Vilnius University in Lithuania, a Distinguished Visitor with the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law at Georgetown University, and a “Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health,” with the United Nations. In that capacity,...
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Trump Tax Plan Ignores Basic Injustice
Thursday April 27, 2017 | K. Lloyd Billingsley

President Trump’s new tax plan will cut seven tax brackets down to three, with rates of 10, 25 and 35 percent. The Trump plan also drops the top rate of taxation from 39.6 to 35 percent. The corporate income tax rate falls to from 35 to 15 percent and the estate tax is eliminated....
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University of California’s Secret Slush Funds
Thursday April 27, 2017 | Craig Eyermann

University of California President Janet Napolitano, the former Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and also the former governor of the state of Arizona, appears to have been caught by California state auditors with her hand in the proverbial public tax dollar cookie jar. Writing at Coyote Blog, Warren Meyer, who runs...
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University of California’s Hidden Money Trick
Wednesday April 26, 2017 | K. Lloyd Billingsley

When we last checked in with the University of California they were spending $504 million, more than half a billion dollars, on a computer system that was supposed to cost $156 million. The UCPath project costs taxpayers three times as much as announced, and remains four years behind schedule. UC president Janet Napolitano also...
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Cal State University System Bloats Up Bureaucracy
Monday April 24, 2017 | K. Lloyd Billingsley

  As we recently noted, the University of California is spending $504 million on UCPath, a computer payroll system that was supposed to cost $156 million. UC bosses have spent $327 million on UCPath, but it remains four years behind schedule. That’s quite a performance by a university system that regards itself as the...
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The Arch of U.S. Government Spending
Monday April 24, 2017 | Craig Eyermann

One of the great difficulties of trying to describe the sheer amount of money that the U.S. government processes each year is that the numbers are so large that they lose all sense of human proportions. The Manhattan Institute’s Brian Riedl took on the challenge for the amount of money that the U.S. government...
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UC Computer Caper Triples Costs for Taxpayers
Thursday April 20, 2017 | K. Lloyd Billingsley

In recent years the University of California has been hiking tuition, and when students at UC Davis held a peaceful protest, campus police pepper sprayed them. The ensuing $1 million settlement was mostly waste, with attorneys and consultants cashing in on every hand. In response to funding cuts, the bloated UC bureaucracy began to...
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