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The Main Blog of Independent Institute

Nativists Don’t Know the Future
Monday January 15, 2018 | Robert Higgs

Immigrants continue to blend into American culture, generally speaking, in the same way that previous arrivals blended in.

How a Charity Uses Fake Money and Auction Markets to Help Feed America
Friday January 12, 2018 | Lawrence J. McQuillan

Feeding America is a network of 200 food banks and 60,000 food pantries and meal programs that helps to feed 46 million Americans annually, including 12 million children and 7 million seniors. The network fights hunger and poor nutrition by working with manufacturers, distributors, retailers, food service companies, and farmers to gather food before...
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Medical Apps: Improving Healthcare on a Global Scale
Thursday January 11, 2018 | Raymond March

Health apps use smartphone technology to provide medical assistance or access to medical professionals.

Progressive Democracy
Thursday January 11, 2018 | Randall Holcombe

The ideology of Democracy legitimizes the actions of democratic government by validating them as being approved by the people.

Tax Cut Doomsayers Need a History (and Economics) Lesson
Tuesday January 9, 2018 | Mary Theroux

The recent federal tax cut is creating a lot of fear and angst that a quick historical survey would go far to allay. Consider, for example, this recent opinion piece by two officials of the Council of Nonprofits, “Nonprofits Must Move Swiftly to Fight for Sound Public Policies.” Characterizing the tax bill as unleashing...
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Iranian Unrest
Wednesday January 3, 2018 | Randall Holcombe

As I read about the demonstrations in Iran, my thoughts turn to conversations I’ve had with Iranian citizens over the past several years. From 2011-2016 I taught in a week-long summer program on public choice put on in the Republic of Georgia by the New Economic School headquartered in Tbilisi, Georgia. The program attracted...
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Rule of Law: Order Versus Justice
Thursday December 21, 2017 | Randall Holcombe

One of the most important factors that generate prosperity is rule of law, which means having an objective set of laws that apply to everyone. Rule of law provides the incentive for people to engage in productive activity so they can prosper themselves by producing value for others. In the absence of rule of...
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A Project of Independent Institute

The Off-the-Books Bureaucracy
Thursday January 18, 2018 | Craig Eyermann

For years, bureaucrats at U.S. government agencies have been involved in unlawful schemes to pass off significant parts of their workload to contractors who are not bound by the restrictions of the U.S. Constitution. That’s the gist of a startling claim made by Robert J. Hanrahan Jr., an employee of the National Nuclear Security...
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Another $2.8 Billion Boards Bullet-Train Boondoggle
Wednesday January 17, 2018 | K. Lloyd Billingsley

“A slew of delays and higher-than-expected costs are driving the anticipated price of high-speed rail construction in the central San Joaquin Valley by more than one-third, to about $10.6 billion,” writes Tim Sheehan in the Fresno Bee. “That’s a $2.8 billion jump from the California High-Speed Rail Authority’s estimate in 2016 of $7.8 billion...
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California Blazes Fed by Unspent Fire Prevention Fees
Tuesday January 16, 2018 | Craig Eyermann

Last year, the Thomas fire in California’s central coast region made the national news night, after night, after night, as it became the biggest fire in state history. Combined with several other outsized wildfires, 2017 shattered state records for both wildfire-related losses and the sheer amount of money spent to suppress them. What many...
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Tax Deduction Trick Leaves Punitive Rates in Place
Monday January 15, 2018 | K. Lloyd Billingsley

As we noted, the new federal tax bill caps the amount state taxes filers can deduct on their federal return at $10,000. That displeases California’s senate boss Kevin de Leon, whose Protect California Taxpayers Act will allow Californians to pay their state income taxes as though they were a charitable donation, and therefore fully...
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Barreling Toward Government Shutdown Theater
Thursday January 11, 2018 | Craig Eyermann

Like a kayak over a waterfall, the U.S. Congress is barreling toward another episode of government shutdown theater. Jordain Carney of The Hill explains: Lawmakers are scrambling to avoid a government shutdown as they barrel toward another funding deadline without a clear path forward. GOP leadership is remaining tightlipped about their plan, with Senate...
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Government Oroville Cover-up is a Dam Shame
Monday January 8, 2018 | K. Lloyd Billingsley

Last February 7 during heavy rains the Oroville Dam’s concrete spillway failed, launching fears of a complete dam failure, and forcing the evacuation of 188,000 people. As it turned out, government engineers knew for decades that the alternate earthen spillway was unreliable but failed to reinforce it with concrete. As Rep. John Garamendi famously...
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Is It Time for a Balanced Budget Amendment?
Monday January 8, 2018 | Craig Eyermann

It can be argued that the U.S. government has an excessive spending problem, where the politicians that American voters send to Washington D.C. in each election seem to have very little appetite to rein in their free-spending habits, where the opportunity to spend other people’s money on things that can make them more popular...
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