On June 17, 2014, Sr. Fellow Lawrence McQuillan spoke at an event for supporters of the Independent Institute. Dr. McQuillan spoke about Californias state pension system, a topic he writes about frequently, including in his forthcoming book California Dreamin: Resolving the Public Pension Crisis.
First he defines the types of pension programs for state employees, he outlined how funding for the programs is not sustainable for the promises made to pension recipients. The state admits to an unfunded liability of $140 billion, but McQuillan says that is actually an underestimate. According to most economists, the true amount of the unfunded liability is $430 billion.
How did this happen? McQuillan explains and offers six solutions to keep the pension systems solvent.
On September 16, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, actor and director Andy Garcia, and entrepreneur William K. Bowes, Jr. were honored at the Independent Institutes A Gala for Liberty. Each honoree received the Alexis de Tocqueville Award in recognition of their contributions to advancing the ideas and ideals of liberty, entrepreneurship, innovation, and peace.
Although comedian George Carlin's infamous routine, "Seven Words You Can't Say on TV," has become outdated, today many ideas are considered too 'politically incorrect' to discuss in polite society. According to popular Los Angeles talk-radio host Larry Elder, many sacred cows- about racism and sexism, health care, welfare, education, the family, drug laws, the media, crime, gun control, and more- are soft-headed distortions that have worsened America's social problems. If "the truth shall make you free," then, says Elder, these myths need a serious reality check- before we forget what truth and freedom look like. Larry Elder discussed what's really wrong with America and how a free people, rather than an intrusive government, can fix it.
Friedrich A. Hayek (1899-1992) left such a profound mark on economic and political thought that The New Yorker has called the 20th century, "The Hayek Century." After converting to free-market capitalism and classical liberalism in the 1920s, Hayek became one of socialism's and statism's staunchest critics. His 1944 bestseller, The Road to Serfdom, warned of central government planning's authoritarian, and even totalitarian, tendencies- and helped reignite worldwide interest in the philosophy and practice of freedom. Although Hayek's 1974 Nobel Prize in Economic Science brought renewed interest in his ideas, it wasn't until the collapse of the Soviet Bloc (which Hayek predicted) that his vast writings on economics, political philosophy, law, history, culture, and other fields became broadly recognized as essential to achieve a prosperous, humane and free society. Biographer Alan Ebenstein and economist Charles Baird shed light on Hayek's seminal legacy and the rebirth of freedom.
In 1989, during a large peaceful student demonstration in Beijings Tiananmen Square, the Chinese government deployed its military to massacre hundreds of unarmed students and other civilians in order to stop a growing movement for democratization and individual freedom. Since then, tens of thousands who have spoken out have been imprisoned, tortured and killed, and the government has refused to even admit that such atrocities have occurred. This special Independent Policy Forum will feature three outstanding experts, including two of the leaders of the original Chinese student movement. They will discuss the events then and since, the current movement in china for freedom, and the implications of current Chinese government policies for Americans.