What is fundamentally wrong with government today? Since 2001, despite low inflation, federal spending has increased by a massive 28.8%, creating the largest deficits in U.S. history and the highest rate of government growth since the "guns-and-butter" presidencies of Richard Nixon and Lyndon Johnson. At the same time, federal agencies have been given new powers to secretly search anyone's property and intercept phone, Internet, and other communications, as well as inspect health and financial records. In the immediate aftermath of 9/11, economist and historian Robert Higgs alone predicted this explosion of government power, as politicians have again taken full advantage of a frightened American public.
At this special Independent Policy Forum based on his new book, Against Leviathan, Dr. Higgs will present an unflinchingly critical analysis of the abuse of government power, including pork, the welfare state, protectionism, trampling on the Bill of Rights, and governmental responses to a continuing stream of "crises," including foreign wars, both hot and cold. Dr. Higgs combines an economist's analytical scrutiny, an historian's respect for the facts, and a refusal to accept the standard excuses and cruelties of government officialdom.
Senior Fellow in Political Economy for The Independent Institute and Editor of the Institute's quarterly journal, The Independent Review: A Journal of Political Economy
Author, Against Leviathan: Government Power and a Free Society
The recent unveiling of White House plans for PATRIOT Act II has raised concerns nationwide about the state of American civil liberties in a time of crisis. Since the attacks on September 11 and the enactment of the USA PATRIOT Act, the Bush administration has clashed with civil libertarians over allegations of constitutional violations and the excessive use of government powers. With an expansion of the PATRIOT Act now before Congress, what do the American people stand to gain or lose from its passage? Is the increased power of law enforcement a necessary response to terrorism or a reckless assault on our constitutional protections? Please join the Independent Institutes Center on Peace & Liberty and our panel of distinguished experts as we examine the key issues in this crucial national debate.
Professor of Law, Georgetown University, and author of Enemy Aliensand Terrorism and the Constitution: Sacrificing Civil Liberties in the Name of National Security
Member, ACLU National Board, past Chair of ACLU Northern California, and Professor of Law, Santa Clara University.
Journalist, Policy Analyst, and Author of Terrorism and Tyranny: Trampling Freedom, Justice and Peace to Rid the World of Evil and Lost Rights