Center on Wealth & Poverty

Putin and the Reformers

MOSCOW — There was a remarkable event last Friday evening in Moscow. Several of the world’s most prominent free-market reformers spent more than four hours in a spirited dialogue about economic reform with Russian President Putin. The participants included Ed Crane, president of the Washington-based libertarian Cato Institute; Jose Pinera who, as a Chilean government minister, began the world’s first Read More ›

Canada vs. the US

Have the Canadians found a better balance between the public and private sectors? If you listen to many in the news media and many liberal Democrats, Canada is portrayed as a more ideal society than the U.S. It is viewed as peaceful, prosperous, honest and humane, and a country the U.S. should try to emulate. These critics in the U.S. Read More ›

Confusing Control and Security

Suppose you were a sadist and really hated your fellow men — what type of job would you try to get? Well, you might try to become head of airline security for the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), where you could devise a system like the following.

You would:

  • Hire people who are wannabee drill instructors, to order passengers around as if they were new Marine Corps recruits.
  • •Demand passengers show their IDs up to four times before boarding, even though you know IDs are easily forged.
  • •Require people to wait in long lines, even though you know almost precisely how many people will travel through each airport each hour.
  • •Force people confined to wheelchairs or who have implants or pacemakers to go through unnecessarily lengthy, degrading, embarrassing and intrusive physical inspections.
  • •Take away relatively harmless personal items, such as tweezers, hat pins, sewing scissors, etc., while leaving people with items that are much more lethal in trained hands.
  • •Harass small children, elderly women, infirm individuals, and young attractive women by making them go through difficult body motions and inappropriate touching.
  • •And finally, waste taxpayer monies by hiring excessive personnel to ask the same questions over and over or allow them to hang around doing nothing.

You would think, of course, what is described above could not possibly occur in a society that calls itself free and democratic, but unfortunately every day millions of Americans are subject to some or all of the above if they try to fly.

People are being unnecessarily abused by agents of their government because those charged with our security all too often fail to distinguish between security and control, fail to use basic cost-benefit analysis when designing systems and procedures, and are ignorant or insensitive to civil liberties.

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Regulatory Malpractice

In today’s parlance, George Washington was a victim of medical malpractice. When he became ill, he was bled by his doctors, which almost certainly hastened his death. Like Washington, the financial industry and its customers are now slowly being bled, which will be fatal for some. The “doctors” in this case are a group of politicians, tax and law enforcement Read More ›

The Meltdown State

New York THE DEMOCRATIC CIRCUS came to New York for Super Tuesday. John Edwards preached about the “two Americas.” John Kerry’s fans in Buffalo put up a huge sign: “America Works Best When We Say Union Yes. Edwards was closer to the mark: If there is one state going in a different direction than the rest of America, it is Read More ›

Economics Chasm Between

Sen. John Kerry and his fellow Democrats seem to believe that by attacking President Bush for “inadequate” job creation the Republicans will be too inept to remind the American people that it was the Clinton economic policies that gave us the recession and the job losses. With polls showing Mr. Kerry ahead on economic issues, the Democrats chutzpah is succeeding. Read More ›

How to Create More Jobs

Why aren’t more jobs being created? Ask President Bush’s political opponents and even some of his friends. It is a legitimate question and it deserves a serious answer. Mr. Bush’s Democratic opponents blame him but fail to admit the recession began on the Clinton/Gore watch. Neither do they tell us precisely what they would have done or will do now Read More ›

Minority Party Syndrome

“There are two political parties in America, the stupid party and the evil party,” goes the old adage. This is about the stupid party — the Republican Party. The majority of Americans consistently tell pollsters they prefer lower taxes and less government spending. More Republicans than Democrats consistently say they believe in smaller government and lower taxes. Given these statements Read More ›

Kerry’s Economic Beliefs

Would John Kerry’s economic policies be better than those of President Bush? To answer this question, we need to know what these candidates propose regarding taxing, spending and regulation. President Bush has just provided us a detailed budget. In addition to his spending plans, he has made it clear he wants Congress to make his tax cuts permanent. Given his Read More ›

Offshore Finance

Grand Cayman — Some of you reading this maybe thinking, “Ah Cayman, isn’t that the place with all the illegal financial activity?” It is true Cayman is the world’s largest offshore financial center, and the world’s fifth-biggest financial center, even though it is in the middle of the Caribbean on a small, pleasant island with only 40,000 people. But contrary Read More ›