Center on Wealth & Poverty

Reality Denial

If you ask anyone with the most casual knowledge of baseball which team won the most World Series games in the last 80 years, the Chicago Cubs or the New York Yankees, you would expect to get the right answer at least 90 percent of the time. Even diehard Cubs fans would tell you it was the Yankees because they Read More ›

Market Economics and the Conservative Movement

The following speech was given by Discovery Institute Senior Fellow George Gilder to The Philadelphia Society at their national meeting in Chicago, Illinois on May 1, 2004. This is a great celebration. Forty years of the Philadelphia Society devoted to the concept of ordered liberty under God. Through this it reconciles the two great themes of conservative thought: free markets Read More ›

Incompetence or Sabotage?

An old Washington political rule goes like this: “You get blamed for things you didn’t do, so you might as well take credit for things you didn’t do.” The Bush administration has put this rule backward when it comes to economic policy. It is accepting blame for things it didn’t do and not taking adequate credit for good things it Read More ›

Beguiling Curves of the Swedish Model

When considering the Swedish model, one can be forgiven for thinking of a comely statuesque blond with blue eyes. However, to economists and policy junkies, the Swedish model refers to the “third way” between socialism and capitalism many on the American left laud as the ideal. Does the Swedish model work as advertised? According to a new paper by the Read More ›

Congress Has Bad Record Tethering Its Pet Monsters

Letter to the Editor: In her April 1 editorial-page commentary “The ‘Privacy’ Jihad1,” Heather Mac Donald fails to understand why many think tanks and privacy advocacy groups across the political spectrum are concerned about a number of government proposals that would further diminish privacy rights. We have had a long history of law-enforcement agencies going well beyond original mandates and Read More ›

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.

Read More ›

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 ›