Nobel laureate Vernon Smith joins the show, live from Newport Beach, to make free market missionaries and explain his groundbreaking work in experimental economics.Read More
Latter-day patriots often speak of the U.S. Constitution as if it's sacred scripture – the wisdom of ages, revealed to men of letters through the divine faculties of reason. Although this makes for a good story, Bob and past guests have poked holes in that narrative, and revealed how certain compromises required for ratification were a bridge too far for some of the wisest Founding Fathers. The skeptics, known as the anti-federalists, worried that the limited powers outlined in the Articles of Confederation were not circumscribed clearly enough in the new constitution. Seeing the end result of these compromises – a too-powerful federal government – we must give credit to the anti-Federalists. William J. Watkins Jr., a research fellow at the Independent Institute and author of a new book, Crossroads for Liberty: Recovering the Anti-Federalist Values of America's First Constitution, says we should go a step further and seek the reforms they sought, as previewed in the Articles of Confederation. Widely viewed as a failure for granting states too much power, the short-lived Articles may be ripe for a revival, as Americans tire of a president who acts like a King, a congress removed from the people, and a judiciary that legislates from the bench. Join Bob and William as they discuss the relevance of anti-federalist ideals to current events, from Trump's executive orders to California’s new secession movement.
- Website: independent.org
- Crossroads for Liberty: Recovering the Anti-Federalist Values of America's First Constitution (Book)
Related Shows (Subscribe to the Podcast):
- All Powerful Federal Government – Did the Founders Blow It?, Clark Neilly III, April 6, 2014
Was The Ratification of the Constitution A Mistake?, Thomas Fleming, Oct. 21, 2012
Last week, Bob examined how the United States has ended up in a situation that would have frustrated the Framer's intentions, had they seen it coming. The next president will likely hold more authority than was ever supposed to be granted to a single person, by virtue of nominating the ninth judge to a sharply divided “4-4” court. Ilya Shapiro is carefully observing the political chess game around the Supreme Court nomination, and urges Senate Republicans not to hold hearings or a confirmation vote for President Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland. Instead, he says they should wait until after a new president is elected – making the judicial pick the paramount issue in the coming election. Shapiro joins the show this Sunday to argue that “We, the People” should make the choice of who determines the make-up of the court, with so much on the line. Later, Bob will break down a new video from Learn Liberty featuring The Free Market Institute’s Benjamin Powell on the surprising truth about sweatshops and child labor laws.
The State of California is dreaming, according to Lawrence McQuillan – an economics and finance expert with the Bay Area’s own Independent Institute. His new book (California Dreaming: Lessons on How to Resolve America’s Public Pension Crisis) points out that Governor Brown and the Democrats in the legislature are failing to deal plainly with the reality of economic trade-offs: it’s either worker pensions or government services. There's simply not enough revenue for both with the promises we're slated to make to public sector workers. Perhaps the Golden State has gotten away with tax hikes for so long because of its natural beauty and ideal weather, but McQuillan says this is no longer an option. He joins Bob to discuss the real reason behind UC tuition hikes and cuts to state and local services. Learn how politicians like Gray Davis sold out future generations, raising pensions during the dot-com boom, bankrupting California both financially and morally. Let’s hope Governor Brown is listening.
The California Rule: Eugene Volokh Federalist Society Paper “Overprotecting Public Employee Pensions: The Contract Clause and the California Rule” Dec. 31, 2013
Every year, Americans rightly honor civil rights icons who stood up for the principle of equality enshrined in our founding documents. Few are aware, though, of the ties between the civil rights tradition and the principles of classical liberalism. In Race and Liberty in America: The Essential Reader, Jonathan Bean has compiled an anthology of primary documents by both well-known leaders like Frederick Douglass and unsung heroes like individualist and abolitionist Lysander Spooner, Brooklyn Dodgers manager Branch Rickey, and others who helped strip government of the ability to discriminate on the basis of race. “Classical liberalism,” writes Bean, a scholar at the Independent Institute and this Sunday’s guest, “is a philosophy of individualism; its history is peopled by a mix of iconoclasts, contrarians, lone dissenters, courageous rebels, and powerful political leaders.” Tune in to learn from Bean how classical liberal ideas motivated these key figures in the struggle for civil rights. He and Bob will also discuss how new “progressive” forms of discrimination undermine the principles behind historical victories for justice and equality.
The debate over the United States’ exit from Iraq is back, with the new wave of violence after a brief (relative) calm. Clearly, the vision of a peaceful, unified, and democratic Iraq has not worked out as proponents of the invasion hoped. But could this relapse have been avoided if we had only stayed longer? Not according to Ivan Eland, Director of the Independent Institute’s Center for Peace & Liberty and the guest for the full hour.
Just before the draw-down of troops began in 2009, Eland penned a short, prescient tract on what a successful exit strategy for Iraq would entail. Partitioning for Peace: An Exit Strategy for Iraq argued against the Bush administration’s attempt to cast the country in the democratic image of the United States. His book laid a foundation for a more realistic political agreement: a negotiated partition of the country among the major factions that would grant each faction autonomy under a weak central government. The Obama administration got the “exit” part right, but its desire to maintain a unified Iraq continues to do damage, as de facto partition and civil war erupt in the absence of negotiation. Learn how the West’s misguided political correctness and short-sighted interventions over the past century have set the stage for the latest struggle in the Middle East.
No one can deny the plight of Third World sweatshop workers, who endure long, uncomfortable shifts in exchange for meager pay by American standards. In response, some onlookers promote economic sanctions on countries with lax workplace regulations, while others stir up boycotts against multinational enterprises that utilize sweatshop labor. According to Professor Benjamin Powell, such activism may actually harm the very workers who need sweatshops the most. Bob is joined by Professor Powell, who is the Director of the Free Market Institute, a Senior Fellow with the Oakland-based Independent Institute, and the author of a new book, “Out of Poverty: Sweatshops in the Global Economy.” Don’t miss their conversation on the unintended consequences of anti-sweatshop activism, and the real recipe for escaping poverty.
In the last half hour, Bob turns his attention to other forms of so-called “economic exploitation” such as price gouging and the minimum wage.
We’ve always had lists. Billboard had its “top 40.” Fortune has its “Fortune 100.” Only a free-market economist could build a list of the “The Terrible 10: A Century of Economic Folly.” That economist is Burton Abrams, Professor of Economics at the University of Delaware, Research Fellow at the Independent Institute, and Director of their Government Cost Calculator (check it out at http://www.mygovcost.org/). What’s your favorite? Prohibition? Social Security? Medicare? Environment? In this episode, Bob and Burt cover them all, as well as the root causes. It is astonishing to see what all these mistakes have in common. Listen to this podcast and you’ll learn why the best pick up line of the 21st Century will soon be “What’s your favorite economic folly?”
Listen to this. Congress enacts a law requiring employers to pay every employee 25% more than they are worth. Pretty good deal, at least for the workers. But what about the rest of us? Should we have to pay more for goods and services to make up for costs employers can’t cover? This is what Obama wants, according to his State of the Union message. When he embraces minimum wage laws, a statute with a strong racist history, the initial result is simply involuntary income transfers from unsuspecting consumers to undeserving workers. Eventually, the overpaid workers get replaced by workers who are worth higher wages and unskilled workers get replaced by machines. Good for the overpaid workers (at least until they get fired) but bad for the country. In last Sunday’s encore episode, Linda Gorman of the Independent Institute joins Bob to discuss this contentious and misunderstood issue which harms the people it is supposed to protect. Minimum Wage: the issue that affects all of us, all the time.