The governments of tomorrow may look nothing like today’s countries.
It’s been called Friedman’s Law, and it holds almost as constant as any law of physics:
It costs any government at least twice as much to do something as it costs anyone else.
But what's to be done when some amount of government spending is inevitable? People often bring up roads and infrastructure as the counterpoint to the libertarian injunction to “privatize it!” Chris Edwards – editor of the Cato Institute’s DownsizingGovernment.org – says that infrastructure isn't quite the exception government’s cheerleaders make it out to be. In a recent policy bulletin, Who Owns U.S. Infrastructure?, Edwards shows how the Federal Government can decrease its involvement in roads, bridges, ports and dams. The majority of infrastructure is already owned and operated by the private sector, with the next largest chunk owned by state and local governments – as it should be. “Asset ownership conveys responsibility;” Edwards says, “federal intervention diffuses it.” He joins Bob to discuss the true state of U.S. infrastructure (rumors of its demise have been greatly exaggerated) and the hands-off policies that can accelerate the right kind of infrastructure at the right price.
Some viewed the fall of the Soviet Union as the beginning of “The End of History.” Today's headlines remind us that history is not over. Russia's aggressive imperialism in Ukraine and its meddling in the Middle East have put it back at center stage.Read More
With the inauguration of President-elect Trump coming later this week, citizens of the United States have developed radically divergent expectations for the next four years. Those who enthusiastically pulled the lever for Trump see a man who can “Make America Great Again” with policies prioritizing domestic interests, while many others fear that he will roll back the progressive, big-government victories of the last eight years. However, the two camps may share more in common than they realize. Both, after all, view government as a primary force to manipulate industries and individual actions to improve outcomes. Dr. Tom Palmer, executive vice president for international programs at the Atlas Network, has an alternative way of looking at things. His new book, “Self Control or State Control? You Decide,” goes beyond mere ideology to questions that every thinking person should be asking. His essays (among several others featured in the book) speak to the importance of personal responsibility to freedom, and offer both a historical and practical perspective to support the central conclusion: if you seek self-determination, then you must also strive for self-control.
The George Mason University economics department is known for developing new ideas into influential ideas. The Virginia-based bastion of free market thought has been producing groundbreaking scholarly work for decades, and shows no signs of slowing down. Last month, GMU PhD Candidate Mark Lutter defended his thesis, “Three Essays on Proprietary Cities.” His committee included Donald Boudreaux, Tyler Cowen, and Richard Wagner. Lutter’s academic interest in proprietary, or free cities is part of a trend among scholars and thought leaders studying the incentives that drive government decision-makers. If politicians respond to rewards and punishments just like you and I do, shouldn’t we consider giving them a larger stake in the profits and losses of the underlying jurisdiction? A proprietary city, Lutter argues, could achieve this, with tremendous benefits for both the developing and the developed world. He makes a convincing case on his blog, FreeCitiesInitiative.com, and joins Bob to defend the idea that the time for free cities has come.
Introduction to the Walter Block Scale of Libertarianism
Murray Rothbard, Ron Paul, Robert Nozick, Noam Chomsky.
Henry George, Milton Friedman, David Friedman, and David Boaz.
Presidential Candidates: Rand Paul, Bernie Sanders, Gary Johnson, Hillary Clinton, Martin O'Malley, Jeb Bush, John McCain and Barack Obama. Plus, Bob Zadek.
Speak the words "private prison" to the wrong person and you are liable to get an earful about market fundamentalism run amok. Indeed, government's law-and-order functions seem to be among the most difficult to transition to the private sector. But is such alarmism over privately-run prisons really warranted? After all, it was the public sector corrections officers union in California that spent millions in 2004 to defeat an initiative that would have limited the number of life sentences handed down under the three strikes law, ensuring a steady supply of "customers" for their industry. Private prisons only account for a fraction of total corrections facilities in the U.S., so how can we account for the real injustice – the massive increase in the prison population over the last several decades?
To dissect this complicated issue, Bob is joined by prolific writer and podcast host Lucy Steigerwald. Steigerwald, a libertarian "millennial" and frequent contributor to VICE.com on issues of criminal justice, recently wrote an article on private prisons for The Daily Beast, which may straighten out some of the priorities of those who are still focused on the wrong injustices. Steigerwald is also a representative of the Ladies of Liberty Alliance, the premiere ladies organization serving the liberty movement.
The latest headlines out of California paint a picture of an all-out war against the drought. Ordinary citizens are taking to social media to shame their neighbors for watering their lawns. Governments are issuing steep fines for wasting water (however that’s defined). And now Governor Brown is calling for $7.5 billion in spending to tackle the problem of water shortages. But is all of this really necessary? Bob tries to sort this issue out with an expert who has spent years studying both economics and water scarcity in the Western United States. David Zetland of Leiden University College in Amsterdam says scarcity doesn’t need to disrupt our lives if we manage the water supply properly, and allow higher prices to signal the need to conserve in times like these. From this show, you will learn how the current crisis came to be, and how markets can help us all get along peacefully – living with water scarcity.
”Loopholes.” ”Tax the Rich.” “Tax Credits to Create Jobs.” “Buffet Tax.” Enough of this! Join Bob Zadek and Tax Historian and prolific tax blogger Joe Thorndike (http://thorndike.com/) in this episode for a light and breezy hour of tax policy from a Libertarian perspective. Bob’s got a two sentence change to the tax law which would instantly give every taxpayer the same power as Congress and privatize all governmental income transfers. Bob and Joe clear the fog of tax jargon. Taxation is the mother of all pocketbook issues.
Visit Utopia. Fly to Atlanta and take a short car trip to Sandy Spring, Georgia, the city that efficiently outsourced everything. Are they the wave of the future? Their budget is about half of what it would be with city employees doing the work! Private toll roads vs. crowded public highways. Fed Ex vs. the Post Office. Which do you prefer? Please join Bob and Adrian Moore of Reason Magazine in this encore episode for an hour of light and breezy privatization fun. Sell the parking meters! Sell the airports. Sell air traffic control! Sell the prisons! Get rid of Public Service Unions, their pensions and their padded payrolls. Let business do business and government take care of government.