Audit Finds Government Spent $14 Million in Taxpayer Funds—to Hire 2 Border Patrol Agents (So Far)

Audit Finds Government Spent $14 Million in Taxpayer Funds—to Hire 2 Border Patrol Agents (So Far) By Daniel J. Mitchell What’s the most inefficient and wasteful part of the federal government? It’s impossible to answer that question without greater detail. Are we supposed to identify the worst cabinet-level department? If that’s the case, then bureaucracies such as the Department of Housing and Urban Development or the Department of Education would be high on the list. Or are we supposed to identify the most counter-productive activity of Washington? If that’s the case, then agriculture subsidies, job training programs, or subsidies for…

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Can You Name a Single Nation That Became Rich with Collectivist Policies?

Can You Name a Single Nation That Became Rich with Collectivist Policies? By Daniel J. Mitchell I periodically ask my left-leaning friends to identify a nation that became rich with statist policies. They usually point to Sweden or Denmark, but I point out that Sweden and Denmark became rich in the 1800s and early 1900s when government was very small. At that point, they don’t really have any other response. That’s because, as I pointed out in this clip from a recent debate at Pomona College in California, there is no example of a poor nation becoming…

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Easy Money Is a Recipe for Fake Booms and Real Busts

Easy Money Is a Recipe for Fake Booms and Real Busts By Daniel J. Mitchell I periodically explain that you generally don’t get a recession by hiking taxes, adding red tape, or increasing the burden of government spending. Those policies are misguided, to be sure, but they mostly erode the economy’s long-run potential growth. If you want to assign blame for economic downturns, the first place to look is monetary policy. Easy Money Has Challenging Consequences When central banks use monetary policy to keep interest rates low (“Keynesian monetary policy,” also known as “easy…

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The 10 States with the Best Tax Systems (and the 10 Worst)

The 10 States with the Best Tax Systems (and the 10 Worst) By Daniel J. Mitchell Yesterday, I wrote about the newest edition of Economic Freedom of the World, which is my favorite annual publication. Not far behind is the Tax Foundation’s State Business Tax Climate Index, which is sort of the domestic version of their equally fascinating (to a wonk) International Tax Competitiveness Index. Tax Rates Matter And what can we learn from this year’s review of state tax policy? Plenty: [T]he specifics of a state’s tax structure matter greatly. The measure of total taxes paid…

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Which Countries Have the Best Record in Protecting Property Rights?

Which Countries Have the Best Record in Protecting Property Rights? By Daniel J. Mitchell My favorite annual publication is the Fraser Institute’s Economic Freedom of the World, which measures the amount of economic liberty that exists in 159 nations. The rankings are based on five equally weighted categories, though I’ve always viewed “Legal System and Property Rights” as being the most important because even low taxes and light regulation won’t produce much growth if investors and entrepreneurs have no faith in the rule of law or the quality of governance. This is why the annual International…

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