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Most people tune out when academics speak in terms of regression analysis and ?agent-based modeling.? Nonetheless, we want to understand the long-term economic trends that these methods seek to illuminate in order to plan for the future. Don Boudreaux is a master of making complex economic ideas comprehensible to the layperson. He provides this ser…
 
Bob does a regular show with a very special guest ? a walking embodiment of the libertarian ethos: David Boaz. Since joining the Cato Institute in 1981, Boaz has been pivotal in transforming the once-obscure think tank into a powerhouse ? setting the gold standard for libertarian public policy analysis. More than 15 years ago, at a time when far fe…
 
This week, instead of the usual encore show, we will be airing a remix of the best segments from previous shows on the topic of illegal immigration. This subject is so dear to Bob's heart (and mind) that he has been compelled to revisit it half a dozen times, and he will continue to do so for as long as it remains an issue. Bob's stance on immigrat…
 
?Be nice? may be excellent advice for children on the playground, customer service workers, and indeed, for most people in most situations. Being nice, however, does not always advance what Jonathan Rauch calls "the liberal science" ? the ongoing process of public criticism that gradually brings us closer to the truth. Thanks to robust rights to fr…
 
As a class, ?capitalists? tend to get stereotyped in the starkest of terms. They are heroes to some and villains to others; the captains of industry or the robber barons of old. Rarely do we actually get to hear a successful capitalist explain what his work is about. As former Chairman and CEO of BB&T and current CEO and President of the Cato Insti…
 
The Citizens United case, in which the Supreme Court affirmed speech rights for corporate ?persons,? was alleged by some to herald the end of democracy ?of the people, by the people, and for the people.? But are corporate interests really able to purchase politicians and their votes? Perhaps more importantly, is there any evidence that ?bought? pol…
 
Sixteen years ago, Virginia Postrel published The Future and Its Enemies, a manifesto for her personal philosophy of "dynamism." Dynamists like Postrel favor the spontaneous, evolving forces of free markets over the "stasist" philosophy common to reactionary conservatives and government technocrats. Even more than left versus right, Postrel argues,…
 
Lenore Skenazy first made waves after writing a column about how she let her nine-year-old son ride the New York City subway home alone. This was followed by a public outcry, including the accusation of "World's Worst Mom," which led Lenore to defend her position on TV programs like The View, The Today Show, and Anderson Cooper 360. Skenazy eventua…
 
Since the initial waves of political correctness and subsequent censorship swept across college campuses in the 1990s, many cases have been fought and won in favor of free speech. The overturning of unconstitutional speech codes, for example, seemed to herald a new era for individual rights in higher education. These victories resulted in no small …
 
Following the Great Recession of 2007-2008, regulators jumped at the opportunity to "remedy" (i.e., regulate) perceived market failures in credit markets. Although government-sponsored enterprises like Fannie Mae were responsible for many of the bad loans that created the crisis, politicians alleged it was the free market and payday lending that ne…
 
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 prim…
 
Back in April, Bob interviewed Ed Hudgins about The Republican Party?s Civil War, in which Hudgins urged Republicans to emphasize the value of ?modernist achievers??those who disrupt status quo industries and demonstrate what free individuals can accomplish. Derek Khanna is one of the youngest yet most influential thinkers leading the charge on the…
 
Double-entry bookkeeping doesn't exactly have a reputation for excitement. Indeed, who among us spends weekends and evenings painstakingly tallying our assets against our liabilities when there are so many delightful distractions around? Jacob Soll, a historian and accounting professor at the University of Southern California, thinks accounting nee…
 
For decades, the North Korean regime has kept its oppressive rule hidden from the rest of the world. But slowly, the truth has been emerging. Defectors like Yeonmi Park?who left the country in 2007 at the age of 15?have lived to tell the stories about their escape, and of the changing political landscape they left behind. Yet in spite of the contin…
 
Alice Goffman is no Ivory Tower academic. The author of a harrowing new field study, On the Run: Fugitive Life in an American City, Goffman spent the better part of a decade immersing herself in a crime-ridden neighborhood in Philadelphia. Once established, she began to study people?s lives in light of certain trends in law enforcement that are sha…
 
Though some use it disparagingly, the label of ?Bleeding Heart? is worn by others as a badge of honor. This apparent contradiction only starts to make sense when you contrast the frequently damaging results of government policy motivated by the undeniably noble sentiment behind caring for the poor. Matt Zwolinski, Professor of Philosophy at Univers…
 
In most sectors of the economy, regulation is an inevitable hurdle to doing business. Certain Internet-based businesses, however, have been left alone for long enough to flourish in the hands of enterprising individuals. Jim Epstein is a producer at Reason TV who has been tracking the emergence of the so-called ?sharing economy." Epstein joins Bob …
 
Bob is joined by former San Francisco mayor Art Agnos. Mayor Agnos is a progressive to the core, and a sincere advocate for the middle class. He makes a passionate case for rent control, and subsidized, affordable housing for lower and middle-class residents of urban areas (especially, of course, San Francisco). Mayor Agnos truly speaks from the he…
 
During the Constitution?s ratification process from September 1787 through mid-1788, each and every federalist (the supporters of ratification) promised America a federal government of limited (i.e. ?enumerated?) powers. For about 120 years we were provided with maximum freedom to pursue our lives as we see fit. Promise kept. Then what happened? Th…
 
Marc Levinson?s book ?The Great A&P and the Struggle for Small Business in America? has it all: rugged capitalism, crony capitalism, big time rent seekers using political power to kill competition, and the defense of the ?little guy? against the feared chain stores. It also outlines the destruction of the free market by the New Deal, gives details …
 
In America we seem unable to resolve the proper Constitutional relationship between religion and our political life. We think we know what the founders intended: ?separation of church and state,? ?a wall of separation,? the Establishment Clause and the Free Exercise Clause. But this issue is far from resolved. Reagan did not attend church enough fo…
 
Welcome to America, where federal law enforcement rewards local police departments for ignoring the issues such as assault, robbery, murder and public safety in general. The government?s efforts would be better spent on the causes Washington considers important, such as drug enforcement, illegal immigration and ?terrorism.? By taking advantage of c…
 
The Constitution provides a framework for the American presidency. When the founders wrote it, the concept of an elected chief executive did not exist anywhere on earth. That position was created in 1787. When George Washington was elected as our first President, he had to build the office from the ground up. What he created and how he did it is a …
 
In 1878 the Posse Comitatus Act ended the use of the US Military to enforce state laws. Our founders uniformly abhorred any concept of a federal police force since ?police power? was vested in the states. However, since the 1980s, the tactics of the local police have come to resemble those of the military. Armored personnel carriers, heavy duty att…
 
Everyone loves rights and no one loves duties. Our founders gave us complete control over our government, yet it was Franklin who famously defined it as ?A republic. If you can keep it.? The freedom given by the Constitution is fragile and requires vigilant a watch against encroachment by government. Yet vigilance is hard work. We must always watch…
 
Attention all voters! Which party embodies crony capitalism, interventionist foreign policy and the regulation of the most private aspects of our lives? Most importantly, which party ignores each of us as an individual; only to replace personal responsibility with government dictated behavior? The answer of course is, the Republicans AND the Democr…
 
An entrepreneur is defined as ?a person who organizes and manages any enterprise, usually with considerable initiative and risk.? These qualities have always been valued and cherished in America. Entrepreneurship has improved our quality of life in immeasurable ways and it always will. An immigrant in our country takes as much risk and shows as muc…
 
Thomas Jefferson famously commented that given the choice between a government without newspapers and newspapers without government, he?d prefer the latter. The Founders felt freedom of speech to be so important that was embodied as the first of the Bill of Rights amendments to the Constitution. Ten years later, John Adams, whose love of America wa…
 
In the past 15 years, California?s high tax burden caused 340,000 (mostly) high earners to go to other states like Nevada where they can keep more of their earnings. Is there a pattern? You bet there is. Americans are ?voting with their feet? more than ever before. Not just pro golfer Phil Mickelson who makes a pretty penny, but average wage earner…
 
In the opinion of the Founders, no right is more worthy of protection than the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights, providing freedom of conscience and the right to speak one?s mind. Yet those in power find themselves threatened by those who exercise this right and government becomes tempted to limit speech, which is our most essential right for …
 
?It is the best of banking, it is the worst of banking.? This is how Charles Dickens might describe America?s dual banking system if he were alive today. The banks that are too big to fail have operations so closely aligned with government that they are nothing more than agencies of Washington disguised as private businesses. Conversly, the communi…
 
Though Capitalism has elevated the standard of living of most humans on earth, it is misunderstood and under attack. It is perverted by the unholy alliance of big business and big government (think ?crony capitalism?), thwarted by statists whose hubris allows them to believe that they know what?s best for each and every citizen, and vilified by tho…
 
George Bush famously stated he wanted to establish ?the ownership society? in America. His concept specifically included the owning of a home. The American Dream, while defined in 1931 in lofty terms, has been downgraded over time to be equated to home ownership. What a cruel hoax. Home ownership has become a nightmare for many Americans, once the …
 
It could be argued that almost all of the Amendments (excluding the Bills of Rights and the Civil War Amendments) have damaged the Constitution but the two Amendments that had an especially negative impact were the 16th (income tax) and the 17th (direct election of Senators). Everyone knows about the income tax problem, yet not many of us are not a…
 
California is in a fiscal free-fall, led by a clueless governor and an entrenched, pro-union legislature. Why does the rest of the country care? Because what happens here is likely to happen in your state... it?ll just take a bit longer. As Woody Allen famously observed, it happened with ?right on red? and it?ll happen with fiscal insanity. Unless,…
 
Seven months ago, the Occupy Movement started in New York?s Zuccotti Park. Over time, the weather seemed to have chilled and dampened the enthusiasm of its core supporters. However, the movement seems to have sprung into spring with new vigor as seen in San Francisco and Oakland recently. What are the goals and beliefs of the Occupiers and what doe…
 
In this episode, Bob welcomes Adrian Moore of Reason Magazine to his show. The topic ? high speed rail in California and around the country. High speed rail is the intersection of crony capitalism, wealth transfers to unions and the hocking the future. Why must politicians always find the total absence of a need and then fill it with massive spendi…
 
Hugo Chavez, dictator (oops, we mean President) of Venezuela, is reputed to control 1/3 of the Venezuelan economy. That?s peanuts compared to the percentage of the US economy President Obama controls. With Dodd-Frank now on the books, Obama is now able to insure that America?s banks carry out his social and economic policies. The middle class is fe…
 
As Ayn Rand has observed, ?Capitalism is the system of the future ? if man is to have a future.? The lifeblood of capitalism is economic freedom which includes property rights, the freedom of adults to contract with one another, minimal government regulation and freedom to fail. The ranking of the U.S. among the nations of the world on its level of…
 
Alexander Hamilton described the federal judicial system as ?the weakest of the three branches of government.? However, the unelected nine Supreme Court justices have ?legislated? hundreds of overwhelmingly powerful laws. To name a few, they have granted abortion rights, eminent domain and mandatory minimum wage. Even the worst of our federal judge…
 
Ever hear of asset forfeiture? Probably not. But the odds are that you will. The day may come when you discover that local or federal law enforcement have confiscated your car or house even though you?ve not committed any crime. It?s called asset forfeiture and it describes a whole range of laws which permit cops to take and to keep a citizen?s pro…
 
Is poverty growing in America? What does ?poverty? even mean? In this episode, Bob welcomes Hadley Heath of the Independent Women?s Forum to the show to discuss this contentious issue. As Hadley demonstrates, poverty is the product of the anti-poverty legislation of the non-so-Great Society programs. We?ve created a society of governmental dependen…
 
The current budget/deficit/spending fight among the President, the House and the Senate is setting the stage for the election of 2012. The Jefferson/Adams election contest of 1800 affected the size and reach of the federal government. 2012 will be a rerun, but the stakes are even higher. What is the current battle really all about? Money? Yes, but …
 
The Presidential election costs about a billion dollars and it captures our attention for 15 months. Debates are held, we review the voting records of candidates, check their IQs, college transcripts, the intensity of their faith, relationships with spouses and core beliefs. With all this, one can only wonder if the process produces the best Presid…
 
?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/) 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 th…
 
Thomas Jefferson valued higher education; perhaps more than any other Founding Father. He envisioned a University system where students and faculty would explore ideas in a bastion of free expression. That did not turn out to be the case. Our colleges censor speech and have become citadels of political correctness. Saying something which offends an…
 
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 …
 
Ben Shapiro is an attorney, entertainer, journalist and blogger who has set out the link between Hollywood and the American Left. He argues that the movie moguls and TV producers have come to be the functional equivalent of the Democratic Party and political messages are surreptitiously embedded in films and sitcoms. What could the propaganda czars…
 
S&P downgraded the credit rating on our country?s bonds. How did this happen? What does it mean to you and me? Most importantly, how does our country get its AAA rating back? If we are all going down in financial flames, should we file the biggest bankruptcy case in the history of the planet with the World Court? In this episode, Bob is joined by R…
 
How does an environmental Libertarian think? What are his values? Is a Libertarian?s response to global warming to sweat it out and buy lots of sunscreen? Hardly. In fact, only free markets will save the grey wolf, the humpback whale, the snail darter and the spotted owl; without regulation, without ethanol subsidies, without the EPA, and without A…
 
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