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Balanced Budget Requirements Don’t Work as Well as Spending Limits

When I first came to Washington back in the 1980s, there was near-universal support and enthusiasm for a balanced budget amendment among advocates of limited government. The support is still there, I’m guessing, but the enthusiasm is not nearly as intense. There are three reasons for this drop. Political reality – There is zero chance […]

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A Conflict of Interest at the U.S. Department of Education Keeps Students on the Hook

A conflict of interest can be viewed as two conflicting roles, wherein the one entailing more public responsibility is compromised or eclipsed by the other. The ongoing temptation itself may be sufficient grounds ethically to end or transfer the potentially exploitive role. In other words, sometimes the solution is as simple as ending the potentially encroaching task or role. When the institution is a governmental agency, selecting or creating another agency to perform the task is one alternative; privatizing it is another. Either way, deconstructing an institutional conflict of interest by separating problematic role-combinations is advisable even in cases in which the more private-benefits role has not corrupted the more public-benefits role. The U.S. Department of Education provides a useful case in point.


The complete essay is at “U.S. Department of Education.”

Continue reading A Conflict of Interest at the U.S. Department of Education Keeps Students on the Hook

A Conflict of Interest at the U.S. Department of Education Keeps Students on the Hook

A conflict of interest can be viewed as two conflicting roles, wherein the one entailing more public responsibility is compromised or eclipsed by the other. The ongoing temptation itself may be sufficient grounds ethically to end or transfer the potentially exploitive role. In other words, sometimes the solution is as simple as ending the potentially encroaching task or role. When the institution is a governmental agency, selecting or creating another agency to perform the task is one alternative; privatizing it is another. Either way, deconstructing an institutional conflict of interest by separating problematic role-combinations is advisable even in cases in which the more private-benefits role has not corrupted the more public-benefits role. The U.S. Department of Education provides a useful case in point.


The complete essay is at “U.S. Department of Education.”

Continue reading A Conflict of Interest at the U.S. Department of Education Keeps Students on the Hook

Bill Clinton and the Retroactive Application of Mitchell’s Golden Rule

It’s amazingly simple to reduce the burden of government spending. Policy makers simply need to impose some modest spending restraint so that government doesn’t grow faster than the economy’s productive sector. In a display of humility that can only be found in Washington, DC, I call this Mitchell’s Golden Rule. And, amazingly, even the International […]

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The Outcome of the Fiscal Fight in Greece and Implications for Spain, Italy, Ireland, Portugal, France, Belgium, Etc

There’s a big fiscal battle happening in Europe. The relatively new Greek government is demanding continued handouts from the rest of Europe, but it wants to renege on at least some of the country’s prior commitments to improve economic performance by reducing the preposterous burden of spending, regulation, and intervention. That seems like a rather […]

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A funny look at student loans!

Get Obama Toilet Paper For That Special Someone On Your Christmas Giving List!Not that there’s anything funny about the subject of $1.2 trillion in student loans outstanding coupled with an 8%+ unemployment rate for recent college grads.Or the fact tha…

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