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Half Baked

Petit Tyrants

State and Local Governments Have No Fiscal Excuse for Rapacious Revenue-Raising Tactics

I generally focus on the profligate habits and abusive tactics of the federal government in Washington, but that doesn’t mean other levels of government are well behaved. In a column for the Washington Post, Catherine Rampell outlines some of the reprehensible ways that state and local governments extract money from the citizenry. Think of recent, […]

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Why Do some Advocates of Small Government Want to Keep a Democrat Appointee at CBO?

Since I’ve accused the Congressional Budget Office of “witch doctor economics and gypsy forecasting,” it’s obvious I’m not a big fan of the organization’s approach to fiscal analysis. I’ve even argued that Republicans shouldn’t cite CBO when the bureaucrats reach correct conclusions on policy (at least when such findings are based on bad Keynesian methodology). […]

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If You Want Better Business Tax Policy, Handcuff Politicians with Pro-Growth Forms of Tax Competition

Tax competition is a very important tool for constraining the greed of the political class. Simply stated, politicians are less likely to impose bad tax policy if they are afraid that jobs and investment (and accompanying tax revenue) will move to jurisdictions with better tax policy. This works to limit revenue grabs by politicians at […]

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Life before the social welfare state

In 1779, before the advent of the welfare state or even a federal government in the US, when taxes were virtually non-existent, François de Barbé-Marbois wrote: “Begging is unknown in America. There are, in almost all towns, hostels which take … Continue reading

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Proper Staffing and Reform of JCT and CBO Is an IQ Test for the Republican Party

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) are congressional bureaucracies that wield tremendous power on Capitol Hill because of their role as fiscal scorekeepers and referees. Unfortunately, these bureaucracies lean to the left. When CBO does economic analysis or budgetary estimates, for instance, the bureaucrats routinely make it easier for politicians […]

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Did the Wave Election Put Tax Reform on the Agenda?

I don’t pretend that tax reform, by itself, will create economic Nirvana. After all, the experts who measure economic policy and economic performance say that only about 20 percent of a nation’s prosperity is determined by fiscal policy. Nonetheless, I’m a big fan of simple and fair tax systems such as the flat tax. Not […]

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