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civil, asset, forfeiture, civil asset forfeiture, cash, grocery bag, Whole Foods, theft, police, corruption

Forfeiting Common Sense

Is it okay to steal if you can get away with it? A full answer would require a treatise. But most of us common-sensibly understand that evil does not magically become good when perpetrators are not stopped or punished. Thrasymachus was wrong to contend, in Plato’s Republic, that justice is

Trump, worship, trade, trade war, tariff, free trade, trade deficit

The Trump Trade Enigma

President Donald J. Trump, former “reality TV” star, often seems merely to skirt reality. “Our trade deficit ballooned to $817 billion,” President Trump exaggerated to the “men and women of U.S. Steel” last week.  “Think of that. We lost $817 billion a year over the last number of years in

poison, inflation, Venezuela, socialism, free markets, capitalism

Poison Is Poisonous

Venezuela’s socialist economy has been collapsing. No big mystery. If, out of hostility to capitalism, a society keeps destroying everything that production, trade, and prosperity depend upon, the economy suffers. The benefits of markets don’t flow no matter what. One assault has taken the form of hyperinflation — runaway printing

occupational licensing, hair braiding, permission, law, crime, employment, unemployment, control, health

Working to Boost Unemployment

Some government officials work overtime to throw people out of work. What I’m referring to differs from losing your job or business because of slack performance or slackening sales. Instead, you lose the right to earn your living a certain way so that the government can benefit competitors at your

Daniel Ortega, Nicaragua, rebellion, atrocity, protest, violence

Ortega’s Got to Go

Sometimes “if it bleeds, it leads” fails us. Only a few news outlets have given much attention to Nicaragua’s ongoing atrocities. Weeks ago, mothers of some of the 76 people, mainly students, already killed protesting despot Daniel Ortega, were leading a march demanding justice . . . “when gunmen opened

gentrification, renewall, Washington D.C., corruption, crony capitalism, housing, dirigisme

Progress, DC-Style

Is the black, Democratic mayor of Washington, D.C., actually a “racist”? What about the city council, which is 46 percent African-American, 85 percent Democrat, and 100 percent liberal/progressive? That’s what a lawsuit argues — the DC ‘powers that be’ are racist in their development and housing policies. Filed on behalf

cake, gay rights, Supreme Court, freedom of association, discrimination, law. nanny state

Wouldn’t Freedom Be … Easier?

To bake or not to bake, that is the question. Actually, the question was may a state discriminate against Christians in regulating “public accommodations”? The Supreme Court has decided, in a supermajority 7-2 ruling, that the Colorado Civil Rights Commission wrongly prosecuted a Christian baker who would not make a

housing, bust, financial, meltdown, Government-Backed Mortgages, jail, punishment, cause

Déjà vu All Over Again

One of the stand-bys of the post-2008 mortgage finance bust, at least from left-of-center policy mavens, has been to ask: why has no banker gone to prison? They played a game of fraud and got rich. What a protected class — Cronyism! Plutocracy! Capitalism! The why is much easier to

Michael Bloomberg, tax, policy, nanny state, vice, social engineering, statist, technocrat

Brave New Paternalism

Michael Bloomberg is rich. He’s also in politics — a public health crusader. And, for years, he “has personally funded and promoted all sorts of regressive taxes and regulations in an attempt to push people around,” the folks at Americans for Tax Reform tell us. “He uses the coercive power

Jeff Bezos, Amazon, Seattle, taxes, homeless tax, business

Amazon’s Jeff Bezos Is …

A half a year ago, when trying to make sense of the much-publicized search for Amazon’s “HQ2” — a second headquarters city, away from Seattle — I concentrated on the subsidies that cities and metro areas were apparently throwing at Amazon. It all seemed desperate, indecent. But there was a story

decentralize, centralize, federal and state and county, power, nullification, distributed

A Sanctuary from Centralization

Defiance . . . nullification. It is a trend. I take it as a sign of our contentious times that we now witness states in open rebellion against centralized control from the Imperial City of Washington, D.C., while cities and counties are also rattling the chains set by their respective

Studio System, antitrust, Netflix, Hulu, Amazon

The Studio System: The Sequel

Evermore virtue signaling, everless virtue — that pretty much encapsulates Oscars’ night. The industry that brought us Harvey Weinstein and the occasion for #MeToo made the 90th Academy Awards two months ago unwatchable for most of us. Now, as the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences loses touch with

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