Get a Job!

Free market ideas for reducing unemployment

This summer, faced with a persistent unemployment rate of around 9 percent, labor-force participation lower than at any time since 1983, and a pessimistic public deeply dissatisfied with its elected leaders, President Barack Obama “pivoted” away from a divisive debt ceiling debate toward the subject of jobs. “I…won’t stop,” the president vowed in his weekly radio address of Aug. 13, “until every American who wants a job can find one.” In Michigan, where the unemployment rate is 10.5 percent, Obama proclaimed, “We know that there are things that we can do right now that will support job growth.” Things like building roads, extending unemployment benefits, cutting payroll taxes, and investing in clean energy.

The press and Obama’s fellow Democrats echoed the president’s concern. “A political system that responded rationally to the country’s problems would be concentrating on creating jobs,” The New Yorker’s John Cassidy complained. Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) accused Republicans of having “passed bills that would destroy up to 2 million jobs—nearly 10,000 jobs per day” since she was booted from her role as House speaker. But Pelosi, like Obama, has been talking about what she has serially referred to as “jobs, jobs, jobs, and jobs” since January 2009. All that talk—and multiple pieces of related legislation—have yet to increase the net number of Americans at work.

Republicans have their own jobs agenda, but they mostly prefer to talk trash about the Democrats. “Spurring jobs and the economy is always next on the Obama administration’s to-do list,” sniped current House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) in an August 3 blog post, ”right after more spending, more taxing, and more regulating.”

Meanwhile, voters are raising a collective eyebrow at both parties on the employment front. A July Pew Research poll showed an even 39–39 split on which party Americans trust more on jobs. A CNN/ORC poll released in August found that only 29 percent of respondents think there will be more jobs in their communities a year from now, and 26 percent think there will be fewer jobs.

What are some free market ideas for boosting employment? reason asked some of our favorite economists, writers, professors, and entrepreneurs to name one concrete policy change they would recommend to increase job growth. —Lucy Steigerwald

Liberate Labor

Peter Schiff

To make the greatest impact on persistent unemployment, the government should pursue policies that allow the free market to set wages, benefits, and all issues related to employment. Just as employees are allowed to leave jobs for whatever reason, employers should be allowed to hire and fire based on any criteria without fear of litigation. In other words, liability cost for hiring employees should be minimized. Employees become easier to hire once employers know that their downside risks are minimized. In addition, all protective labor laws, including minimum wage laws, should be repealed.

Employment is a voluntary relationship between two parties. Our laws should reflect and support that concept to the highest extent possible. Employees do not qualify for special privileges (inappropriately labeled worker’s rights) simply because they accept a job, and employers do not lose their rights and become subjected to special obligations just because they hire. The playing field should be level.  

Peter Schiff is the CEO of Euro Pacific Capital and the author of How an Economy Grows and Why It Crashes (Wiley).

Repeal ObamaCare

Robert Higgs

Repeal of ObamaCare would probably do wonders to spur hiring, especially for permanent positions. Compensation for such jobs usually includes a benefits package with health care insurance, as well as a money wage or salary. Health care insurance often constitutes a major part of the employer’s cost of keeping a permanent worker on the payroll, and anything that makes this cost difficult to forecast makes employers leery to take on new workers. 

ObamaCare—the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act—is a gigantic statute, and it would be a big bite for employers to digest in any event. But as it stands, it serves mainly as an announcement that a large number of legal black boxes must be filled with new regulations that various administrative agencies will eventually promulgate. As Gary Lawson of the Boston University School of Law has written, “Implementation of the Act will require many years and literally thousands of administrative regulations that will determine its substantive content and coverage.”

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  • John Tagliaferro||

    That WPA image is seriously flawed. NOBODY is leaning on a shovel.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    In Team Blue Land, the only real jobs are government jobs.

  • Why Work?||

    We Don't Want Full Employment, We Want Full Lives!
    http://www.whywork.org/

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Not clickin' it, White Indian.

  • ||

    I remember when I was a kid that my parents and their siblings, who were all "Greatest Generation" and thus experienced the Depression firsthand, always responded with mocking laughter when I brought up the WPA or FDR. It was my first clue that what I was being taught in school--that FDR was a miracle worker and everybody loved him--was actually bullshit.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    That was then, Sammich. Nowadays, FDR ranks right up there with the greatest minds ever.

    Never could figure that out.

  • Realist||

    People are more stupid now.

  • Almanian||

    Yep - it's due to the influence of Big Stupid. Which is in evidence here when Urine, xaM, Injuuuun Blanco and others stop by. Good times!

  • John Tagliaferro||

    I am surprised his profile is not next to Mao, Stalin, Lenin and Marx on leftie t-shirts.

  • ||

    Most of the real FDR worshipers were kids in the 1930s and didn't have a clue as to what was going on. They then went on to fight in World War II and their respect for Roosevelt was cemented by the fact that he was commander in chief during the war.

    I think you get a lot more balanced view from people who were actually adults when he was doing all of this shit.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: John,

    I think you get a lot more balanced view from people who were actually adults when he was doing all of this shit.


    Many FDR worshippers today conveniently forget that FDR won two elections mainly by bribing those states that went the other way in the previous elections, through many of those wonderful make-believe work programs and grants. He wasn't popular at all before the 1940 election.

  • ||

    No he wasn't. And he didn't run on the New Deal in 1940. He ran on there being a war coming and he was the guy to lead it. People knew the New Deal was a failure. And as soon as the war was over they elected a Republican Congress that killed most of it.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: John,

    And as soon as the war was over they elected a Republican Congress that killed most of it.


    Exactly. Also, his body was barely cold when an amendment was passed to impose a term-limit on the presidency. I mean, he was that popular... Like Stalin was popular.

  • John Tagliaferro||

    For years the hard-core and soft-core Socialists have been bitching that States that benefited from the giant monuments to government, like TVA, do not show enough appreciation for Democrats. Whenever you hear Team Blue whine about all the "government welfare" going to Red States, this is exactly what they are talking about. They cannot fathom that lots of people don't like the feds all over the place.

  • Shovelers' Union Rep||

    Ain't NOBODY leanin' on no fuckin' shovels 'less I give the say-so.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    I suggest that Reason institutes a text filter on the Hit 'n Run comments, so that every time someone types "union," it is displayed as "labor mafia".

    Who's with me?

  • John Tagliaferro||

    Second.

  • Drave Robber||

    Let's talk about Lincoln?

  • kinnath||

    Things like building roads, extending unemployment benefits, cutting payroll taxes, and investing in clean energy.

    All politicians lie through their teeth. But I am begining to think Obama actually believes the shit he says in public.

  • ||

    I think he does. He really believes in the green job unicorns.

  • kinnath||

    I think that Obama giving the Queen of England an iPod was one of the most telling moments of his early years. He's just another hipster doofus that doesn't understand the technology that he is fascinated with.

  • ||

    it was. What an amateur.

  • Realist||

    He is one stupid fuck....but he is a socialist and means this country no good!

  • ||

    He really is stupid. It drives liberals nuts when you tell them that. But he really is. I will tell them straight to their face that smart or not Obama believes and espouses absolute nonsense.

  • ||

    He has that rare capacity to make absolute gibberish sound like gold. It truly is amazing.

  • ||

    He should've killed her with a sword, shouting "That was for Richard Stockton, you bitch!" Then, as her security guards rush towards him, he quietly informs them that he either walks out of the room and safely returns to the U.S., or Joe Biden nukes London.

  • kinnath||

    *golf clap*

  • ||

    Insane, yet oddly presidential.

  • Brett L||

    He'd better do it from the back, she's a far better fencer, even old and unarmed.

  • ||

    Good point, though I doubt she'd see it coming. He has a Nobel Peace Prize, don't forget.

    Maybe the sword should be forged from the metal in the prize?

  • ||

    President Obama tells Michiganders, “We know that there are things that we can do right now that will support job growth.” Reason goes on to say, that they are "Things like building roads, extending unemployment benefits, cutting payroll taxes, and investing in clean energy."

    Okay, sounds good. What has President Obama done to get these things done RIGHT NOW?

  • ||

    Aside from extending unemployment benefits, which I must admit is a concept that doesn't seem to "support job growth." But I'm sure that's just me.

  • Realist||

    Giving people money for nothing does not support job growth.

  • ||

    I also fail to see the connection between cutting payroll taxes and supporting job growth. But again, I'm just one person and I'm sure I don't appreciate the nuances of this idea.

  • CrackertyAssCracker||

    When you make something cheaper, people buy more of it, all other things being equal. Thats is the connection.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Bill,

    I also fail to see the connection between cutting payroll taxes and supporting job growth.


    You would fail to see the connection between a sale on handbags and your wife getting a new handbag, I see...

    Man, you need an education.

  • Tony||

    The race to the bottom model will only make us and everyone else poorer.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Stoopid in Amerika,

    The race to the bottom model will only make us and everyone else poorer.


    Seems like the economics ignoramus peeped again. By the way, you numbskull: Do you really think marginal utility law suddenly stops when people look at the want ads but not everywhere else?

  • ||

    It would be more helpful to the conversation if you could try to make sense out of that jargon-laden post.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Bill,

    It would be more helpful to the conversation if you could try to make sense out of that jargon-laden post.


    Let me explain it to you in terms you will understand: What Mr. sockpuppet believes is that workers will take whatever they're offered in exchange for their labor as their value schedule for their labor somehow diminishes - what he calls the "race to the bottom." That flies in the face of how people value all other things in this world. It's just nonsense.

  • NotSure||

    Nobody is racing to the bottom, the world is getting richer, it is richer now than ever before despite global debt crises and financial markets turmoil. People need to be able to adopt to change (real change not the cheap political slogan), be willing to do jobs they thought they never would do, even if it supposedly is beneath them.

  • Almanian||

    I vote Spoof, and I give you a C-.

  • Barry Loberfeld||

  • Audrey the Liberal||

    Good God Tony, "The race to the bottom model[.]" was old when I was a zygote. If you're going to regurgitate socialist pap on the floor of the Hit & Run board, could it at least be something that wasn't stale when Carter was in the White House.

  • Tony||

    So how many more generations do we have to give corporate lobbyists everything they ask for before we realize it's not helping anybody but the entities they lobby for?

    The whole problem is a conflation of higher corporate profits with social prosperity. They're not the same thing, no matter how much they try to claim it is.

  • Brandon||

    The libertarians are the ones who want to *stop* giving corporate lobbyists everything they ask for. The entrenched corporations want more regulations, more bailouts, and more barriers to entry for their competition, which the statists on team red and team blue have been more than happy to give them for decades. How can you ignore that, while you continue to decimate the strawmen that you set up?

  • Restoras||

    Decimating strawmen is easier.

  • Tony||

    If there is any daylight between libertarian economic policy and Republican corporatist economic policy, it's invisible to the naked eye. Lobbyists don't lobby for more regulation. That's ridiculous. Do they also push for a higher minimum wage?

    Like Republicans you want to maximize corporate freedom, then to feel better about yourself you tack onto it "ta da, jobs!"

  • k2000k||

    Do you even know what libertarinism is? I mean outside of the definition of the red book.

  • Hate Potion Number Nine||

    Lobbyists lobby for more regulation that screws actual and potential competitors.

  • DLM||

    Lobbyists don't lobby for more regulation.

    Of course they lobby for more regulation if it benefits their clients. I think you are assuming that all regulation is almost by definition for the greater good. That's how it sounds to me anyway.

  • ||

    Now just denial of reality and being stupid.
    The media has more then once trumpeted bills written by the industries they were supposed to regulate, while the legislature votes on them without reading them.
    It has been a major news point several times int eh last decade.
    You either have to be willfully ignorant, stupid, or willing to have as selective memory as necessary to try to prove your point.

  • Barry Loberfeld||

    So how many more generations do we have to give corporate lobbyists everything they ask for before we realize it's not helping anybody but the entities they lobby for?

    Tony, laissez faire capitalists have been opposing the collusion between Firm and State from the beginning. A free market is the one thing these "corporate lobbyists" don't ask for.

  • ||

    Audrey, Brandon, Berry,

    He has been told this exact thing on here for years. He never has any logical argument to provide.

    That is all.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Stoopid In Amerika,

    So how many more generations do we have to give corporate lobbyists everything they ask for before we realize it's not helping anybody but the entities they lobby for?


    I don't know - let's ask the ones that give the corporate lobbyist all they want.

    Ok, pro-government anti-freedom zealots - Tony just asked you a question. You better answer!

    Tony? Please answer the question, you pro-government, anti-freedom zealot you! How many generations befor....

    Uh-oh....

  • Tony||

    How would you reduce the influence of corporate lobbyists?

  • ||

    Ethics laws.

    Outlaw private money donations or material donations that may directly or indirectly enrich a public servant.

    Separation of business and state.

    That is one free market idea. since Government is a monopoly it should not interact with the freer markets any more then is absolutely necessary, because it will distort the freer markets.

  • Realist||

    How novel....get a job!

  • Restoras||

    Here'a couple of fun grpahics I posted earlier. Never gets old.
    http://cr4re.com/charts/charts.html
    http://economics21.org/blog/re.....redictions

  • Tony||

    So it's the worst recession since WWII (duh) and [rightwing blather about Christina Romer making a too-rosy prediction before Obama was in office].

  • dumber Tony||

    Waaaahhhh! My team was in charge and made things worse, and I have no rebuttal! Stop being so unfaaaaaiiiiiirrrrr!!!

  • Tony||

    By no measure have things gotten worse. 700,000 jobs lost per month at the end of the bush admin.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    By no measure have things gotten worse.

    Just the employment to population ratio.

  • k2000k||

    and debt to gdp ratio, and the deficit to gdp ratio.

  • ||

    And the number of countries we are at war with....

  • roystgnr||

    And just imagine how much faster the patient would have died if we *hadn't* done all that bloodletting to balance his humours!

  • Joe||

    Krugman's blaming the GOP for blockading the shipment of leeches. What we did was working, it just wasn't enough.

  • ||

    It's only blather after you can explain why it was not 'too-rosy' but why it was completely back-assward wrong. It's not as if employment improved less than predicted. Employment was worse than par.

    The only ones making accurate predictions have been the people you don't understand and yet continue to disagree with.

    At some point it may occur to you t wonder why this is the case..

  • Tony||

    The ones making the best predictions were real economists (who you'd call neo-Keynesians). It's just a zombie lie that Austrians were the only ones predicting gloom. They're ALWAYS predicting gloom.

    The Obama people long ago admitted that particular prediction was wrong. It's irrelevant unless you're just playing partisan gotcha. Meanwhile what serious plans have come out to increase employment, and who is proposing them?

  • ||

    The ones making the best predictions were real economists

    Citation needed. And no I don't expect you to produce one.

    Surely you aren't thinking about Roubini? He was years late, and with his Austrian background he shouldn't have been, and his analysis was largely austrian anyway. Lastly his recommendations were nonsensical given his explanation of the problem.

    They're ALWAYS predicting gloom.

    And they are right. Sounds like an admission that the government is always pursuing bad economic policy to me.

    But it's not always, it's just they don't ignore things.

    You can't blame Austrians for knowing the results of bad policy or that bad policy is almost always pursued.

    If we went to an asset backed currency do you think Austrians would predict gloom? Or a flat tax? Of course not.

    And they'd be right there too.

    The Obama people long ago admitted that particular prediction was wrong. It's irrelevant

    Yet more evidence of the fact that your theories never work is never irrelevant.. unless like you, you think reality is irrelevant and inconvenient in the face of your coveted fantasies.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    [rightwing blather about Christina Romer making a too-rosy prediction before Obama was in office]

    Obama His Own Self said that the amount that was passed in the stimulus bill was "just right" and never once made an effort to temper Romer's "too-rosy" prediction.

    You really are allergic to Obama taking responsibility for anything, aren't you? This guy's had enablers like you his whole life, it's no wonder he's made it as far as he has.

  • Restoras||

    Being part of the left means never having to take responsibility, apologize, or embrace measures that don't fit your narrative.

  • Almanian||

    Two things:

    1) Adopt ALL that stuff, except Bartlett's (aggregate demand - really?) and Tabarroks (no more bond buys, thanks) and we'd be in LIBERTOPIA, I TELL YA. Great ideas all (except the two aforementioned klinkers).

    2) BEST FRIDAY FUNNY EVER! Just needs moar labels.

  • Old Mexican||

    Just as employees are allowed to leave jobs for whatever reason, employers should be allowed to hire and fire based on any criteria without fear of litigation.


    ^^ THIS ^^ would lead to more employment. It would also lead to some unemployed labor attorneys, but you can't save everyone.

    Employment is a voluntary relationship between two parties.


    Those ignorant of economics and the clueless (or leftist boobs, to be mire succinct) believe that the relationship between employer and employee is not voluntary because, supposedly, the employer has the greater advantage because the employer has the money. This argument can perfectly and logically be used to say that the housewife has the greater advantage when buying tomatoes at the supermarket because the housewife has the money, thus making it imperative for the sake of fairness to have laws that protect the supermarket from housewives.

  • Almanian||

    And the healthcare insurance consumer has the leverage, cause they pay the premiums, therefore they MUST buy health insurance from one of the government markets. To make it fair for the insurance providers.

    NOW I understand how it works! Thanks, OM!

  • nebby||

    Next RIF is all black people. My grandpappy ran this business for years in Mobile without them! Women are next! Damn babymakers!

  • ||

    "Job creation" policies driven by people who think the only real function of employers is to hand out paychecks on Friday will forever be a fool's errand.

  • Audrey the Liberal||

    ""Job creation" policies driven by people who think the only real function of employers is to hand out paychecks on Friday will forever be a fool's errand." Bares repeating. Repeatedly.

  • Old Mexican||

    The single thing the U.S. could do to ensure long-term growth, including that of jobs, is to reform our Federal Reserve so that monetary policy is rules-based, not personality-based.


    Talk about missing the point: Whereas the Fed chairman has indeed the power to destroy the economy, it is the system itself which is seriously and fundamentally flawed: The FED purports to centrally-manage the economy through a monetary policy, but even the smartest of all Fed chairmen will suffer from the knowledge problem. In the end, the policies of the FED will not be any better in their results than the manufacturing goals in the old Soviet Union, or North Korea: They will lead to wasted resources and misallocated capital.

  • k2000k||

    This is what floors me. We have real data on how the centrally planned economic model was just a disaster for nations like the Soviet Union. But somehow no one is able to take the short leap and realize that a centrally planned fiscal policy is doomed to the same end.

    Its like saying 2+2= will equal a number that is twice the amount that 2 is but 4+4 won't equal twice the amount that for is. Just because the number is different doesn't change the fundemental principles, yet somehow this logic applys to the FED.

  • o2||

    old mex - since M2 is less than 3% above FY2010, pls explain exactly HOW the fed is destroying the economy?

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Double Asshole,

    old mex - since M2 is less than 3% above FY2010, pls explain exactly HOW the fed is destroying the economy?


    Gang: See how the resident liar mentioned FY2010, totally ignoring FY2009:

    http://www.shadowstats.com/alt.....ply-charts

  • ||

    Go in unto Obama, and tell him,
    Thus saith the People of the Americans,
    Let our economy go, that it may serve us.

  • Mainer||

    So let it be written.
    So let it be done.

  • ||

    Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of dearth, I will fear no repeal. . . .

  • Matrix||

    Bring about major inflation as an economic recovery plan? WTF is this guy smoking? Seriously, let's punish people who invest and save so that their money has dramatically lost value while at the same making it easier for people in debt since their real debt has been lowered since the value is worth less than it was before. But you would also have to have a corresponding rise wages, otherwise people are paying more for less and getting shit on for it. But still, the savers and investors are getting shit on for being responsible with their money.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Matrix,

    Bring about major inflation as an economic recovery plan? WTF is this guy smoking?


    I don't know,butit must be some good shit to forgo reality in that way!

  • CrackertyAssCracker||

    same shit all those guys been smokin since .. I dunno ... 1913? 1933? 1972?

  • ||

    Germany has public companies, like the Loremo, 150 mpg vehicle.

  • Old Mexican||

    I think a dose of inflation is just what the economy needs, and libertarians should stop being so obsessive about it.


    A "dose"???? What the FUCK is a "dose" of inflation?

  • ||

    I don't know why they ask an economic ignoramus like Bruce Bartlett anything more complicated than "deep dish or thin crust"?

    If we wanted to hear what an economic idiot says we could read one an economic idiot with a 'Nobel' prize has to say.

  • ||

    I don't know why they ask an economic ignoramus like Bruce Bartlett anything more complicated than "deep dish or thin crust"?

    If we wanted to hear what an economic idiot says we could read one an economic idiot with a 'Nobel' prize has to say.

  • ||

    Seems to me to be some kind of sexually transmitted disease...but for the economy.

  • Joe||

    It was a misunderstanding. His wife was asking him what was wrong with their compact car (economy car = "economy"), and he was telling her the tires needed some air. He was thinking about two things at once and got mixed up when typing, which is just SO Bruce! What else could he have possibly meant?

  • CrackertyAssCracker||

    just enough to make sure all the Goldman-Sachs VP's get their bonus again this year.

    That is the unit of measure known as "1 Bernanke". I assume that's they meant.

  • k2000k||

    It's more than a smidge but less than a dollop. You know a smidge of inflation is too little but a dollop would be too much, but a dose is just right.

  • DLM||

    It's the Economic Recovery Recipe. Who needs economists anyway? Just use a cookbook. Come to think of it, I think they are.

  • ||

    Mike Munger is a sharp SOB. I like his answer the best. Simple, direct, but would have a huge effect. I hear him speak on Econtalk, and he always has knowledgeable things to say.

    That one change combined with adding school choice/vouchers would improve our nation indescribably.

    We cannot have a libertopia, I don't think human nature would ever allow it, but changes like those would give us a ton less to complain about.

  • ||

    ++

  • CE||

    A good start toward reducing unemployment would be to stop threatening employers with over 50 (or over 100, or over 10) employees with new mandates for insurance, pensions, accounting, parking, etc. Why hire more people if you're nearing a compliance threshold?

  • 16th amendment||

    John Stossel gives a list of departments to cut but does not mention the Department of Education.

  • Stossel||

    Just cuz I can't remember all of 'em in 2 seconds doesn't mean I support the ones I forgot.

  • Joe||

    I've always liked Walter Olson's stuff on the CPSIA. He's been valuable for exposing a lot of the boring, practical issues that no-one else really talks about.

    I'd add eliminating or, more practically, scaling back the patent system, though it isn't really an immediate fix.

  • Invisible Finger||

    Only about 3 or 4 of those responses fall into the "unretarded" category. Stossel, McCloskey, maybe a couple others.

    Bartlett and Tabarrok need to be ignored with extreme prejudice.

  • Chaos Punk||

    Government owned companies work the best

  • Industrial Minister Mark||

    "Government owned companies work the best"

    Ja, this vhat I am always saying - vhy should you need a BMW vhen you kan always haf a Trabant! (Once you come up on der vaiting list, auf course.)

  • Mr. Mark||

    1. Repeal Obamacare
    2. Remove government restrictions on buying health insurance
    3. Repeal the capital gains tax
    4. Pass a balanced budget amendment

    On another note, why in the world is Bruce Bartlett in here?

  • ||

    Missing from the list: Cut corporate taxes and provide a tax amnesty for foreign-earnings.

    If a US company wants to reinvest foreign earnings in US production capability, they pay a huge tax when they transfer the money to the US. If they invest the money and hire outside the US, they don't pay this tax.

  • Mr. Mark||

    "Cut corporate taxes"

    Why not just get rid of all business income taxes. Since businesses just collect taxes anyway, just dispense with the pretense that businesses really pay taxes at all. Think of how much more of a popular place for business America would be if we just stopped the charade and stated that since businesses simply pass on the expense of taxation to their customers, that we are ending the collection of federal income tax on businesses.

    FairTax replacement of the income tax would accomplish this as well.

  • ||

    Does any one of you think that the "cast of characters" on the repub "run for the presidency" is better than what's there now? Are Americans just plain bitter? What's up?

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