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Free Minds & Free Markets

Getting Crony Capitalism Half Right

The solution to government interference isn't more of it.

The Captured Economy: How the Powerful Enrich Themselves, Slow Down Growth, and Increase Inequality, by Brink Lindsey and Steven M. Teles, Oxford University Press, 221 pages, $24.95

Oxford University PressOxford University PressAmericans are prone to assuming the government redistributes wealth downward, to the poor and vulnerable. In The Captured Economy, libertarian Brink Lindsey and modern liberal Steven Teles emphasize the ways governments persistently redistribute wealth upward, from ordinary people to elites. Their accessibly written book highlights several sectors of the economy that have been dramatically misshaped by state-secured privilege—in economic jargon, by "rent-seeking." This, they show, has both reduced productivity and increased inequality.

Lindsey, a vice president at the Niskanen Center, and Teles, a political scientist at Johns Hopkins, don't try to identify every industry that has been seriously distorted in this way. But they explore important examples that reflect a much larger problem.

They consider a range of subsidies and implicit guarantees offered to firms in the financial sector, for instance, noting the ways these interventions—including mortgage subsidies and the creation of mortgage-backed securities—promote bubbles and encourage risky behavior. Similarly, they highlight ways in which land use regulations concentrate wealth and reduce the possibility of both geographic and socioeconomic mobility. These restrictions have dramatically increased housing prices, an effect very much in line with the regulations' underlying purpose. As Lindsey and Teles note, these laws exist "to protect homeowners' property values at the expense of access to housing for everybody else."

Elsewhere, they ponder the effects of intellectual property rules. By outlawing copycat competition, Lindsey and Teles point out, current copyright and patent laws allow "industry leaders to take fuller advantage of the potential scale economies that the nature of their industries permits. The result is even higher levels of inter-firm inequality than would otherwise be possible, with industries dominated by a few highly profitable giants." While copyright protections are good for companies that own a lot of copyrights, "hostility to unauthorized copying…stands in direct opposition to the logic of the Internet, the greatest technology ever devised for reproducing and disseminating information," they say, by restricting creativity, innovation, and the sharing of information.

The book emphasizes the ways occupational licensing creates government-enforced cartels as well. The beneficiaries range from cosmetologists to lawyers; the most privileged tend to be the sorts of professionals with whom modern policy makers tend to identify. The authors zero in on the harm to consumers: "Prices for licensed services are inflated anywhere from 5 percent to 33 percent, with the cost to consumers amounting to some $203 billion a year." They favor radical reductions in licensing requirements, even (perhaps especially) in law and medicine.

For libertarians, the solution to these problems seems obvious: Reduce state power. But Lindsey and Teles often dismiss that response, suggesting that the public simply is not prepared to support a significant diminution in the size and scope of government. Instead they support a set of institutional remedies that leave the existing state apparatus largely in place. These changes, they argue, will reduce the risk of manipulation by elites and other concentrated interests.

They call, for instance, for the professionalization of the congressional staff system. Committee staffers, they suggest, should be hired by committees rather than by individual legislators, so that they keep their jobs even as the legislature's membership changes; the idea is to give them an incentive to view working for Congress as a long-term career. Staffers hired by committees will arguably be more inclined to develop focused skills, acquire more expert knowledge, eschew partisanship, and adopt long-term perspectives. Lindsey and Teles also propose doubling the number of staff positions and tripling the amount of money available for staff salaries.

Noting the prestige and credibility of the Office of Management and Budget, Lindsey and Teles suggest that state governments institute comparable civil service entities designed to review proposed state-level legislation and regulation; the relevant reviews could focus on both barriers to entry and impediments to growth. Since the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has acknowledged the anti-competitive nature of state licensing rules, the authors urge that the FTC's budget be increased so that it can be more assertive in challenging state and federal regulations. They call for creating a Federal Regulatory Commission charged with reporting to Congress on the impact of regulations on the financial sector. (It's unclear why this sector would be the only one in view.) Members of Congress would also be precluded from working in the financial sector after the conclusions of their terms. A similar body, they suggest, might assess the public impact of intellectual property rules. The Congressional Budget Office could highlight upward redistribution in its evaluations of proposed laws.

While the authors are eager to pare back zoning and intellectual property laws, they do not want to eliminate them entirely. Land use and building regulations, they suggest, should be shifted from the local to the state level (with localities permitted to adopt more, but not less, permissive versions of state regulations). The D.C. Circuit's exclusive role vis-à-vis patent litigation could be eliminated. Intellectual property should be excluded from future trade agreements. Copyright could be limited to laws precluding "sales of full reproductions" (and not, by implication, noncommercial duplication).

Lindsey and Teles also want the state and federal judiciary to strike down legislation that protects special interests. They try to distance themselves, however, from the Supreme Court's much-reviled 1905 decision in Lochner v. New York, a precedent that allowed the justices to strike down a host of regulations. "The great fear of judicial review in the economic arena," they opine, "is that, with no clear analytical lines to limit judicial discretion, it could metastasize into a full-fledged assault on the modern regulatory state." Might the presumption of liberty provide a clear line of the relevant sort? And would an attack on the regulatory state be so terrible? They don't say.

Outside the government, the authors call for philanthropic support of efforts that reduce the impact of interest-group rent-seeking, from environmental activists (countering the political clout of polluting industries) to education reformers (giving political visibility to positions opposed by influential teachers unions).

When Lindsey and Teles write about the ugly consequences of special privileges, they are powerfully persuasive. They are less so when they propose solutions.

Some of their suggestions are fine. A revival of Lochner-style judicial reasoning might well restrain some regulatory excesses, even if Lindsey and Teles resist the idea of a full-throttle judicial attack on legislative prerogatives. The elimination or reduction of licensing requirements would be extremely helpful to consumers. And some of the other proposals they float, like substantially narrowing the scope of patent and copyright protection, seem like reasonable second-best alternatives to the wholesale elimination of oppressive regulations.

But in many cases there are good reasons to wonder whether their proposals would really reduce the risks of rent-seeking. Concentrated interests are quite capable of finding ways to navigate a reshuffled policy making system.

Consider their call for fast-tracking domestic legislation. If Congress were required to vote up or down on policy proposals put forward by the president, dealmaking wouldn't be eliminated; it would be relocated from Capitol Hill to the White House. Instead of bringing rent-seeking to an end, they would concentrate it in a more powerful and less accountable arm of the government. Would that really be an improvement?

It's gratifying to see a modern liberal and a libertarian agree in criticizing state-secured privilege, even if their policy program arguably links a largely libertarian critique with technocratic solutions. The Captured Economy makes a clear and forceful case against a range of economic interventions, and it does so in ways likely to make sense to center-left statists.

There is a long history of libertarian, liberal, and leftist critiques of the combination of corporate and government power, but the message doesn't seem to have gotten through to the Rachel Maddows of the world. Whatever the limits of its reform proposals, The Captured Economy helps to reframe the American political debate in a way that might appeal to the typical left-leaning MSNBC viewer—perhaps even, if we're optimistic, to Maddow herself.

The friends of state power have found it entirely too easy to treat the government as the defender of ordinary people's well-being, their protector against entrenched interests. Lindsey and Teles undermine that convenient fiction. To read this book is to understand that the state is not the people's tribune. In fact, it ends up championing the very interests that many people expect it to restrain.

Photo Credit: Oxford University Press

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  • MichaeI Hihn||

    Americans are prone to assuming the government redistributes wealth downward, to the poor and vulnerable.

    Trickle-down economics lives on.

  • Shirley Knott||

    Some people are just into water sports. [do I really need to add 'nudge, nudge, wink, wink'?]

  • MichaeI Hihn||

    No, you're good. I expect everyone here to be a sarcastic little shit who says at least half the things they say purely because it makes them giggle. Just like me.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    Whoa, I never thought I would see Gary Chartier published in Reason. What's next, David Friedman?

  • sarcasmic||

    I always thought trickle down involved government not taking and letting the economy distribute, as opposed to government taking and then distributing.

  • MichaeI Hihn||

    I thought the same. Imagine my surprise when folks who think trickle-down economics could never work as a market function, assume it works with clock-like regularity in the hands of unaccountable bureaucrats.

    I'm not sure I shall ever understand people. We don't make much sense.

  • Shirley Knott||

    Professionalize the congressional staff? Somebody's never watched Yes, Minister or Yes, Prime Minister.
    Far from a remedy, a professional staff along the lines suggested by Lindsey and Teles, would both concentrate and institutionalize cronyism (beyond its current vast scope).

    How about term limits for civil service jobs? That would do far more good, I suspect. Nobody else these days expects a job for life, with progression up the ranks and always within the same 'organization '.

  • MichaeI Hihn||

    I think the problem inherent to "public" jobs, is that a job is not a public asset. It's a personal asset. People seek jobs for their benefit, not their neighbor's. Even if their job's title is Do Things In the Best Interests of My Neighbors, if the best interests of the neighbors is against their interests, they'll follow their own interests.

    This is the rock upon which socialism seems to break, regularly: state employees not doing their job. It doesn't matter what title or duties are assigned; public jobs are private assets and the capital of the job is spent by the person holding it - to their net gain.

    The most glaring examples of this are the jobs meant to reign in the excesses of public agencies, especially where the salary is paid by the agency in question. When the boss who signs our paycheck screws up and has way more rank, power, or influence than we do, that our job duty is to oppose him when he's in the wrong doesn't mean we're going to do it. We might get fired, and that would suck for us.

    There seems to be a fatal disconnect, and it torches socialist governments and economies with a high degree of predictability.

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    People who want to bring back government slavery aka military conscription should consider instead making civil servants draftees. If they really do think conscripted military service instills proper citizenship attitudes, they should compare that with what civil service would do for conscriptees and for the people who have to deal with them.

  • Rich||

    Interesting idea.

    *** shudders ***

  • Shirley Knott||

    We do it for juries.
    Not at all sure it would make things worse if we did it for civil service.
    With limited service duration, mandatory "down time" between call-ups, and the same pay & perks jurors get.

    It would sure as hell gut the bureaucracy, and the lulz would be epic.

  • JFree||

    I am not in favor of 'bringing back' anything the US did before. Because unfortunately we completely and perpetually screwed it up - always - with not one actual post-constitution success.

    But militia service done right. The way it was EXPECTED to work in the constitution. The way Switzerland actually made it work - unlike us. That has a huge value in - eg - preventing us from being in global perma-war status with not one peep from us cuz most of us don't serve and none of us pay (that's all debt) so the elites/apparatchiks can use our govt as their means of running the world.

    And yeah - that same thing could be expanded to most of the rest of govt too. Because militia type units tend to have excellent 'civil affairs' type skills - because that's what they do for the other 48-50 weeks/year when they aren't on active duty. And because they aren't careerist bureaucrats, they don't have those distorted incentives to create bureaucracy. The reverse actually - since they have to spend most of their lives as the object of those bureaucrats. And yeah - Switzerland does that one as well via their alternative (Swiss Civilian Service). No surprise, their federal government extracts half the taxes we do - more fairly than we do - spends less as a % of GDP (last time our federal level spent at their levels was in the 1920's) - delivers a shit-ton more to its people - and does so with balanced budgets and federal debt level that we haven't seen since the 1970's.

  • Ride 'Em||

    I was a bit taken back by this also as that standard was applied to agencies and we got ever larger government and less liberty. When the courts agreed that the professional experts within the agencies knew what they were doing, could implement regulations, and, even, criminalize activities, they ignored that these experts would have agendas and expand their own power. I imagine politicians would become upset as the focus of lobbyists would move from politicians to the professional staff.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    There is a long history of libertarian, liberal, and leftist critiques of the combination of corporate and government power, but the message doesn't seem to have gotten through to the Rachel Maddows of the world.

    Where does RM demonstrate her ignorance on the subject? I am sure there are limits to what she knows but she is without question more educated than Hannity or Fat Rush Limbaugh (Praise be unto Him).

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Maddow, the person who just signed a letter supporting Tom Brokaw against women accusers.

    That is one interesting horse to hitch a wagon to.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    These lefties sure are getting eaten by their own.

  • MarkLastname||

    Every time she opens her mouth? Why do you keep pretending you're libertarian by the way. Rushing to defend Rachel Maddow strongly suggests otherwise. You're clearly more of a feminist Bernie bro.

  • sparkstable||

    She works from the fundamental foundation that she and other self-appointed elites justly possess the right to impose dictates onto their lessers and to punish said lessers when they fail to don't with these orders. The power is "justified" by the moral claim that man can be made better through force when force is wielded by the morally pure. The morally pure, the elites, however, can not logically explain why their morality is 1) superior 2) discoverable in nature and 3) able to grant them power based on their own say so but other moralities do not grant others justified superiority and power based on their say so.

    That is the very reason libertarians and the left can NEVER truly get along. We want LGBTQ people to make their own decisions absent bigoted control. They want to control bigots into accepting LGBTQ decisions. The end result of both of those things in benign cases may look identical. But fundamentally one is couched in freedom, the other in slavery.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Speaking of Hannity and crony capitalism among the Trump swamp dwellers:

    Report: Sean Hannity received HUD help on multimillion dollar property deals

    Fox News host Sean Hannity allegedly received help from the US Department for Housing and Urban Development to carry out multimillion dollar real estate deals, according to a report by The Guardian.

    Hannity - Typical conservative piece of shit.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Who was speaking about Hannity?

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    The cogent post immediately above the one you are replying to.

  • Ken Shultz||

    You were responding to your own post about Hannity--because your post was talking about Hannity?

    Does anyone else but you on this site give a shit about Hannity?

    Apart from you weird obsessions, why are we talking about Hannity?

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    John, rufus, Mikey, Sevo, Rebel Scum, loveCons, others here are all Trump/Hannity disciples. Hannity is a full time defender of Trump. Hell, you are too.

  • Ken Shultz||

    I'm sure half of those people don't give a shit. The others probably don't give a shit. Do you imagine that everyone who makes fun of you for your Hannity obsession is defending Hannity? If you're having two-sided conversations with yourself in public about Hannity, you might not want to trust your own judgement on that.

    I'm certainly not taking your word on this--or anything else.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Hannity has become Trump's public mouthpiece, adviser, and sounding board.

    The phone calls between President Trump and Sean Hannity come early in the morning or late at night, after the Fox News host goes off the air. They discuss ideas for Hannity's show, Trump's frustration with the ongoing special counsel probe and even, at times, what the president should tweet, according to people familiar with the conversations. When he's off the phone, Trump is known to cite Hannity when he talks with White House advisers.

    The revelation this week that the two men share an attorney is just the latest sign of how Hannity is intertwined with Trump's world — an increasingly powerful confidant who offers the ­media-driven president a sympathetic ear and shared grievances. The conservative commentator is so close to Trump that some White House aides have dubbed him the unofficial chief of staff.

    WaPost

    They ARE the defenders of the Swamp.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    RINOs protect the edge of the swamp. These RINos have their toes in the swamp water.

    The lefties are up to their necks in the swamp and just want it to get deeper and deeper.

  • Sevo||

    "John, rufus, Mikey, Sevo, Rebel Scum, loveCons, others here are all Trump/Hannity disciples."

    I recognize Hannity only from your pathetic drivel. As regards Trump, I don't much like him. But I sure like a lot of what he's done.
    Wipe that drool off the corner of your mouth; you might convince someone you're brighter than that monkey who took its own photo.

  • MarkLastname||

    Most of them have never indicateda liking for Hannity and several have expressed antipathy for Trump. You dribbling shot out of your mouth again, might want to wipe that up.

    In fact, it seems your the only one hear who watches Hannity. It's a bit of an obsession with you. Did he reject your overtures or something?

  • loveconstitution1789||

    I for one have never watched Hannity and don't watch FOX.

    I think its funny after all these years of trolling Reason, you think Libertarians use FOX as a primary source.

    We all know that you, Butt, are a full time defender of Obama though.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    The combo of HUD loans and a slumlord using taxpayer backed loans is the epitome of Crony Capitalism.

    So Hannity is germane to the entire topic.

    The Swamp is defending the Swamp Real Estate King who is grifting investors.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    You mean Sallie Mae and Freddie Mac to buy low income votes?

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    Note for history that the "cogent post" referred to is PB's own. I don't think I've seen anyone so blatantly bring something up out of the blue, then say next "Speaking of brilliant thoughts....."

    A new low, but PB can't even pay off its bets, so it's only to be expected.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    You lie like Trump does.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Butt, is known as a liar around here so there is no need to remind everyone.

  • MarkLastname||

    You've really got a problem, don't you.

  • Ken Shultz||

    PB is dumber than Lou Ferrigno.

    And speaking of Lou Ferrigno, has anyone else noticed that Sean Hannity is green with envy?

    I guess that's how the relevance thingy works in PB's weird mind?

    Somehow, everything has to do with Hannity.

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    Excellent!

  • Ken Shultz||

    "They call, for instance, for the professionalization of the congressional staff system. Committee staffers, they suggest, should be hired by committees rather than by individual legislators, so that they keep their jobs even as the legislature's membership changes; the idea is to give them an incentive to view working for Congress as a long-term career. Staffers hired by committees will arguably be more inclined to develop focused skills, acquire more expert knowledge, eschew partisanship, and adopt long-term perspectives."

    Reeks of elitism.

    "Professionalism" is supposed to mean that people are more loyal to their profession than they are to their employer. No, a civil engineer won't stamp plans no matter how much the developer wants him to, not if he thinks the plans are unsafe; otherwise, his profession can take away his license. That's the way it works with CPA's, Lawyers, . . .

    When we're talking about congress, we're talking about areas where the government should be responsive to the voters. If congressional staff no longer work for their representatives but for their profession (or their union), then that makes congress fundamentally less accountable to the voters--that is not the solution to any legitimate problem.

  • JoeBlow123||

    Agreed. It was like the authors totally missed out on this "drain the swamp" deal pushed by Trump and liked by his voters.

    ... whether it is actually being carried out is another story...

  • Ken Shultz||

    Only elitists think that the solution to our problems in congress is making the government even less responsive to the governed. It's bad enough in the civil service. That sort of unresponsiveness has no place in congress. Suffice it to say that populism is what happens when people think their government is unresponsive to them. If you want to see populists who make Donald Trump look like a boy scout running the country, definitely, solve the "problem" of congress being responsive to their constituents (or congressional staff being too responsive to our representatives).

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Related to the article (Trumpism definded) - "If you can convince the lowest white man he's better than the best colored man, he won't notice you're picking his pocket.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    If you convince the lowest black man that he is better than white men, he won't notice you're picking his pocket.

  • MarkLastname||

    The article didn't defend 'Trumpism.' Didn't define it either, whichever you meant.

  • DenverJ||

    "Definded" means "lost again".

  • Eidde||

    Racists (white or of whatever color) rarely have to be tricked into being racist, that's simply a Marxist conceit (at least when Marx wasn't mocking fellow-socialists of black ancestry).

    Racists are gonna be racist because they want to pick the pocket of other racists, not because they've been deceived by evil capitalists.

    The capitalists often discovered that if they tried to steer the political debate beyond race, the racists accused them (capitalists) of being sellouts.

    You don't think racists ignore economics, do you? On the contrary, they want the economic benefits which go with superior racial caste status - such as preference for government jobs, better public facilities, a sympathetic justice system to shield them from the consequences of cheating members of other races. Etc.

    Where did we get the idea that racists are in it for the abstract psychological benefits of feeling superior? They want to steal stuff from people from other racists. That's an economic motive right there.

  • Eidde||

    "Racists are gonna be racist because they want to pick the pocket of other *races*"

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    Elsewhere, they ponder the effects of intellectual property rules. By outlawing copycat competition, Lindsey and Teles point out, current copyright and patent laws allow "industry leaders to take fuller advantage of the potential scale economies that the nature of their industries permits.

    Some are going to freak out over this because they think copyrights and patents are Good Things. To them I ask how football, the fashion industry, and chefs manage to thrive in a world where copycats are rampant.

    There are also plenty of examples of patents holding back progress: the Wright Bros and Watt's steam engine are excellent lessons. Bell's telephone patent is a distinct lesson in patent stupidity.

  • MichaeI Hihn||

    I agree. First mover advantage is significant, and sufficient.

  • Ride 'Em||

    And then there was the guy who invented the intermittent windshield wiper. The auto companies stole the idea and it about 50 years before they paid him for the idea and only after years of litigation.

  • MichaeI Hihn||

    And yet we had patent and copyright laws in 1964-1982. Do you mean to tell me that these auto companies ignored the law and did not spontaneously combust? Someone had to DO something about it?

    Huh. Well, if it's any better, I'm with you and think that's outrageous. I just also think it happens a great deal and laws are demonstrably powerless to stop it.

    We've had laws against theft since before humans invented pants, and yet, as you cite, people with power and social capital do as they see fit. Everyone does. People tend to think "good for me" is the same thing as "good"; we're not adept at seeing ourselves as the bad guy, regardless of what we're actually doing at the time. "This time it's different", when the difference is that this time it's us doing it.

    Making more laws, I suggest to you, may be an effective jobs program for people in government and legal industries, and yet it doesn't make the bad things go away. If it were that easy, it would be working by now.

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    That's your big "patents-are-necessary" invention? All your example shows is how companies flout laws. It has nothing to do with whether he would not have come up with the idea absent patent laws, nor whether anyone else would have come up with the idea independently. Weak tea.

  • Robert||

    1st mover is insufficient in fields with div. of labor between creative types & entrepreneurs. The patent system is great in its distrib'n of risk-taking & payoffs.

  • creech||

    Sure, copyrights shouldn't exist. After twenty years research, Scarecrow writes a tremendous history of the founding of America and submits it around to publishers. Random House loves it, slaps David McCullough's name on it and cleans up on the NY Times bestseller list. Scarecrow manages to sell 10 copies, self-published, to his friends who actually know that he wrote it, not McCullough.

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    Anyone can make up useless hypotheticals. Try something more realistic if you want to actually convince people.

  • Ride 'Em||

    The intermittent windshield wiper for example.

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    Explain, please, how that would not have been invented in the absence of patents. Since this is a hypothetical, there's latitude to make up various alternate histories, but they must be plausible.

    I can't see how the idea is particularly radical, how any real patent could have withstood the requirement that it not be obvious, and can't see why any company would have not built them just because they coudln't get a patent for them. It would have been a useful enhancement, other companies would have copied the idea, and any company which didn't add them would be seen as old-fashioned.

    There are also different ways to implement intermittent wipers, and patents must cover the implementation, not the idea. So that's working against you.

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    For instance, explain how Charles Dickens made money in America in spite of hs books being published without paying him royalties. Explain how the Grateful Dead made money while letting everyone record their concerts.

  • Shirley Knott||

    Or Tolkien.
    The handling of that matter is instructive in this debate.

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    And to counter your stupid hypothetical, the publishers would be damned stupid to pay David McCullough royalties when they had no need to. Or are you saying they'd be stealing his name too? Oh wait, how did David McCullough develop a reputation such that his name was worth stealing and the royalties were worth paying? Gosh, that's right, he had developed a reputation for research and writing, but then how could he do so by stealing work? And why would any publisher stomp on a proven researcher who could work on future books in order to help out a proven plagiarizer who would never do any independent research or writing?

    IOW, tl;dr -- your hypothetical is full of contradictions and about as realistic as everything else you write. See how reputations work?

  • Christophe||

    That one's fixable without IP law: get a contractual agreement in place first, in which the publisher agrees to only publish the work if and when they get a signed agreement with the author.

    This method breaks down once the book gets out to the general public but it's viable for the scenario you outlined.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    The dumbest thing to come out of the Mises crowd is this opposition to intellectual property. It only convinced me that people like Kinsella don't understand basic theory of property titles. His arguments are all based on circular reasoning and he doesn't even realize that.

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    I can assert how stupid IP law is as well as you can assert the opposite. I have examples of where it has slowed progress (see above). Why don't you provide the opposite?

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    Patents innovate progress by providing invention details to the public in exchange for limited 20 year exclusion rights. Without patents, everything would remain a trade secret and companies would dedicate a large amount of capital to the protection of trade secrets and corporate espionage.

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    Yes, you've echoed some talking points bulletin from somewhere. Can you provide any actual evidence?

  • MichaeI Hihn||

    I think Rico ate Baylen Linnekin, guys.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    800,000 people are about to flee New York, California because of taxes

    Conservative economists Arthur Laffer and Stephen Moore are predicting a new mass exodus of wealth from New York and California because of the new tax law. But academics who have studied taxes and migration call the forecast "pure nonsense."

    In an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal headlined "So Long, California. Sayonara, New York," Laffer and Moore say the new tax bill will cause a net 800,000 people to move out of California and New York over the next three years.
    CNBC article about exodus from NY and CA
    Weekend roundup.

  • OpenBordersLiberal-tarian||

    This is good news, if true. 800,000 total people from NY and CA won't stop those states from being solidly Democratic. But if the people end up in swing states and continue voting Democrat like they probably did before, it can turn some purple states blue.

    #BlueWave

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Is #bluewave where all the tears of lefties flow like giant oceans out of CA and NY after the Democrats lose seats in election 2018?

    I shall have my barrels ready to capture those tears.

  • OpenBordersLiberal-tarian||

    I won't bookmark this thread since I already bookmarked an earlier one in which you made this same hilariously stupid prediction.

    Fact: The Democrats will control the United States House of Representatives this time next year. (I make no guarantees about the Senate.) That's the most immediate interpretation of #BlueWave.

    Historically, it's common for the President's party to lose Congressional seats during a midterm election. So even if Drumpf were an average President we'd still probably be looking at a Democratic House in 2019. But with Drumpf's abysmal performance so far — bad economy, refusal to support common sense gun safety, "shithole countries" comment, etc. — House Republicans will suffer huge losses.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    I didn't know bots could bookmark that effectively.

    Fact: Democrats have lost more special elections than they have won and the races they did win were close in places they should not have been. Even Democrats know they are going to be defeated this November by wide margins. The lefty desperation tells it all.

    Trump is not like other presidents, so historical midterm loses will change this election. Democrats are going to lose bad.

    Then Trump will win re-election in 2020 along with another huge defeat of Democrats. Its going to be a bad decade for lefties.

  • OpenBordersLiberal-tarian||

  • Sevo||

    "I routinely get accused of being a troll or a parody, while people let this embarrassing horseshit go unanswered?"

    Not "accused"; "recognized".

  • JoeBlow123||

    loveconstitution getting owned by OBL!

  • Sevo||

    JoeBlow123|4.28.18 @ 10:41PM|#
    "loveconstitution getting owned by OBL!"

    JoeBlow makes stupid claim.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    JoeBlow123|4.28.18 @ 10:41PM|#
    loveconstitution getting owned by OBL!


    OBL thinks that is being owned because that happens to Blow123... a lot.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    RINOs in Congress do what Democrats tell them to do, so who cares what they think about their chances in the election 2018. Many of these clowns thought Trump would lose too.

    That is why they are RINOs. They don't think fiscal restraint, limited government, and supporting Trump will get them reelected. They have no clue that Trump is more popular than ever and helping him roll back government will only help you.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "800,000 total people from NY and CA won't stop those states from being solidly Democratic. But if the people end up in swing states and continue voting Democrat like they probably did before, it can turn some purple states blue.

    As I recall, the article was talking about them fleeing New York and California for Utah and Nevada. Utah won't even budge purple. Nevada might go blue. There's one thing you aren't considering, however . . .

    California voted blue over the issues of immigration, gay marriage, and other culture war issues. When California was decidedly red, it was when the predominant issues were over taxes, Prop 13, etc. That general rule probably hasn't changed.

    Laffer and company were arguing that people were leaving California because the new rules mean they can no longer deduct California's sky high 13.3% income tax from their federal income taxes. Hit Silicon Valley, Hollywood, and Biotech Beach with taxes like that, and guess what issue becomes more important in determining the outcome of elections?

    It's probably unreasonable to assume that Californians will vote the same way when the dominant issue is taxes as they did when the dominant issues were immigration, environmentalism, gay rights, etc.

  • Jerryskids||

    "The great fear of judicial review in the economic arena," they opine, "is that, with no clear analytical lines to limit judicial discretion, it could metastasize into a full-fledged assault on the modern regulatory state."

    I fear hordes of bikini models pestering me with offers of big bags of cash if I'll agree to have sex with them.

    The modern regulatory state is the delusion that human beings can be scientifically managed like a flock of sheep, that they aren't endowed with free will and a nature that tends to make them follow their own interests and desires regardless of whether or not it's for the common good. It's the New Soviet Man and Woodrow Wilson's (pbuh*) Technocracy, JFK's Best and Brightest and Hillary's Village. If you're going to make a paradise here on Earth, you're going to need a population of altruistic saints more concerned with the welfare of others than of themselves. And if you're familiar with the process of making saints, it starts with dead people.

    *No, not "Peace Be Upon Him", "Probably Burning in Unremitting Hellfire".

  • Entelechy||

    The most egregious of the rent seekers are the posse of wannabe kleptocrats from Oklahoma seconding Scott Pruitt.

    Their Texan opposite numbers already have money from gaming 43 & 44.

    These guys want ours

  • Sevo||

    ^?

  • Cloudbuster||

    They call, for instance, for the professionalization of the congressional staff system. Committee staffers, they suggest, should be hired by committees rather than by individual legislators, so that they keep their jobs even as the legislature's membership changes; the idea is to give them an incentive to view working for Congress as a long-term career. Staffers hired by committees will arguably be more inclined to develop focused skills, acquire more expert knowledge, eschew partisanship, and adopt long-term perspectives. Lindsey and Teles also propose doubling the number of staff positions and tripling the amount of money available for staff salaries.

    Also known as the complete takeover of the legislative branch by the administrative state. Fresh young Congresspeople will be drowned in the FUD from their professional staffs.

  • SIV||

    The Captured Economy makes a clear and forceful case against a range of economic interventions, and it does so in ways likely to make sense to center-left statists.

    Statist-outreach

  • JoeBlow123||

    It seemed like many of their solutions to problems were creating new agencies and government rules. Seems counter productive.

  • Sevo||

    OT:
    The Kim/Moon meeting is getting raves as if it is the harbinger of world peace, especially in Asian vid feeds.
    See: https://www.youtube.com/
    watch? v=xL6IRZQYuC4&t=72
    Or about any search you please.
    Yes, it is the first time a Nork dictator ended up in So Korea, and that alone is interesting. If you read WWII history, you see that Stalin left Moscow but once to meet with Roosevelt and Churchill, and that was Tehran, close enough to make sure, as a tin-pot dictator that no one was sitting in his chair on return. This meeting says Kim is secure enough to leave his capital and hope to be in charge on return.
    Beyond that bit of conjecture, I fail to see it as anything more than moonbeam's "goal" of CA being 'really, really, REALLY, green by, oh, sometime'.
    Fox-phanatics are nominating Trump for the Peace Prize, regardless of its irrelevance after the Obo fiasco at least, while those suffering from TDS are claiming 1) Obo did it!, 2) Trump got lucky!, 3) Trump had nothing to do with it! 4) "Dotard", "Dotard", "Dotard", whatever that means, turd.
    I'm still giving the effort a standing O, knowing full well that the result may well be what the losers of 11/9/16 are still whining about.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "SEOUL—North Korea said it would shut down its nuclear test site by May and take steps to demonstrate the closure to the world, South Korea's presidential office said Sunday, adding to momentum for a deal on the regime's nuclear program after last week's historic talks between the two sides."

    ----Wall Street Journal

    http://www.wsj.com/articles/no.....1524971627

    A few days ago, the Chinese said that the site was largely unusable because of cave-ins after the last test, but, still, these are admissions and actions--ahead of a June summit with Trump--that are both positive and verifiable.

    It should also be noted that concessions in contentious negotiations don't just materialize out of nowhere for no reason. Summits like the upcoming one between Trump and Kim Kong-un are made to announce and finalize deals--not to negotiate them. It's like getting plans approved by a city council meeting--the night they vote isn't the first time they've seen the project. The city council meeting is the culmination of 18 months of work to gain their approval. We wouldn't go ahead with the city council meeting if we thought we would lose.

  • Ken Shultz||

    So long as we see positive steps--promises and concessions--we should assume they're indicative of which way the wind is blowing. Showing the world that they're closing their test site is surely better than doing no such thing. And it's fundamentally better than hurling test ICBMs over Japanese airspace towards the United States, as well. It's certainly not the same as dong nothing just because they haven't yet capitulated completely. Again, they're not making these concessions (be they public statements or actions) for no reason. They're presumably the result of pressure and demands made by Trump and Xi.

    If Trump responds by easing sanctions in a show of good faith, watch for the Democrats and their fans in the press to accuse him of colluding with the North Koreans the way they say he did with Putin. You know, the North Koreans have a sophisticated hacker program of their own. Maybe Trump is just trying to get their help ahead of 2020 like he got help from Putin in 2016. The stories full of innuendo and speculation practically write themselves. We don't know what was said between North Korea and the Trump administration, but there appears to have been a quid pro quo!!!

    Obviously Mueller needs to interview everyone in the Trump administration who has any knowledge of Trump's discussions with Kim Jong-un.

  • Jerryskids||

    I still say, whether Trump realizes it or not or whether or not the TDS media realizes it, that the breakthrough with NK has less to do with Kim and more to do with pressure on China. NK has always been China's puppet, MacArthur was right in suggesting we should have nuked Mao when we had the chance. (Which is not to say that Truman wasn't also right to have fired MacArthur for such gross and public insubordination.) Patting China on the back for their help in reining in NK is like thanking a mugger for only stealing your wallet and watch and not taking your wedding ring as well. De-nuclearizing the Korean peninsula by getting Kim to disarm isn't the real end-game here, from the Chinese perspective it's getting the US out of South Korea - and Taiwan and the Philippines and anywhere else the US might be a barrier to their controlling all of SE Asia - and I don't trust that there's a whole lot of people that are thinking beyond ending hostilities between North and South Korea. Once Kim gets rid of his nukes and starts getting all nice and friendly, why would the US still need a presence in South Korea? And once we move out, China moves in.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Xi has shown repeatedly that he's willing to make concessions to Trump to avert a trade war--why wouldn't he pressure North Korea to make concessions if he's willing to make them himself?

    Absolutely, the continued breakthrough with North Korea came after Kim Jong-un's trip to Beijing to meet with Emperor Xi. The walls of Jericho seem to have come down after that.

    As I've said before, I generally oppose using trade this way. If I were President Trump, I would not use trade as a weapon to pressure China--seems to me like it's cutting off our own nose to spite our face.

    That being said, if Trump's strategy works to rid the U.S. of the threat of nuclear ICBM's from China through peaceful negotiations, then I'm not about to argue with success. If North Korea follows through with this, then he was right and I was wrong.

    We 16 years of necons before Trump, and its made us forget what it's like to see a pragmatic realist in office. The press couldn't get their heads around Trump's collaboration with Putin destroying ISIS without having to invade and occupy Syria, and if North Korea gives up their nukes for real, the won't give Trump's leadership any credit for that either. Like I said, they'll probably blame him for . . .

  • Ken Shultz||

    Listening to some in the press these days, you'd think the progressives were eternal warriors for free trade. That's how crazy they've become. They covered the DNC suing Putin, Trump, and Wikileaks for conspiring to steal the 2016 election like it was something other than insane or hilarious. They'll never bend to reality. It's just like they were with Reagan. Even after the Soviet Union had collapsed without an ICBM fired, listening to the press talk about Reagan, you'd think he was the reason we lost the Cold War.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Always a good analysis Ken.

  • MSimon||

    Impeachment.

    Maxine suggested it. Pelosi confirmed it. Trump is running on it.

    I assume he needs to energize his base.

  • JFree||

    Reduce state power. But Lindsey and Teles often dismiss that response,

    They are correct to dismiss the easy knee-jerk response - esp re local governance. Libertarians should spend less time yapping ivory tower ideology - and more time studying actual municipal history. eg Hazen Pingree in 1890's Detroit - when most municipal service were private and kept failing bad in exactly the ways that natural monopolies will always produce a market distortion that then leads to pressure to fix that problem via govt because the market won't fix it and it involves a cronyism either way.

    They call, for instance, for the professionalization of the congressional staff system.

    Yeesh. Talk about stupid. Eliminate 90% of staff by expanding the size (ie reducing district size) of Congress. I don't much care about 'professionalism'. I do care about electoral accountability - and reducing district sizes gets a ton more voices in congress, makes it much more expensive to buy legislation, and makes it easier for challengers to challenge. With district sizes of 50,000 rather than 750,000 - an elected critter will only need clerical help and might even be able to pool that.

  • JFree||

    The biggest mistake Americans made in the 20th century was in not doubling the size of Congress when women got the vote. We created a zero-sum game where our individual representation can only come at the expense of someone else's representation. And it is very easy for elites to manipulate a zero-sum game (divide et impera).

  • loveconstitution1789||

    You're posts are so uninformative and just boring.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    And *your posts are that too.

  • JFree||

    Well I have to cede the universe of organ-grinders monkey posts to you since you do them so well.

  • Hank Phillips||

    Looters repeat the mantra "the public simply is not prepared to support a significant diminution in the size and scope of government." But since the Y2k election, Russia's communist party vote has fallen some 18 percentage points on what looks like a decay curve. The Libertarian Party vote in these states is the only one increasing, as a healthy hockey stick that fits a sigmoid replacement curve for the same set of elections. Both looter parties are backing away from gay-baiting, coathanger abortion laws, shooting kids over plant leaves and adding relatives to the Federal payroll. I'd say the voters are better prepared than the book's conservative authors.

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