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RealClear Radio Farewell Broadcast

1 Jan

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After three years on the air our experiment in broadcasting a donor-supported NPR-style interview program, with a libertarian rather than a left-liberal editorial perspective, has drawn to a close. I’d like to thank Bloomberg Radio for giving us our start, our anchor sponsor the Competitive Enterprise Institute for its support, and especially our producer Amanda France, whose tireless efforts booking compelling guests, building out our national radio syndicate, and prepping me with research to help bring out our guests’ stories was superb. Learning about, speaking with, and helping spread the ideas of the over 300 guests we’ve had on the show has been a privilege. Their interviews will live on in our podcast library at RealClearRadio.org and in selected rebroadcasts on WBCA Community Radio Boston. Thank you for listening. Please have a safe and prosperous New Year.

And now, without further ado, our final broadcast.

War on Science

December 31, 2016

New York Times columnist and City Journal contributing editor, John Tierney discusses how the political left’s social science monoculture and the hyper-politicization of science has delivered disastrous results. From eugenics to hysteria over global warming, failed science policies are a result of confirmation bias and fatal conceit in today’s science dogma that doesn’t allow challenges to prevailing claims.

Portrait of Jack Tierney NY Times Building

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Economic Futures

December 31, 2016

Peter Wallison, senior fellow in financial policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute, recommends strategies for the new administration to encourage economic growth and liberalization. Wallison advocates curtailing the legacies of overregulation and the administrative state by dismantling Dodd-Frank and emboldening the judiciary to stand up to overreach instead of mandating strict agency deference.

AEI Portraits - (Photo by Jay Westcott/for AEI)

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RealClear Radio Hour – Reinventing Land Rights in the Ivory Coast

27 Dec

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Reinventing Land Rights in the Ivory Coast

December 24, 2016

Donatien Adou, Scientific Committee Member at Audace Institut Afrique (AIA), discusses the history of political corruption, weak rule of law, and lack of enforceable property rights in his native Ivory Coast. To empower bottom-up development, Adou shares how AIA is encouraging the use of blockchain technology to create land titling and registry systems throughout the country’s valuable agricultural land.

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RealClear Radio Hour – The Presidential Pen

26 Dec

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The Presidential Pen

December 24, 2016

Andrew Grossman, partner at the law firm BakerHostetler and adjunct scholar at the Cato Institute, discusses the extra-Constitutional tactics of the modern presidency that have given unbridled, unprecedented discretion to Executive Branch agencies. Grossman outlines executive actions of the Obama administration—from the Clean Power Plan and delays to implementation of parts of the Affordable Care Act to various Dear Colleague letters and regulation by blog post—that are ripe for Executive undoing by the new administration.

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RealClear Radio Hour – Great American Cities’ Heroine

19 Dec

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Great American Cities’ Heroine

December 17, 2016

Robert Kanigel, author of Eyes on the Street: The Life of Jane Jacobs, shares how the renowned urban activist rallied both the political left and right behind her crusade to save New York City from Robert Moses’s flawed urban renewal projects.

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RealClear Radio Hour – City Extortion

18 Dec

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City Extortion

December 17, 2016

Brian Hodges, Principal Attorney at the Pacific Legal Foundation (PLF), tells the story of how his organization, the first public interest group to defend property rights and challenge government overreach, has helped change the American legal landscape. As an example, Hodges details a current case in which PLF is defending an entrepreneurial couple from an unconstitutional attempt by the City of West Hollywood to impose a half-million dollar “affordable housing” permitting fee on their new condominium development.

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RealClear Radio Hour – Pension Crisis

12 Dec

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Pension Crisis

December 10, 2016

Dan Liljenquist, former Utah state senator and president and founder of Liljenquist Strategies, shares how he successfully spearheaded pension reform in Utah, which earned Governing magazine’s 2011 Public Official of the Year award. Liljenquist suggests how chronically underfunded pension programs in states nationwide can avoid the risk of structural bankruptcy such as Puerto Rico suffered this year.

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RealClear Radio Hour – Perversion of Science

11 Dec

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Perversion of Science

December 10, 2016

Marc Edwards, Professor of Environmental and Water Resources Engineering at Virginia Tech, discusses institutional scientific misconduct in academic and government-funded science. Edwards details how the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention created and covered up both the D.C. and Flint, Michigan, lead and drinking water crises. He describes how upper management cultivates a culture of corruption to promote their policy agency agenda, risking loss of public trust in science.

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RealClear Radio Hour: Soviet Politics Comes to America

5 Dec

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Soviet Politics Comes to America

December 3, 2016

Russian émigré and Marxist scholar Alexander Markovsky shares why he fled the Soviet system. In his recently published book, Liberal Bolshevism: America Did Not Defeat Communism, She Adopted It, Markovsky warns that the U.S. is being led along a similar failed trajectory as his native homeland, using different means toward the same end.

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RealClear Radio Hour – Prospects for the Western World

4 Dec

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Prospects for the Western World

December 3, 2016

Andrew Roberts, historian, author, and Visiting Professor at the War Studies Department at King’s College, London, takes issue with America’s broken primary system and the intransigent two-party duopoly, regrettably driven by the politics of “the other.” Roberts reflects on the future of Western civilization and proposes a CANZUK union in the wake of Brexit—comprised of Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom—to strengthen free trade and defense alliances between the Crown countries.

andrew-roberts

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RealClear Radio Hour – Chaos and Climate

28 Nov

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Chaos and Climate

November 26, 2016

Dr. Kerry Emanuel, Professor of Atmospheric Science and co-founder of the Lorenz Center at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, discusses chaos theory and the challenges it poses to making specific weather and climate forecasts. Emanuel explores current assessments and future predictions of climate related to sea level rise, sunspots, and hurricane intensity and the viability of today’s political proposals.

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RealClear Radio Hour – Cancer Care Politics And Treatments

27 Nov

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Cancer Care Politics and Treatments

November 26, 2016

Dr. Debra Patt, practicing oncologist and Vice President of Texas Oncology, explains how the well-intentioned federal 340B Drug Discount Program is actually driving up cancer care costs. With preferred vendor hospitals applying their 30-50% drug discounts to all patients, not just the underserved, industry-wide prices are being forced up to subsidize the program. On the whole, however, Patt is optimistic about the diagnostic innovations, therapeutic success, and a drastic drop in cancer mortality rates.

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RealClear Radio Hour – Trade Finance for Posterity

21 Nov

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Trade Finance for Posterity

November 19, 2016

Fintech entrepreneur Chris Hale, Founder and CEO of the trade finance company Kountable, discusses how his smartphone-based platform is empowering entrepreneurs in Rwanda to the benefit of their compatriots, suppliers, and the global economy. Hale shares success stories of Kountable-financed entrepreneurs building computer labs for girls’ schools and introducing incubators to hospitals countrywide.

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RealClear Radio Hour – Peace, Prosperity, and Trade

20 Nov

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Peace, Prosperity, and Trade

November 19, 2016

Daniel Griswold, Senior Research Fellow and Co-Director of the Program on the American Economy and Globalization at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, discusses the seemingly invisible benefits of free trade that bolster opportunities and businesses’ bottom line. Griswold debunks common myths about the U.S. trade deficit, manufacturing decline, and the negative impact of the North American Free Trade Agreement and explains why the Trans-Pacific Partnership is a welcome 21st century agreement.

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RealClear Radio Hour – Veterans Day Special

13 Nov

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Living History

November 12, 2016

Rob Collings, Executive Director and Chief Pilot of the Collings Foundation, shares how his family’s foundation brings history to life for younger generations to experience. Passionate that World War II was “the pivotal event of the last millennium,” Collings has dedicated his life to preserving artifacts and sharing veterans’ legacies.

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Battle for the Airfield

November 12, 2016

In the field at the 2016 Battle for the Airfield, the Collings Foundation’s annual World War II reenactment in Stow, Massachusetts, host Bill Frezza speaks to Director of Marketing Hunter Chaney, surviving World War II combat veterans Fred McKenna and Harry Kramer, collectors, and reenactors participating in the event.

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RealClear Radio Hour – Robot Revolution

7 Nov

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Robot Revolution

November 5, 2016

Katherine Mangu-Ward, Editor in Chief of Reason magazine, makes a compelling case for embracing technological futurism, detailing how we’ve already incorporated artificial intelligence into huge swaths of daily life. Mangu-Ward argues that the “nostalgianomics” of this presidential campaign is largely a response to the political risk of the gig economy and innate resistance to technological change. She reminds us that with better tools, the state of humanity is continually improving, and gives hope that private sector growth is outpacing government efforts to control that growth.

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RealClear Radio Hour – Nanny State Down Under

6 Nov

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Nanny State Down Under

November 5, 2016

Topher Field, Australian commentator and filmmaker, shares how the mythical frontier society transformed into the world’s biggest nanny state. Field analyzes the effects of bureaucratization and overregulation of every aspect of life—from the gun buyback program and lockout laws failing to stop violence to the inadequacies of government health care, compensation for taxi cartels displaced by ride sharing apps, and food police scaremongering. Field holds out hope for a coming revolution led by the rebellious Aussie youth, aware of the dangers of government overreach.

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RealClear Radio Hour – Legal Graft

31 Oct

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Legal Graft

October 29, 2016

Trevor Burrus, research fellow in the Cato Institute’s Center for Constitutional Studies and managing editor of the Cato Supreme Court Review, discusses campaign finance reform, declining media credibility, and defunding public broadcasting. With political sensationalism and journalistic malfeasance on the rise, Burrus explains why calls for taking money out of politics and licensing journalists won’t improve the state of political discourse.

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RealClear Radio Hour – Internet Sales Tax Shakedown

30 Oct

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Internet Sales Tax Shakedown

October 29, 2016

Jessica Melugin, adjunct fellow in technology policy at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, breaks down the nearly 20-year-old Internet sales tax debate. Melugin shares why lobbyists, politicians, and big box retailers advocate Internet taxation without representation. Under those proposals, Melugin explains, consumers would see sales tax rates increase, states would export their tax regimes to remote businesses, and online sellers would be forced to keep records for about 10,000 tax jurisdictions around the nation.

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RealClear Radio Hour – The Reality of War

23 Oct

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The Reality of War

October 22, 2016

Kenneth Rendell, founder and director of the Museum of World War II—the most comprehensive global collection of artifacts and documents from the Second World War—shares what drove him to preserve the history of that cataclysmic conflict to help prevent it being forgotten or repeated. Starting with a childhood coin collection, Rendell refined his knowledge to become a top world expert in document validation, unmasking some of the most notorious forgeries—including the Hitler diaries and Mormon archives.

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RealClear Radio Hour – The Revolution of 1800

22 Oct

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The Spirit of 1776

October 22, 2016

Dr. Robert McDonald, West Point Professor of History and author of Confounding Father: Thomas Jefferson’s Image in His Own Time, discusses what was hailed as the “Revolution of 1800”—one of the most contentious elections in American history, the stakes of which make those of the current election pale in comparison. McDonald establishes how Jefferson embodied the spirit of 1776 in his westward looking ambitions, aiming to liberate America in body, mind, and spirit.

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RealClear Radio Hour – American Cuisine and Whiskey

16 Oct

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American Cuisine

October 15, 2016

Paul Freedman, Yale University Professor of History and author of the recently published Ten Restaurants that Changed America, charts American history over the last 200 years through the nation’s cuisine. Distinct and varied, Freedman describes the quintessential restaurants that characterize American fare, from ethnic and regional to industrial dishes. Delmonico’s defined the international standard for prestige and Antoine’s the vibrant regional fare, while Howard Johnson’s pioneered the franchise and Chez Panisse founder Alice Waters helped cultivate a more sophisticated palate.

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Whiskey—A Higher Spirit

October 15, 2016

Rick Wasmund, CEO and Owner of Copper Fox Distillery, discusses whiskey’s rich history, from its Irish and Scottish roots to its American heritage—with Johnny Appleseed’s brandy, Pennsylvania rye, the Whiskey Rebellion, and the innovations he and others are contributing to the tradition today. Wasmund, a featured interviewee in CEI’s new short film, I, Whiskey: The Human Spirit, describes the production process and the extensive “whiskey tribe” who makes it all possible.

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RealClear Radio Hour – Bipartisanship, Money and Politics

9 Oct

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Transcending Bipartisanship

October 8, 2016

Avik Roy, President of the Foundation for Research on Equal Opportunity (FREOPP) and author of the study, “Transcending Obamacare,” discusses how he founded FREOPP to forge meaningful bipartisan reform at the federal level, starting with health care. Roy points to the successful consumer-driven systems in Singapore and Switzerland—which subsidize only the least well-off while still offering free-market access to coverage, the latest technology, and high performance to the populace at large—as the models for FREOPP’s reform proposals.

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Money, Politics, and the FEC

October 8, 2016

Lee Goodman, member and former chair of the Federal Election Commission (FEC), discusses money and politics and their connection to free speech. Goodman recounts how the FEC was created as part of the post-Watergate reforms to curtail government persecution of political opponents and details how the party defending free speech has flip flopped since the mid-century McCarthy era. In the wake of the Citizens United Supreme Court ruling, progressive attacks on free speech have spread from campus speech codes to the IRS and state attorneys general. (Photo by: Gage Skidmore)

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FEE – Climate Modeling: Settled Science or Fool’s Errand?

3 Oct

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Climate Modeling: Settled Science or Fool’s Errand?

I don’t know if you’ve had a chance to read Daniel Sarewitz’s recent piece Saving Science in the New Atlantis, but it is causing all sorts of ripples across the scientific community, and deserves even more attention from both scientists and policy makers. I interviewed Sarewitz for RealClear Radio Hour this weekend and would like to dig into just one of the many issues we discussed, and that is the misuse of climate models. But first, a little background.

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Like the quip about England and America often misattributed to George Bernard Shaw, science and engineering are two professions divided by a common language. That language, or course, is mathematics, a symbolic abstraction through which we can describe, explain, and sometimes transform the natural world. That matters, for the differences in the way scientists and engineers use mathematics can have profound political consequences when those calculations drift too far from observable reality.

When mathematics jumped from paper to computers, elegance was turbocharged with brute force. This allowed scientists and engineers to develop computer models that simulated physical phenomena. Eventually, some of these simulation models became good enough that “what if” experiments could be conducted more rapidly and conveniently on a computer than by performing physical experiments. Propelled by Moore’s Law, improvements in computing delivered billions of calculations per second, and the most advanced simulation models took on breathtaking levels of sophistication.

To read the rest of the column, click here.

 

RealClear Radio Hour – Big Science

2 Oct

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Big Science Impact

October 1, 2016

Dr. Jeremy Berg, Editor-in-Chief of Science and Professor of Computational and Systems Biology at the University of Pittsburgh, unpacks the declining public trust in the $50 billion publicly funded science industry—from the replication crisis to the politicization of science.

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Big Science Bubble

October 1, 2016

Dr. Daniel Sarewitz, Professor of Science and Society at Arizona State University and co-director of the Consortium for Science, Policy, and Outcomes, discusses how the modern Big Science enterprise grew out of the post-World War II Military-Industrial complex. Conceived under the guise of protecting scientific integrity, the system has become an insular, self-perpetuating culture that encourages quantity rather than quality research, Sarewitz argues. Meanwhile in practice, most scientific discoveries follow rather than lead technology in its relentless pursuit of new products and services.

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RealClear Radio Hour – Fashioning America

26 Sep

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Fashioning America

September 24, 2016

Cathy Lynn Taylor, author of Red is the New Black: How Women Can Fashion a More Powerful America, discusses how often misunderstood conservative values and policy choices can empower both men and women.

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RealClear Radio Hour – Penniless Presidencies

25 Sep

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Penniless Presidencies

September 24, 2016

Alan Axelrod, author of Full Faith and Credit: The National Debt, Taxes, Spending, and the Bankrupting of America, opens the conversation explaining why the U.S.’s perilous gross debt to GDP ratio may be past the point of no return. Axelrod’s stories of our most to least fiscally responsible presidents reveal our trajectory—from the parsimonious George Washington to Thomas Jefferson’s Louisiana Purchase extravagance, Abraham Lincoln’s budget busting Civil War, and modern presidents’ bailouts paving the road to national bankruptcy.

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RealClear Radio Hour – Authenticity’s Rub

19 Sep

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Authenticity’s Rub

September 17, 2016

Glenn Carroll, Laurence W. Lane Professor of Organizations and Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at Stanford University Graduate School of Business, describes how selling “authenticity” became a phenomenon in business and politics. From the microbrewery surge in the 1990s to the insurgent candidates in the current presidential election, Carroll contrasts romanticized attributes and perceived authenticity with objective characteristics and historical context.

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RealClear Radio Hour – Risk, Reward, and Science

18 Sep

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Risk, Reward, and Science

September 17, 2016

Tracey Brown, director of Sense about Science and author of Playing by the Rules: How Our Obsession with Safety Is Putting Us All at Risk, advocates transparent scientific debate and dispelling of misinformation as antidotes to scaremongering. Brown argues that only experience allows us to uncover life’s greatest challenges, and warns that excess risk-aversion will not only halt innovation, but could reverse modern progress.

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RealClear Radio Hour – Criminal Justice Problems & Solutions

11 Sep

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Community Policing and Justice

September 10, 2016

Chief Jim Bueermann, president of the Police Foundation, who served with the Redlands Police Department for 33 years, discusses evidence-based policing and community relations. To encourage public trust and alleviate injustice, Bueermann proposes police work closely with their communities in order to collaborate on implementing crime prevention strategies.

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Soul Fixer

September 10, 2016

Sharon Richardson, founder and CEO of Just Soul Catering, president of Reentry Rocks, and a graduate of Defy Ventures’ Entrepreneurs-in-Training program, tells how, after nearly a decade as a correctional officer at Rikers Island, some tragic decisions landed her in prison for 20 years. Richardson shares her story of successful reentry into society to advocate for victims of domestic violence and criminal justice reform.

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RealClear Radio Hour – American Indian, EpiPen, and Free Speech Fiascos

4 Sep

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Cancelled Reservations

September 3, 2016

Naomi Schaefer Riley, New York Post columnist and author of The New Trail of Tears: How Washington Is Destroying American Indians, details how federal policies have consigned Native Americans to poverty and contributed to their high rates of suicide, domestic abuse, gang violence, unemployment, and drug and alcohol epidemics. Riley argues for repealing both stifling tribal regulations and the loophole economy regulatory exemptions, instead allowing for true property rights and access to capital.

Naomi Schaefer Riley

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Epic Drug Scandal

September 3, 2016

Scott Gottlieb, M.D., former Deputy Commissioner at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, describes how the FDA’s narrowly prescriptive generic drug approval process creates expensive barriers to market entry that led to the EpiPen drug pricing debacle.

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Litigating for Principle

September 3, 2016

Victor Bernson, Vice President and General Counsel of Americans for Prosperity (AFP), the largest center-right grassroots advocacy organization, discusses how AFP and groups throughout California became a political target of Attorney General Kamala Harris. Bernson shares how AFP was vindicated in their First Amendment suit, in which AG Harris’ blanket collection and potential public distribution of confidential private donor names was ruled unconstitutional.

Vic Bernson

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FEE – Greatest Hits of the Science Deniers

2 Sep

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 Greatest Hits of the Science Deniers

“And yet, it moves.”

Thus muttered Galileo Galilei under his breath after being forced by the Inquisition to recant his claim that the Earth moved around the Sun, rather than the other way round. The public vindication of Copernican heliocentrism would have to wait another day.

Today, Galileo’s story is a well-known illustration of the dangers of both unchecked power and declaring scientific matters “settled.” Yet, throughout history, Galileo wasn’t alone.

Scientists once knew that light moved through space via the luminiferous aether—how else could its waves travel? In 1887 Albert Michelson and Edward Morley proved that it wasn’t so thanks to a “failed” experiment designed to conclusively demonstrate the existence of this invisible medium. Poor Michelson suffered a nervous breakdown when faced with such unexpected results.

In 1931 a book published in Germany, One Hundred Authors against Einstein, defended the settled science of Newtonian physics, proclaiming Einstein’s theory of relativity a fraud. Einstein was reported to have replied, “Why one hundred? If I were wrong, one would have been enough.”

On these pages I recently recounted the story of the early 20th century belief in Eugenics, a science widely adopted by governments around the world as a basis for social policy, with horrifying results.

Australian physicians Barry Marshall and Robin Warrens were ridiculed when they hypothesized that ulcers were caused by microbes, which every scientist knew couldn’t survive in stomach acid. Doctors were sure that peptic ulcers were caused by stress and spicy foods. In frustration, Marshall drank a Petri dish full of cultured H. pylori, proving the settled science wrong. Hopefully, the Nobel Prize he and Warrens received compensated for the illness that resulted.

And remember the government’s dietary guidelines, including the warnings against salt and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Pyramid urging Americans to eat more carbs and fewer fats? That didn’t work out so well, did it?

We all grew up knowing that life began in the “primordial soup” of the seas, sparked by lightning. A recent paper in Nature casts doubt on that theory, producing evidence that life may have begun in hydrothermal vents in the ocean floor. The jury is still out on this one.

And that’s the point.

To read the rest of the column click here.

RealClear Radio Hour – Markets, Politics, and Women

28 Aug

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Markets, Politics, and Women

August 27, 2016

Sarah Skwire, Senior Fellow at Liberty Fund, Literary Editor of FEE.org, and poet, charts how markets have elevated and liberated women over the last century, while politics continues to disparage women—from proscriptive minimum wage laws and a tax code bias against working women to today’s rallying cries in support of Hillary Clinton based solely on gender solidarity.

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RealClear Radio Hour – Bureaucracy or Brexit?

21 Aug

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Britain’s Leave Legacy

August 20, 2016

Julian Morris, Vice President of Research at the Reason Foundation and a UK native, outlines key policies Britain must adopt to flourish post-Brexit. By liberalizing its trade policy and joining the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), Morris argues the UK can thrive outside and alongside the EU, and that other EU member states may be encouraged to follow Britain’s route.

Julian Morris

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The Future of the Firm and Brexit

August 20, 2016

Iain Murray, Vice President for Strategy at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, channels Ronald Coase and describes the evolution of corporations as they adapt to the gig economy. A British expat, Murray shares why he remains optimistic that Britain will emerge successfully from the prisoner’s dilemma it faces vis-a-vis the EU, which it seeks to exit on favorable terms.

Iain Murray

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Food, Drug, and British Regulation

August 20, 2016

Richard Williams, Director of the Regulatory Studies Program at the Mercatus Center and former director for social science at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) discusses the FDA’s regulatory principles and why those who follow the precautionary principle should avoid even a single cup of coffee. Williams extrapolates these lessons to Britain’s overregulated economy and the aftermath of the Brexit vote.

Richard Williams

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FEE – Our Media-Driven Epistemological Breakdown

18 Aug

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Media’s Role in the Breakdown of Rational Epistemology

August 18, 2016

How do we know what we know? Philosophers have pondered this question from time immemorial. Julian Jaynes, in his classic book, The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind, speculates that before the development of modern human consciousness, people believed they were informed by voices in their heads. Today, an alarming number of people are responding to voices on the Internet in similarly uncritical fashion.

As Jesuit scholar John Culkin pointed out in his seminal 1967 Saturday Review article, “A Schoolman’s Guide to Marshall McLuhan,” “We shape our tools and, thereafter, they shape us.” Examining history through this lens, one can identify seven great epochs in mankind’s intellectual and social evolution.  Each is characterized by the way a new technology changed not only how we think about the world, but our actual thought processes. These are:

1) Spoken language, which first led to the primacy of mythology;

2) Written language, which bequeathed to us holy books and the world’s great religions;

3) The printing press, which spread literacy to the elites who went on to birth the nation state, the Reformation, the Enlightenment, and the U.S. Constitution;

4) The telegraph, which transformed pamphlets and broadsheets into modern newspapers, whose agenda-setting influence goaded America to “Remember the Maine” and become an imperialist power;

5) Radio, which placed broadcast propaganda at the service of central planners, progressives, and tyrants;

6) Television, which propelled the rising tide of the counterculture, environmentalism, and globalism; and

7) The Internet, a nascent global memory machine that puts the Library of Alexandria to shame, yet fits in everyone’s pocket.

Plato's Memes

At each transition, the older environment and way of thinking does not disappear. Rather, it adopts an extreme defensive crouch as it attempts to retain power over men’s minds. It is the transition from the Age of Television to the Age of the Internet that concerns us here, as it serves up an often-toxic brew of advocacy and click-bait journalism competing to feed the masses an avalanche of unverifiable information, often immune to factual or logical refutation.

To read the rest of the column click here.

RealClear Radio Hour – Taxpayers on the Hook

14 Aug

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Ballooning Entitlement Debt

August 13, 2016

Michael Tanner, Cato Institute Senior Fellow and author of Going for Broke: Deficits, Debt, and the Entitlement Crisis, contends U.S. national debt is following the same trajectory as did Greece. Beyond the $18 trillion balance sheet debt, Tanner estimates unfunded future liabilities compound the on-the-books debt by another $70 to $140 trillion—with carrying costs poised to skyrocket when interest rates rise.

Michael Tanner

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The Beltway Crony Game

August 13, 2016

Romina Boccia, Deputy Director and Grover M. Hermann Research Fellow in Federal Budgetary Affairs at the Heritage Foundation, describes how Washington is driving corporate welfare policy. Boccia details how taxpayers foot the cronyist bill—from direct subsidies, earmarks, and pork barrel spending to hidden regulatory schemes, federal loan guarantees, and “milker” bills that threaten individuals or industries to squeeze campaign contributions.

Romina Boccia

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RealClear Radio Hour – Live from YALCON 2016

7 Aug

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Millennial Revolution

August 6, 2016

Cliff Maloney, Executive Director of Young Americans for Liberty (YAL), touts Ron Paul’s political enlivening of millennial voters and inspiring of YAL’s founding. Maloney shares why campus “free speech zones” are anathema to a generation sympathetic to libertarian policy ideas and what they value in a political leader.

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Kane’s Political Face

August 6, 2016

Glenn Jacobs, WWE professional wrestler known in the ring as Kane, discusses wrestling and politics. While the once-struggling wrestling business has become a multi-million dollar affair known for high-production, pioneering on-demand content, Jacobs argues that politics has turned into a low-rent sport for political elites eager to sink to new lows to gain power.

Glenn Jacobs

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FEE – One Man’s Fight against Bureaucratic Tyranny Moves On-Campus

2 Aug

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One Man’s Fight against Bureaucratic Tyranny Moves On-Campus

August 1, 2016

Beating a people into submission doesn’t happen overnight. It proceeds in stages, and requires long-term leveraging of institutions and appeals to moral authority to justify ever-increasing levels of government coercion. Fortunately, it’s not a one-way street, and there are ways to fight back.

Playing the long game against such institutions requires character, perseverance, and courage. Few exemplify these virtues as much as famed civil rights attorney Harvey Silverglate, whom I interviewed for RealClear Radio Hour. You can listen to our conversation here.

Harvey Silverglate looks and sounds like a character actor straight out of central casting if you were to ask for “a rumpled New York Jewish lawyer who talks like Moses if he had gone to Harvard.” And like Moses—if he were to spend 50 years as a litigator—the fire in his belly burns undiminished. There is nothing he relishes more than a righteous fight.

Silverglate gives no quarter battling bureaucratic tyranny on two fronts—overcriminalization and campus speech restrictions.

His now-classic book, Three Felonies a Day: How the Feds Target the Innocent, lays bare the dirty tricks federal prosecutors use to railroad defendants into plea bargains without getting their day in court. These overzealous prosecutors’ weapon of choice is the growing mountain of laws and regulations emanating from Washington that turn anyone into a felon. Today, broad, loosely worded “conspiracy” and “wire-fraud” statutes serve as Uncle Sam’s equivalent of the Soviet charge of “hooliganism” used to jail dissidents.

While former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton can use a mens rea defense to escape the consequences of her email shenanigans, others facing federal prosecution don’t have that option. Unintentionally and unknowingly breaking some vague, overly expansive, and obscure regulation can still be punished with lengthy jail terms, egregious fines, and personal ruin. Just ask Dinesh D’Souza, singled out for technical violations of campaign finance laws.

The potential for abuse is staggering. Federal prosecution is inherently selective, because the majority of the adult population would be in jail if it weren’t.

And here is where the politics come in. I asked Silverglate, given that prosecutors are human and have party affiliations, and in many cases political ambitions, how do they avoid the moral hazard of using the power of their offices to punish or intimidate political opponents? “They don’t,” he answered. “They relish the moral hazard.”

To read the rest of the column click here.

RealClear Radio Hour – Criminalizing Politics and Speech

1 Aug

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Criminalizing Politics and Speech

July 30, 2016

Harvey Silverglate, renowned civil liberties attorney and co-founder of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, scales the threat of overcriminalization, whereby unelected bureaucrats can charge individuals with crimes under a web of proliferating statutes and regulations, rogue attorneys general selectively prosecute political opponents, and institutions of higher education stifle free speech, training tomorrow’s voters to submit to bureaucratic rule.

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RealClear Radio Hour – Entrepreneurial Hustle

31 Jul

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Entrepreneurial Hustle

July 30, 2016

Catherine Hoke, founder and CEO of Defy Ventures, shares how her entrepreneurs-in-training program is trailblazing criminal justice reform at the local level and reducing recidivism across the country. With executive mentoring, Shark Tank-style business competitions, and personal and leadership development classes, Defy coaches former inmates to transform street hustle into successful entrepreneurship.

Catherine Hoke

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FEE – Progressivism’s Parade of Horrors

26 Jul

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Progressivism’s Parade of Horrors

July 26, 2016

On the flight out to the recent FreedomFest conference in Las Vegas, I read a horrifying book, Illiberal Reformers: Race, Eugenics, and American Economics in the Progressive Era by Thomas C. Leonard. It’s a bold attempt to restore our national memory, to explain how we strayed from our nation’s classical liberal founding heritage and embarked on building today’s welfare/warfare/regulatory state. Central to the story is the misuse of science. And it carries an important warning for us today.

Leonard meticulously researches and documents the march of the Eugenics movement, from its roots in the German Historical School of political economy during the Bismarck era to its near-universal embrace by American Progressive intellectuals at the end of the 19th century, to its re-importation into Germany, which culminated in the Nazi holocaust. Eugenicists identified themselves as Progressives—an association their fellow Progressives didn’t deny. Their goal? To “improve” the human species through policies aimed at selecting out the “unfit.” See where this is going?

You will find this book shocking, not just because so many prominent American scientists, economists, journalists, theologians, statesmen, activists, and trade organizations bought into this poisonous ideology, but by this having been expunged from our national memory, much like the Belgians have blanked out their memory of King Leopold. It’s a story well worth retelling.

The pivotal historical figure in this long and sordid tale is Princeton professor-turned-President Woodrow Wilson, who helped the burgeoning Progressive movement translate philosophy into action. Wilson’s publicly articulated vision for America was to scrap the intricate constitutional checks and balances that limited the power of the federal government and replace it with unbridled rule by technocratic elites. These elites would be informed not by an ethos steeped in the American tradition of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, manifested in a freewheeling laissez faire economy, but by “settled science” that economists, sociologists, and central planners would use to create an efficient utopia. And the settled science of Wilson’s day was … Eugenics.

To read the rest of the column click here.

RealClear Radio Hour – Freedom Rising

24 Jul

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Political Crackup

July 23, 2016

Steven Horwitz, economics professor at St. Lawrence University, analyzes the presidential candidates’ increasingly fragmented coalitions and suggests why the electorate, and millennials in particular, have become disengaged from the political process. A self-described “bleeding-heart” libertarian, Horwitz reimagines a two-party system of cosmopolitans and populists—the former coalescing around internationalist free trade and the latter being the successor to today’s Trumpism.

Horwitz

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Sordid Science Policy

July 23, 2016

Jeffrey Tucker, Director of Content for the Foundation for Economic Education, describes the Progressive Era legacy and its overturning of America’s founding laissez faire tradition at the beginning of the last century. Tucker reveals the shameful history of eugenics and how that supposedly settled “scientific consensus” powered racialist agendas, serving as the precursor to many harmful policies that are still with us today, from immigration restrictions to labor regulations to marriage laws.

Jeffrey Tucker

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Conscious Capitalism

July 23, 2016

John Mackey, co-founder and co-CEO of Whole Foods Market, refutes the historical condemnation of business. Mackey celebrates business’ higher purpose and the fundamental morality of capitalism—or innovationism, as he calls it—explaining how it creates value for all stakeholders, contrary to the failed Marxist theories still promoted by many intellectuals and politicians.

John Mackey

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FEE – Ma Bell Suppressed Innovation for Thirty Grueling Years

21 Jul

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Ma Bell Suppressed Innovation for Thirty Grueling Years

July 21, 2016

By Bill Frezza

“Oh, for the days of Ma Bell!” is not a lament we’re likely to hear. And for good reason. Before the breakup of AT&T, America’s telephone system was a government-sanctioned monopoly characterized by stagnant service offerings, high costs, and a glacial pace of consumer-facing innovation.

So it was distressing when a federal appeals court engaged in a bit of 1970s nostalgia last month by upholding the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) ill-conceived net neutrality rules. Under the new FCC rules, Internet service will increasingly be regulated like a public utility, rather than a competitive market.

The likely result? Reduced investment in online communications infrastructure, reduced competition, and innovation slowing down to a crawl.

Technology companies in the United States are our economy’s drivers—making things better, faster, and cheaper while creating new jobs and economic growth. Nothing could be worse for American competitiveness, or for consumers, than returning to the ‘golden age’ of Ma Bell.

Take it from me. I spent the early years of my career toiling for Ma Bell’s crown jewel, Bell Labs, which gave us technology breakthroughs like the transistor, the laser, the solar cell, and scientific advances in radio astronomy that provided the first direct confirmation of the Big Bang. While these are impressive achievements, they are not the whole picture. To see that fuller picture, we need to apply the most basic test for assessing economic policies, which is to examine not only what is seen, but also what is not seen.

Americans under the age of 30 never experienced our telecommunications system when it was a statutory monopoly. That’s fortunate for them as consumers, though it deprives them of some important historical perspective.

For seven decades, Bell delivered the world’s most advanced, reliable, ubiquitous telecom network in the world, spitting out ample profits that funded what many called a national treasure. Problem was, it was the exact same phone service for most of those seven decades.

To read the rest of the column click here.

Progress

RealClear Radio Hour – Soviet Apparatchik Turned Dissident

18 Jul

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Soviet Apparatchik Turned Dissident

July 16, 2016

Dr. Yuri Maltsev, Professor of Economics at Carthage College and former senior economic advisor to Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev’s perestroika reforms, reveals the brutal and bizarre realities of growing up in the Soviet Union, including the myth of socialism “with a human face.”

Yuri Maltsev

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RealClear Radio Hour -Scalia’s Originalist Revival

17 Jul

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Scalia’s Originalist Revival

July 16, 2016

Dr. John Eastman, Founding Director of the Claremont Institute’s Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence and former law clerk for Justice Clarence Thomas, touts Antonin Scalia’s restoration of originalism. Eastman analyzes the impact of Scalia’s absence on the recent docket of Supreme Court cases.

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FEE – Fear Not Malevolent AI Robots

11 Jul

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Fear Not Malevolent AI Robots

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by Bill Frezza

I’ve recently become hooked on Michael Solona’s new podcast series, “Anatomy of Next: Utopia,” a fascinating analysis of our most advanced and rapidly developing technologies that attempts to debunk the tech-gone-wrong dystopian nightmares that dominate much of the public imagination.

You all know how the story goes. Man invents an artificial intelligence (AI) smarter than himself. AI goes on to invent even smarter AIs. Smarter AIs exponentially become godlike and turn on mankind and either reduce us to slaves or drive us to extinction.

Implausible and Impossible

It ain’t gonna happen. The reason is something called the distributed knowledge problem. Although Solona hasn’t yet addressed it in his series, the Nobel Prize-winning economist F. A. Hayek explained it years ago in his last book, The Fatal Conceit. In short, it is a practical impossibility for anyone to capture and assess the sum total of information generated from countless millions of economic decisions made by independent agents distributed around the world, each seeking to maximize his or her own well-being.

The root of the error, made by all central planners, is the belief that the world is some sort of Newtonian clockwork mechanism. If science could only deduce its operating principles, enlightened rulers could guide humanity toward utopia, or something approaching it. More sophisticated versions of this view add the proviso that effective planning requires the collection of enough data to inform central planners where to apply their wisdom, and adapt their plan as conditions evolve.

Well, aha! What if that evolution spun out of human control, as superintelligent AIs deduce the operating principles of the world and Big Data tell them everything they need to know to control it? If they turned against us, how could we humans stand in the way?

To read the rest of the column click here.

RealClear Radio Hour – Cancer Mavericks

10 Jul

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War on Cancer—Putting Patients First

July 9, 2016

Stephen Bonner, Entrepreneur in Residence at Harvard Business School and board member and former president and CEO of the Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA) from 1999 to 2014, discusses the consumer experience and innovations in health care—from experimental treatments to Right-to-Try legislation. Bonner shares how CTCA was founded to offer patient-centric, integrative care for complex, late-stage cancers, challenging the traditional treatment model designed by and for bureaucrats at the Food and Drug Administration, American Medical Association, and health insurance companies.

Steve Bonner

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War on Cancer—Disruptive Research

July 9, 2016

Paul Davies, theoretical physicist, cosmologist, astrobiologist, best-selling author, and Principal Investigator at the Center for the Convergence of Physical Science and Cancer Biology at Arizona State University, discusses big science and the $1 trillion “war on cancer.” Davies shares how he was invited by the National Institutes of Health to develop new approaches to tackling this complex constellation of diseases. His unconventional theoretical framework points to cancer as a retriggered ancestral cellular mechanism, suggesting a range of alternative treatments worth exploring.

Paul Davies

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RealClear Radio Hour – The Gov’t Statistics Fed Fandango

3 Jul

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Behind the Federal Employment and Inflation Numbers

July 2, 2016

Erica Groshen, Commissioner of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, shares how the Bureau compiles its influential monthly jobs report. Groshen discusses how her agency’s analysts measure labor participation and cost of living data—including accounting for the birth and death of firms and changes in spending behavior—and offers reasons why the gig economy hasn’t yet made much of an impact on the employment numbers.

Official Photo BLS Commissioner Dr. Erica Groshen

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Uncovering the Relationship between Inflation and Jobs

July 2, 2016

John Williams, publisher of Shadow Government Statistics, discusses potential structural biases built into the Consumer Price Index, the most commonly cited measure of inflation, and the headline unemployment rate. Williams fears inaccurate numbers compound an already precarious situation—one he describes as the sharpest economic contraction in decades.

John Williams

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Central Bank Eunuchs

July 2, 2016

Jerry Jordan, former president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland and author of the recently published paper, “The New Monetary Framework,” suggests central banks have become impotent to impact economic activity with only untested tools to curb runaway inflation should it break out.

Jerry Jordan

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RealClear Radio Hour – State Fiscal Breakdown

27 Jun

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State Fiscal Breakdown

June 25, 2016

Eileen Norcross, Director of the State and Local Policy Project at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, discusses her 2016 report ranking states’ fiscal solvency. Norcross points to Puerto Rico, Connecticut, and Illinois as cautionary tales and blames profligate state governments for mismanaging debt and unfunded pension liabilities.

Eileen Norcross

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RealClear Radio Hour – Innovation Economy

26 Jun

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Innovation Economy

June 25, 2016

Garrett Johnson, co-founder of SendHub and the Lincoln Initiative, shares how he and his colleagues work with the tech community to “lobby for the future,” fighting against regulatory and licensing barriers that threaten to block next generation Uber-style breakthroughs.

Garrett Johnson

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20 Jun

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Majesty in Math

June 18, 2016

Ken Ono, Asa Griggs Candler Professor of Mathematics at Emory University, author of My Search for Ramanujan: How I Learned to Count, and associate producer and consultant for the film The Man Who Knew Infinity, shares how Srinivasa Ramanujan inspired him personally and professionally. In his honor, Ono has launched a program to discover and foster future math prodigies with The Spirit of Ramanujan talent initiative.

Ken Ono

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