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RealClear Radio Hour – Smugglers, Rebels & Entrepreneurs

15 Nov

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American Colossus

Nov 14, 2015

John Steele Gordon, historian and author of An Empire of Wealth: The Epic History of American Economic Power, gives a colorful account of a nation built by smugglers, rebels, and entrepreneurs who became industry giants.

John Steele Gordon

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Private Alternatives

Nov 14, 2015

Edward Stringham, Trinity College professor and author of Private Governance: Creating Order in Economic and Social Life, recounts successful examples of voluntary associations and bottom-up order from the first stock market in Amsterdam in the 1600s to the still extant private police force in San Francisco.

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Daily Caller – What’s Wrong With College? Follow the Money

14 Nov

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What’s Wrong With College? Follow the Money

NOV 13, 2015

What do the following have in common? Skyrocketing college tuition. Plummeting college graduation rates. Trillion-dollar student debt. Underage campus binge drinking. Campus rape tribunals. Unemployed college graduates moving back home.

Answer: They’re all driven by a tsunami of federal dollars.

How so? Our nation’s Founders knew well that democracy could slide into tyranny, so they imposed major institutional constraints on the government they crafted. But while they rightly foresaw how future leaders might abuse the coercive power of the law, it appears they failed to anticipate how crafty politicians could use the seductive power of the purse to advance all sorts of agendas. Who needs legislation?

This is especially prevalent in American today, given the extent the government transfers wealth from one group to another. It has been that way since Franklin Delano Roosevelt put the power of the federal purse on steroids when his administration created the massive largesse-dispensing machine known as the Works Progress Administration in the 1930s. Never before had votes been purchased on such a grand scale. Fast forward to the present and take a look at how much federal money flows into American colleges and universities.

To read the rest of the column click here.

RealClear Radio Hour – Not Your Usual Roosevelt and Churchill

8 Nov

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FDR’s Raw Deal

NOV 7, 2015

Burt Folsom, author of New Deal or Raw Deal? How FDR’s Economic Legacy Has Damaged America, chronicles how President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s political ambitions and personal agenda doubled the national debt and left the nation mired in economic stagnation and wasteful make-work employment programs, in stark contrast to both his campaign promises and popular myth.

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Churchill: A “Foolish Moth”

NOV 7, 2015

David Lough, author of No More Champagne: Churchill and His Money, paints a vivid portrait of Winston Churchill as a compulsive risk-taker with a taste for extravagance who lived on the brink of insolvency, saved from financial ruin by his brilliance as a writer.

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RealClear Radio Hour – The Dark Side of Radical Environmentalism

2 Nov

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Modern Environmentalist, Global Warming Skeptic

October 31, 2015

Dr. Patrick Moore, Greenpeace co-founder and author of Confessions of a Greenpeace Dropout, shares with pride his past radicalism to end factory whaling but argues that today’s anti-development global warming alarmists are causing more harm than good. Moore believes poverty is the biggest threat to the environment and advocates pro-development sustainable environmentalism.

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Modern Environmentalist, Sonoma Vintner

October 31, 2015

Nancy Cline, co-owner of Cline Cellars and Jacuzzi Family Vineyards and award winning conservationist, reveals how she and her husband were forced to battle the EPA, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the FBI to keep their property from being claimed as federal jurisdictional wetlands.

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RealClear Radio Hour – To Innovate or Regulate, That is the Question.

26 Oct

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Heroes of Innovation

OCT 24, 2015

Evan Baehr, Co-Founder of Able Lending, tells how federal regulations are stifling business growth by prohibiting banks from making loans to the country’s biggest job creators—successful small businesses looking to expand. Baehr’s newest startup fills this void as the world’s first collaborative lender to small business entrepreneurs.

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Uber-Positive

OCT 24, 2015

Jared Meyer, a fellow at the Manhattan Institute, decries New York Mayor Bill de Blasio’s misinformed war on Uber, and discusses what he found researching a new issue brief on the ride-sharing service. Meyer details how Uber has expanded transportation options for low-income New Yorkers and increased consumer safety.

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RealClear Radio Hour – Lawyers Who Vex Lawyers

18 Oct

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Judicial Horizon

OCT 17, 2015

Clark Neily, Director of the Center for Judicial Engagement at the Institute for Justice, discusses the rise of the administrative state—in which regulators write rather than merely execute laws. Neily advocates for future Supreme Court Justices that will practice judicial engagement—overruling rather than rubber-stamping unconstitutional expansions of government power.

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Class Action Objector

OCT 17, 2015

Ted Frank, Director of the Center for Class Action Fairness (CCAF) at CEI, shares how a class action suit against Grand Theft Auto spurred him to found CCAF to advocate for consumers and shareholders, fighting back against class action settlements structured to overly compensate lawyers at the expense of the plaintiffs they claim to represent.

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RealClear Radio Hour – Politics, Propaganda, & Cultural Evolution

11 Oct

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Propaganda and Cultural Evolution

OCT 10, 2015

Mark Stahlman, Marshall McLuhan scholar and Founder and President of the Center for the Study of Digital Life, compares the world’s “operating systems”: East, West, and digital. Stahlman analyzes what communication systems say about society—from radio propaganda to democratic memes—and studies what the China Operating System for Society bodes for the future.

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Politics and Propaganda

OCT 10, 2015

Robert Tracinski, senior writer at The Federalist and editor of The Tracinski Letter, shares his take on political antics of the day. Tracinski discusses how the anti-candidates became the Republican front runners, immigration policy became a wedge issue, and the Pope married Christianity with religious environmentalism.

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RealClear Radio Hour – Chasing the American Dream

4 Oct

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Paying it Forward in Tech

OCT 3, 2015

Mid-career serial entrepreneur Shan Sinha, CEO and co-founder of Highfive, shares stories and insights of how human capital development and prudent risk taking shaped his career in startups—from MIT, Microsoft, DocVerse, and Google to Highfive and angel investing.

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The Road Less Traveled

OCT 3, 2015

Investment industry veteran Bob McLalan shares his unlikely path to success—from joining the Marines to escape the hoodlum’s life to leveraging his passion for literature into a slot at Berkeley, to his rocket ride up and down the dot-com roller coaster, and beyond.

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Daily Caller – Is Khan Academy The Remedy For Public Education Failure Factories?

2 Oct

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Is Khan Academy The Remedy For Public Education Failure Factories?

OCT 1, 2015

Sal Khan, founder of the eponymous Khan Academy, treads a fine line in his mission to remake the sclerotic world of K-12 education. With nearly a billion views of his self-paced instructional videos and supporting material, he is arguably the most impactful teacher in the history of the human race. Yet this self effacing “Math Moses” has to watch his step as he bumps up against America’s government education bureaucracy.

On the one hand, Khan’s free, self-paced, video-centric pedagogy is winning over tens of millions of students around the world, with American users highly concentrated amongst home schoolers. The results speak for themselves.

On the other hand, he has bent over backwards to position himself as a friend of the traditional public school classroom teacher, wary of generating a backlash from teachers unions suspicious of any changes that might dilute their stranglehold on public education.

Kahn’s book, The One World Schoolhouse: Education Reimagined, probably won’t set off fireworks in your head. But it is bound to turn on some lights. As Khan, demonstrates, education ain’t what it used to be. And what we think we know, ain’t necessarily so.

To read the rest of the column click here.

RealClear Radio Hour – Alternative Teacher Entrepreneur

28 Sep

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Alternative Teacher Entrepreneur

SEP 26, 2015

John Chisholm, Silicon Valley veteran and president and chairman of the worldwide MIT Alumni Association, shares wisdom from three decades of entrepreneurial experience in his new book, Unleash Your Inner Company: Use Passion and Perseverance to Build Your Ideal Business.

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RealClear Radio Hour – Alternative Teacher Revolution

27 Sep

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Alternative Teacher Revolution

SEP 26, 2015

Sal Khan, Founder and CEO of Khan Academy, reflects on the future of education—where everyone is a teacher, everyone is a learner, and a growth mindset for lifetime learning is encouraged.

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Campus Lecture Tour – Ethics & Crony Capitalism

24 Sep

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The University of North Carolina – Pembroke was kind enough to invite me down to speak to students and faculty in the business school this week. They took the trouble of recording my presentation, which you can view on YouTube by clicking here. The talk is a variation of what has become my campus stump speech, primarily focused on the history of the Bell Telephone monopoly, the impact of government regulation on innovation, and the rocket ride we went on when that seventy year old sclerotic monopoly was broken up in 1983, allowing entrepreneurs to give birth to the digital world we now all take for granted.

RealClear Radio Hour Podcast – Through the looking glass, college campus follies

20 Sep

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Back to School — Sensitivity Training

SEP 19, 2015

Greg Piper, Associate Editor at The College Fix, brings us up to date on contemporary college taboos—from the gender liberation movement to microaggressions and trigger warnings.

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Back to School—Cultivating Victims

SEP 19, 2015

Robby Soave, Staff Editor at Reason.com, delves into how Title IX, dogmatic concepts of consent, and neo-Victorian behavior codes by college administrators are encouraging and empowering a culture of victimhood.

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RealClear Radio Hour Podcast – David Stockman’s Day of Reckoning

14 Sep

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Day of Reckoning

SEP 12, 2015

David Stockman, former Director of the Office of Management and Budget, Wall Street banker, and author, paints a dismal portrait of our economy as mired in political dysfunction and facing threat of fiscal collapse. Yet, Stockman remains hopeful a significant system shock will encourage economic sobriety and sound policies.

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RealClear Radio Hour – National Labor Relations Board Putsch

13 Sep

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Unwieldy Liability

SEP 12, 2015

Iain Murray, Competitive Enterprise Institute Vice President, shares the history of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB)—one of the key New Deal expansions of federal power that wasn’t found unconstitutional. Murray explores the ramifications of the recent NLRB joint employer ruling—which is roiling staffing agencies, contractors, and franchise businesses.

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Daily Caller – Got a Migrant Problem? Legalize Work

11 Sep

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Got a Migrant Problem? Legalize Work

SEP 11, 2015

Donald Trump wants to build a wall on the U.S. southern border. Europeans are terrified of being overrun. No one really knows how to stop what is ballooning into one of the great global mass migrations in history. The drivers are different – economics in Latin America and spreading chaos across the Middle East. But the results are the same. Millions upon millions of people are pulling up stakes, many risking their lives, seeking what developed countries have to offer.

So, what will we offer? THAT is the question. Two very different futures lie ahead depending on how we answer it.

To read the rest of the column, click here.

Daily Caller – Plugging the Hole in the Bottom of Obamacare

8 Sep

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Plugging The Hole In The Bottom Of Obamacare

SEP 7, 2015

Once upon a time, the doctoring business was like most other businesses. Products and services were bought and sold for cash. Prices and terms were set by the market. This meant rich people could buy a lot more doctoring than poor people, though before the invention of penicillin it’s not clear that extra doctoring did a whole lot of good.

As medicine became less art and more science and doctoring grew more complex, certain treatments got more expensive, sometimes ruinously so. This worried surgeons, who banded together to start some of the first health insurance companies. In those early days health insurance really was insurance—an underwritten pooled risk management contract designed to protect premium-paying customers from rare and catastrophic events, much like fire insurance.

Then along came something called wage and price controls during the Second World War. Corporations were forbidden from offering higher pay to attract or retain workers. So companies got the clever idea of offering employees fringe benefits like health insurance. This gave them a competitive advantage without falling afoul of wage and price controls.

Wage and price controls long ago went the way of War Bonds, but thanks to the inherent tax advantages of fringe benefits compared to wages, company-provided health plans became even more widespread. And so, health insurance slowly evolved into a combination of catastrophic insurance and prepaid comprehensive medical care. Even so, market forces guided what employers could offer, and a wide variety of plans could be found in the private market for the self-employed.

Then along came Medicare and Medicaid, providing both health insurance and prepaid medical services as an age-tested or means-tested entitlement—paid for with OPM (Other People’s Money), which politicians adore.

Despite mighty efforts by certain politicians to expand these entitlement programs, many people still lacked employer-provided health coverage, were too young to get Medicare, or not poor enough to get Medicaid. So the pressure to get some OPM for them grew and grew.

And so, we got Obamacare, which takes a bit from everything that came before.

To read the rest of the column click here.

RealClear Radio Hour – The Over/Under on Obamacare

6 Sep

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“Expedia” of Health Care

SEP 5, 2015

Paul Ketchel, Founder and CEO of MDSave, a health care marketplace that negotiates discounted rates for cash patients with doctors nationwide, discusses the problems that have made our health care system so dysfunctional.

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ObamaCare Repeal Pledge

SEP 5, 2015

Heather Higgins, political strategist and President and CEO of Independent Women’s Voice, advocates thoughtful repeal and replacement of ObamaCare. Higgins discusses IWV’s public opinion polling findings, her organization’s ObamaCare Repeal Pledge, and why many are still more comfortable with the “devil they know.”

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Daily Caller – Macroeconomics Is the Root of All Error

1 Sep

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Macroeconomics Is the Root of All Error

SEP 1, 2015

Will Fed chief Janet Yellen pull the trigger to raise interest rates in September or not? Only the soothsayers at Jackson Hole know for sure. But while the world awaits the decision, ponder this. What do the following have in common?

  • Asset bubbles fueled by monetary policy.
  • Unsustainable sovereign debts threatening government bankruptcies.
  • Government economic “cures” worse than the diseases they are supposed to treat.
  • Questionable GDP statistics.
  • Recurring bank bailouts.

Figured it out yet? They are all driven by an overweening state religion called macroeconomics.

Friedrich Hayek said it best. “The curious task of economics is to demonstrate to men how little they really know about what they imagine they can design.”

Pity this simple, yet profound insight remains at the fringes of a field that continues to wreak havoc in the hands of those who imagine they can design economic outcomes.

Think about it. We are currently watching global stock markets gyrate toward breakdown trying to anticipate the whims of a cloistered professor who never launched a business, never met a payroll, never shipped a product, and never won an election, yet has been empowered to determine the price of money. What’s even stranger is that people consider this normal. Ask yourself: Why do we wait on pins and needles for Janet Yellen to set interest rates yet laugh at the idea that kings once set the “just price” for a loaf of bread?

To read the rest of the column, click here.

RealClear Radio Hour – Google Your Government

31 Aug

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Google Your Government

AUG 29, 2015

Adam Andrzejewski founded OpenTheBooks.com to fulfill his pledge while running for Governor of Illinois to post “every dime online in real time,” as a way to increase transparency in order to encourage greater efficiency and fight government waste, fraud, and corruption.

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RealClear Radio Hour – There’s No Place like New Orleans

30 Aug

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There’s No Place like New Orleans

AUG 29, 2015

Emily Chamlee-Wright, Provost and Dean of Washington College and Senior Research Scholar at the Mercatus Center, discusses disaster economics on the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. She shares stories from How We Came Back, of which she is a coauthor, highlighting the social entrepreneurs who have pioneered the rebuilding of New Orleans.

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Daily Caller – When the Price of Money is Wrong, the Price of Everything is Wrong

27 Aug

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When the Price of Money is Wrong, the Price of Everything is Wrong

AUG 26, 2015

The stock market has not gone crazy. It is desperately trying to go uncrazy.

In a healthy, free, and flourishing economy, prices act as unbiased bearers of information, driven by the impersonal forces of supply and demand, validated by millions of independent transactions. In a word, market prices act like a giant adding machine that no one controls. At any time, in every place, prices carry most of what we need to know to make the decisions we need to pursue our individual conceptions of happiness — regarding production and consumption choices, risks and rewards, and spending and saving tradeoffs.

Prices enable us to make independently informed choices. But when politicians, central bankers, and the crony financial institutions that serve them collude to construct politically profitable illusions, they do so by corrupting the price of money. By manipulating interest rates, they can induce massive misallocation of resources, warping consumption, production, spending, and saving choices, and biasing risk decisions across the entire economy. They are given cover by court economists, who work to convince the public that “fine-tuning” the economy and addressing the excesses of the “business cycle” are the proper role of government.

While these distortions can produce powerful short-term illusions, pumping up the value of assets in a simulacrum of prosperity, they can rarely be sustained. Sure, some well-connected cronies will line their pockets and spread their wealth around for a while, but sooner or later the ability to fake reality becomes too expensive, too complex, or too volatile to maintain, and the illusion comes crashing down. At that point, no one knows the real price of anything. Panic ensues, trade is disrupted, stock markets swoon, and economies shrink. The responsible parties then shift the blame, a credulous media amplifies their story, and the process starts all over again.

To read the rest of the column click here.

RealClear Radio Hour: Criminal Justice Reform

25 Aug

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Justice Reform

AUG 22, 2015

Holly Harris, Executive Director of the U.S. Justice Action Network, advocates for criminal justice reform, which continues to gain bipartisan support, and has shown a marked economic and social impact in states where reforms have been implemented.

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RealClear Radio Hour: The Plight of Christians in the Middle East

24 Aug

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The Plight of Christians in the Middle East

AUG 22, 2015

The Archbishop of Beirut, Paul Youssef Matar, shares the embattled history of the Maronite Church, from its refuge in Lebanon from the Ottoman Empire to its ongoing struggles for freedom of religion and equality against Daesh (better known as Islamic State) today.

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Daily Caller: Are You Pro-Mengele or Anti-Women’s Health?

21 Aug

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Are You Pro-Mengele or Anti-Women’s Health? Can You Explain Why?

The series of Planned Parenthood hidden camera videos being slowly released by the Center for Medical Progress has reopened raw wounds around what had been a relatively quiescent debate about abortion. The images are indeed shocking, yet public opinion could not be more polarized.

Anti-abortion activists are using the videos to mount another attack on Roe v. Wade, while abortion defenders circle the wagons. Conservative politicians are trying to cut off taxpayer funding for the nation’s largest abortion provider, while liberal politicians stoke fears that this would deny needed health care services to the poor. “Shades of Mengele!” shouts one side; “War on Women!” the other.

Welcome to the world of pluralistic democracy, where believers and atheists must learn to live and govern together. In such a polity, on what grounds does one argue for regulatory limits on abortion? Or legally restrict the use of fresh fetal tissue for scientific research. Or decide what is and is not appropriate to be funded with taxpayer money?

Notice how carefully I word the question: “How does one argue?” Not, “What is the correct answer?”

I’d like to take a different approach to this fraught conversation by not attempting to argue morality. Instead, we need to sit down together as reasonable people and draw some clear lines. Here’s how.

To read the rest of the column, click here.

The Freeman: How Greece Can Rise from the Ashes: The Kiwi Plan

12 Aug

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AUG 11, 2015

How Greece Can Rise from the Ashes: The Kiwi Plan

The signs of floundering entitlement democracies are everywhere these days — from poster child Greece to bankrupt Puerto Rico.

Runaway deficit spending, calamitous monetary policies, bloated public employee payrolls, incentive-killing welfare programs, confiscatory taxation, unfunded entitlements, dishonest government accounting, corporate cronyism, and job-killing regulations have mired most Western democracies in such a deep quagmire of voters’ own making that one despairs of finding a cure.

And yet, a cure has not only been found but has already been put into practice with great effect, offering practical lessons for any reformist who cares to look. New Zealand today stands as a beacon of freedom and prosperity, ranking number three in the Legatum Prosperity Index.

It wasn’t always so. In fact, few know the story of how that country transformed itself from a socialist basket case into one of the world’s most prosperous nations.

To read the rest of the column click here.

RealClear Radio Hour Podcast – Water Politics

10 Aug

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Water Politics

AUG 8, 2015

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Scott Maloni, vice president of project development at Poseidon Water, discusses the local, drought-proof, large-scale seawater desalination projects in California and how it took overcoming more than a decade of regulatory hurdles to make them operational.

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RealClear Radio Hour Podcast – Nuclear Disarmament

9 Aug

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Nuclear Disarmament

AUG 8, 2015

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Richard Rahn, senior fellow at the Cato Institute and Chairman of the Institute for Global Economic Growth, recounts the last half century’s arms race. Rahn discusses how the world escaped Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) and why we should encourage prosperity to promote peace.

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RealClear Radio Hour – Sharing Economy

3 Aug

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Sharing Economy

AUG 1, 2015

Christopher Koopman, Mercatus Center research fellow, discusses the opportunities made possible by today’s sharing economy, from home-cooked meals and housing to ride-sharing and the regulatory impediments to these bastions of consumer choice.

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RealClear Radio Hour – Autonomous Vehicle Evangelist

2 Aug

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Autonomous Vehicle Evangelist

AUG 1, 2015

Brad Templeton, internet pioneer, Board Member of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and longtime Google consultant on driverless cars, paints a welcoming picture of our safer, machine operated, driverless future.

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RealClear Radio Hour Podcast – Interviews from FreedomFest Part 2

27 Jul

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Techno-Optimist

JUL 25, 2015

George Gilder, technology analyst and author of Knowledge and Power, shares his hopeful vision for the future. Gilder foresees the global economy outgrowing central banks’ fiat currencies as the wealth conferred by increasing knowledge seeks Bitcoin as its incorruptible metric.

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End of Doom

JUL 25, 2015

Ronald Bailey, science correspondent at Reason and author of the newly published End of Doom: Environmental Renewal in the Twenty-first Century, recounts why overpopulation alarmism turned out to be a myth and details an array of positive trends in human wellbeing.

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Monograph – New Zealand’s Far Reaching Reforms

24 Jul

July 24, 2014

New Zealand’s Far-Reaching Reforms: A Case Study on How to Save Democracy from Itself

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A little over two decades ago, New Zealand’s economy was in shambles. Inflation ran rampant, economic growth fell flat, and soaring public debt set new records. Today, New Zealand outscores almost every other country in the world, including the United States, in terms of overall prosperity, personal freedom, and good governance.

How did they do it? Under the leadership of two politicians from opposing parties, Sir Roger Douglas and Ruth Richardson, economic reality was embraced and tough political decisions were made. This case study tells their story.

The experience in New Zealand offers lessons for democracies everywhere that face fiscal, monetary policy, and ultimately political crises.

To read more click here.

RealClear Radio Hour Podcast – Interviews from FreedomFest Part 1

19 Jul

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July 18, 2015

Voice and Exit

Max Borders, editor of The Freeman magazine, director of content for the Foundation for Economic Education, and co-founder of Voice and Exit, discusses why the libertarian movement is on the rise and the state of FreedomFest.

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Startup Country

Vit Jedlicka, President of Liberland, the new startup country on the border of the European Union and Serbia, discusses his commitment to making Liberland a free republic and tax heaven.

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Financial Futures

Adrian Day, global analyst and financial forecaster, shares his bleak outlook for Greece and the EU and global prospects for the gold market and financial stability.

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RealClear Radio Hour Podcast – Greek Diners and Their Colorful Lawyer

14 Jul

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July 11, 2015

Greek Diners and Their Colorful Lawyer

Bob Zadek, lawyer and host of The Bob Zadek Show, tells his story of how a Hearts-playing college buddy encouraged him to take the law boards, how he ended up representing lenders to New York Greek diners, and how he has become Silicon Valley lender to a number of as-yet unregulated entrepreneurs.

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RealClear Radio Hour Podcast – Healthcare Debacle in Massachusetts

13 Jul

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July 11, 2015

Healthcare Debacle in Massachusetts

Josh Archambault, Senior Fellow on Healthcare Policy at the Pioneer Institute and author of Whistleblowers Expose the Massachusetts Connector, details how the Bay State’s ambitious “Cadillac of health exchanges” deteriorated into a billion dollar failure with tragic human impact.

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RealClear Radio Hour Podcast – Cops Say Legalize Pot

6 Jul

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July 4, 2015

Cowboy Cop Takes On Prohibition

Howard “Cowboy” Wooldridge, Retired Detective, Co-Founder of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, and Founder and Drug Policy Specialist at Citizens Opposing Prohibition, tells how his experience on the police force convinced him of the benefits of legalizing marijuana and ending the costly, futile war on drugs.

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RealClear Radio Hour Podcast – Happy Birthday America

5 Jul

July 4, 2015

Sentiments of the Revolution

Gordon Wood, Professor of History Emeritus at Brown University and author of the Pulitzer-Prize winning book The Radicalism of the American Revolution, reviews some of the classic debates among the Founders both before and after the War of Independence and discusses the origins of the Constitution as an attempted bulwark against the tyranny of the majority.

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Daily Caller – We Are All Greeks Now. Does Totalitarianism Lie Ahead?

2 Jul

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We Are All Greeks Now. Does Totalitarianism Lie Ahead?

July 2, 2015

The Greek drama has entered its final act, after lingering on far too long. There was never any doubt Greece couldn’t repay its sovereign debts. Debts that, until now, were counted as assets on the books of its lenders. Living by the motto, In Central Planners We Trust, the Greeks forgot to ask, “What could go wrong?” They—and the world—are about to find out.

Calls for debt relief that began in Greece are arising across Europe—a debt jubilee, if you will. (Here in the U.S., similar calls are being made by powerful Democratic politicians, starting with a trillion dollars of student loan debt to finance expensive college educations of dubious value.) Since debtors always outnumber creditors, debt jubilees can become overwhelmingly popular when times get tough.

But debt relief is always and everywhere matched by asset destruction. One can argue the assets were already destroyed, so debt relief merely forces lenders to acknowledge reality. Cry them no tears. In a just world creditors who insist on lending to dubious borrowers deserve to taste the discipline of loss. But when governments use toxic bonds on bank balance sheets to magically manufacture money, the evaporation of those underlying assets has secondary consequences.

When default or debt relief strikes—it makes no difference which—the pyramid of manufactured money must either shrink or the impaired assets must be replaced. (For example, if you write off all Greek debt, the European Central Bank has negative equity.) If panicked fear of deflation causes these impaired assets to be replaced with freshly minted fiat money via an orgy of quantitative easing, a vicious circle arises that eventually causes money to lose its value.

We call this hyperinflation, a process that is well underway even if it’s not yet reflected in consumer inflation indices. But in time it must be, and many who thought they were saving for the future will ultimately learn that their money was funneled to deadbeats. The freshly impoverished will then be forced to join the growing line of said deadbeats seeking handouts. This can only exacerbate the demographic time bomb that would be threatening aging democracies anyway, even if central planners hadn’t embarked on a fit of monetary madness.

This is where totalitarianism enters the picture.

To read the rest of the column, click here.

Daily Caller – How Ideas of the Family Evolve Alongside Culture, Politics, and Law

30 Jun

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How Ideas of the Family Evolve Alongside Culture, Politics, and Law

Ever since widespread access to birth control and abortion made biological motherhood optional, and the welfare state severely eroded the economic responsibilities of fatherhood, Western Civilization has been struggling to redefine the family. In that context, the recent Supreme Court ruling on same sex marriage should be seen as a milestone on the way to a yet unknown destination, rather than a terminal event.

The nuclear family arose from Darwinian reproductive strategies long before anything we would call civilization emerged. It persisted through thousands of years of recognized history largely because it worked. Every culture that tried to supplant the nuclear family failed. So far.

When trying to formulate a modern theory of the family compatible with the expanded role of government, people have sought guidance from the Bible, Karl Marx, Sigmund Freud, Ayn Rand, and others. I’d like to suggest another sage we might learn from. The late science fiction author Robert Heinlein.

Although Heinlein’s book Stranger in a Strange Land, with its depictions of free love and radical individualism, is more celebrated, many consider The Moon is a Harsh Mistress to be his most profound work. On the surface, the 1966 novel is about a revolt on a lunar colony. Heinlein deftly uses this rollicking space opera as a canvas to explore numerous themes, including just governance, the art of diplomacy, the power of mass media, the rise of artificial intelligence, the nature of humor, and most interestingly the evolution of the family.

To read the rest of the column, click here.

RealClear Radio Hour Podcast – Powerhouse Economics

29 Jun

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June 27, 2015

The Crash That Cured Itself

James Grant, founder and editor of Grant’s Interest Rate Observer and author of The Forgotten Depression: 1921: The Crash That Cured Itself, discusses how the last “governmentally un-medicated” depression was resolved by natural market processes.

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Father of Experimental Economics

Vernon Smith, professor of law and economics at Chapman University and the 2015 winner of the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s Julian L. Simon Memorial Award takes us through his humble beginnings to how he developed and practiced experimental economics, which led to his winning the 2002 Nobel Prize in Economics.

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RealClear Radio Hour Podcast – Father’s Day Friedmans

24 Jun

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Legacy of Liberty with David Friedman

JUN 20, 2015

David Friedman, Professor at Santa Clara Law and author of the recently updated The Machinery of Freedom, talks of his father, Nobel Laureate, Milton Friedman, whose classical liberal philosophy was the seed inspiration for his own anarcho-capitalist research teachings, and beliefs.

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Legacy of Liberty with Patri Friedman

JUN 20, 2015

Patri Friedman, Chairman of the Seasteading Institute and software engineer at Google, discusses his approach to promoting competitive governance and how his grandfather’s and father’s philosophical paths inspired his own.

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Daily Caller – Cancer: The War That Haunts Us All

17 Jun

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June 16, 2015

Cancer: The War That Haunts Us All

For the third time in my life I had to stand at the deathbed of a man I loved and say goodbye. My father, at age 90, after a long full life. My best friend and college roommate, taken from us before his 30th birthday. And now the dearest friend I made in adulthood, so brimming with vitality and poised at the cusp of retirement that I cannot accept the fact that we won’t be spending our golden years together.

The cause in all three cases was cancer. Cancer, with which we’ve been at war for over four decades. Cancer, a disease we fight in the trenches, with progress measured in inches, not miles, amassing casualties into the millions. Cancer, fighting for the same ground, over and over. Cancer, a war still waged with medicine’s most barbarous weapons: Poison. Radiation. Amputations.

Yes, progress has been made. Survival times inch ever upward. Hope is served to patients desperate to believe. But our battle plans are trapped in a failed paradigm. The science is stalled. Massive investment continues to flow, but much into the wrong places. Try as we might to poison the metastatic agents of death faster than we poison the people we love, the chameleon character of living cells are imbued with a power so great it once turned pond scum into us humans. But by its nature, such awesome power includes a tremendous capacity for evasion.

So how do we defeat biology at its own game?

To read the rest of the column click here.

RealClear Radio Hour Podcast – Beepocalypse Hype

16 Jun

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June 13, 2015

Beepocalyspe Hype

Angela Logomasini, Senior Fellow in Environmental Risk, Regulation, and Consumer Freedom at Competitive Enterprise Institute, tempers the current honeybee colony collapse hysteria with facts about the commercial bee industry and pesticide improvements.

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RealClear Radio Hour Podcast – Analyzing the Recent UK Election

15 Jun

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British Devolution

JUN 13, 2015

Matthew Sinclair, Senior Consultant at Europe Economics, analyzes the recent UK election results and the prospects of devolution within Great Britain and the forecasts for the UK leaving the European Union.

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RealClear Radio Hour Podcast – Condoms and Kink

7 Jun

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June 6, 2015

Sexual Philanthropy

Phil Harvey, founder of DKT International and Adam & Eve, speaks about his 40-plus years’ experience on the international family planning movement. Harvey discusses his First Amendment battles against the 1872 Comstock laws and how he used his contraceptive and video mail-order business to subsidize nonprofit work in developing countries.

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Kink Pioneer

Peter Acworth, Founder and CEO of Kink.com, currently based at the San Francisco Armory, talks about his foray into the adult entertainment industry, the current cultural and political challenges, and why the industry is a self-regulated success story.

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Daily Caller – Will Democracy Drown in a Sea of Sophistry?

2 Jun

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Will Democracy Drown in a Sea of Sophistry?

For the past year and a half I’ve hosted a weekly radio show where I interview guests about a wide range of subjects, giving them a platform to share their stories and beliefs, without the shouting-head bombardment or editorial spin framing that characterizes so much of contemporary talk radio and television. Many of these guests are passionate advocates of one cause or another, which is often the reason I invite them. So far, it’s been a richly rewarding experience. I only wish more of the media landscape were similar.

Every time I read the news or wade into the blogosphere I’m exposed to an even wider parade of advocates, including many preaching doctrines I find silly, wrongheaded, or downright abhorrent. And I’ve started to notice a pattern.

Only the rarest of advocates seem to accord objective facts primacy of place. Instead, they remind me of trial lawyers whose job is to weave a compelling narrative for sequestered juries, excising from the record any purported facts that weaken their arguments, often resorting to appalling acts of sophistry. And the pattern spans the professions—from scientists, who are supposed to know better, to economists, who increasingly don’t seem to know much of anything.

Even worse, our culture of rabid partisanship increasingly encourages consumers to evaluate the veracity of facts and narratives based on the advocates’ tribal affiliations, rather than on any objectively verifiable criteria. I’m no longer sure a majority of my fellow citizens even believe there is such a thing as objective facts, or that anyone has the power to fish them out of the sea of misinformation plastered all over the web by dueling advocates. It seems the more information our abundant communications media shower upon us, and the more experts weigh in any subject, the less we can be sure of what we know.

To read the rest of the column click here.

RealClear Radio Hour Podcast – Collapsing American Dream

1 Jun

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The Collapsing American Dream

May 23, 2015

Jared Meyer, fellow at the Manhattan Institute and co-author of Disinherited: How Washington is Betraying America’s Young, explains how his generation is being saddled with unsustainable debt. The false political promises of a Social Security trust fund, unfunded pension liabilities, looming bankruptcy for Medicare, and a ballooning student loan bubble will impoverish today’s youth if left unchecked.

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RealClear Radio Hour Podcast – Human Trafficking Industry

31 May

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The Human Trafficking Industry

May 23, 2015

Elise Hilton, Communication Specialist at the Acton Institute and author of A Vulnerable World, advocates to end human trafficking—a $32 billion a year industry. Hilton shares her personal experience that inspired her mission.

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RealClear Radio Hour Podcast – Fighting Back Against Forced Unionization

25 May

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May 23, 2015

Download these interviews from iTunes, watch on YouTube, or stream from Soundcloud.

Union-Free Child Care

Jennifer Parrish, a Minnesota self-employed family childcare provider, shares her experience defending her business against SEIU, one of the nation’s most powerful unions. Her troubles began in 2006 when a union organizer barged into her home and tried to get her to sign what he called a petition but was in fact a union authorization card. Parrish since helped form a coalition of union free providers who, a decade on, are still actively fighting compelled unionization.

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Compulsory Unionism

Mark Mix, President of National Right to Work Committee and Legal Defense Foundation, discusses his organization’s efforts to defend employee rights against forced union membership, as well as organized labor’s huge political clout as a $20 billion a year business and political lobbying force that regularly flexes its muscle to forcibly collect dues from non-members.

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Daily Caller – Congratulations, New Grads, and Welcome to Indentured Servitude!

21 May

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May 21, 2015

Congratulations, New Grads, and Welcome to Indentured Servitude!

Congratulations, Class of 2015! The diploma you hold in your hands today is the most expensive thing you’ll ever own. Why? Because you will surely be too impoverished supporting us Baby Boomers to ever buy a house.

Surprised? Don’t be. Your so-called education is the culmination of decades of our hard work remaking the academy, the media, and our cultural institutions to better prepare your bodies, your minds, and your spirits for a lifetime of service.

Do the tens of thousands of dollars of tuition loan debt you carry feel like a heavy burden? Well, wait until you see what lies ahead! Generations of politicians have made promises you will be called on to keep. Promises to the elderly. Promises to retired public employees. Promises to farmers, corporate welfare recipients, foreign despots, too-big-to-fail bankers, food stamp recipients needy and not—hardly an interest group exists whose votes haven’t been bought with your money.

And those votes will make sure that politicians keep raiding your paycheck every week. For the rest of your working lives.

So go ahead, enjoy that graduation party! We’ll be the ones truly celebrating, as modern medicine helps keep us alive until we’re 120 years old, collecting 55 years’ worth of Social Security and Medicare payments. At least all the binge drinking you did in college will you get through what’s in store.

To read the rest of the column, click here.

SPECIAL BONUS: Audio of this commencement address delivered at the University of the Flying Unicorn. Click here.