Whose Property Is It?

The Wall Street Journal wrote last weekend (“Citi Investors Face a Wait for Cash”) that

Citigroup executives have privately expressed doubt they can address the Fed’s concerns and persuade regulators to allow the bank to return more capital to shareholders this year, according to people familiar with the situation.”

Think what that means. Shareholders are the owners of the bank. The bank’s capital is their property. But in the land of the supposedly free, these owners need government bureaucrats to allow them to do as they see fit with their own property.

It’s offensive. It’s shameful how we Americans have allowed restrictions on economic liberty to grow and grow.

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Might Freedom Fix A (Former) Teacher’s Broken Heart?

America is mostly free, but not as free as we should be. One of the tragedies of a crucial area of un-freedom in America is described in agonizing detail in a former PreK and kindergarten teacher’s explanation of why she just quit the job she has loved. The account makes up most of this WashingtonContinue Reading

Why Would Maryland Lose Jobs to Virginia?

I received this afternoon an inquiry from a staff writer from The Towerlight, Towson University’s school newspaper. He writes, I am currently working on article that focuses on the number of jobs Maryland lost in January, just under 10,000—9,800, as The [Baltimore] Sun reports. … According to [the] article in The Sun one of theContinue Reading

Should the State License Occupations At All?

An entertaining, all-but-unbelievable article about a Texas lawsuit being litigated by the inestimable Institute for Justice brings to mind one of my favorite passages from The Wealth of Nations. The article’s title suggests the infection in American jurisprudence that IJ is out to cure: “Should government rules have to make sense? Texas argues no in eyebrowsContinue Reading

“Social Justice”?

Here is a piece I have submitted to the spring issue of Towson’s Honors College Magazine. The theme for this issue is social justice: What’s the difference between “social justice” and justice? Can something “socially just” be otherwise unjust? Why use the modifier “social” at all? Why not speak simply of justice? In Law, Legislation,Continue Reading

Reaction to Dallas Buyers Club

My wife and I watched Dallas Buyers Club last night. It’s a good movie, an inspiring movie. And infuriating. It concerns Ron Woodroof, a Texas bull rider sick with AIDS, his efforts to find drugs that will keep him alive, and his efforts to provide such drugs to others with HIV, against the forcible resistanceContinue Reading

Immigration Ethics from Bryan Caplan

It is good to hear an economist putting generous consideration of one’s fellow man ahead of pragmatic economic arguments. Bryan Caplan did that in his debate on Intelligence Squared last October, which I got to listen to this past weekend. (The audio is available at no charge here and on iTunes.) The resolution under debateContinue Reading

Wasting the Ultimate Resource

I heard this afternoon from one of my fine former students. He is now working in the mortgage banking industry. After I wrote back to say that Part III of Free Our Markets is about the interventions that caused the housing boom and the financial crisis of 2008, he wrote back to say this: I’m definitelyContinue Reading

Let Market Forces Regulate – Cosmetologists

Here’s a guest post by my former student, John K. Ross: The alt weekly DigBoston recently ran a nice piece week shedding light on cosmetology schools’ sometimes-predatory relationships with their students. One school charges $12,000 for a 33-week course that satisfies Massachusetts’ licensing requirements. Aspiring cosmetologists in the commonwealth must complete 1,000 hours of trainingContinue Reading

Distinguishing Free-Market and Crony Capitalism

The distinction between free market capitalism and crony capitalism is crucial to the public understanding of the economy. Free market capitalism consists of voluntary exchanges from which participants expect to benefit. These generally lead to improving living standards for all. Crony capitalism consists of involuntary “exchanges” that use government to take from some (against theirContinue Reading


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