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Ryan McMaken

Ryan McMaken

Ryan W. McMaken is the editor of Mises Daily and The Austrian. He has degrees in economics and political science from the University of Colorado, and was the economist for the Colorado Division of Housing from 2009 to 2014.

Articles by Ryan McMaken

How Government Meddles in Your Easter Chocolate

11 days ago

How Government Meddles in Your Easter Chocolate

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Big Government5 hours agoRyan McMakenIt’s Easter time again, which means it’s time to talk about chocolate. Simaran Sethi at the Los Angeles Times this week highlights the plight of cacao farmers:What wasn’t factored into the celebration [over falling chocolate prices] is the deep suffering of the subsistence farmers who grow cacao, the seeds of a pod-shaped fruit that, once harvested, become the cocoa traded on the commodities market and destined for the chocolate eggs and bunnies that fill most Easter baskets.It’s become somewhat obligatory in recent years to mention cacao farmers every Easter as consumers buy chocolate in especially large quantities. In 2015, for example, on Easter 2015, The Guardian noted: In west

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Danger: Federal Tax Revenue Growth Falls to 80-Month Low

12 days ago

Danger: Federal Tax Revenue Growth Falls to 80-Month Low

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Taxes and SpendingPolitical Theory4 hours agoRyan McMakenA new report from the US Treasury Department shows that growth in federal receipts has fallen to the lowest level seen in 80 months, with the 12-month average falling 1.3 percent from March 2016 to March 2017. The last time federal receipts fell as far was during July of 2010 when they dropped 2.4 percent from July of the previous year. More importantly, the last time receipts fell this much, while in a downward trend, was in July 2008 shortly before the financial crisis. March 2017 was the fourth month in a row during which federal receipts were down year over year, while growth rates overall have been falling quickly since mid-2015. 

If we

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End Airline Protectionism: Allow Foreign Carriers on Domestic Routes

14 days ago

End Airline Protectionism: Allow Foreign Carriers on Domestic Routes

21 hours agoRyan McMakenIn the wake of the United Airlines debacle — in which the airline had airport police assault one of its own customers — customers have begun to ask why there doesn’t seem to be more competition for United to contend with. They ask: would United treat its customers so poorly if they had more competition? Maybe not. Is the Airline Industry Competitive? Compared to governments  — which enjoy near-absolute monopolies — airlines are quite competitive. But compared to many private-sector industries, they are not especially competitive. It is true that a small number of firms dominate the airline business in North America. Investopedia claims the three top carriers enjoy 70 percent of

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Trump Abandons Economic Reforms to Embrace War Spending

14 days ago

Trump Abandons Economic Reforms to Embrace War Spending

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Taxes and SpendingWar and Foreign Policy04/11/2017Ryan McMakenIn February, David Stockman pointed out that the Trump administration appears none too interested in addressing many of the economic issues that Trump claimed would be at the center of his administration. Instead, Stockman noted, Trump spent all his time obsessing over his travel ban — which he still can’t get beyond the courts — and other non-economic issues. Stockman noted: It’s the economy, stupid. … Trump was elected because flyover America is hurting economically. The voters of Racine, Wisconsin and Johnstown, Pennsylvania are imperiled not because of some refugees, they’re imperiled because their jobs have all been disappearing for decades.

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United Airlines Violence Illustrates the Problem with Government Monopolies

15 days ago

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Monopoly and CompetitionPrivate PropertyUnited Airlines managed to provoke a firestorm of opposition over the weekend when the airline overbooked one of its flights and resorted to removing at least one passenger by smashing his face and physically dragging him off the plane. At least two other passengers filmed the altercation between the non-violent passenger and the law enforcement officers — it’s unclear if they were private security agents or government police officers. In response, the airline issued a creepily Orwellian "apology" for "re-accommodating" the passenger who had been selected "by computer" to make room for some airline staffers. The response over social media has been swift with countless posters on Twitter vowing to boycott the airline.My purpose

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If You Don’t Like Immigration, You Should Love Free Trade

19 days ago

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Global EconomyPolitical TheoryImmigration restrictions and trade restrictions are often two policies that go hand in hand. Donald Trump, of course, provides an instructive example of a politician who has won elections while promoting both policies. Usually ignored, however, is the fact that trade restrictions work contrary to to the goal of immigration restrictionism. That is, by restricting the movement of goods and services across borders, trade protectionists are creating the very conditions that are likely to increase incentives for workers to emigrate from low-wage areas into higher-wage areas. That is, if goods and services can’t move across borders, then people are more likely to move in order to reach those goods and services. The More Immigration Is Restricted,

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Audit the Pentagon

20 days ago

One of the benefits of being an extremely powerful lobby in Washington is the ability to live off the taxpayers without ever having to tell the taxpayers what you they with their money. This includes two of the most powerful lobbies in DC: the Fed and the Pentagon.1 In recent years, thanks to Ron Paul, the "Audit the Fed" movement has gained a high profile in Washington and continues to be an election issue. Far less salient, however, is the issue of Auditing the Pentagon.  And, unfortunately, like the Fed, the Pentagon is able to quash efforts to make the massive military establishment more transparent and more accountable in its spending. Needless to say, the legislation went nowhere. Nevertheless, as The Guardian reports, the GAO and Office of the Inspector General (IG)

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The Nonproblem of the Trade Deficit

21 days ago

The Wall Street Journal reports today that the US trade gap shrunk during the first two months of this year. Matt Drudge presented this report as evidence that the United States is "great again" with the headline in the usual Drudge fashion announcing "GREAT AGAIN: Trade Gap Shrinks as Exports Rise." The problem with this assertion is that the so-called trade gap is not simply a measure of how much US firms export to other countries. It’s a measure of relative consumption and foreign investment in the United States. So, if if increasing exports were evidence of the US being "great again" a decline in the trade deficit proves no such thing. 

As Reuters reports, a factor in the shrinking trade gap is the fact that "slowing domestic demand weighed on imports." In other

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California Senate Votes to Nullify Federal Immigration Law

21 days ago

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U.S. HistoryPolitical TheoryYesterday, the California State Senate voted to prohibit agents from assisting federal immigration officers. As currently amended, the bill’s summary reads: This bill would, among other things and subject to exceptions, prohibit state and local law enforcement agencies, including school police and security departments, from using resources to investigate, interrogate, detain, detect, or arrest persons for immigration enforcement purposes, as specified.RELATED: "Make Every State a Sanctuary State"One of the few exceptions is a provision allowing California agents to work with federal agents to deport violent felons. Nullification Works If it passed into law, this will greatly limit the reach of federal agencies — this is not simply a symbolic

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Ryan McMaken on The Power Hour

21 days ago

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Booms and BustsThe FedGlobal EconomyMoney and BanksGold Standard10 hours agoRyan McMakenRyan McMaken interviewed by Daniel Brigman on The Power Hour radio show. Produced by www.gcnlive.comTopics for this wide ranging interview include: booms and busts, private money, bitcoin, central banks, Brexit, protectionist policy under Trump, and trade barriers. 

Note: The views expressed on Mises.org are not necessarily those of the Mises Institute.When commenting, please post a concise, civil, and informative comment. Full comment policy here.

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3 Lessons Learned from Wisconsin’s War on Foreign Butter

22 days ago

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Taxes and SpendingPolitical TheoryValue and ExchangeIn February, a number of Irish citizens were surprised to find out that selling Kerrygold butter — a line of butter produced in Ireland — is a criminal offense in Wisconsin. Irish Central reports: Under a 1970 law all butter sold in the state must be subjected to scrutiny by a panel, which recently ruled Kerrygold was not compliant. Their problem with Kerrygold’s products was that the cattle who produce the milk for the cheese and butter are grass fed, something the panel ruled was against state law.Any shopkeepers who continue to stock the brand face a $1,000 fine and up to six months in jail — something that has enraged consumers.In response, Wisconsin consumers have taken to traveling across state lines to buy

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EU President Hopes the US Breaks Up into Smaller Pieces

26 days ago

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Political TheoryThe UK’s Express today reports that EU Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker has threatened to begin supporting secession movements in the United States in retaliation for Trump’s ongoing support of Brexit.It’s unclear whether or not Juncker is joking, but it’s a safe bet that Juncker thinks himself very clever.Juncker, however, merely joins a long line of Europeans who think they’ve delivered a "gotcha" zinger when they respond to support from some Americans for foreign secession movements. The retort often takes the form of "how would you like it if we called for your country to be broken up into smaller pieces?"The correct response to this taunt, of course, is "yes, please."We saw this "clever" response from certain Ukrainians in response to Ron

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L.A. to Worsen Housing Shortage with New Rent Controls

27 days ago

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The EntrepreneurPolitical TheoryValue and ExchangeLos Angeles, home to one of the least affordable housing markets in North America, is now proposing to expand rent control to "fix" its housing problem. As with all price control schemes, rent control will serve only to make housing affordable to a small sliver of the population while rendering housing more inaccessible to most. Specifically, city activists hope that a new bill in the state legislature, AB1506, will allow local governments, Los Angeles included, to expand the number of units covered by rent control laws while also restricting the extent to which landlords can raise rents. Unintended Consequences Currently, partial rent control is already in place in Los Angeles and landlords there are limited in how much

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Why Angela Merkel Hates Tax Competition

29 days ago

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Taxes and SpendingPolitical TheoryEuropean political leaders gathered in Malta last month to discuss the future of the European Union. During the meeting, German Chancellor Angela Merkel made sure to denounce any post-Brexit move on the part of the United Kingdom to lower corporate taxes. (Merkel condemned efforts by the US to cut corporate taxes as well.) Merkel called any such move a "race to the bottom." With these comments, Merkel; was echoing earlier comments by German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble who in January employed the same "race to the bottom" phrase and harangued the UK on the matter, claiming that any attempt to lower taxes would be in violation of international agreements. Besides, lowering taxes is retrograde and non-progressive

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Browse the Quarterly Journal of Austrian Economics

29 days ago

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Austrian Economics OverviewWe’ve recently made it easier for readers to browse the Quarterly Journal of Austrian Economics. You can now browse all issues in chronological order here, and you can download full issues or individual articles as PDFs. Right now, all articles are linked going back nine years, and we’ll continue to add more links. In either case, all articles are listed going back to 1998. If you’ve never checked out the QJAE before, I invite you to take a look and take greater advantage of this resource, which includes many rejoinders, book reviews, and commentaries in addition to the technical articles most often used by professional scholars.To find the QJAE at any time, simply type "QJAE" in the mises.org search box or click on "library" on the front

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Money Supply Growth Falls to 17-month Low in February

March 22, 2017

2 hours agoRyan McMakenThe supply of US dollars has slowed during early 2017 with February’s year-over-year percentage increase hitting a 17-month low of 7.7 percent. Monthly year-over-year growth rates in the money supply have been falling each month since October. Over the past eight months or so, money supply growth rates have become somewhat volatile with the growth rate surging from 6.7 percent in late 2017 up to 11.3 percent by late 2016, and down again to under 8 percent by February of this year. This recent period of volatility comes after a long period of relatively sedate and consistent growth in the money supply through most of 2013, 2014, and 2015. The "Austrian" money supply measure (AMS) used here is a measure of the money supply pioneered by Murray Rothbard and

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Don’t Confuse Immigration with Naturalization

March 22, 2017

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The EntrepreneurPrivate PropertyValue and ExchangeAs the immigration debate goes on, many commentators continue to sloppily ignore the difference between the concept of naturalization and the phenomenon of immigration. While the two are certainly related, they are also certainly not the same thing. Recognizing this distinction can help us to see the very real differences between naturalization, which is a matter of political privilege, and immigration, which simply results from the exercise of private property rights. Immigration results naturally from allowing persons to exercise their property rights. Naturalization, on the other hand, is a political act. Naturalization Is about Politics, not PropertyNaturalization is the process by which persons become citizens and

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The Census Bureau’s Faulty Data About a Coming “Non-White” Majority

March 16, 2017

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U.S. HistoryPolitical TheoryLast week, Tucker Carlson asked Univision correspondent Jorge Ramos about earlier comments in which Ramos contended that "in 2044, the white population will become a minority." In response, some conservative sites seized upon Ramos’s comments as an attempt to milk outrage from their readers. Breitbart, for instance focused on Ramos’s comment that “it is our country, not theirs.” and implied — in words meant to be received ominously by the reader — that by "our country," he meant "Latino migrants."Ramos, meanwhile, was clearly using these words to attempt to stir up anti-Trump opposition based on triumphalist predictions of an imagined future of Latino nationalism. Wherever one comes down on this issue, however, it needs to be pointed out that

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Hugh Hewitt Throws a Tantrum About the Austrian School (and Much More)

March 15, 2017

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Big GovernmentPolitical TheoryIn an oddly jumbled article for the Washington Post, Hugh Hewitt last week somehow managed to group together both opponents of the Export-Import Bank and supporters of so-called sanctuary cities as enemies of the "rule of law." Never mind, of course, that the arguments against the Ex-Im Bank and the arguments for sanctuary cities have nothing in common. Hewitt, however, faced with the opportunity to attack his enemies in WaPo decided he’d find some way to mash them all together as targets for his attack. First, he goes after those who oppose untrammeled federal power by nullifying federal laws at the local level, and he throws in the states that have legalized marijuana use for good measure: "Sanctuary cities and marijuana legalization

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Which US States Are the “Moocher” States?

March 14, 2017

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Taxes and SpendingU.S. HistoryPolitical TheorySince Donald Trump’s election, some leftists have been trotting out analyses showing that many states that voted for Trump are also states where federal spending plays a disproportionately large role in the statewide economy. In other words, many of those states that talk a lot about states rights and less federal government — it is pointed out — also receive an especially large amount of federal spending in that state. In many cases, this claim is correct. As this mises.org analysis shows, many states within the Trump heartland are what many might call "moocher states" because the residents there — taken overall — receive more in federal spending than is paid in federal taxes: 

The second graph shows the specific

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Brexit Might Pave the Way for an Independent Scotland

March 13, 2017

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Free MarketsInterventionismPolitical TheoryThe BBC reports today that Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced she’ll seek a new referendum on Scottish independence to be held in late 2018 or early 2019:That would coincide with the expected conclusion of the UK’s Brexit negotiations. The Scottish first minister said the move was needed to protect Scottish interests in the wake of the UK voting to leave the EU. … She will ask the Scottish Parliament next Tuesday to request a Section 30 order from Westminster. …The order would be needed to allow a fresh legally-binding referendum on independence to be held.These "Scottish interests" to which Sturgeon refers stem from the long-asserted position by Scottish politicians that a majority of Scottish voters

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Trump vs. The Deep State

March 6, 2017

Once a phrase generally eschewed in the legacy media, the term "Deep State" has now gone quite mainstream. In February, for example, Salon defined "Deep State" as: The Deep State is shorthand for the nexus of secretive intelligence agencies whose leaders and policies are not much affected by changes in the White House or the Congress. While definitions vary, the Deep State includes the CIA, NSA, Defense Intelligence Agency and components of the State Department, Justice Department, Department of Homeland Security and the armed forces.Meanwhile, Glenn Greenwald provides his own definition:The deep state, although there’s no precise or scientific definition, generally refers to the agencies in Washington that are permanent power factions. They stay and exercise power even as

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Trump’s Speech: a Budget-Busting Spending Spree

March 3, 2017

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Taxes and SpendingPolitical TheoryDonald Trump’s speech to a joint session of Congress this week has been hailed as good politics from both supporters and opponents alike. The Washington Times declared that Democrats were left "befuddled, in ruins" after the speech. Meanwhile, CNN’s Van Jones fell for what should have been regarded as cynical theatrics: Trump’s parading out the widow of a dead Navy SEAL — a soldier who died in a botched raid ordered by Trump himself. This display prompted Jones to declare that Trump "became president of the United States in that moment, period.” Trump hit all the right rhetorical beats with soaring language about the future and "we" and "us" doing wonderful things together while un-ironically declaring that "Everything that is broken in

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Stanley Fischer on Monetary “Rules” and the FOMC

March 3, 2017

In recent years, the Fed has felt the need to step up efforts to defend its governing structure and its agenda. Thanks to the the success of the anti-Fed rhetoric of the Ron Paul campaigns of 2008 and 2012, combined with the financial crisis of 2008, the Fed has directly engaged the public more and more: What followed [the Paul campaigns and the financial crisis] was several years of declining legitimacy for the Fed as a growing number of people began to understand what a central bank is, and what it does — and as the US went through the worst recession in decades. The public began to understand also that the Fed functions primarily out of the public eye — and without any meaningful accountability — while making decisions that can have an enormous effect on public policy and

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Lew Rockwell on War and Our Upcoming Foreign-Policy Symposium

March 1, 2017

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War and Foreign PolicyMoney and BankingIn this interview with the Ron Paul Institute, Lew Rockwell discusses the Mises Institute’s upcoming foreign-policy conference with Ron Paul, David Stockman, Eric Margolis, and other keen observers of American foreign policy. The symposium will be on April 8 in Lake Jackson, Texas. Register here. Lew also points out how Murray Rothbard regarded foreign policy as  "the key issue of libertarianism" and he takes a look at the key role of central banks in financing wars. 

Note: The views expressed on Mises.org are not necessarily those of the Mises Institute.

When commenting, please post a concise, civil, and informative comment. Full comment policy here.

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Consumers — not Uber’s CEO — Are Responsible for Uber Drivers’ Falling Income

March 1, 2017

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Monopoly and CompetitionPricesAfter getting caught flinging obscenities at one of Uber’s drivers, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick has issued an apology saying he (Kalanick) needs to "grow up." The short shouting match ensued when Uber driver Fawzi Kamel picked up Kalanick for a ride. Kamel proceeded to criticize Kalanick for Uber’s policies and for the reductions in fares implemented by Uber’s management in recent years. Kamel claimed that Uber’s policies drove him into bankruptcy. Before flying off the handle, Kalanick had initially tried explaining to Kamel that Uber had to cut fares in oder to stay competitive: Kamel: “You’re raising the standards, and you’re dropping the prices.”Kalanick: “We’re not dropping the prices on black.”Kamel: “But in general the whole price

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Trump to States with Recreational Pot: Drop Dead

February 24, 2017

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HealthLegal SystemPolitical TheoryIn the days following the 2016 election, there were already worrying signs that the Trump administration didn’t merely view the War on Drugs as a useful source of rhetoric to please some Conservatives. With the appointment of Jeff Sessions — who appears to be a true believer in the War on Drugs — the threat to federalism, states’s rights, and local control was all too real. The fears continue to be stoked by the administration itself, and yesterday White House spokesman Sean Spicer announcing that "I do believe that you’ll see greater enforcement of [federal law against marijuana]." So, in an administration where Trump’s promised health care reforms are anything but a done deal — and which is plagued with leaks and conflict with the US

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Four Agencies to Abolish along with the Dept. of Education

February 23, 2017

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Taxes and SpendingPolitical TheoryIn the wake of the Senate’s confirmation of the appointment of Betsy DeVos, the protests from the left prompted Republican Congressman Thomas Massie to offer them a way to get rid of DeVos: eliminate the Department of Education. According to Massie, he’d been planning to introduce the bill for more than a year, and the controversy over DeVos appeared to be as good a time as any. There’s no harm in Massie introducing the bill, of course, although as I’ve noted here, the odds of Republicans offering much help to Massie in passing the bill are pretty low. But as long as we’re identifying cabinet-level agencies for the chopping block, why stop with the Department of Education? There are plenty of other Departments which oversee activities

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Alan Greenspan Admits Ron Paul Was Right About Gold

February 21, 2017

In the next issue of The Austrian, David Gordon reviews Sebatian Mallaby’s new book, The Man Who Knew, about the career of Alan Greenspan. Mallaby points out that prior to his career at the Fed, Greenspan exhibited a keen understanding of the gold standard and how free markets work. In spite of this contradiction, Mallaby takes a rather benign view toward Greenspan. However, in his review, Gordon asks the obvious question: If Greenspan knew all this so well, isn’t it all the more worthy of condemnation that Greenspan then abandoned these ideas so readily to advance his career? Perhaps not surprisingly, now that his career at the Fed has ended, Old Greenspan — the one who defends free markets — has now returned. This reversion to his former self has been going on for several

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Abolish the One-Man Presidency

February 21, 2017

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U.S. HistoryPolitical TheoryLast month, when President Trump issued his executive order banning refugees and visa holders from seven countries, the acting Attorney General Sally Yates refused to enforce the orders. In response, conservatives at National Review issued an unsigned editorial reminding the reader that It is a very simple proposition. Our Constitution vests all executive power — not some of it, all of it — in the president of the United States. Executive-branch officials do not have their own power.This is true indeed. But it shouldn’t be.The US constitution places immense power in the hands of a single person. This was done, as Alexander Hamilton put it in Federalist No 70 to maximize "decision, activity, secrecy, and dispatch" in the executive branch.

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