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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

Capitalism Makes Us More Humane

12 hours ago

In the midst of high winds and flooding as a result of Hurricane Florence, we hear of a truck driver who saved 53 dogs and 11 cats from flood waters. And then there is the case of a woman who saved 18 dogs from a flooded house and its fenced in pen. This, mind you, …

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Mercenaries: A “Privatized” Army Is Still an Army

5 days ago

Erik Prince, the owner of a series of mercenary firms originally known as Blackwater, wants to “privatize” the war in Afghanistan. And he wants you to pay him to do it. According to to the Military Times, “Prince … believes a small footprint of private military contractors and even smaller footprint of U.S. special operators …

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Why Are the Feds Subsidizing Baby Formula Companies?

11 days ago

Last month, when a host of media outlets began talking about the Trump administration’s alleged “battle against breastfeeding,” few of them — if any — mentioned the fact that the US federal government continues to subsidize the baby formula industry to the tune of billions of dollars. [RELATED: “We Don’t Need the UN to Regulate …

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Money Supply Growth Falls to 6-Month Low

12 days ago

Money supply growth fell in August, dropping to the lowest rate recorded since February of this year. Overall, money-supply growth remains well below the growth rates experienced from 2009 to 2016. In July, year-over-year growth in the money supply was at 4.1 percent. That was down from June’s growth rate of 4.4 percent, and was …

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We Don’t Need the UN to Regulate Baby Formula

19 days ago

Last month, the New York Times reported that the Trump administration had been pressuring other countries at the UN to oppose a resolution supporting more widespread use of breastfeeding. This was, in turn, portrayed by much of the media as the Trump administration taking a stance “against breastfeeding,” which is today almost universally regarded as …

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You Can’t be Both “Pro Military” and “Pro Second Amendment”

21 days ago

The phrase “pro-gun, pro-military” is used by some conservatives to describe themselves, as if the two go together seamlessly. For example, activist and political candidate Erin Cruz states she is both “Pro Second Amendment” and “Pro Military” in her promotional materials. Another Republican candidate, Gregory Duckworth, advertises that he advances “pro-gun and pro-military initiatives.” And …

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South Africa’s Land Confiscation: Socialism by Another Name

22 days ago

An audio version of this article is available here. The UK’s Express reports this week the South African government has begun seizing farms in the country following a failure to negotiate sales with the owners. On July 31, President Cyril Ramaphosa, who had only been elected into office in February, confirmed his African National Congress …

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Ann Coulter Comes Out in Favor of Anti-Discrimination Laws

22 days ago

Ann Coulter once mocked Ron Paul for his call that the government get out of marriage. Coulter demanded that governments regulate marriage because, well, people would have too much freedom otherwise. That was just one of many times that Ann Coulter’s knee-jerk preference for government controls and government intervention became apparent. Consistency has never been …

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Why We Can’t Ignore the Militia Clause

25 days ago

While many defenders of private gun ownership recognize that the Second Amendment was written to provide some sort of counterbalance against the coercive power of the state, this argument is often left far too vague to reflect an accurate view of this historical context surrounding the Amendment.
After all, it is frequently pointed out that private ownership of shotguns and semi-automatic rifles could offer only very limited resistance to the extremely well-equipped and well-armed United States military.
It is often, therefore, just assumed that the writers of the Second Amendment were naïve and incapable of seeing the vast asymmetries that would develop between military weaponry and the sort of weaponry the average person was

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Why We Can’t Ignore the “Militia” Clause of the Second Amendment

27 days ago

While many defenders of private gun ownership recognize that the Second Amendment was written to provide some sort of counterbalance against the coercive power of the state, this argument is often left far too vague to reflect an accurate view of this historical context surrounding the Amendment. After all, it is frequently pointed out that …

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Why the Quota System Is One of the Worst Ways of Regulating Immigration

August 16, 2018

When it comes to the immigration debate, very few people advocate for either totally closed borders or totally open borders. However, as soon as it is admitted that at least some movement across borders ought to be allowed — or that at least some of the migrants are to be regulated — the question quickly …

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Money Supply Growth Inched Upward in June

August 4, 2018

Money supply growth inched upward again in June this year, but remains well below the growth rates experienced from 2009 to 2016. Overall, June’s growth rate does not suggest a departure from the general downward slide in growth rates that’s been in place since late 2016. In June, year-over-year growth in the money supply was …

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More Evidence that the US Constitution Does Not Mandate Federal Control of Immigration

August 3, 2018

In recent years, Judge Andrew Napolitano has annoyed some anti-immigration activists by pointing out what the text of the US Constitution seemingly makes clear: “[T]he Constitution itself — from which all federal powers derive — does not delegate to the federal government power over immigration, only over naturalization.” Napolitano isn’t the first one to point …

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When LBJ Assaulted a Fed Chairman

August 1, 2018

In his column today, Ron Paul mentions that those who insist the Fed functions with “independence” tend to forget — or at least not mention — the numerous historical episodes in which the Fed did not exercise any such independence. As an example, Paul mentions the time President Lyndon Johnson summoned then-Fed Chairman William McChesney …

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The Plastic Straw Ban: Enforced With Violence

July 31, 2018

The latest trend in banning plastic stuff is the nationwide trend toward eliminating plastic straws from restaurants. A commonly-given justification for the ban is the fact that there’s a lot of plastic garbage floating around in the ocean. Of course, this rationale seems a bit odd for some locations. In Fort Collins, Colorado, for example …

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Three Economic Lessons I Learned from My Dad

July 26, 2018

As long as I’ve known him, by father has always been the entrepreneurial type. Even now, in his seventies, he picks up side jobs both to keep busy and to have a little extra spending money. Throughout my childhood and youth, he had always been an independent insurance broker and salesman. He often employed one …

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Manufacturing Jobs Are Overrated

March 13, 2018

One of the reasons that Donald Trump gives for slapping new protectionist tariffs on steel and aluminum is that it will create manufacturing jobs, and by extension, greatly enhance income growth and standards of living in the United States. Trump is capitalizing on an enduring myth of American economic history in which it is believed that declines in manufacturing jobs are accompanied by drops in standards of living as well.What is often forgotten, however, is that manufacturing jobs, in proportion to the population overall, dropped significantly from the end of World War II through the 1950s and 1960s. And yet, during this time, real median incomes in the United States increased. 

Incomes stagnated somewhat during the 1970s, but then grew substantially again

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Not Even the Pentagon Thinks Tariffs Are Needed for National Defense

March 10, 2018

When politicians run out of good arguments, their last refuge is often the claim that what they want is "necessary for national defense." Given that there are no economic arguments in favor of tariffs, it makes sense that the administration has resorted to the political "national defense" argument instead. So, even if the Trump administration were forced to admit that, yes, tariffs are bad for the incomes and standards of living for most Americans, they could still argue that everyone must make sacrifices for the sake of national security. But do these arguments hold any water?In a Defense Department memo, in response to the President’s tariff proposal, the Secretary of Defense states that the tariffs are not necessary:… the US military requirements for steel and

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Police: We’re the Experts — Don’t You Dare Criticize Us

March 5, 2018

One of the most surprising developments in the wake of February’s Florida school shooting is the willingness by many generally police-friendly commentators to denounce the lack of action by local police against the shooter. From National Review, to The Federalist, to Donald Trump, many of the law enforcement officers involved in the shooting are being accused of outright "cowardice." Part of this is agenda-driven. The inaction on the part of law-enforcement organizations demonstrates that it is not enough to "call 911" and hope the police show up to protect the victims. As Michael Graham notes, the Florida situation is part of a "pattern of police cowardice" which was also apparent at the 2016 Orlando shooting and at the Newtown, Connecticut shooting. In both cases,

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The Myth of America’s “Stingy” Welfare State

March 2, 2018

According to the usual news sources, Donald Trump’s new budget proposal "envisions steep cuts to America’s social safety net" and will "gut social programs." Most of the cuts were proposed to pave the way for more Pentagon spending. In truth, Trump’s proposal doesn’t matter, and Congress will set to work piling on more deficit spending for both social programs and for the Pentagon. But, the debate of "gutting" social programs will no doubt be used to perpetuate, yet again, the myth that the United States is ruled by libertarian social Darwinists who ensure that no more than a few pennies are spent via social programs for the poor. Now setting aside the question of whether or not social programs are the best way to address poverty, the fact is that the United States

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There Are Fewer School Shootings Now Than During the 1990s

March 1, 2018

Now that I have several children, I’m often in the company of other parents who talk about the way things "used to be." When the issue of child safety comes up, I hear parents sadly shake their heads and say things like "it’s not like it was when we were kids…the world is so much more dangerous now." Usually, the sentiment behind this idea is that there are more murders now than there used to be. Now, I’m not exactly known for being a Pollyanna, but I am willing to admit when things are not, in fact, getting worse. And when it comes to things like homicides, there is no evidence that things are getting worse. It is indeed true that things aren’t like they were "when we were kids," but that’s a good thing. There were far more homicides in the United States during the

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Lack of Police Accountability Shows the “Social Contract” Isn’t Working

February 27, 2018

In the wake of the Florida school shooting earlier this month, Broward County police deputies are being accused of hiding outside the school while students were being murdered inside.Moreover, both the Sheriff’s department and the FBI are being accused of failing to follow up on clear and repeated threats made by the school shooter against others. The FBI already admits it failed to follow its own protocol when it failed to pass on key information to the Miami field office.The details in this specific case have yet to be analyzed and investigated. But, even if it is shown that both the Sheriff’s Office and the FBI were incompetent or indifferent in taking action against the perpetrator, it will still remain exceedingly unlikely that any specific government agents or

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Mexican Gun Control Ensures Cartels Outgun the Good Guys

February 23, 2018

2017 may have been the worst year for homicide in Mexico since the government began keeping track in the 1990s. It’s a safe bet that the homicide rate isn’t coming anywhere near what it was in the years surrounding the revolution. But it may be the worst rate in several decades. German news site DW reports: The Interior Ministry said authorities … put the country’s [2017] homicide rate at 20.5 per 100,000 inhabitants.The highest figure ever recorded in Mexico before last year was in 2011, during the peak of the Mexican government’s war on drugs. Unfortunately, some observers think the Mexican state is fudging the numbers:Mexican security analysts Alejandro Hope told AP news agency that the [official] figure is based on the number of murder investigations opened last

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Stop Blaming Mexican Violence on American Guns

February 23, 2018

2017 may have been the worst year for homicide in Mexico since the government began keeping track in the 1990s. It’s a safe bet that the homicide rate isn’t coming anywhere near what it was in the years surrounding the revolution. But it may be the worst rate in several decades. German news site DW reports: The Interior Ministry said authorities … put the country’s [2017] homicide rate at 20.5 per 100,000 inhabitants.The highest figure ever recorded in Mexico before last year was in 2011, during the peak of the Mexican government’s war on drugs. Unfortunately, some observers think the Mexican state is fudging the numbers:Mexican security analysts Alejandro Hope told AP news agency that the [official] figure is based on the number of murder investigations opened last

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Security Works at Disney — But Can’t Work at a Public School?

February 19, 2018

An odd thing has happened. Advocates for gun control have actually begun arguing against practical measures addressing school security. Rather than take strategies that can be implemented virtually immediately, and which address the dangers in a specific place in a common-sense way, gun control advocates would rather focus on a political victory at some point in the future and continue to leave schools without proper security measures. The general argument is that any effort at meaningful security is unacceptable because it turns schools into "fortresses." Numerous examples of this line of reasoning can be found on Twitter. They are often remarkably similar in message which is "forget school security, just ban guns!" Ah yes, the "ban guns" solution. It certainly worked

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Why Don’t Schools Have Better Security?

February 17, 2018

Whenever there is a mass shooting in the media, commentators rush to figure out on what to blame the latest violence. Predictably, those who want gun control blame gun control. Others blame mental illness — and perhaps a lack of government programs related to it. Some others blame racism or ideology, as was the case with the Aurora theater shooting when one ABC talking head concluded the shooter must a “Tea Party” member within hours of the shooting. And then there’s the Republican politician who blamed the same shooting on “the ongoing attacks on Judeo-Christian beliefs.”
The odds of dying in a mass shooting remain amazingly small, as Healthline notes “The lifetime risk of dying in a mass shooting is around 1 in 110,154 — about the

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For the Dreamers: No Deportation, No Citizenship

February 16, 2018

The current wrangling on Capitol Hill over the so-called Dreamers has come down to the usual political deal-making. Trump has signaled he’s willing to compromise on deportations — that is, initiate fewer of them — if he can get funding for his border wall.Also at issue is whether or not Dreamers already in the US ought to be able to sponsor their parents for legal residency or for citizenship. Dreamers are current illegal immigrants who were brought to the United States as children. Opposition to deportation of the Dreamers — especially those who are still minors — has been significant, with much of the opposition geared around the idea that some minors are being deported to foreign countries where they don’t even know the language or local culture after having been in

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Shootings: Why Don’t Schools Have Better Security?

February 15, 2018

Whenever there is a mass shooting in the media, commentators rush to figure out on what to blame the latest violence. Predictably, those who want gun control blame gun control. Others blame mental illness — and perhaps a lack of government programs related to it. Some others blame racism or ideology, as was the case with the Aurora theater shooting when one ABC talking head concluded the shooter must a "Tea Party" member within hours of the shooting. And then there’s the Republican politician who blamed the same shooting on “the ongoing attacks on Judeo-Christian beliefs.”The odds of dying in a mass shooting remain amazingly small, as Healthline notes "The lifetime risk of dying in a mass shooting is around 1 in 110,154 — about the same chance of dying from a dog

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