Jonathan Rauch on the uncomfortable necessity of middlemen in transactional politics

In his recent work Jonathan Rauch has been writing about what I’ve unwillingly concluded are some uncomfortable home truths about politics. In a lot of places, especially the U.S., politics is more counterproductively fraught and fractious than it has been in the past century. This is true despite a near century of Progressive and populist … More Jonathan Rauch on the uncomfortable necessity of middlemen in transactional politics

Should we make it politically profitable for policymakers to do the right thing

Should we make it politically profitable for policymakers to do the right thing, or should we make it less profitable for policymakers to do anything? Abigail Hall, writing a pair of posts for the Independent Institute blog The Beacon, urges liberty-minded people not to get too excited about electing the “right people.” (First post, second) … More Should we make it politically profitable for policymakers to do the right thing

Public Choice Theory: Skwire’s First Law

Some time last spring, my friend and occasional KP contributor Sarah Skwire formulated on Facebook what’s now dubbed “Skwire’s First Law”, and we’ve been using it, kicking its tires, and discussing it all summer. In a timely manner (given what we’ve learned this summer about widespread, unwarranted government surveillance and the impending likelihood that yet … More Public Choice Theory: Skwire’s First Law

Congressman Markey still worries about U.S. natural gas exports

Michael Giberson A few weeks back Congressman Ed Markey asked the U.S. Department of Energy whether exports of natural gas might not be in the public interest (see prior note here, related note) as exports would tend to push U.S. gas prices higher. The USDOE’s response apparently didn’t mitigate Markey’s concern; today the Congressman introduced … More Congressman Markey still worries about U.S. natural gas exports

The “Gary Johnson rule”, the political economy of election bias, and fundamental principles

Lynne Kiesling A cynical, but I think accurate, political economy analysis for a Friday afternoon: One of the declared presidential candidates in the Republican primary is a successful two-term Governor of a majority Democrat state who retains a positive rating in his home state. In that office this candidate improved the fiscal standing of the … More The “Gary Johnson rule”, the political economy of election bias, and fundamental principles

Gasoline price gouging complaints spur Kentucky, Maryland attorneys general into action

Michael Giberson Image: MDOHKYgasprices_APR20_gasbuddy hosted on Flickr. Chart created at GasBuddy.com. Kentucky: Attorney General Jack Conway filed a motion┬álast week seeking a temporary injunction to force Marathon Petroleum Co. to return its gasoline prices to April 26 levels, the date the state’s Governor declared a state of emergency due to flooding. From WLKY.com: Attorney General … More Gasoline price gouging complaints spur Kentucky, Maryland attorneys general into action

Government shutdown: shouldn’t we be asking some deeper questions?

Lynne Kiesling As we contemplate an impending federal government shutdown and the restriction of government activities to “essential” services, shouldn’t we be asking deeper questions like why we spend so much taxpayer money on “nonessential” services? Jacob Sullum asks that question in Reason and provides some arguments for reducing spending (and thereby the future deficit) … More Government shutdown: shouldn’t we be asking some deeper questions?

The geography of ethanol’s support in Congress

Michael Giberson The House of Representatives budget battle has produced a few shots at the ethanol industry, including “Sullivan of Oklahoma Amendment No. 94,” a proposal to prevent the EPA from taking steps to encourage the sale of gasoline with higher ethanol content for use in newer cars. The amendment succeeded, 285-136 (12 not voting), … More The geography of ethanol’s support in Congress

Bootleggers and Baptists alert: RIAA and radio broadcasters

Lynne Kiesling Bruce Yandle, call your office — it’s another bootleggers and Baptists alert! This time it’s RIAA and radio broadcasters, who usually are at loggerheads over things like song royalties but have found common cause and joined forces to lobby the FCC to mandate that all mobile devices have an FM receiver implanted in … More Bootleggers and Baptists alert: RIAA and radio broadcasters