Top Ten Myths About Campaign Finance Reform

Myth #1: “Shays-Meehan is constitutional.” Any bill that attempts to “equalize” citizens’ political speech through criminal and civil penalties for “excessive” or “unfair” speech violates the First Amendment, which provides in plain terms that “Congress shall make no law…abridging the freedom of speech”. Many provisions of H.R. 2356 are unconstitutional. Although the constitutional debate is […]

Attack U.S. and Get Paid with Taxpayer Money

A donor conference for Afghanistan convened in Tokyo last week had every appearance of being humane, moral, and sensible. Representatives from sixty governments pledged to help rebuild Afghanistan by committing at least $1.7 billion in 2002 and $10.2 billion over the next decade. On behalf of the United States, Secretary of State Colin L. Powell […]

Behind the Environmental Working Group

Among the political chattering classes, there’s a big buzz over a tiny activist organization called the Environmental Working Group. Both liberals and conservatives, including the left-leaning New York Times editorial page and the right-leaning Wall Street Journal editorial page, have praised the group’s farm subsidy database. The National Journal notes that the research vaulted the […]

Enronic Cleansing: Be Warned

I alienated some friends and clients when I e-mailed a TrendMacro Live! note last week warning of a dangerous new phase of the Enron scandal. Everyone is understandably eager to round up the bad guys and hang

The Terrorist’s Best Friend

The events of the past few weeks in Israel have offered a timeless lesson on the real cause of terrorism and the real meaning of the “peace process.” The pattern of these events is crystal clear: Yasser Arafat and his Palestinian Authority have escalated their war against Israel, while loudly demanding that Israel renounce “military […]

Defending the rights of John Q — Dr. John Q

John Q — a propaganda flick about an uninsured worker who forces doctors at gunpoint to treat his son — has reinvigorated the widespread misconception that health care should be a “right.” But believers in such a notion, and the politicians that pander to them, evade a fundamental fact: a legitimate right doesn’t impose obligations […]

Who Pays The Tariffs?

As predicted, the steel industry has bellied up to the federal concession stand for all forms of relief and favors. The emotionally charged premise is that the steel industry is vital to our defense and economic strength. This same argument was successfully used by the airline industry several months ago. The line forms to the […]

Enron, Tyco, and Accounting for Conglomerates

In the wake of the Enron scandal, investors are all of a sudden focusing intensely on the integrity of corporate accounting. So self-righteous pundits and politicians are elbowing each other for space at the head of the lynch mob demanding new regulations to enforce more standardized disclosure. I don’t for a moment seek to excuse […]

New Words for the Same Old Hustle

What would Martin Luther King Jr. have made of a recent ad last month (Jan 21) in the Boston Globe? On Page 10, to honor King’s memory and legacy, a full-page ad reproduced the peroration of his unforgettable 1963 speech at the Lincoln Memorial: “I have a dream that one day this nation will rise […]

Enron, Krugman, and the Public Intellectuals

The failure of Enron has had important impacts for its shareholders, creditors and business counterparties. There will be some important second-order impacts, too. Enron has already become an excuse for politicians and special interest groups to seek useless and costly new regulations to “prevent another Enron in our lifetime.” For example, the abusive attempts to […]

OPEC, Oil, and Energy Economics 101

We are all familiar with pundits from all corners decrying our dependence on foreign oil. Before the oil embargo in the 70’s and subsequent attempts to wean ourselves from OPEC, we were importing about 25% of our oil and now we are importing over 50%. This is always accompanied by gloomy organ music playing in […]

Snub the Tyrants and Grow Your Own

Allow me to suggest a New Year’s resolution you’ll thank me for: Grow your own tomatoes. As you’ll see, becoming a grower can be rewarding far beyond the sweet taste of your crop. The traditional extra benefits keep bringing many of us back season after season. If you’re a tomato gardener, you know the great […]

Why is “Campaign Finance Reform” Popular–Amongst Politicians?

In its reckless disregard of the Constitution when it passed “campaign finance reform” legislation, the House of Representatives has demonstrated dramatically why we need real political reform. The First Amendment to the Constitution begins “Congress shall make no law” on several subjects, including any law “abridging freedom of speech.” Yet here was the House, working […]

For-Profit Schools: Profit’s not a Four-Letter Word

“It’s not ethically sound to make a profit off educating students in a school that serves the public, which a charter school is, using funds from public coffers.” That’s not a sentence from Mao’s Little Red Book. It’s from Philip Parr, Chief of Staff of the Pittsburgh Public Schools, as quoted in a front page […]

Keeping Your Cool on Global Warming

Q. What are you chuckling at? A. This news story. Apparently satellite photos now confirm that the polar ice caps are shrinking and the planet’s temperature is increasing. As more carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere, more of the sun’s heat is getting trapped. If this keeps up, the global climate change is likely […]

Biotech Comes Down With Enronitis

The biotech sector is sick. The industry that promises to cure cancer and AIDS can’t cure itself. And it’s all so sudden. All last year I thought favorably of biotech as a “defensive growth” sector — a group of high-risk/high-reward technology companies that are working on the consumer staples of tomorrow, and are independent of […]

The Media That Couldn’t Shoot Straight: How a Hand Gun Saved Lives

On January 16, 2002, a law student at Virginia’s Appalachian School of Law shot and killed the dean, a professor and another student, while wounding three others. How did the shooting spree end? According to the Los Angeles Times, “Other students tackled (emphasis added) the gunman minutes after he stalked through the tiny campus of […]