Economist Deirdre McCloskey will soon release her new book entitled "Bourgeois Equality:  How Ideas…
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Image of the Day: A Powerful Tribute to Free Market Capitalism

Economist Deirdre McCloskey will soon release her new book entitled "Bourgeois Equality:  How Ideas, Not Capital or Institutions, Enriched the World." It it, she describes the unprecedented transformation  and improvement of human wellbeing through the power of economic freedom, as illustrated by this graph:

. [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="568" caption="The Power of Free Markets"][/caption]

. As McCloskey summarizes, that's the result of the free market revolution:

. [I]n the two centuries after 1800, the trade-tested goods and services available to the average person in Sweden or Taiwan rose by a factor of 30 or 100.  Not 100 percent, understand - a mere doubling - but in its highest estimate a factor of 100, nearly 10,000 percent, and at least a factor of 30…[more]

August 18, 2017 • 01:52 pm

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Kauffman Foundation’s “Rules for Growth” Is Roadmap Out of Recession Print
By Ashton Ellis
Thursday, February 10 2011
In this era of runaway deficits, out-of-control spending and crushing entitlements, the conservative majority in the House of Representatives has a historic opportunity. Like Thatcher, Speaker Boehner can crystallize his party’s opposition to statism with a document that points to what’s right about free enterprise.

The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation’s new book, Rules for Growth: Promoting Innovation and Growth Through Legal Reform, should be required reading for every federal policymaker trying to get America’s economy growing again.  That includes you, Mr. President. 

The product of three years of intense study by experts in several disciplines, Rules for Growth announces a heady aim in its preface: “to help redirect and expand the ‘law and economics’ field to refocus on the connections between the law and growth.”  That alone would be a great service.  Typical insights from law and economics focus on what government does wrong when it comes to regulations.  Rules for Growth promises something more. 

The book’s central premise – simple but all-too-often forgotten – is that economic growth is good.  It raises living standards and increases life spans.  Thus, government policymakers should not just get rid of rules that stifle productive activity; they should be replaced with a regulatory system that promotes growth.

This change in focus amounts to a paradigm shift.  Rather than have policymakers constrain themselves to removing disincentives from the law, the essayists in Rules for Growth want judges, politicians and bureaucrats to reorient themselves and their work in favor of innovation.  In this respect, their effort recalls Britain’s industrial era approach to regulation: When conflicts arose between British economic dominance and the legal system, the legal system was changed. 

Every branch of the law that touches innovation and entrepreneurship comes under review.  Immigration quotas should be reconfigured to increase the amount of visas granted to entrepreneurs.  University faculty should be free to license their patents and retain all ownership rights over their discoveries.  Taxes should be consumption based.  Independent regulatory agencies should be required to conduct cost-benefit analyses before making new rules.  Perhaps most interesting is the recommendation that the legal services market should be opened up by replacing state licensing requirements with a federal standard.  (If auto insurance companies can compete across state lines, why not lawyers?) 
 
Since his January 18th Wall Street Journal column promising reductions in business regulations, President Barack Obama has made overtures to the free market in his State of the Union Address and, most recently, in a speech to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.  Of course, fiscal conservatives should submit the president’s newfound interest to free enterprise to Ronald Reagan’s formula of “trust, but verify.” 

One way to verify is to hand President Obama a copy of Rules for Growth and demand he implement its recommendations.  At the very least, House Republicans could introduce legislation based on the book’s findings, and hold televised hearings debating their substance.  It’s time for the free market to receive a full-blown defense in the halls of Congress.  For inspiration, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) need look no farther than former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. 

In 1975, newly elected Prime Minister Thatcher served notice on a “pragmatic” Conservative Party colleague counseling a moderate course on economic policy.  Reaching into her briefcase, the Iron Lady held up a copy of F.A. Hayek’s The Constitution of Liberty for all to see.  “This is what we believe,” declared Thatcher as she banged the book down on the table. 

In this era of runaway deficits, out-of-control spending and crushing entitlements, the conservative majority in the House of Representatives has a historic opportunity.  Like Thatcher, Speaker Boehner can crystallize his party’s opposition to statism with a document that points to what’s right about free enterprise.   For fiscal conservatives looking for a roadmap out of the recession, Rules for Growth is it.  

Download a free copy of Rules for Growth from The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation’s website here.

Question of the Week   
How many times between 1996 and 2016 did the U.S. Congress pass a full federal budget instead of relying on continuing resolutions or omnibus spending bills?
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Quote of the Day   
 
" ... Americans have grown increasingly accustomed to the view that your politics is determined by your racial, ethnicity or gender identity. Politics is seen as a zero-sum battle for government favor. College and corporate leaders join in.Universities sponsor separate orientations, dormitories and commencements for identity groups (are separate drinking fountains next?). A corporate CEO fires an…[more]
 
 
—Michael Barone, Washington Examiner Senior Political Analyst and AEI Resident Fellow
— Michael Barone, Washington Examiner Senior Political Analyst and AEI Resident Fellow
 
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