The self-defeating nature of sin taxes

Rev. Ben Johnson, senior editor at the Acton Institute, wrote a new article for CapX warning bishops of the dangers of encouraging sin taxes. Recently in Poland, a letter written by bishop Tadeusz Bronakowski was read aloud in many Catholic churches, stating that the “state has a ‘responsibility’ to pass laws limiting alcohol’s ‘physical and economic availability,’ and to back them up with ‘ruthless enforcement.'” Johnson, however, asks bishops to take a look at historical records regarding sin taxes and reconsider their stance, explaining how past and present sin taxes have resulted in a burgeoning black market. Continue Reading...

Reining in the EPA’s regulatory overreach

President Donald Trump turned heads and drew criticisms for his efforts to curb the regulatory reach of the Environmental Protection Agency. With the appointment of Scott Pruitt to lead the agency, Trump has vowed to create a leaner bureaucracy by requiring agencies to repeal two regulations for each new regulation enacted. Continue Reading...

The Importance of Incompetence

An illustration of the Peter Principle. Source: Wikimedia Commons. Public Domain.   Today at Public Discourse, I argue that in addition to idealism and self-interest, incompetence needs to be recognized as a more important factor in politics: [U]nless we add incompetence as a category of analysis, we will tend to view every victory for our own team as a triumph of justice or freedom or equality (idealism), and every failure the result of deep and convoluted corruption (self-interest). Continue Reading...

The case for principles-based regulations

In an attempt to cut down on the number of government regulations, president-elect Trump has proposed a “one-in, two-out” rule—for every new regulation implemented, two old regulation must be eliminated. This is similar to the “one-in, three out” rule that was adopted by the government of United Kingdom. Continue Reading...

Financial deregulation expands opportunity

The Dodd-Frank Act became law in 2010, adding more regulation to a banking industry that was already heavily regulated.  The main purpose of this 2,300 page act was to give consumers protection against big profit seeking banks but the unintended consequences prove to be much greater.  Continue Reading...

The Christian Statesman and the Gospel to the Poor

Today at Mere Orthodoxy, I argue that the duty of the Christian statesman (or stateswoman) to the poor requires defending human rights, supplying urgent needs, reducing barriers to market entry, and guaranteeing access to the institutions of justice, seeking realistic, gradual reform as possible and prudent. Continue Reading...