How the $15 minimum wage accelerates community decline

As Congress debates the specifics of yet another stimulus bill, President Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders continue to push for the inclusion a $15 federal minimum wage – a policy that is only likely to prolong pandemic pain for America’s most vulnerable businesses and workers. Continue Reading...

When cronyism meets ‘creative destruction’

Amid rapid globalization, Americans have faced new pressures when it comes to economic change, leading to abundant prosperity, as well as significant pain and disruption across communities. In search of a villain, populists and progressives routinely blame the expansion of free trade and rise of global conglomerates, arguing that entrenched and moneyed interests are now allowed to run rampant from country to country with little competition or accountability. Continue Reading...

COVID-19 and crony capitalism

Who wins in the COVID-19 economy? In some cases, outright fraud allows businesses to prosper. In other cases, political connections enable businesses to collect revenue from the federal government. Crony capitalism is defined by the Mercatus Center as “an economic system in which the profitability of firms in a market economy depends on political connections.” Continue Reading...

Alejandro Chafuen in Forbes: Corruption and economic freedom

Alejandro Chafuen, Acton’s Managing Director, International, writes this morning in Forbes about the relationship between economic freedom and corruption. Transparency International released its 2019 Corruption Perceptions Index last week, and Chafuen correlates these results with countries’ rankings in the Heritage Foundation’s Index of Economic Freedom. Continue Reading...

Alejandro Chafuen in Forbes: State-owned enterprises and trade

Alejandro Chafuen, Acton’s Managing Director, International, published a piece in Forbes yesterday on the place of state-owned enterprises in international trade. The question also extends to industries that, even if not owned by the state, are significantly influenced by government interests, regulation, and so on. Continue Reading...

Government funds bring corruption to Mayberry

Front Royal, Virginia, is just 70 miles from Washington, D.C., by road but a million miles away by culture. One resident described the town, which bills itself as “the northern gateway way to the Shenandoah Valley,” as “sort of like Mayberry.” Continue Reading...

Bailouts, moral hazards, and the scapegoating of the taxpayer

If pandering is the politicians’ pastime, then we owe a special debt of gratitude to those who resist this seemingly irresistible force. Today, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed that he refused to extend a £150 million government bailout to prevent Thomas Cook, the world’s oldest travel agency, from going bankrupt. Continue Reading...