Learn Liberty

Category Archive: Politics & Policy

  1. It’s Always Sunny In Government?

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    With great power comes great responsibility. But what happens when those in power are no longer responsible enough to wield it? From our ever-increasing debt to the chaos of Ferguson, MO, it’s no surprise that people with power end up abusing it. Look no further than ‘The Gang’ from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia; each time they’re presented with even a modicum of authority, all hell breaks loose. While the show is clearly a comedy, its underlying themes speak to something much darker. Dr. Peter Jaworski of Georgetown University breaks down the three major ways politics is a dirty game – and offers two easy solutions for fixing the system. And it’s not the DENNIS System.

  2. Football Law: Changing the Rules of the Game

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    What happens when the rules of a game change?

    One of the most important parts of playing a game like football is that the rules remain predictable and consistent for all players. However, this doesn’t just apply to touchdowns and tackles – the rule of law is crucial to a well-functioning free market. The question at hand is whether or not this really does exist in the US; or are the rich and powerful benefitting from hiring lobbyists to get what they want and to protect themselves? In this video, learn from Professor Steve Horowitz what happens when the Rule of Law changes. What is the impact on our society, the economy, and YOUR life?

  3. 4 Reasons to be Optimistic About Mandatory Minimums

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    Mandatory minimum sentencing laws have sentenced people to jail for decades, sometimes for doing something as simple as selling pot a few times. Is there any reason to be hopeful that things could change? Alex Kreit, professor at the Thomas Jefferson School of Law, tells of four recent contributions to the reform of mandatory-minimum drug sentencing laws.

    Attorney General Eric Holder issued new guidelines on how federal prosecutors enforce drug laws. President Obama himself granted clemency for several drug offenders sentenced under mandatory minimum laws.

    Meanwhile, Senators Cory Booker and Rand Paul joined forces to advocate reform. Bipartisan action is rare, which makes this all the more impressive.

    There are several organizations joining the fight against these laws as well. A group called Families Against Mandatory Minimums is leading the battle against unjust sentencing under these laws.

    Are there reasons for optimism? Professor Kreit believes so, and you should too.

  4. The Costs of Brazil vs Germany: Protest and Poverty at Brazil’s World Cup

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    Brazil gained prestige in landing the World Cup and Olympics, but sometimes hosting a major global event isn’t as glamorous as it seems. For a start, it’s difficult to justify massive spending — Brazil plans to spend $31 billion between the two — for such a temporary payoff. . Many venues created for these events, including those erected for the Olympic Games in Athens and Beijing, have fallen into disrepair after the celebrations ended. Many workers die on these massive construction projects — hundreds, already, for Qatar’s 2022 World Cup. Government often evicts lots of people from their homes, as Beijing did to over 1.5 million people in anticipation of the 2008 Summer Olympics. So why are cities and countries so eager to host? Often for the international prestige. However, support can sour quickly, as it has in Brazil, when the real costs became more apparent. Economist Matt Ryan from Duquesne University asks you to consider those costs now – a country that wins the bid may lose big overall.

  5. 3 Things You NEED To Know About Mandatory Prison Sentencing

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    Our three most recent presidents have admitted to committing drug offenses in their youth, though they didn’t pay for their indiscretions with jail time. But most people caught up in our criminal justice system aren’t so lucky. Perhaps the worst aspect of the flawed system is mandatory minimum sentences. Consider Weldon Angelos, one victim — a former record producer who won’t get out of jail until he’s eighty and has served a sentence of more than twice what the hijacker of a plane would face. His crime? Selling marijuana twice.
    Alex Kreit, criminal law professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, explains three reasons why mandatory minimums are really, really, really bad. For one thing, the sentences can be longer than those for more serious crimes. Second, they get the wrong people, despite the intentions of lawmakers. Third, if the goal is to reduce drug use, they fail on their own terms. Among their targets in practice are people who have been convicted of such minor offenses as possession for personal use. Drugs are as plentiful as ever.

  6. 4 Ways Economists Think We’re All Wrong | Econ Chronicles

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    How much does the average person know about economics? How about trade and immigration? Economists claim to know a great deal about these topics, and study them in depth. And while they often disagree with each other, most economists agree a lot more with each other than they do with the public. So why do democratic citizens tend to reject what economists say? Are there certain biases that make democracies choose bad economic policies? Follow this series of videos to find out.

  7. Foreigners Are Our Friends | Econ Chronicles

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    Some people say technology is the driver of innovation, but society often takes great steps in prosperity by trading. Like technological shifts over history, trade is a powerful way of creating wealth for all parties. In one example, Professor of Economics Bryan Caplan imagines a machine that turned agricultural products directly into cars: it would disrupt the way we do business, but the US would be wealthier for it.

    If, however, that machine was nothing but a freighter that exchanges corn for cars with another nation, many people think this is unfair. Whether in dislike for foreign trade or worry about immigration, Prof. Caplan calls this “anti-foreign bias,” and points out that most economists don’t share these concerns. Professional economists think trade and immigration benefit all parties involved – just like innovative technology. As we said before: trade is made of win!

  8. How Much Immigration Is Too Much Immigration?

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    The United States has laws in place to limit the number of immigrants granted entry. How many immigrants should be allowed to call America home? Bryan Caplan, professor of economics at George Mason University, argues that the United States should have open borders. Jan Ting, professor of law at Temple University, argues that there need to be limits on the number of immigrants.

    In this clip from the debate, Prof. Ting argues that the risks of trying an open border policy are too great. He points out that the U.S. population is estimated to grow at a fast rate in the next 50 years and through the end of the century if we do nothing. He is concerned that allowing free immigration will overwhelm U.S. infrastructure and cause too much environmental damage.

    Prof. Caplan responds by arguing that the market will ration immigration just as it rations anything else. Indeed, the idea of immigration without quotas is overwhelming if we do not consider how market forces will play a role. He argues that we can have open borders without fear because of the power of the market.

  9. The Relationship Between Commerce and Crime | Off the Clock Economist Explores

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    Professor Daniel D’Amico interviews a New Orleans business owner about crime in the city after Hurricane Katrina. They observe that local businesses can play an important role in reducing crime and increasing the safety of communities. Entrepreneurs and businesses create more connections between people, offer support and economic opportunities, and provide what urbanist Jane Jacobs called “eyes on the street.”

  10. Brave New World (of Debt) | Life of Debt Episode 1

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    17 trillion is usually a number reserved for distances in outer space, water in the ocean, or sand in the desert. But it’s also how much this next generation is in the hole for as they become adults. Thanks to our parents and the officials they’ve elected, America is $17 trillion in debt. Despite the way the federal government has dealt with this issue, debt is not theoretical. It’s real, it’s owed, and can take on a life of its own. Watch debt (and its sidekick debt collectors) interrupt birth, love, sleep, and more.  This is “Life of Debt.”

    Don’t forget about:

    Episode 2

    Episode 3

  11. The Debt Luck Club | Life of Debt Episode 2

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    What would you do to get rid of your debt? Would you sell your childhood toys, your blood, or ‘other’ fluids? That’s the question Tom has to answer. Overburdened with student loans, he has stopped making payments, and is now forced to dodge phone calls from snarky debt collectors. What can he do to escape this nightmare? When did taking on college debt become akin to living in a Kafka prison? But with any luck Professor Peter Jaworski may be able to lend a helping hand. Watch and learn from Tom’s mistakes!

    Check out episodes one and three too!

  12. Digging Out of Debt | Life of Debt Episode 3

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    They have your name, your number, and your credit card records.  Debt collectors have a funny way of tracking you down and can take people to court. What can we do? For Lee Campbell, he can rely on keg colleague and college professor Peter Jaworski to magically appear and teach him a few tricks to negotiating with collectors over the phone.  Watch as Peter guides Lee through the debt battlefield – you might learn a thing or two.

    Check out the whole series!

    Episode One: Brave New World (of Debt)

    Episode Two: The Debt Luck Club