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Richard W. Rahn

Richard W. Rahn

Richard W. Rahn is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute and chairman of the Institute for Global Economic Growth.

Articles by Richard W. Rahn

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., talks to several hundred people while campaigning for president at a town hall meeting at the Carson City Convention Center, Friday, Sept. 13, 2019, in Carson City, Nev. He said former Vice President Joe Biden is distorting Sanders' "Medicare for All" health care plan. (AP Photo/Scott Sonner)

Freedom still works, as opposed to socialism

Socialism has always been a failure, and each year the world receives more information about the failures and brutality of socialism, but a number of people who appear to be intelligent and sane continue to embrace it. Published September 16, 2019

Former Vice President and 2020 Democratic challenger Joseph R. Biden participates in a CNN town hall series on climate change.  (Screengrab via

Untouched by climate change reality

If the government had not spent any tax dollars trying to mitigate climate change during the last 30 years, how much warmer would it have been and how much higher would the sea level be? The correct answer is, no measurable change. Published September 9, 2019

Predicting the Black Swan Illustration by Greg Groesch/The Washington Times

Predicting the next recession

When will the next recession start? No one knows despite the very confident talking heads on TV who speak with great certainty about things they cannot know. Published September 2, 2019

Illustration on the 1619 projects claims by Alexander Hunter/The Washington Times

A reality check of The 1619 Project

The New York Times has created what they refer to as The 1619 Project, whose goal "is to reframe American history, making it explicit how slavery is the foundation on which this country is built. Published August 26, 2019

Donkey Dunce Illustration by Greg Groesch/The Washington Times

Math-challenged politicians

Who among those now running for president would have been capable of creating the founding documents of the United States? Published August 19, 2019

Economic Rain Illustration by Greg Groesch/The Washington Times

Democrats mock and deride a slowing economy

It is no coincidence that many of the policy proposals from the Democrats now running for president would virtually guarantee a recession, or worse. Published August 12, 2019

Stage Two CNN Illustration by Greg Groesch/The Washington Times

'Stage II and beyond'

In economics, "Stage II" refers to the consequences of any given action or policy, which only the irresponsible or fools ignore. Published August 5, 2019

Illustration on deleting history by Greg Groesch/The Washington Times

Deleting history, forgetting the past

"The hell with it! There ain't no sin and there ain't no virtue. There's just stuff people do. It's all part of the same thing. And some of the things folks do is nice, and some ain't nice, but that's as far as any man got a right to say." Published July 8, 2019

Illustration on Democratic fantasy by Alexander Hunter/The Washington Times

Making plans from fantasyland

If the world as we know it is going to end in 12 years, should you pay your college loans back? Published July 1, 2019

Chart to accompany Rahn article of June 25, 2019.

A well-deserved honor for Arthur Laffer

Most people plod through life, having an impact on their family and friends, but not much on the rest of humanity. Rulers and despots can impact most everyone's life, as can those who are responsible for great scientific or engineering breakthroughs. Some musicians and athletes bring pleasure to millions. In other fields, such as economics, it is hard to identify individuals who created much in the way of pleasure or pain, or even directly useful knowledge for his or her fellow man. Published June 24, 2019

Fiduciary responsibility and hoaxes

Mankind's penchant for hoaxes goes back at least as far as recorded history. Some hoaxes are harmless and funny, but others do great damage, including causing massive loss of life. Published June 17, 2019

Turning the Screws on Mexico Illustration by Greg Groesch/The Washington Times

Fear, corruption and opportunity

Never underestimate fear of financial loss as a motivator. Last week in this column, I argued that the threat to place tariffs on Mexican goods was a bad idea because there are less risky and destructive ways to deal with the immigration problem on the U.S. southern border. As of this writing, it now appears that the president's bold gamble has paid off — despite the reservations of us timid economists. Published June 10, 2019

Illustration on U.S. Mexico economic relations by Alexander Hunter/The Washington Times

Tariffs, competitiveness and prosperity

For more than two centuries, economists and well-read people have understood that tariffs reduce the levels of competitiveness and prosperity. Adam Smith (1723-1790) explained how free trade (by increasing the extent of the market) enabled greater specialization and productivity, and David Ricardo (1772-1823) explained how free trade allowed for "comparative advantage" to everyone's benefit. Published June 3, 2019

Illustration on dispelled hoaxes by Alexander Hunter/The Washington Times

The hoax and due diligence

People are easily taken in by scientific, literary, financial and political hoaxes, particularly when they want to believe. When we search for "truth," we tend to rely on authority and whether information supplied by the source has been accurate in the past. Serious newspapers, magazines, journals and electronic media sources historically took pride in getting the story right. Reputations could be destroyed and markets lost when a story was shown to be wrong because of a hoax or carelessness. Published May 27, 2019

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during his meeting with scientists who received grants for scientific researche in Sochi, Russia. in the Bocharov Ruchei residence in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, Russia, Friday, May 17, 2019. (Alexei Druzhinin, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

No way out

Sensible people make sure they understand the exit strategy when making an investment. Too often, people lock themselves into investments, like timeshares, vehicle loans, real estate purchases, etc. for far longer than they wish they had. The same is also true for personal service contracts, like exclusive arrangements with agents, movie studios, sports teams, etc. Published May 20, 2019

Illustration on the reality of hope for the world by Alexander Hunter/The Washington Times

There's always hope

For most people, particularly in the United States, things have never been better. Yet, the newspapers and airwaves are filled with stories of impending disaster. Many of the doomsday scenarios have been around for some time but doomsday has yet to arrive. Published May 13, 2019

Illustration on financial disaster in the European Union by Alexandwer Hunter/The Washington Times

Europe slides into the poor house

Athens: Europe's most significant contribution to the world economy at the moment is serving as a bad example. Much of Western culture and law can trace its origin back to this city of 2,500 years ago. The ancient Athenians learned that democracy is fragile and can lead to bad outcomes — not that other governing systems have proved to be more successful over the long run. Published May 6, 2019