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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

Illustration on crony capitalism by Linas Garsys/The Washington Times

Crony capitalism against the real thing

For the past decade, a strange migration of a couple of thousand people from all over the world to Las Vegas takes place -- in the middle of July. They come -- at least most -- not to gamble and certainly not for the weather where the normal daytime temperature is a 100-plus degrees, but to participate in an event called FreedomFest. Published July 24, 2017

Loss of Freedom Illustration by Greg Groesch/The Washington Times

When legal protections begin to disappear

Do you mainly fear government or feel protected by it? The American Founders wrote a Constitution and designed a system of government that sharply limited the powers of the state --because they understood that the greatest danger to the liberty of the people was the necessary evil of government. Published July 17, 2017

Illustration on the CBO by Alexander Hunter/The Washington Times

Notoriously inaccurate

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projected that 21 million people would be enrolled in the Obamacare insurance exchanges by 2016, back when the bill was voted on in 2010. The actual number turned out to be about 10 million -- the projection being off by more than 100 percent. Published July 10, 2017

Illustration on the "right" to health care and involuntary servitude by Alexander Hunter/The Washington Times

The anti-liberty lobby

Why do so many propose policies that undermine the never-ending quest to create a government that ensures liberty and protects person and property, as envisioned by the American Founders? Is it out of a desire for political power or ignorance of the consequences of their proposals? Published July 3, 2017

Tax Cutm Legislation Illustration by Greg Groesch/The Washington Times

Tax reform for the real world

There is an old adage that entrepreneurs often find to be true, and that is that things take three times as long and cost three times as you much as you thought. The Republicans claim they are going to get tax reform done this year -- but this is not going to happen unless they do two necessary things. Published June 26, 2017

Illustration on the death of cash by Greg groesch/The Washington Times

Breaking the monopoly on money

If mankind can figure out how to give everyone instant communication and all the world's knowledge via the smartphone, why are we not smart enough to figure out equally convenient, quick, low-cost and secure ways of paying for goods and services to everyone on the planet? Actually, we are. Published June 19, 2017

Government Collecting Financial Data Illustration by Greg Groesch/The Washington Times

Destroying financial privacy

Do you want your relatives, friends, business competitors and government bureaucrats to know precisely how much wealth you have, in what form, and how you spend all of your money? Published June 12, 2017

The Temperature Over Time Illustration by Greg Groesch/The Washington Times

The real deniers

No one knows what is going to happen 100 years from now -- what problems human beings will face and what advances they'll make. Are you willing to double your electrical bill -- to European rates -- to reduce global temperatures by two-tenths of 1 degree 100 years from now? Published June 5, 2017

Chart to accompany Rahn article of May 30, 2017

Wrong questions, wrong measures

Which portion of government spending provides little or no value? The president just released his budget proposal, and the predictable chorus of complaints immediately began from those who want more spending for "whatever." Published May 29, 2017

Chart to accompany Rahn article of May 23, 2017

Population death spiral

It is hard to succeed if everyone is leaving. Some of the former communist countries are suffering from a population death spiral, with double-digit population declines over the last 25 years, as can be seen in the enclosed table. Published May 22, 2017

Chart to accompany Rahn article of May 16, 2017

The problem of European divergence

Despite the attempts to unify Europe into an economic and partial political whole over the past 70 years, the grand experiment is unraveling, and it increasingly looks like the Humpty Dumpty we call Europe cannot be put back together again. Parts of Europe are enjoying unparalleled freedom and prosperity, but other parts are sinking both economically and politically. What explains the growing divergence? Published May 15, 2017

Illustration on the Korean economic miracle by Linas Garsys/The Washington Times

Korea's economic miracle

By the time you read this, South Korea will have just elected a new president. There will be a peaceful transfer of power, coming after the previous president was impeached for corruption, but all done in proper democratic way. Few would have bet after the end of the Korean War, more than 60 years ago, that South Korea would now be a rich, developed, democratic country. Published May 8, 2017

Pizza Slice Illustration by Greg Groesch/The Washington Times

Why the revenuers are always wrong

If you were really hungry and given the choice of half of an eight-inch pizza or a third of a twelve-inch pizza, which would you choose? Already, the normal group of know-nothings among the political class and the press are proclaiming that President Trump's proposed reduction in the corporate tax rate will only benefit the rich. The safe bet is all those folks are wrong, once again. Published May 1, 2017

Illustration on the consequences of questioning current conventional wisdom by Alexander Hunter/The Washington Times

Shut up and go away

Columbia University, from which I have a degree, has set aside rooms where straight white males -- like me -- are told they are unwelcome. How should I respond to their annual fund drives? Published April 24, 2017

Illustration on the wonders of incentivization by Alexander Hunter/The Washington Times

In praise of the price system

Kinder and gentler governments use market-based price incentives and less coercion. But all too many government officials forget about the superiority of the price system, and resort to the threat of or actual violence to get the people to do what they want. Business people use the price system to attract customers with lower prices and good employees by offering higher wages (the price of work) rather than coercion. Published April 17, 2017

Congress' Failure to Do Its Job Illustration by Greg Groesch/The Washington Times

Falling down on the legislative job

The administrative state began in earnest 130 years ago with the creation of the Interstate Commerce Commission in 1883, which was a major power giveaway by Congress to an independent agency. Published April 10, 2017

Chart to accompany Rahn article of April 4, 2017

Thoughtless actions that provoke terrible consequences

April 6 marks the 100th anniversary of the U.S. entry into World War I -- a war that claimed the lives of about 38 million people. It is correctly known as the "war about nothing," so why was it fought? The United States entered the war near the end, after much of Europe had been bled into exhaustion. Relatively speaking, U.S. deaths were few, about 118,000 from all causes, but a great tragedy for each of the families that suffered a loss (see enclosed chart). Published April 3, 2017

Tax Reform for Economic Growth Illustration by Greg Groesch/The Washington Times

Thinking clearly about tax reform

President Trump has said he is going to move on to tax reform after the debacle with Obamacare repeal. Is there any reason that we can expect greater success with the tax reform effort? I argue no, unless the rules in the House and Senate are modified, and those in Congress, whose brains are connected enough to distinguish between tax rates and tax revenues, take control. Published March 27, 2017

Illustration on Federal subsidies for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting by Linas GArsys/The Washington Times

Testing for turncoats

Do you think the federal government spends too much? Taxes too much? And should reduce the deficit? Most Americans agree except when it comes to specific spending programs they like. The people "hire" members of Congress to make these difficult choices. Much of what the federal government does is not authorized by the Constitution or justified by proper cost-benefit analysis, so is without merit. Published March 20, 2017

Illustration on Hillary's history of actions in favor of Russia   The Washington Times

Gauging who would gain from Russian interference

Are you shocked that the Russians might have had an interest in who won the U.S. presidential election? Nations have always had an interest in who rules the nations they deal with -- both opponents and friends -- and that they often try to influence the outcomes should come as no surprise. Published March 13, 2017