Reason

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Articles from Vol. 40, No. 8, January

Anatomy of a Breakdown: Concerted Government Policy Helped Trigger the Financial Meltdown-And Will Almost Certainly Extend It
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] IT WAS NOT AN absence of federal intervention that produced the Great Financial Panic of 2008. Contrary to the assertions of those clamoring for new regulations (see "Is Deregulation to Blame?," page 36), the liquidity shortage...
Baloney Ballistics: Gun Databases Fail
SEVEN YEARS ago, New York started a database of "ballistic fingerprints" for all new handguns sold in the state. The bill's backers sold it as a crime-solving device, arguing that the state would now have a sample of a spent shell and bullet for every...
Beat the New Boss: D.C. Libertarians Plot Their Obama Administration Strategies
FOUR YEARS AGO, after the re-election of George W. Bush, the Permanent Republican Majority had finally taken over. Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform predicted that the Democrats would not even survive four more years. "Without effective control...
Better Than a Bailout: Four Steps Policy Makers Could Take to Help Financial Markets
WHAT SHOULD THE federal government have done in lieu of the $700 billion bailout signed into law by President George W. Bush? Here are four common-sense steps that don't involve the partial nationalization of the finance industry: 1) Raise the capital...
Bush's Regulatory Kiss-Off: Obama's Assertions to the Contrary, the 43rd President Was the Biggest Regulator since Nixon
WHEN BARACK OBAMA was running for president, he made no secret about his plan to "restore common-sense regulation"--read: increase regulation--by closing the regulatory loopholes he thought the Republicans had opened. Deregulation, he argued repeatedly,...
Death by SWAT: Collateral Raid Damage
IN JANUARY 2007, a SWAT team in Lima, Ohio, shot and killed Tarika Wilson, a 26-year-old mother, during a drug raid at the home of her boyfriend, Anthony Terry. When the unarmed Wilson was shot, she was kneeling on the ground, complying with police...
Economics Actually
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] Romance novels and the dismal science don't normally go together, but the George Mason University economist Russ Roberts has gone a long way toward reconciling the two. His previous novels, The Choice: A Fable of Free Trade...
Houses of Pain: When Did Declining Home Prices Become Politically Intolerable?
YOUR HOUSE isn't worth as much as you'd like it to be. That's probably no surprise right now. Maybe it's unkind to rub it in. But a harsh appraisal has been one simple bit of reality to hold onto amid the frenzied, hysterical, high-pitched panic...
Is Deregulation to Blame? the New Washington Consensus Says "Yes." the Facts on the Ground Say Something Different
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] You MIGHT NOT BE able to tell by looking at it on the page, but deregulation has become a four-letter word in Washington. In October's vice presidential debate, Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.) practically spat it out: "If you need...
Lessons from the Great Inflation: Paul Volcker and Ronald Reagan's Forgotten Miracle Created a Quarter Century of Prosperity-And a Dangerous Bubble of Complacency
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] IF YOU ASKED a group of scholars to name the most important landmarks in the American story of the last half-century, they would list some or all of the following: the war in Vietnam, the civil rights movement, the assassinations...
Obama's Job Fetish: Why the Government Shouldn't View "Creating Jobs" as an End in Itself
IF, AS WIDELY expected, Barack Obama faces a recession when he takes office in January, many Americans will expect him to deliver on his promise to "create jobs." They probably will be disappointed, because Obama seems to view job creation not only...
Obama's Numbers: The President-Elect Has Promised to Make His Math Add Up. Therein Lies a Glimmer of Possibility
I NEVER QUITE understood libertarian enthusiasm for Barack Obama. Yes, his early and forceful opposition to the Iraq war made anti-interventionists swoon, but candidate Obama was, if anything, more belligerent than John McCain toward Pakistan, Afghanistan,...
Pixar's Stories: An Animation Company's Inspirational Rise from Nowheresville to Infinity, and Beyond
FOR FANS OF animation--or anyone who has had to entertain someone under age 12 in the last decade and a half--Pixar's importance requires little explanation. The studio whose story is told in David A. Price's The Pixar Touch: The Making of a Company...
Sarbanes-Oxley Revisited
In January 2006, reason interviewed four businesspeople and financial professionals to assess the costs and benefits of the 2002 Sarbanes-Oxley Act-the last big federal response to fears of chaos, greed, and fraud in financial markets. Sarbanes-Oxley...
Slipped a Mickey? One Man's Light Pollution Is Another Man's Historic Landmark
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] If you happen to be 5, a giant illuminated Mickey Mouse dancing on your bedroom walls would probably be the greatest thing that ever happened to you. But for a grown-up, the discovery that the billboard outside your bedroom...
Thank You, Your Honor, May I Have Another? the Stubbornly Seductive Perils of Justice Porn
OK, LET'S SEE, there's Judge Judy, Judge Joe Brown, Judge Cristina, Judge Milian, Judge Hatchett, Judge Mathis, that crazy guy who uses a baseball bat for a gavel, the, uh, um ... damn! It is now officially harder to name every reality TV courtroom...
The End Is Near: Why Does the Land of Plenty Love Dystopias?
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] PROPHETIC WORKS always promise more than they can deliver. Fans of the Book of Isaiah still wait in vain for lambs, goats, and unicorns to make the dust fat with their fatness. And when was the last time anybody who really...
The Fed's Binge: How the Federal Reserve Engineered the Most Dramatic Peacetime Experiment in Monetary and Fiscal Stimulus in U.S. History without Anyone Noticing
UP UNTIL SEPTEMBER, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke effectively sterilized all his financial crisis-fueled monetary injections, either by directly trading Treasury bills for riskier financial securities or by indirectly loaning to financial institutions...
The Real Community Organizer: Craig Newmark on Craigslist, Libertarianism, Online Democracy, and Nerd Values
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] IF YOU'RE AN American urbanite under the age of 30, Craig Newmark has probably helped you or someone you know get a job, get a sofa, or get laid. Newmark, 55, is the founder of Craigslist, the massively popular classified...
Transparency in Action
ON OCTOBER 13, Neel Kashkari, an interim assistant secretary of the U.S. Treasury, sought to ease concerns about how the just-enacted $700 billion financial bailout plan would be implemented. "We are committed to transparency and oversight in all aspects...