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ReasonReason

Reason May 2019

Reason is the monthly print magazine of "free minds and free markets." It covers politics, culture, and ideas through a provocative mix of news, analysis, commentary, and reviews. Reason provides a refreshing alternative to right-wing and left-wing opinion magazines by making a principled case for liberty and individual choice in all areas of human activity.

Pays:
United States
Langue:
English
Éditeur:
Reason Magazine
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access_time6 min.
stuff sparks joy

WHEN BERNIE SANDERS and Tucker Carlson agree on something, be afraid. The democratic socialist senator and the populist conservative pundit are not natural allies. But recently, they have converged on a single point of consensus with potentially terrifying consequences: Americans have too much stuff. The far left of the American political spectrum is the longtime home of Starbucks-smashing protesters, militant recyclers, Naomi Klein acolytes, and Walmart boycotters—people who believe we are destroying the planet with our overconsumption of cheap stuff at the expense of workers’ well-being. On his 1987 folk album (yes, such a thing exists), Sanders pinpointed “consumerism, the futile striving for happiness by earning more and more money to buy more and more things,” as one of the world’s great problems, a theme the Vermont independent has returned to…

access_time5 min.
starve the tax man

AMERICANS ARE DODGING income taxes at a growing pace. They have good reason to do just that. Taxes are, as per a handy Internal Revenue Service (IRS) guide for students, “required payments of money to governments that are used to provide public goods and services for the benefit of the community as a whole.” Yet our politically divided countrymen find little agreement over what constitutes “benefit” or “appropriate payments” and often act as if government is better used to punish enemies than to help anybody. That has, in turn, fueled an understandable reluctance to cough up cash for what’s offered. In the latest IRS figures, voluntary tax compliance for 2008–10 is 81.7 percent of the revenue the federal government believes it’s entitled to collect. That’s down from 83.1 percent in 2006. The…

access_time3 min.
modern monetary theory is supply side economics—but for the left

MOST PEOPLE LIKE new stuff more than they like paying for it. Poll a few thousand Americans about whether they’d enjoy having a BMW, and most would probably say yes. Ask how they’d feel if told it would cost them $40,000, and the prospect of a new 3 Series would likely become markedly less popular. This facet of human nature explains an iron law of American politics: People like government benefits; they just don’t like paying for them. Ask people whether they like Medicare for All, as the Kaiser Family Foundation did in January, and you’ll find a clear majority—56 percent—giving it the thumbs up. Tell them it would require higher taxes, and support plummets to 37 percent. Everyone wants a BMW; few people want to pay for one. Granted, single-payer health…

access_time2 min.
heavy taxes and regulation harsh california’s pot buzz

MORE THAN A year after marijuana merchants began legally serving recreational customers in California, the number of licensed shops, the volume of sales, and tax revenue are all below projections. Most strikingly, legal cannabis sales totaled $2.5 billion in 2018, which was about $500 million less than in the previous year, when only medical dispensaries were operating. What went wrong? Nothing really surprising. California is regulating and taxing the hell out of cannabis, which makes it hard for legal suppliers to compete with the state’s longstanding, extensive, and highly developed black market. To begin with, marijuana businesses need local as well as state approval to operate. As of January 30, according to a Southern California News Group database, just 78 of California’s 482 cities were allowing recreational stores. The Bureau of Cannabis…

access_time3 min.
the green new deal is anti-democratic

THE GREEN NEW Deal—proposed in February by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D–N.Y.) and Sen. Edward Markey (D–Mass.)—would require a vast expansion of coercive government power in order to achieve its goal: “meeting 100 percent of the power demand in the United States through clean, renewable, and zero-emission energy sources” in only 10 years. The plan, which has been endorsed as of this writing by at least six Democratic presidential candidates, would not only require a complete reordering of the American economy; it could happen only by trampling over property rights, local and state control, and the autonomy of the American private sector. Consider the Cape Wind project in Massachusetts. First proposed in 2001, it would have spent $2.6 billion to build 130 wind turbines that could have generated 468 megawatts of electricity, or…

access_time2 min.
virginia governor rekindles heated abortion debate

ON FEBRUARY 2, Gov. Ralph Northam (D–Va.) held a now-infamous press conference at which he admitted to having once “darkened” his face with shoe polish while dressing up as Michael Jackson. For his sins, he faced calls to resign from a range of erstwhile allies, including Hillary Clinton, Planned Parenthood, and the Virginia state House Democratic Caucus. (He has so far declined.) Two days earlier, many of the same state House Democrats had stood proudly behind Northam, vigorously applauding, during another press conference at which he defended himself. The difference was that the first controversy was over his views on abortion—specifically his support for a bill to legalize the procedure in Virginia through the end of the third trimester. For many people, that policy is morally indistinguishable from infanticide: If it’s OK…

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