Fed Chair Jerome Powell Warns About U.S. Fiscal Policy’s Unsustainable Path
Independent Institute Blog
by Craig Eyermann
2d ago
Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell once again warned earlier this month that the U.S. government’s fiscal policy is on an unsustainable path. His new warning came at a forum held by the European Central Bank in Sintra, Portugal, on July 2, 2024. The Financial Times’s Martin Arnold reports: Jay Powell warned that the Biden administration was taking excessive risks by “running a very large deficit at a time when we are at full employment” and said “you can’t run these levels in good economic times for very long”. It’s not the first time Jerome Powell has issued such a warning. The previous wa ..read more
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The End of Restaurants as We Know Them?
Independent Institute Blog
by Peter C. Earle
5d ago
Since the start of 2024, numerous well-known restaurant chains have announced sizable closures and incrementally more drastic restructuring efforts. TGI Fridays has closed numerous locations across the US and sold eight corporate-owned locations to strengthen its franchise model and close underperforming stores. Denny’s shut down 57 restaurants in 2023 and announced additional closures for 2024 due to inflationary pressures. Boston Market drastically reduced its number of restaurants from around 300 to just 27 by March 2024, driven by landlord evictions, unpaid bills, and state ..read more
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Day of Reckoning for Social Security Draws Closer
Independent Institute Blog
by Craig Eyermann
1w ago
In ten years, Americans counting on Social Security benefits for income will be in for a shock. The shock will come because the trust fund that provides about one-fifth of the cash Social Security benefits receive will run out of money in 2033. Starting in 2034, under current law, Social Security will only have enough money to pay 79% of its promised benefits. Everyone who receives retirement benefit payments from Social Security in that year will see that income stream slashed. That’s according to Social Security’s Trustees, who issued their 2024 report in May. When the Old Age and Survivors ..read more
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Robert L. Formaini (1945-2024): A Defender of Letting the Individual Choose
Independent Institute Blog
by Richard M. Ebeling
1w ago
The Independent Institute reported on Friday, July 5th, that free market economist and Institute Research Fellow Robert L. Formaini, had passed away the day before, on July 4th, at the age of 78. Born on September 15, 1945, in Ithaca, New York, Bob received both his PhD (1989) and M.A. (1984) in political economy from the University of Texas in Dallas, as well as an M.A. in economics from Virginia Commonwealth University (1980). He had earlier earned a B.A. in Fine Arts from Ithaca College, New York (1968). He spent an early part of his professional life devoted to the cause of liberty and fre ..read more
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Machado: A Beacon of Hope in Venezuela’s Political Crisis
Independent Institute Blog
by Alvaro Vargas Llosa
1w ago
Politicians who talk about “rendezvous with history” make me cringe. Still, it is hard to argue that the presidential elections that will take place in Venezuela on July 28 are anything but that. The opposition (or, more accurately, the resistance movement) is currently at its strongest. It is united behind one of Latin America’s most formidable leaders, María Corina Machado, a woman of classical liberal persuasion who enjoys approximately 70 percent popular support. Conversely, the tyrant governing the country and his entire administration have never been weaker. They have weakened to the ext ..read more
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Chevron Deference Is No More
Independent Institute Blog
by William J. Watkins, Jr.
1w ago
The bureaucrats of the administrative state have enjoyed much discretion under the Supreme Court’s 1984 decision in Chevron U. S. A. Inc. v. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc. (1984). In that case, the Court developed the following test when dealing with agency interpretations of statutes they administer: First, always, is the question whether Congress has directly spoken to the precise question at issue. If the intent of Congress is clear, that is the end of the matter; for the court, as well as the agency, must give effect to the unambiguously expressed intent of Congress. If, however ..read more
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Jury Trials and the Administrative State: SEC v. Jarkesy
Independent Institute Blog
by William J. Watkins, Jr.
2w ago
Last week, the High Court issued several blockbuster decisions. In this post, I will focus on SEC v. Jarkesy, which deals with the right to a jury trial in proceedings brought by federal agencies. Some background is necessary to appreciate this ruling. Article III of the Constitution guarantees the right to a jury trial in criminal cases. It is silent on jury trials in civil cases. This silence gave Anti-Federalists an opportunity to attack. For example, the Federal Farmer described jury trials in civil cases as “one of our fundamental rights” that would be put in jeopardy because of the decis ..read more
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How the Grants Pass Decision Shapes Local Approaches to Homeless Encampments
Independent Institute Blog
by Christopher Calton
2w ago
The Supreme Court’s recent ruling in The City of Grants Pass, Oregon v. Johnson will allow cities to enforce ordinances against sleeping in public spaces. This decision is a welcome victory in favor of local autonomy against federal overreach. Homelessness is a local problem that requires local solutions, and this decision will allow officials to address homeless encampments according to their city’s unique needs. Homelessness is not a crime, but many people suffering from homelessness—particularly those suffering from mental illness or substance-abuse disorder—require intervention. Far from a ..read more
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California Advances Bills to Ban Thicker, Reusable Plastic Bags That It Previously Required
Independent Institute Blog
by Adam Summers
3w ago
It seems that California’s plastic bag ban has been a failure, but that is not stopping lawmakers from trying to impose a second bag ban. California first adopted a statewide ban on “single-use” plastic bags with the passage of Senate Bill 270 in 2014. After being held up by a referendum in November 2016, voters narrowly approved Proposition 67, thereby implementing SB 270. As a recent Mercury News report revealed, however, Democratic lawmakers who had plastic bag factories in their districts successfully lobbied for the inclusion of a provision in the bill that would allow the use of thicker ..read more
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Milei and Steering Argentina Toward Economic Stability
Independent Institute Blog
by Alvaro Vargas Llosa
1M ago
A recent visit to Argentina confirmed my sense that President Milei is on the right track despite what his critics on the left and the skeptics on the right are saying.  As is always the case when free-market reform takes place in real life as opposed to an academic paper or a classroom, political, social, and market realities impose a certain degree of strategic adaptation. Milei’s strategy is clear: he wants to kill inflation by bringing discipline to the fiscal purse and purging the central bank’s balance sheet of the interest-bearing garbage accumulated under the previous government’s ..read more
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