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Articles about the work of Richard Epstein

Richard Epstein on Polygamy
futureofcapitalism.com

Libertarian law professor Richard Epstein has a new column up at Forbes.com in which he argues that the Defense of Marriage Act should be repealed by Congress, not overturned by judges:

Under our law, only the state may issue marriage licenses. That power carries with it a duty to serve all-comers on equal terms, which means that the state should not be able to pick and choose those on whom it bestows its favors. DOMA offends this principle in two ways. First, it excludes polygamous couples from receiving these marital benefits. Second, it excludes gay couples. Both groups contribute to the funds that support these various government programs. Both should share in its benefits.

Read More...


Richard Epstein on Private Bus Routes
futureofcapitalism.com

Libertarian law professor Richard Epstein has a new Forbes column up about New York City's desire to let private operators take over service on routes where the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and its unionized drivers have suspended service: "It is unconscionable for the City to create public service monopolies that allow the TWU to capture its lucrative contracts in the first place. As a matter of principle, let in the private vans all the time, regardless of whether budget cuts are needed. All union-run bus lines should always be subject to private competition, after which most will fail because of their inefficient work rules, bloated payrolls and overly expensive fleet."

The issue was mentioned earlier here in a post on July 6.

Read More...


Richard Epstein on Public Sector Unions
futureofcapitalism.com

Libertarian law professor Richard Epstein has a new column up at Forbes.com outlining a plan for reforming public-sector labor. It begins with some amazing statistics:

Right now the number of private sector employees outnumber public employees by about a 5 to 1 ratio. Yet with the recent collapse of the automobile and construction industries, public sector union members at 7.9 million workers outnumber the 7.4 million private sector union members. Put otherwise, the penetration rate of labor unions in the private section is at an all-time low of 7.2%. The similar number for public employees is around 43%.

His suggestions include "Reduce pensions for public employees to the levels received by their peers in private industry" and "deregulate, lower taxes and slash budgets."

Read More...


Richard Epstein on Eggs and Avastin
futureofcapitalism.com

Libertarian law professor Richard Epstein has a new column up at Forbes on the Food and Drug Administration's handling of both the salmonella eggs situation and the cancr-drug Avastin situation. I think he's a little too ready to support giving the FDA a big role in egg regulation, for reasons I get into here. But he's brilliant on Avastin:

Read More...


Two More Points on the Estate Tax
futureofcapitalism.com

Two more thoughts to follow up the earlier posts here and here on the estate tax.

First, libertarian law professor Richard Epstein has a post up at Forbes.com making a series of characteristically wise and incisive points on the topic.

Second, I spent this afternoon apple-picking with my family and some friends at a farm in Dutchess County, New York. In the farm store was a black-and-white picture of the father of the farmer. The farmer, with whom I had a prior acquaintance, was kind enough to spend some time showing me around, speaking with evident pride of the tomatoes (which were spectacularly delicious) and of his son, who, with a degree from Yale, has turned to managing the farm now.

Read More...


Richard Epstein on Markets and Segregation
futureofcapitalism.com

Libertarian law professor Richard Epstein has a blog post up at Forbes on free markets and racial exploitation in the South:

The entire system of segregation has, in some quarters, been grotesquely treated as though it were some form of market system, when in fact it was anything but. The key feature of a market system is ease of entry and exit, which puts pressure on all economic players....As a libertarian, the central lesson to learn from this disgraceful historical episode is that free entry and free exit are the cheapest and most powerful ways to combat segregation.

The review of Cotton and Race in the Making of America is also worth a read for those interested in the topic of racism and capitalism.

Read More...


ObamaCare Unconstitutional?
futureofcapitalism.com

Libertarian law professor Richard Epstein has a new Forbes column updating the state of play in one of the legal challenges to ObamaCare: "the question is whether state coercion can be used to overcome what the government sees as a free-riding problem by people who won't get insurance until they get sick."

Read More...


Government by Waiver
futureofcapitalism.com

Libertarian law professor Richard Epstein has a new Forbes column up on "Government by Waiver":

Waivers are by definition an exercise of administrative discretion that benefits the party who receives its special dispensation. Yet nothing in ObamaCare explains who should receive these waivers or why.

Read More...


Richard Epstein on ObamaCare
futureofcapitalism.com

Libertarian law professor Richard Epstein has a new post up at Forbes about the court ruling finding ObamaCare unconstitutional:

If the system is going to give some individuals a subsidy, it must find a way to tax someone else to provide that subsidy. Hence the individual mandate.

Notwithstanding the unanimous support of the cross subsidy by the political classes, their use is not a sound idea. Cross subsidies are always unstable because they lead to overconsumption by the privileged class and massive resistance by the losers. In a real sense, a revitalized takings clause argument would condemn these as transfers of wealth from A to B, without just cause.

But here no one in the political elites of either party wants to challenge the correctness of the subsidy.

Read More...


Government By Waiver
futureofcapitalism.com

Libertarian law professor Richard Epstein, writing in the Spring issue of National Affairs:

Read More...


Richard Epstein on Free Trade and Fair Trade
futureofcapitalism.com

Libertarian law professor Richard Epstein has a new post up at the Hoover Institution Web site about free trade and adjustment assistance for those who lose jobs to overseas competition: "what would be the state of play in the United States if every time a new firm opened up in one state it was required to fund trade assistance for workers at other firms who lost their jobs as a result?...We have to take the same approach to international trade that we take to domestic trade. Those individuals who lose their jobs to foreign competitors are no better off than those who lose them to domestic competitors. These people should receive the same level of assistance, no more and no less."

Read More...


Richard Epstein on Campaign Finance Law
futureofcapitalism.com

Libertarian law professor Richard Epstein has a post up at Ricochet.com reporting on, and disagreeing with, Judge James C. Cacheris's decision in U.S. v. Danielczyk. Judge Cacheris is using the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision, which said Congress couldn't constitutionally ban corporations from engaging in electioneering communications, to strike down laws banning corporations from making direct contributions to political campaigns. Professor Epstein writes, "The exponential risks of bribery seem pretty large."

Professor Epstein also has a piece up at the Hoover Institution casting a skeptical eye on "Cass Sunstein's Regulatory Fiddling."

Read More...


Richard Epstein on Fracking
futureofcapitalism.com

Libertarian law professor Richard Epstein offers his thoughts on extracting natural gas from rock via hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking": "guarded optimism":

A comprehensive strategy combines four elements, which should be arrayed in a two-by-two grid. On one axis, the choice is between a) damages after the fact and b) injunctive relief before the harm has occurred. On the other axis lies the choice between 1) government and 2) private enforcement of remedies. It is not likely that any one of these four cells will remain empty in a comprehensive review of the problem.

Read More...


Richard Epstein on Taxes
futureofcapitalism.com

Libertarian law professor Richard Epstein writes:

Republicans should treat all three forms of government financing as functional equivalents, and thus push for that deal which, subject to the caveats raised above, works the greatest cut in total expenditures. Following this reasoning, it is better to cut expenditures by $5 trillion over the next decade and raise taxes by $1 trillion over that same period, than it is to cut expenditures by only $3 trillion, without any current tax increase.

Read More...


Richard Epstein on Taxes
futureofcapitalism.com

"Raise Taxes on the Poor?" is the headline on the latest piece from libertarian law professor Richard Epstein, who makes the case for a flat tax as an improvement on the alternative progressive rate structure:

Under a progressive system, the amount of a tax owed depends both on the person who earns the income and the year in which that income is received. Given the taxing difference between high and low brackets, high net-worth taxpayers have strong incentives to shift their taxable income to their low income relatives, artificial tax entities, into low income periods, or all three.

Read More...


Richard Epstein on Buffett and Benedict
futureofcapitalism.com

Libertarian law professor Richard Epstein has a new piece up at the Hoover Institution's Defining Ideas site that takes on both Pope Benedict XVI and Warren Buffett. Professor Epstein writes, "A successful and sustainable political order requires stable legal and economic policies that reward innovation, spur growth, and maximize the ability of rich and poor alike to enter into voluntary arrangements. Limited government, low rates of taxation, and strong property rights are the guiding principles."

He really gets Mr. Buffett with this section:

Read More...


Richard Epstein on the Cancer Drug Shortage
futureofcapitalism.com

Libertarian law professor Richard Epstein has a new piece up about price controls and a medicine shortage:

Unfortunately, the law of supply and demand "really apply to cancer drugs," for it confidently predicts shortages whenever price controls are applied. That is what is happening here.

Read More...


Richard Epstein on the Cancer Drug Shortage
futureofcapitalism.com

Libertarian law professor Richard Epstein has a new piece up about price controls and a medicine shortage:

Unfortunately, the law of supply and demand "really apply to cancer drugs," for it confidently predicts shortages whenever price controls are applied. That is what is happening here.

Read More...


Richard Epstein on Buffett and Benedict
futureofcapitalism.com

Libertarian law professor Richard Epstein has a new piece up at the Hoover Institution's Defining Ideas site that takes on both Pope Benedict XVI and Warren Buffett. Professor Epstein writes, "A successful and sustainable political order requires stable legal and economic policies that reward innovation, spur growth, and maximize the ability of rich and poor alike to enter into voluntary arrangements. Limited government, low rates of taxation, and strong property rights are the guiding principles."

He really gets Mr. Buffett with this section:

Read More...


Richard Epstein on Taxes
futureofcapitalism.com

"Raise Taxes on the Poor?" is the headline on the latest piece from libertarian law professor Richard Epstein, who makes the case for a flat tax as an improvement on the alternative progressive rate structure:

Under a progressive system, the amount of a tax owed depends both on the person who earns the income and the year in which that income is received. Given the taxing difference between high and low brackets, high net-worth taxpayers have strong incentives to shift their taxable income to their low income relatives, artificial tax entities, into low income periods, or all three.

Read More...


Richard Epstein on Taxes
futureofcapitalism.com

Libertarian law professor Richard Epstein writes:

Republicans should treat all three forms of government financing as functional equivalents, and thus push for that deal which, subject to the caveats raised above, works the greatest cut in total expenditures. Following this reasoning, it is better to cut expenditures by $5 trillion over the next decade and raise taxes by $1 trillion over that same period, than it is to cut expenditures by only $3 trillion, without any current tax increase.

Read More...


Richard Epstein on Polygamy
futureofcapitalism.com

Libertarian law professor Richard Epstein has a new column up at Forbes.com in which he argues that the Defense of Marriage Act should be repealed by Congress, not overturned by judges:

Under our law, only the state may issue marriage licenses. That power carries with it a duty to serve all-comers on equal terms, which means that the state should not be able to pick and choose those on whom it bestows its favors. DOMA offends this principle in two ways. First, it excludes polygamous couples from receiving these marital benefits. Second, it excludes gay couples. Both groups contribute to the funds that support these various government programs. Both should share in its benefits.

Read More...


Richard Epstein on Private Bus Routes
futureofcapitalism.com

Libertarian law professor Richard Epstein has a new Forbes column up about New York City's desire to let private operators take over service on routes where the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and its unionized drivers have suspended service: "It is unconscionable for the City to create public service monopolies that allow the TWU to capture its lucrative contracts in the first place. As a matter of principle, let in the private vans all the time, regardless of whether budget cuts are needed. All union-run bus lines should always be subject to private competition, after which most will fail because of their inefficient work rules, bloated payrolls and overly expensive fleet."

The issue was mentioned earlier here in a post on July 6.

Read More...


Richard Epstein on Public Sector Unions
futureofcapitalism.com

Libertarian law professor Richard Epstein has a new column up at Forbes.com outlining a plan for reforming public-sector labor. It begins with some amazing statistics:

Right now the number of private sector employees outnumber public employees by about a 5 to 1 ratio. Yet with the recent collapse of the automobile and construction industries, public sector union members at 7.9 million workers outnumber the 7.4 million private sector union members. Put otherwise, the penetration rate of labor unions in the private section is at an all-time low of 7.2%. The similar number for public employees is around 43%.

His suggestions include "Reduce pensions for public employees to the levels received by their peers in private industry" and "deregulate, lower taxes and slash budgets."

Read More...


Richard Epstein on Eggs and Avastin
futureofcapitalism.com

Libertarian law professor Richard Epstein has a new column up at Forbes on the Food and Drug Administration's handling of both the salmonella eggs situation and the cancr-drug Avastin situation. I think he's a little too ready to support giving the FDA a big role in egg regulation, for reasons I get into here. But he's brilliant on Avastin:

Read More...


Two More Points on the Estate Tax
futureofcapitalism.com

Two more thoughts to follow up the earlier posts here and here on the estate tax.

First, libertarian law professor Richard Epstein has a post up at Forbes.com making a series of characteristically wise and incisive points on the topic.

Second, I spent this afternoon apple-picking with my family and some friends at a farm in Dutchess County, New York. In the farm store was a black-and-white picture of the father of the farmer. The farmer, with whom I had a prior acquaintance, was kind enough to spend some time showing me around, speaking with evident pride of the tomatoes (which were spectacularly delicious) and of his son, who, with a degree from Yale, has turned to managing the farm now.

Read More...


Richard Epstein on Markets and Segregation
futureofcapitalism.com

Libertarian law professor Richard Epstein has a blog post up at Forbes on free markets and racial exploitation in the South:

The entire system of segregation has, in some quarters, been grotesquely treated as though it were some form of market system, when in fact it was anything but. The key feature of a market system is ease of entry and exit, which puts pressure on all economic players....As a libertarian, the central lesson to learn from this disgraceful historical episode is that free entry and free exit are the cheapest and most powerful ways to combat segregation.

The review of Cotton and Race in the Making of America is also worth a read for those interested in the topic of racism and capitalism.

Read More...


ObamaCare Unconstitutional?
futureofcapitalism.com

Libertarian law professor Richard Epstein has a new Forbes column updating the state of play in one of the legal challenges to ObamaCare: "the question is whether state coercion can be used to overcome what the government sees as a free-riding problem by people who won't get insurance until they get sick."

Read More...


Government by Waiver
futureofcapitalism.com

Libertarian law professor Richard Epstein has a new Forbes column up on "Government by Waiver":

Waivers are by definition an exercise of administrative discretion that benefits the party who receives its special dispensation. Yet nothing in ObamaCare explains who should receive these waivers or why.

Read More...


Richard Epstein on ObamaCare
futureofcapitalism.com

Libertarian law professor Richard Epstein has a new post up at Forbes about the court ruling finding ObamaCare unconstitutional:

If the system is going to give some individuals a subsidy, it must find a way to tax someone else to provide that subsidy. Hence the individual mandate.

Notwithstanding the unanimous support of the cross subsidy by the political classes, their use is not a sound idea. Cross subsidies are always unstable because they lead to overconsumption by the privileged class and massive resistance by the losers. In a real sense, a revitalized takings clause argument would condemn these as transfers of wealth from A to B, without just cause.

But here no one in the political elites of either party wants to challenge the correctness of the subsidy.

Read More...


Government By Waiver
futureofcapitalism.com

Libertarian law professor Richard Epstein, writing in the Spring issue of National Affairs:

Read More...


Richard Epstein on Free Trade and Fair Trade
futureofcapitalism.com

Libertarian law professor Richard Epstein has a new post up at the Hoover Institution Web site about free trade and adjustment assistance for those who lose jobs to overseas competition: "what would be the state of play in the United States if every time a new firm opened up in one state it was required to fund trade assistance for workers at other firms who lost their jobs as a result?...We have to take the same approach to international trade that we take to domestic trade. Those individuals who lose their jobs to foreign competitors are no better off than those who lose them to domestic competitors. These people should receive the same level of assistance, no more and no less."

Read More...


Richard Epstein on Campaign Finance Law
futureofcapitalism.com

Libertarian law professor Richard Epstein has a post up at Ricochet.com reporting on, and disagreeing with, Judge James C. Cacheris's decision in U.S. v. Danielczyk. Judge Cacheris is using the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision, which said Congress couldn't constitutionally ban corporations from engaging in electioneering communications, to strike down laws banning corporations from making direct contributions to political campaigns. Professor Epstein writes, "The exponential risks of bribery seem pretty large."

Professor Epstein also has a piece up at the Hoover Institution casting a skeptical eye on "Cass Sunstein's Regulatory Fiddling."

Read More...


Richard Epstein on Fracking
futureofcapitalism.com

Libertarian law professor Richard Epstein offers his thoughts on extracting natural gas from rock via hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking": "guarded optimism":

A comprehensive strategy combines four elements, which should be arrayed in a two-by-two grid. On one axis, the choice is between a) damages after the fact and b) injunctive relief before the harm has occurred. On the other axis lies the choice between 1) government and 2) private enforcement of remedies. It is not likely that any one of these four cells will remain empty in a comprehensive review of the problem.

Read More...


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Richard Epstein

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