This Halloween while you're getting pudgy from candy, crony capitalists are getting rich off of sugar subsidies. The system is rigged through price controls, subsidies, and tariffs, all designed to protect the sugar industry from competition–and basic math. In the latest "Mostly Weekly" Andrew Heaton tears into the Willy Wonkas gaming the system, and shows why an open market can more than handle your sugar craving.Published on Oct 30, 2017
Why the Lights Are Still Off in Puerto Rico
The government set the stage for a post-hurricane catastrophe.Published on Oct 19, 2017
Why We Should Privatize the Postal Service
What's the best way to make the Post Office faster and cheaper? Pull the government's tendrils out of it and let it loose in the private sector. Published on Oct 6, 2017
We Read Hillary's Book So You Don't Have To
Hillary Clinton's new book "What Happened" attempts to explain Trump's upset victory in 2016 through a series of reasons which are not Hillary Clinton.Published on Sep 22, 2017
Minimum Wage: Bad for Humans, Good for Robots
Jacking up the minimum wage sounds like a good idea, but it comes with disastrous consequences: low-skilled workers getting canned, employers cutting hours, and, of course, robots. Published on Sep 7, 2017
Stop Subsidizing Sports!
Let's talk about "sports"—that thing where we gather around to watch a muscular stranger put a regulation-size ball in a specific location. Published on Aug 25, 2017
Why are taxpayers forced to pony up cash for athletic ventures that don't benefit them? Franchise owners routinely extort massive stadium subsidies through threats of relocation and fake promises of economic revitalization. Universities jack up student rates to subsidize athletic programs that should be self-sustaining. And the Olympics is economically devastating to every municipality foolish enough to get suckered by one of the oldest scams around.
Mostly Weekly host Andrew Heaton explores the sports phenomenon and why we should quit throwing other people's money at it.
How to Stop Patent Trolls
Patent trolls are on the run. Let's finish them off.
It's been a bad year for patent trolls, from a Supreme Court decision squelching their ability to funnel lawsuits to East Texas, to this week's ruling that Personal Audio LLC can't claim it owns a patent on the entirety of podcasting. In the latest Mostly Weekly, Reason's Andrew Heaton explores what patent trolls are, the damage they do, and the next step in driving them out of courtrooms and back into dank caves.
Trolls camp out on piles of weak and frivolous patents, hoping to one day sue inventors and businesses. Many of the patents they register or buy are vague, representing novel ideas only insofar as trolls are innovative at finding things they didn't invent to claim legal ownership of. It doesn't matter that these patents wouldn't hold up in court, because a business is more likely to pay off a troll than to hire an expensive attorney to fight them. Trolls suck more than twenty billion dollars out of the economy each year.
The parasitical nature of "non-practicing entities" (the PC term for trolls) has raised questions about whether the modern patent system helps or hinders innovation, and if the best solution is for comprehensive reform or just to burn the whole thing down.
Heaton has an idea to hinder patent trolls. It may not be a silver bullet, but it will definitely piss them off. Published on Aug 11, 2017
13 Reasons Jeff Sessions is a @$#/!
Jeff Sessions is on the ropes with Donald Trump. Good.
The president is pissed because Sessions recused himself from the investigation of Russian attempts to influence the 2016 election. But here are a baker's dozen of reasons to hate the attorney general, including his obsession with restarting the war on pot, his call to jack up mandatory minimums, and his support for civil asset forfeiture. Then there's his lack of interest in due process, willingness to subvert state's rights when they conflict with his desired outcome, and desire to lengthen prison terms for non-violent criminals. Also, he might be some kind of statist elf.
During Sessions' confirmation hearings, Democrats claimed the former Alabama senator was unfit for office because he was a racist, charges that were never really substantiated. But Sessions' voting record and policy agenda are more than enough to disqualify him from being the nation's top law enforcement officer. Published on Jul 27, 2017
The Government's War on Interns
Regulations are protecting interns right out of the job market. Host Andrew Heaton tackles unpaid labor in the latest Mostly Weekly
It's intern season, but many aspiring students aren't able to get internships—because a lot of them are illegal. Federal law restricts companies from hiring unpaid interns if they're performing actual useful duties, which means it's harder for workers to get a foot in the door. In the latest Mostly Weekly Andrew Heaton proposes that consenting adults should be able to do whatever they want with and to each other, including unpaid internships. Legislation meant to stamp out exploitation is really just gutting opportunities because they fall short of a perceived ideal. Published on Jul 11, 2017
Trump's Cuba Crackdown: It's Time to End the Ridiculous Embargo
President Trump is rolling back some of his predecessor's Cuban policy reforms, potentially setting back important American relations with cigars and rum.
In 2014 President Obama restored diplomatic relations with communist Cuba, re-opening the U.S. embassy on the island nation and lifting some travel and financial restrictions.
This month Trump announced he was "canceling the last administration's completely-one sided deal with Cuba." In reality Trump's policy is more bluster and cosmetic changes than an actual reversal, but it might signal a bigger crackdown in the future. The Cuban embargo has entirely failed to oust the island's baddies from power, and may have further entrenched them. In the latest Mostly Weekly, Andrew Heaton explores why sanctions against Cuba are a terrible idea for free people (or just people who enjoy eating cigars). Published on Jun 30, 2017
Fifty Shades of Comey
Former FBI Director James Comey's retelling of his private dinner with Donald Trump had the timbre of an overbearing boss sexually harassing a subordinate. In fact it had enough parallels with "Fifty Shades of Grey" that it's time to ask: if the government is screwing us, should we get to use safe words?
Last week Washington, DC shut down as everyone and their dog fled to sports bars to watch James Comey's congressional testimony. The uncomfortable spectacle raised more questions than merely Russia's involvement in the 2016 election. The former FBI Director's retelling of his private dinner with the then-president elect had the timbre of an overbearing boss sexually harassing a subordinate. In fact it had enough parallels with "Fifty Shades of Grey" that it's time to ask: if the government is screwing us, should we get to use safe words? What about affirmative consent for creeping regulation? Find out on the latest Mostly Weekly! Published on Jun 15, 2017
The Government Hates Boobs
From nipple censorship to breast milk regulation, the government is groping where it shouldn't.
From nipple censorship to breast milk regulation, the government is making it hard to have breasts. The FCC maintains oversight of how much and what kind of breasts can grace public airwaves. Its decisions have ripple effects, since cable broadcasters often voluntarily comply with FCC guidelines.
A more dire issue than strategic anatomical censorship is the issue of breast milk. Between one and five percent of American women aren't able to produce breast milk, and some babies can't drink formula. When the two overlap the demand for breast milk is life or death. But acquiring breast milk from donation-based milk banks can be difficult and prohibitively expensive. So some women buy their breast milk on an online "gray market" that stifles suppliers.
In this week's Mostly Weekly Andrew Heaton explains why the government should get its hands off our boobs. Published on Jun 2, 2017
Net Neutrality Nixed: Why John Oliver is Wrong
Progressives are freaking out now that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is beginning the repeal of Net Neutrality regulations, which give the government the right to regulate Internet Service Providers (ISPs).
The main arguments in favor of Net Neutrality are really arguments guarding against hypotheticals: that ISPs could otherwise block and censor content (they never have) or that they'll run their operations like shakedowns, requiring content providers to pay up or slow their traffic to molasses. The main documented instance of an ISP favoring one content provider over others wasn't sinister collusion. Metro PCS offered unlimited YouTube in a budget data plan but not unlimited Hulu and Netflix, because YouTube had a compression system that could be adapted to the carrier's low-bandwidth network. In a different context, critics might have applauded Metro PCS, since bought by T-Mobile, for bringing more options to lower-income customers.
Net Neutrality is a proxy battle over what type of internet we want to have—one characterized by technocratic regulations or one based on innovation and emergent order. Progessives are generally suspicious of complex systems existing without powerful regulators present and accounted for. Small-government folks are repulsed by bureaucrats in general, and think the internet will fair better in a state of benign neglect. The FCC has come down on the side of an organic internet, instead of treating the internet more like a public utility.
We don't know how the internet is going to evolve over time, but neither do the government administrators trying to rein it in. But given the record of free-market innovation vs. government-regulated services, the odds are with market forces and entrepreneurs.
Freaky Friday Politics: Republicans And Democrats Keep Switching Positions
Democrats and Republicans are pivoting on issues faster than a bipolar swing dancer on a merry-go-round. Republicans are now big government protectionists. Democrats support free trade and states' rights. It's like the two parties switched bodies! It's almost as if... they were FREAKY-FRIDAYED!
Mostly Weekly: Why I’m Boycotting the White House Correspondents' Dinner
The White House Correspondents' Dinner has turned into a red carpet event for Washington's media and bureaucrat elites. This year president Trump is not attending, which is a good thing. Fostering a little comity between Republicans and Democrats can bring the nation together, but a healthy democracy works best when there's a frosty tension separating journalists and those in power. This weekend's self-important gala encourages the executive branch and the fourth estate to get along; it would be better if we made them square off in paintball.
Mostly Weekly is a new comedy series on Reason TV written by Andrew Heaton and Sarah Siskind with writing assistance from David Fried and produced with Meredith Bragg and Austin Bragg.
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