Ian Underwood

Anti-Gun Bills: The Short View

I don’t believe that the Democratic majorities in the House and Senate have any interest in protecting rights that they don’t think are important — in particular, the right to keep and bear arms for self-defense, whether against criminals, or against the state. But I do believe that they are interested in power — that is, …

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Anti-Gun Bills: The Long View

The first thing to be said about all of the firearm-related bills being considered in Concord is that they take the wrong approach toward the goals sought by their sponsors.  The right approach would be to amend the New Hampshire Constitution to declare that not all persons have the right to defend themselves, to claim …

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Stop the insanity

If there’s anything that we should have learned over the last half century, it’s that spending more money on schools does nothing to improve student achievement, and that there is no correlation between the amount spent and the results obtained. And if there’s anything that we should have learned during the two decades since the …

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Daddy, why do we have taxes?

Percy Blakeney recently made the argument that ‘the proper function of taxation is to raise money for core functions of government’. The first problem with this is that it ignores the fact that there are lots of other ways in which money can be raised, apart from taxation:  Principally user fees, but also penalties, sales of …

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Money can’t buy love. Or education.

Our representatives in Concord are currently discussing how much money school districts require, where that money should come from, and how it should be collected. But three simple graphs are sufficient to demonstrate decisively that money is not the issue. The first graph shows that since 1970, tripling school spending (in inflation-adjusted dollars) has had …

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Educaid

Over time we’ve developed a method for dealing with situations where (1) we don’t want poor people to be denied access to something essential, (2) we don’t want tax money to be wasted on substandard products or services, and (3) we don’t want poorer people to subsidize richer people. That method works like this.  Poor …

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Crimefighters

Every once in a while, even an Ivy League law professor can surprise you by saying something sensible.  For years I’ve been quoting Alan Dershowitz of Harvard Law School on the dangers of using judicial review to circumvent the formal constitutional amendment process: Foolish liberals who are trying to read the Second Amendment out of …

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The dumbest argument in politics?

Now that a ‘red flag’ law (more precisely a ‘suspension of due process for gun owners’  law, although that would telegraph its intent too clearly) is being considered, it means we’re going to hear the following specious argument raised in its defense:  ‘Rights are not unlimited. For example, you can’t yell fire in a crowded …

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Milk Cows Not Taxpayers

The Union Leader reports that Governor Chris (‘Bernie’) Sununu has ‘promised to create the New Hampshire Career Academy, a partnership involving community colleges, employers and local high schools that will enable motivated and capable students to get a tuition-free associate degree’. So, is this part of the state’s court-mandated responsibility to provide an opportunity to get …

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The Assault Plastics Bill

No, I’m not talking about ‘plastic guns’.  I’m talking about HB102, which would add ‘the distribution of single-use plastics to consumers’ to the list of things towns can regulate. The idea is to let towns ban the use of plastic bags in grocery stores, or plastic drinking straws in restaurants.  But ‘single-use’ covers a lot of ground. …

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