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Daniel J. Mitchell

Member of: FEE Faculty Network

Daniel J. Mitchell is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute who specializes in fiscal policy, particularly tax reform, international tax competition, and the economic burden of government spending. He also serves on the editorial board of the Cayman Financial Review. Prior to joining Cato, Mitchell was a senior fellow with the Heritage Foundation, and an economist for Senator Bob Packwood and the Senate Finance Committee. Dan’s work has been published in numerous outlets, including the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Villanova Law Review, Public Choice, Emory Law Journal, Forbes, USA Today, Offshore Investment, Playboy, and Investor’s Business Daily. He has appeared on all the major TV networks, and has given speeches in almost 40 states and more than 30 countries. Dan earned a PhD in economics from George Mason University.

Daniel J. Mitchell's Articles

Breaking! Government Train Project Late and Over-Budget

Now if a government project were on time and on budget, that would really be a headline. Politicians routinely lie about the real costs of projects. They figure it will be too late to reverse path once it becomes apparent that something will cost far more than the initial low-ball estimates.

Which State is the Biggest Moocher of Them All?

If you compared the map of which states receive the most aid with a map of poverty rates, there would be a noticeable overlap. A very libertarian-oriented state with a very low tax burden might look like a moocher state simply because its tax collections are small relative to formulaic transfers from Uncle Sam.

The Soda Police Learn a Valuable Lesson about Taxes

Philadelphians are obviously outraged by the skyrocketing cost of things as simple as a soda, which has prompted some businesses to post signs explaining why the drinks are now so damned expensive. Kenney said that this effort by businesses to explain the rising cost is “wrong” and “misleading.”

- January 17, 2017

Obama's Legacy is Dismal but Forgettable

Obama wanted to “fundamentally transform” America but instead turned out to be an incremental statist. Even if Obama's policy wins aren't revoked, they were hardly game-changers.

- January 16, 2017

The Egalitarian Left is Getting More Extreme

The left has expanded its goals to policies that are far more radical. They want to give everyone a guaranteed basic income, yet they want to wipe out the high-income taxpayers who finance the lion’s share of redistribution.

- January 16, 2017

How Red Tape Can Be a Death Sentence for Small Businesses

Why, all things considered, I like small businesses more than big businesses.

- January 12, 2017

World’s Best-Ever Receipt and the Importance of Tax Visibility

If we're going to be taxed, it's better to pay that tax explicitly. When you have to write a lump-sum check to the government, it’s a wonderful opportunity for people to ponder whether they're getting a good value for their money.

- January 11, 2017

When Terrorist Attacks Are Welfare-Funded

Whenever mass shootings occur, some people quickly jump to conclusions before there’s any evidence. Folks on the Right are occasionally guilty of immediately assuming Islamic terrorism, which is somewhat understandable. Folks on the Left, meanwhile, are sometimes guilty of instinctively assuming Tea Party-inspired violence (I’m not joking). I automatically wonder if we’ll find out welfare payments and other goodies from the government helped subsidize the evil actions. In my defense, there’s a reason I think this way.

- January 10, 2017

The Secret Life of Bureaucrats

There have been many humorous representations of burecaucracy, many of which have been very well done. But the reality for citizens continues to be more of a bog than a joke, and the bureaucrats themselves engage in behavior that is more and more ridiculous – unchecked by their own agencies, of course.

- January 09, 2017

Will Trump Turn his Bully Pulpit Rhetoric Into Policy?

When the best-case scenario is that Trump merely bullies people over the pupit and not with policy, there's a serious problem. The mere fact that politicians think they have the right to interfere with the internal decisions of companies is a dangerous development.

- January 09, 2017

Overpaid Bureaucrats Literally Distort the Entire Economy

Excessive pay for bureaucrats forces private employers to increase pay as well, but in ways that aren’t sustainable based on underlying levels of productivity.

- January 06, 2017

Workers Thrive in Unregulated Labor Markets

Economists tested the impact of labor market regulation in Italy, which has both regulated and shadow (unregulated) labor markets. What did they find? In the absence of regulation, labor markets can adjust.

- January 05, 2017

Montreal Learned the Wrong Lesson from Ayn Rand

Unfortunately, some politicians think Atlas Shrugged is a direction manual rather than a warning. In Montreal, they’ve come up with a crazy idea to apply a version of Directive 10-289 to the restaurant industry.

- January 04, 2017

Charity Can't Eliminate Poverty - Markets Can

Working people of all countries unite! You have nothing to lose but stagnation! Demand exchange-tested betterment in a liberal society. Some dare call it capitalism.

- January 03, 2017

4 Good and 4 Bad Policies We Could See in 2017

2017 could see positive reforms in healthcare entitlements, reduced taxes, and fewer regulations. It could also be full of protectionism, public infrastructure programs, and bailouts. Hopefully we see more of the former.

- January 03, 2017

Local Governments Are Getting Creative... With Fees and Fines

Revenue-hungry local governments are increasingly turning toward fees to bridge their budgetary gaps. Corey Statham in Ramsey County, Minnesota is the latest victim of this kind of government greed and callousness.

- January 02, 2017

Last Year's Great Trends from Around the World (and Not-So-Great Ones in the US)

2016 produced some genuinely great news from around the world. Government controls are on the run. 

- January 01, 2017

Illinois Enters the Death Spiral

Since Illinois raised taxes in 2011, taxpayers have been fleeing the Land of Lincoln in record numbers. To make matters worse, the average person moving into the state $20,000 less per year than the average person moving out.

- December 27, 2016

What Does 200 Years of Private Sector Progress Look Like?

The United States has never been a laissez-faire paradise, but there’s been enough economic freedom that, over time, we’ve enjoyed amazing improvements in living standards. The same is true for the world. That policies have been "good enough" for this outcome is something to celebrate.

- December 23, 2016

If You Want to Help Veterans, Abolish the VA

Donald Trump shouldn’t be figuring out who to pick to head the VA, he should be putting together a plan to get rid of it.

- December 23, 2016

Capitalism Destroys Jobs, and That's a Good Thing

The creative destruction that results in a constantly changing group of Fortune 500 companies is driven by the endless pursuit of sales and profits that can only come from serving customers with low prices, high quality and great service.

- December 22, 2016

The Failure of Public Schooling in One Chart

Between 1950 and 2009, American public schools experienced a 96 percent increase in student population. During that time, the number of administrators and other staff increased by over seven times the increase in students. This staffing surge still exists today, but the promised benefits are nowhere to be seen.

- December 21, 2016

Give Food Stamps Back to the States

I think poor people (indeed, all people) should be able to eat anything they want. That being said, there’s something perverse about subsidizing and encouraging unhealthy patterns. The program also has always had major problems with fraud, as illustrated by a recent scandal in Florida. Even millionaires bilk the system.

- December 20, 2016

We Don't Need Fannie and Freddie; We Need Freedom

Subprime mortgages have existed for decades. But they were a small percentage of the mortgage market until Fannie and Freddie reduced credit standards to increase their market share and meet low-income homeownership targets mandated by Congress.

- December 20, 2016

Lifestyles of the Rich and Bureaucratic

Yoga classes for federal employees have cost taxpayers over $150,000. Nine of the 20 richest counties are suburbs of D.C., chock full of our bureaucratic overlords. Employees at the FCC routinely spend the equivalent of a full workday each week watching porn. Should we fire them? Of course not! According to the government, 99 percent of federal employees are really good at their jobs and almost two-thirds exceed expectations. They're so good that only 1 in 500 will be fired in any given year.

- December 19, 2016

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