Crime and Punishment in Texas in the 1990s

Texas' criminal justice system has been undeservedly criticized, partly for political reasons and partly by those who oppose the state's whole approach to crime and punishment, particularly on such issues as the death penalty and the right of qualified citizens to carry concealed weapons. Although many of these critics maintain that Texas has the wrong approach to criminal justice, crime fell sharply in Texas during the 1990s.

Focus Point – Presidential Rankings

Everybody loves lists. A survey by the Federalist Society and the Wall Street Journal polled 78 scholars to rank the 39 presidents who served more than a few months in office. It's billed as the most politically balanced ranking available.

Focus Point – A Bad Election Idea

William F. Buckley once said he'd rather be governed by the first 2,000 people in the Boston phone book than by the Harvard University faculty. I thought of that when I read Harvard law professor Lawrence Tribe's New York Times article which offered this solution to the Florida vote dispute: A *corrective election.* People who voted on Election Day would sign affadavits for a second election promising to vote for *whichever candidate they had intended to vote for on Election Day.*

Focus Point – The Debt

Earlier this year, Bill Clinton announced the National Debt had been reduced by $360 billion over three years, and $223 billion over the last year alone. But according to the Bureau of the Public Debt, the total debt at the end of FY 2000 was up about $261 billion over three years.

Focus Point – Deregulating the Inner City

We typically think of deregulation as applying to business, but a new report, "Comeback Cities: A Blueprint for Urban Neighborhood Revival," by Paul S. Grogan and Tony Proscio from the Westview Press, shows it works in urban policy too.

Focus Point – Fixing Crime

U.S. prison populations fell in the '60s and early '70s. Americans got fed up with crime and criminals, and government started incarcerating more people. By the early '90s, the prison population was up nine percent, and crime was down: Potential criminals were deterred by the prospect of prison.

Focus Point – Free Economies

The Index of Economic Freedom', Seventh Edition is out. The Heritage Foundation report shows the number of free or mostly free economies has increased, but unfree economies still outnumber them, 81 to 74.

Focus Point – OSHA Strikes

Remember I mentioned a few weeks ago the sweeping regulations proposed by the Clinton Occupational Health and Safety Administration? The so-called repetitive stress injury, or ergonomic, regulations were run through and presented for Clinton's signature in record time. Now, we know why.

Focus Point – Hidden Election Results

A little noticed statistic buried in the election drama in Florida was that exit pollsters found about half of senior citizens voted for George Bush, and a majority of people favored Bush's plan to partially privatize social security.

Focus Point – Teachers and Charters

The American Federation of Teachers doesn't like the for-profit Edison schools, saying they aren't educating poor and minority students any better than public schools. But according to a story in Usa Today, the Miami Chapter of the Aft doesn't buy it. They, in fact, run ten schools jointly with Edison. Why?

Social Security Made Simple

Social Security reform has become the number one issue of the final days of the 2000 presidential campaign. With all the talk about lockboxes, trust fund solvency and trillion dollar promises, it is very easy to get bogged down by what is unarguably a complex issue. But it doesn't have to be. When you break it down, Social Security is not really all that complicated.

Notes on Freedom: Individual Liberty vs. Government Tyranny, 18th Century and Today

The principles of the American political process were slowly being fonnulated in the decades before the American Revolution and the writing of the Constitution of the United States of America. The sources were largely English and had a profound impact on Americans of the 18th century. The Framers left us with an intellectual heritage in which rights flow from one's nature as a human being. By adherence to the rule of law, private property and individuals are protected from the potential tyranny of the many (democracy) and the totalitarianism or authoritarianism of the few (central control, collectivism). To paraphrase Thomas Jefferson, Liberty requires continuous diligence to preserve freedom.