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Benjamin Seevers



Articles by Benjamin Seevers

California’s Crony Capitalist Minimum Wage Law

April 8, 2024

On April 1, California raised the minimum wage for large fast food restaurant franchises to $20 an hour. This law will threaten seven hundred thousand jobs by destroying the state’s food franchising business; however, there is one notable fast food franchise exempted from this minimum wage hike: Panera.Greg Flynn is the second-largest Panera franchisee in the world, but he is also known for his close relationship with California governor Gavin Newsom. This relationship stretches back to their high school years and presently takes the form of support and donations to Newsom’s political campaigns. With this close relationship well-documented, it is clear that there is more to this exception, as a recent article by Bloomberg speculates.When pressed on this exemption

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Need More Public Parking? Privatize It!

March 29, 2024

In its usual form, the case for privatizing public parking invokes the basic economic principles of supply and demand. This case is usually restricted to private parking lots and garages. For example, Walter Block discusses how market incentives can drive parking rates to rise to eliminate shortages here. A more radical proposal is the privatization of public parking altogether. A common form of public parking that libertarians can target for privatization is free public roadside parking.Under a free public roadside parking system, a section of the road is reserved for public parking, meaning that anyone and everyone, taxpayers and nontaxpayers alike, can park there. They face no barriers: no parking meters and no exclusion. This results in a tragedy of the

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No, There Is Not a Perfect Open Border System between the States

March 7, 2024

Jonathan Casey, in his opening remarks during a debate with Ryan McMaken on national divorce, criticized national divorce on the grounds that it throws away the open borders compact between the states. This, per his evaluation, would hamper the freedom of travel. He expressed the same sentiment during the National Divorce debate the Soho Forum held last year.“We have a perfect open borders system” between the U.S. states, claims Jonathan Casey. Most people might tend to agree with Casey’s claim, but is it true?First, the broad notion of open borders that people can go where they want as they please must be rejected. Such a system neither exists currently nor would it exist in a libertarian society. There will always be legitimate barriers to travel, such as the

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Privatizing Roads Solves the Problem of Road Closures

January 14, 2024

All of us have experienced government road closures and the traffic and safety nightmares they create. Private roads may be the answer to solving the problem.
Original Article: Privatizing Roads Solves the Problem of Road Closures

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Wonka: A Tale of Evil Businessmen and Cronyism

January 9, 2024

Wonka (2023) is a prequel film to the beloved story Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl. Wonka tells the story of a young Willy Wonka, an up-and-coming chocolate salesman and magician, who challenges a chocolate cartel’s dominance.
As one could imagine, the film is full of scenes that cast private enterprise in a negative light. The main villains are stereotypical movie businessmen who will do anything, even murder, to achieve their ambition for higher profits. The cartel constantly violates Wonka’s private property, first by poisoning his merchandise and then by attempting to murder him.
Another scene shows Wonka signing a contract with hidden terms that essentially makes him a slave. With the legitimacy of this contract dubious, it is unlikely any

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Privatizing Roads Solves the Problem of Road Closures

January 1, 2024

While traveling recently, I was stuck in a terrible bout of traffic. Unbeknownst to me, West Virginia University’s fall graduation just ended, and I was caught in the middle of the seemingly endless stream of parents, relatives, and friends who were leaving the ceremony. To deal with this problem, the City of Morgantown closed down lanes and reserved them for exclusive use by graduation attendees. Though the city may have done a fine job handling traffic, this raises an interesting question: How would road closures be handled in a free market?
One thing is clear: the government would not have the authority to shut down roads. The example provided above may not be the worst case of government management, but one can easily think of others. Roads are shut down all

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Let them Merge: Foreign Acquisition of US Steel

December 29, 2023

Nippon Steel’s proposal to merge with US Steel is meeting opposition from the usual suspects in Washington, not to mention Tucker Carlson. Their hysteria is off the charts.
Original Article: Let them Merge: Foreign Acquisition of US Steel

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The Legacy of Legacy Admissions Is Not What the Critics Claim

December 5, 2023

Critics of college legacy admissions claim that the practice is racist and admits undeserving students. The longer-term results of such admissions show why colleges continue to employ them.
Original Article: The Legacy of Legacy Admissions Is Not What the Critics Claim

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How Not to Desocialize: Argentina Edition

December 4, 2023

Argentina’s president-elect, Javier Milei, is set on implementing promarket policies, including a vast desocialization, or privatization, of the economy. The privatization of the Argentine airline industry is seemingly first on the agenda (along with privatization of state-owned media). Privatization is necessary, but above all else, it must be done correctly.
Aerolíneas Argentina, the state-owned airline, makes up 63 percent of the domestic airline market in the country. Furthermore, its profitability has been falling since 2020. The airline arose out of a government-directed merger of four local carriers in 1949. The government essentially promoted the creation of this airline company, thereby harming competition.
Through various tribulations, Aerolíneas was

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Hostage Extraction Needs to be Privatized

November 22, 2023

In the aftermath of Hamas’s taking hostages in its conflict with Israel, the question arises: Who pays the ransom? State-financed payments lead to the worst outcomes and create moral hazards.
Original Article: Hostage Extraction Needs to be Privatized

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Hostage Extraction Needs to be Privatized

November 4, 2023

Amidst hostage scenarios, like the Hamas situation, it is important to remember why governments should not pay to have their nationals released. Paying for hostages to be released creates a perverse incentive in which more people are taken hostage to receive more payments. This is undoubtedly a subpar outcome.
Furthermore, any effort by governments to reclaim hostages makes their country’s nationals more prone to being taken hostage. Payments and alternative methods of extraction rely on the use of resources stolen from the taxpayer by the government. Let’s break it down.
The research paper “Bounties, Grants, and Market-Making Entrepreneurship” by David Lucas and Caleb Fuller finds that—in a variety of bounty programs (programs that pay out a reward to private

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Golf Merger Is Opposed by Congress. This Is Misguided

September 7, 2023

Members of Congress claim to be "concerned" over the proposed merger between LIV Golf and the PGA Tour. They should be supporting it or, even better, backing off completely.

Original Article: "Golf Merger Is Opposed by Congress. This Is Misguided"

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The Soviet Abuse of Indigenous Peoples

August 9, 2023

Socialists and communists claim to support the rights of "indigenous" peoples. However, that support rings hollow given how the USSR abused the native peoples of Siberia, all while American socialists and communists uncritically supported the Soviet Union.

Original Article: "The Soviet Abuse of Indigenous Peoples"

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Flying into Foolishness: The DOJ “Saves” Consumers from Low-Cost Airlines

August 5, 2023

Yet again, the government destroyed a business partnership that not only promised but actively delivered benefits to consumers. The Northeast Alliance (NEA), a partnership between airline companies JetBlue and American Airlines, was ruled against in federal court after a battle with the Department of Justice (DOJ). Like the rulings of cases that came before it, this antitrust action is void of common sense.
The NEA clearly does not establish a monopoly. JetBlue makes up just 5.5 percent of the airline market. Adding that to American’s 17.5 percent gets the market nowhere close to actual monopoly conditions. But, given that the NEA only services certain regions, it would be inappropriate to simply add their total market shares together.
This partnership only

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Current Socialists Should Support Government Default: Their Forebears Certainly Did

June 13, 2023

Bernie Sanders, in a recent opinion piece, attacked Republicans for trying to get concessions out of the Biden administration under threat of debt default, stating, “Defaulting on our nation’s debt would be a disaster.” Writers at Jacobin echo Bernie’s sentiment.
Unfortunately, it seems like modern socialists are against default; however, historic socialists are not on the same page as our contemporaries. Karl Marx, Vladimir Lenin, and other socialists were in favor of debt default, and after communist revolutions, the leaders of those regimes almost always defaulted on the national debt, making socialists consistent with libertarians on this issue.
Marx’s rhetoric on public debt ranges from neutral to negative. Despite giving public debt credit for the transition

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The Economic Nationalists Are Wrong: Free Trade Means Freedom and Prosperity

May 31, 2023

Recently, I had the pleasure of attending a debate about the morality of capitalism between James Otteson and Michael Anton, a defender of economic nationalism. Otteson made a good case for capitalism; however, Anton derailed the debate by choosing to focus on specific policies rather than ethical concerns. Ironically, Anton admits that he has hardly ever picked up an economics textbook.
Throughout the debate, Anton made claims that were either misleading or false. I will address the most egregious here.
Tariffs and Free Trade
Anton’s foremost claim is that tariffs are, in fact, beneficial for economic development. Without giving much evidence, he merely appeals to the authority of Alexander Hamilton and the infant industry argument. Perhaps his ignorance of

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Socialism, Minority Groups, and Personal Liberties

May 25, 2023

People from socially and economically marginized groups in the USA tend to support socialism. Yet socialists have a long and bloody history of suppressing these very groups.

Original Article: "Socialism, Minority Groups, and Personal Liberties"

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Socialism, Minority Groups, and Personal Liberties

May 9, 2023

Socialists have managed to acquire the loyalty of a coalition of disparate groups by championing the principle of personal liberty. Especially in the United States, many women, disabled, gay people, transgender people, racial and ethnic minorities, and immigrants are among the proud supporters of the socialist cause, foolishly believing that capitalism or the free market is antithetical to their livelihood or lifestyles.
They could not be more wrong. Unfortunately, under socialism, people are not self-owners; they belong to the state.
The state owns everyone’s bodies under socialism. No example is more extreme than the gulags of the Soviet Union, where the state sent millions to forced-labor camps in which about 1.6 million died. The individual was merely a

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Should Local Municipalities Default on Their Debts? Seems Like a Good Idea

April 26, 2023

Most Americans do not understand debt default. When it is explained, debt default comes off as immorally reneging on the financial obligations of the government. In contrast, libertarians have demonstrated that it is, in fact, moral and beneficial. However, when default is brought up, it is hardly ever discussed in terms of local governments. So, here is why your local government should leave their creditors in the dust.
Government issued debt is essentially immoral. Government debt issuance is an aggressive action and should be rejected as such. It involuntarily transfers money from the taxpayer to the government’s creditors. There is no positive obligation to pay back the creditors because the creditors are fully aware of where the payments come from—involuntary

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