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Personal Responsibility Lawyer
64 minutes | Mar 25, 2021
Tort Reform is Anti-Free Market
The Texas House is considering #HB19, which shifts the costs of tragic wrecks caused by trucking companies onto the victims, and away from insurance companies and trucking companies. “Tort reform" is usually thought of as coming from “conservative” Republicans. There is nothing conservative about this bill; it is a horrible example of #CronyCapitalism and a gift to socialists who attack capitalism because it lets them compare socialism to crony capitalism instead of free market capitalism. If you compare socialism to crony capitalism, you have a fair fight. But socialism has no chance against true free market capitalism.
58 minutes | Jul 14, 2020
Policies that Help or Harm the Black Community
Problems can be solved. This episode is all about solving the problems related to the gap between outcomes for black communities as compared to white communities. Race and racial tensions dominate the headlines. Very little of the news or arguments focus on how to make things better. This episode is all about solutions. Dr. Richard A Johnson III is the director of the Booker T. Washington Initiative. He has been instrumental in crafting policies to help break the school to prison pipeline, and how to improve public safety, public works, healthcare. and housing.
54 minutes | May 4, 2020
Tariffs, China, Trump, and Fixing America's Trade Policy
China may be a bad actor in international trade, but are tariffs the way to deal with them? The candidacy and presidency of Donald Trump has brought international trade policy—especially with respect to China—to the forefront of political discussion. The pre-Trump Republican Party was staunchly free trade, but Trump has challenged and changed that to a great extent, for better or worse. Free trade advocates (like your intrepid host!) may rightly oppose tariffs in principle, but does that mean we have no way to respond to nations who don't play by fair trading rules? Simon Lester of the Cato Institute says we have several arrows in our quiver. A few specific topics we covered: What is fair trade? We use the phrase a lot, but we should be clear about what we mean. Are trade deficits good? Bad? Indifferent? Why? Is China actually abusive in its trade conduct? Are tariffs the best way to respond to China's behavior? What other strategies and tactics does the US have at its disposal? Are there national security implications to being heavily reliant on a foreign power for our supply chain?
58 minutes | Apr 14, 2020
Economic Effects of the Pandemic Shutdown with SMU Professor Nathan Balke
Unless you've been under a rock, you know that a huge part of the US economy has been shut down by shelter in place orders in nearly every state. The idea behind this is to limit human interactions, which then at least theoretically limits the transmission of the novel coronavirus. It makes sense, at least in theory. But what are the costs? And how do we make fiscal policy--both in Congress and at the Federal Reserve--that minimizes the long term damage of shutting down. The purpose of this discussion isn't to debate whether the economy should shut down, how long it should remain shut down, or whether the economic cost is worth the public health benefits. The purpose is to discuss how to anticipate and mitigate the economic damage that the shutdown has caused and will continue to cause.
52 minutes | Mar 30, 2020
How Do We Reopen the Economy after COVID-19?
We have never had such a huge part of the American economy shut down immediately, without warning, and without an end in sight. What do we do now? How do we get ready to re-open? How do we limit the damage to the economy without risking excessive caronavirus carnage? Has Congress's relief package provided much relief? Rob Henneke of the Texas Public Policy Foundation and I dive into these questions and more.
57 minutes | Mar 23, 2020
Litigating Religious Liberty in the 21st Century
The first freedom mentioned in the Bill of Rights is the freedom of religion. "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..." First Liberty is a public interest law firm based in Texas that helps people live out that freedom. I had the opportunity to sit down with Jeremy Dys (@JeremyDys) to talk about a recent landmark decision that First Liberty won at the United States Supreme Court. The case is often referred to as the Bladensburg Cross case, but its formal style is American Legion v. American Humanist Association. You can read the official opinion here.
12 minutes | Mar 15, 2020
What Does it Mean to "Not Live in Fear" in COVID-19?
In a rare departure from law and public policy discussions, I tackle what I think it means--or should mean--when a Christian declares "I'm not going to live in fear." Jesus rebuked his disciples for being afraid and not having faith. He did not rebuke them because they were wrong about being in a dangerous situation. What does this story and some related Bible passages tell us about how we should live?
22 minutes | Mar 13, 2020
COVID-19: Good Sense Lies in Between Extremes
There are two extremes--as always--about the novel coronavirus. One extreme says we're all gonna die. The other says that this is nothing, barely a little flu bug. As always, neither side should be heeded. Take reasonable measures. Cancel unnecessary events. Stay home for a while. And then--hopefully--we can argue later over whether we overreacted once it passes and is no big deal.
26 minutes | Feb 21, 2020
Aggressively Belligerently Ambivalent about Impeachment
There are good arguments on both sides of the impeachment debate. So why is everyone screaming that getting this wrong is the end of our republic. Here's my strong opinion: it doesn't matter a whole lot either way. Listen to hear why this is the case. The vitriol in the impeachment debate is a symptom of the trouble in our political culture, not the cause of it.
57 minutes | Feb 17, 2020
What is Socialism? Communism? Is America Capitalist?
If you’re paying any attention at all, you have heard the word “socialism” thrown around a whole lot more in the last few years than ever before. At least, you’ve heard it more frequently without an expletive before it. In fact, the current leader in the contest for the Democratic Party nomination for President is a self-described and unapologetic socialist. But what does that really mean? The vast majority of us—I think—abhor the idea of socialism, but do we really know what it is? And a common critique (for good reason) of socialism is that it will utterly destroy an economy, and/or lead to outright communism. Is that true? Wait! What IS communism? And hold it: isn't socialist paradise found in Norway and Denmark? Shouldn’t we learn from them and imitate? I dive into these questions and more with James Harrigan and Antony Davies, both Distinguished Fellows with FEE, the Foundation for Economic Education. Check out their fantastic and popular podcast, Words and Numbers!
64 minutes | Dec 10, 2019
Our Criminal Justice System is Making us Less Safe
You've got to lock up the bad guys in order to keep us all safe. Right? It seems right, but it's not so simple. NYU Law Professor Rachel Barkow (@RachelBarkow) discusses her book Prisoners of Politics: Breaking the Cycle of Mass Incarceration. Prof. Barkow is an expert in criminal justice reform. This conversation is full of surprising information about how our collective zeal to punish has ended up making us less safe, and has actually made crime worse, not better. Listen to this conversation and then go get the book. It's worth your time, and these issues affect all of us, even if only indirectly. What we have learned is that some of our attempts to keep the community safe have backfired. In our efforts to punish terrible things, we have swept up a lot of people who have done less-terrible things, even if they aren't perfectly innocent. Criminal justice is a tough issue, filled with nuance. This discussion embraces the difficulty and nuance, and explores ways that we can make things better.
56 minutes | Nov 1, 2019
Anti-Federalist Papers with Judge Andrew Oldham
The Anti-Federalists played a huge role in shaping the Constitution that we have today, even though they were opposed to ratification. But we have largely forgotten that there were Anti-Federalists, and that they wrote some very interesting articles in opposition to ratifying the Constitution, called (predictably) the Anti-Federalist Papers. If you're serious about understanding the Constitution, you need to know more about the Anti-Federalist Papers.
66 minutes | Oct 22, 2019
The Conservative Case for Class Actions
Conservatives hate class actions, right? It's just greedy liberal trial lawyers who like class actions, and that's just because they get all the money and nothing goes to the victims, right? Not so fast, according to Prof. Brian Fitzpatrick. Prof. Fitzpatrick, a conservative former Scalia law clerk, explains the "ironic" history of class actions, and why conservatives should be more in favor of the class action than they are. Prof. Fitzpatrick and I discuss the history of class actions, why class actions are better than government regulation, and dispel some of the myths about class actions. Get more info about the book at https://www.briantfitzpatrick.com/. See the show notes at https://www.michaellovins.com/the-conservative-case-for-class-actions/. If you enjoy this podcast, please leave a review!
31 minutes | Aug 20, 2019
Interview with David Hoey
At some time, most of us will have someone we love living in a nursing home or assisted living facility. Sometimes, these places are a wonderful and safe place for the elderly. Unfortunately, though, that's not always the case. One way to make sure these facilities are safe is to hold them accountable when they fail to take care of our elderly the way that they should. My guest today is David Hoey, a personal injury trial lawyer who specializes in protecting our elders, making their lives safer and more pleasant. Elder law is a growing field of law as life spans increase and medical care becomes more vital. Consequently, elder care is a booming industry. We need those in elder care business to keep their promises to our elderly people and protect them as if they were family. You can find more about David's practice at www.hoeylaw.com, or on Twitter @HoeyLaw, or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/hoeylawfirm/.
66 minutes | Jun 4, 2019
Waterloo School of Austin Co-Founders Interview
In a culture of shallow learning, shallow work, and shallow relationships, the Waterloo School of Austin is fostering deep learning, deep work, and deep relationships. The way we run schools was designed by 10 people back in the 1890s. Why should we be surprised that today's education system is not producing people ready to thrive in a dramatically changed world? The Waterloo School of Austin is a new high school that is changing how education is done. In this episode, I talk to Craig Doerksen and Carol Blosser, two of the co-founders of the Waterloo School. If you are interested in developing young people into well-educated deep thinkers, this episode will be right up your alley!
65 minutes | May 3, 2019
Clark Neily of the Cato Institute
If you're arrested and indicted for a crime you didn't commit, no need to worry, right? The criminal justice system will give you a fair shake. Right? Well, not so fast, according to Clark Neily. Clark is the Vice President for Criminal Justice at the Cato Institute. In this interview, Clark and I discuss plea bargaining. Criminal cases almost never go to a jury trial. The default assumption is that a defendant will plead guilty and accept a sentence. If he or she refuses to plead guilty, prosecutors often add a pile of other supposed crimes, often referred to as a "trial penalty." In this interview, Clark and I discuss the problems with the plea bargaining system, and how to fix them.
61 minutes | Feb 4, 2019
Interview with Tim Sandefur
If you don’t know a lot about Frederick Douglass, well, join the club. But then get out of the club. You want to know about this man’s life. Trust me on that one. My guest in this episode of the Personal Responsibility Lawyer podcast is Tim Sandefur. Tim is the Vice President of Litigation at the Goldwater Institute. We could have spent a full episode talking about the fascinating lawsuits he oversees involving constitutional rights. But this episode is about one of his many books, Frederick Douglass: Self-Made Man. Prior to hearing Tim speak about this book, I was generally aware of a guy named Frederick Douglass who was pretty important in the abolitionist movement. I’m embarrassed to admit that’s pretty much where my knowledge stopped. But my curiosity was piqued by Tim’s talk, so I read the book. It’s not long, and it’s a really easy read, so I strongly recommend it.
54 minutes | Dec 31, 2018
Interview with Martial Artist Richard Johnson
8th Degree Taekwondo black belt and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu brown belt Richard Johnson talks to me about his martial arts journey, and how martial arts teaches basic principles about life and personal responsibility. Richard started in martial arts when he was in high school and was tired of being bullied. His idea was that he was going to start winning the fights with the ones who had picked on him. Instead, he hasn't been in a fight since. Well, he's been in a lot of fights, but they were all in competitions. Within a few years of starting Taekwondo, he was a national champion black belt. Now he owns a Taekwondo and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu school in Austin, Texas (www.southaustintkd.com).
30 minutes | Dec 27, 2018
Interview with Shoshana Weissmann
I had a great time interviewing Twitter's Senator, Shoshana Weissmann! If you haven't already, you can find her on Twitter, @SenatorShoshana. If you're a Twitter kind of person, I highly recommend you follow her. She is also the digital media guru for the R Street Institute (@RSI or rstreet.org), a free market think tank in Washington, DC. Shoshana and I talk about occupational licensing reform, and how the federal, state, and local governments have gotten into the business of protecting their friends by raising barriers to entry. We even talk about a complete law-nerd term, "regulatory capture."
69 minutes | Nov 16, 2018
Economic Liberty with Arif Panju of the Institute for Justice
The government requires a license to work about 500 different jobs. How arbitrary and unreasonable can those licensing requirements be before they violate your constitutional (state or US) rights to earn an honest living? Can the government pass laws just to protect established businesses with good lobbyists? If the regulations violate your rights, what can you do? My guest today is Arif Panju (@arifpanju) of the Institute for Justice (@IJ). Arif and IJ have sued the government in state and local courts to protect the rights of regular folks to earn a living without unreasonable government interference. We talk about several important cases that they have litigated, including Patel v. Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation and St. Joseph Abbey v. Castille. What do these cases (and similar cases) mean for economic freedom? What do they mean for you?
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