Author: Kevin Avram

IOUs And The Magic Mint

There’s a tongue-in-cheek website promoting a gizmo called Magic Mint. It lets anyone print fancy looking IOUs. The site’s promo says, “No matter what you owe, who you owe or why, impress your obligator…” Then it suggests you can obtain what it calls a “bodacious personal loan,” even if you’re a real loser and down on your luck. Apparently, if you need money and have one of these machines, all you need to do is ask anyone for a loan, assuring them you have a Magic Mint. Then you simply print one of these ritzy-looking IOUs for the lender...

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Incentives, Disincentives, and What the Bureaucrats Did to Mother Teresa

A wealthy businessman became overwhelmed with the desire to have grandchildren, wanting to enjoy their company before he died. The man had two sons and two daughters. All were married. None had shown any interest in children. At the family’s annual Christmas dinner that year, the elderly fellow gently scolded his children for not giving him any grandchildren, then added: “Last week I went to my lawyer’s office to set up a $100 million trust fund that leaves almost all my fortune to the one of you that is first to produce a grandchild. Now let’s bow our heads...

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The Alberta Government’s Legacy on Property Rights

AUTHORS NOTE: A few people may take exception to Bill 202 being referred to as a government Land Bill. The Bill was put forward as a Private Members Bill by Neil Brown, PC MLA for Calgary Mackay Nose Hill. That being said, readers will want to keep a couple things in mind: First is that the men and women who run the government are not politically unaware. And, they have a proven track record on trampling property rights. Legislative leaders know if they desire to advance a legislative initiative, yet test the waters or avoid possible fallout and/or backlash,...

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Merali — A Poster-Child for Government Largesse

Taxpayers have been treated to a throng of news stories this past couple of weeks about a highly-paid bureaucrat named Merali who racked up $350,000 in expense claims. It seems that you and I shelled out $1,750 to fix his Mercedes, $2,000 to buy and install his car phone, and $30 an hour for a couple of butlers he hired. We covered his bill at the private Mayfair Golf Club ($1,839). Two or three times a week, he ate at choice restaurants, submitting bills as high as $1,600 for a single dining experience. We even paid for Merali and...

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Thunderous Silence, Found Missing, and Government Efficiency

I recently heard someone say that a certain journalist always writes with an “unbiased opinion.” I laughed, because that’s an oxymoron. An oxymoron is a contradiction. It’s a statement about something or someone that combines opposite or contradictory terms. The word literally means “acutely silly.” Being almost perfect, pretty ugly, or going on a working holiday are the same. Found missing, acting naturally, and having a minor crisis all fit into the same basket. Their companions are old news, plastic glasses, and thunderous silence. None of these things actually exist. In the English language, there are hundreds of these...

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