David Hoffman of Baltimore: A Profile in Courage

Our Constitution guarantees a “republican form of government.” Alas, from my experience as a law professor, the meaning of “republican” appears opaque to most law students. To early generations of Americans, republicanism conveyed two clear and important concepts: one of “rights,” through popular sovereignty and governments of limited powers; the other of “responsibilities,” expressed through […]

Civility: Key to Genuine School Reform

When they met last spring for the “Education Summit II,” the nation’s governors and several prominent corporate executives hoped to light a fire under American education. It needs it. The meeting’s co-chairmen, IBM chief executive Louis V. Gerstner, Jr. and Wisconsin Governor Tommy G. Thompson (R), started out under no illusions. Gerstner pointed out that […]

Saving the City Through Private Activity

This issue focuses largely on the related topics of government efficiency and private-sector activity in areas traditionally ceded to government. Let us be honest: Government provision of services is often inefficient provision of services. As David Muhlhausen notes in his page 8 article on privatized juvenile-corrections facilities, Ronald Reagan’s Grace commission long ago found that […]

Reform Schools Reformed: How Competitive Tendering Saves Your Money

With surging juvenile crime rates and limited budgets, state governments have been hard pressed to handle the increasing demands on the juvenile-justice system. This strain has led to increased privatization of juvenile-corrections services. Once found only on the outer fringes of libertarianism, advocates of privatized corrections are new viewed as being well within the mainstream. […]

No Dice!

On August 12, Governor Glendening announced – firmly – that no bill authorizing slot machines or casinos in Maryland will pass into law under his watch.1 Nonetheless, given the – how shall one say this? – pliancy of various Maryland politicians on this issue, it bears remembering that a day is an age in politics […]

A ‘D’ for the Professor: Maryland\’s Taxing Situation

During Maryland’s last gubernatorial election, Republican Ellen R. Sauerbrey promised deep tax cuts. She pointed to the 30 percent tax cut in New Jersey as a model. The victorious Parris N. Glendening seemed to get the message. After he took office, he called for a five percent to ten percent income-tax cut: a wise economic […]

Benchmarking: Taking Local Government into the 21st Century

The economic uncertainty of our tomorrows necessitates a commitment to preparedness on the part of county and municipal governments successfully to meet the challenges of the 21st century. Sluggish economic growth and reduced federal and state financial assistance, coupled with increased demands for services and public intolerance for additional taxes/fees, underscore the importance and timeliness […]

Montgomery Innovations: Lessons for Baltimore?

One of the education establishment’s defenses of its poor performance (in relation to private and parochial schools) is that non-public schools are selective. That is, private and parochial schools may choose their own students, leaving the most difficult students for the public schools to deal with. This is used as a rationale to justify annual […]

Taking Charge: How Citizens Can Help Kids when Government Won’t

At the same time that Baltimore Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke (D) was announcing plans to appoint a task force to explore different options for providing school choice for parents, a new group was being chartered in Maryland – a Baltimore version of the Children’s Educational Opportunity Foundation (known as CEO America). Like the original group, […]

Wake Up, Corporate America: How Business Feeds the Mouth that Bites It

The Environmental Law Institute is a tax-exempt organization active in the field of public policy. Among its claims to fame is the legal rationale that allowed Exxon to be held criminally responsible for the Valdez oil spill off Alaska. Every year, astonishingly, the Environmental Law Institute receives a grant – generally around $5,000 – from […]