Archive for the 'Welfare State' Category

The Wal-mart Solution

May 7, 2011

by Jerry O’Driscoll

Who should provide disaster relief? Who does provide disaster relief? In the Weekend Wall Street Journal, David Beito of the University of Alabama provides the answer for the victims of the devastating tornado in Tuscaloosa: it’s Wal-mart, churches, students, private individuals and, critically, talk radio.

The four Tuscaloosa Clear Channel stations organized a wholly voluntary relief effort. Beito recounts how, instead of taking Spring break, “students in the Greek system at the University of Alabama and historically black Stillman College stayed to cook more 7,000 meals per day.” The radio stations take calls from individuals in need and broadcast what is needed, by whom and where. Sometimes within minutes volunteer assistance arrives. Read the rest of this entry »

Medicare Reform, RIP?

May 6, 2011

by Mario Rizzo

The Financial Times  reports today that the Republicans may be backing away from the (Paul) Ryan proposal  eventually to replace traditional Medicare with subsidies for the purchase of  private insurance. The Financial Times  says, “This would shift exposure to rising health costs away from the  government and on to seniors…” Of course, this is literally true if there is  never an increase in the dollar amount of the subsidy, an unlikely event in  view of the regular increases in Social Security benefits.

Putting aside, for the moment, the details of the Ryan plan,  what many voters refuse to understand is the unpleasant choice they inevitably face. Either cost-control by the consumers or  cost-control (aka rationing) by the State.  The issue is stark. Read the rest of this entry »

Toward a Libertarian-Progressive Alliance

January 16, 2011

by Roger Koppl

Ralph Nader recently appeared on Judge Napolitano’s “Freedom Watch” to herald the rise of a coalition between “libertarian conservatives” and progressives.  Within Congress, he says, both groups put principle above party.  The first episode in this new alliance will be cooperation on the whistleblower bill.

Let’s hope it happens! Read the rest of this entry »

Sowing and Reaping: The True Sickness of Society

January 12, 2011

by Mario Rizzo  

There has been much moaning, even before the Arizona shooting incident, about why “we” cannot be civil in our political discussions and why political parties cannot work together for the common good. 

Most of this is pure logorrhea.

There are some simple facts the commentators cannot or will not face. The reason we cannot have a coherent, comprehensive plan to solve the political and economic difficulties of the federal government (and of the state governments) is that people do not have a coherent, comprehensive hierarchy of values beyond the basics of social order. Read the rest of this entry »

Word Games as a Mask for Compulsory Healthcare Equality

January 5, 2011

by Mario Rizzo  

The recent decision by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to revoke approval of the drug Avastin for late stage breast cancer is an action with considerable significance for the future of government financed or subsidized healthcare. The FDA pretends to do a risk-benefit analysis and comes to the conclusion that the benefits are not worth the risks.  But since we are dealing with likely terminal cases “risks” must be interpreted with a grain of salt. But, fundamentally, people should be able to strike their own risk-benefit tradeoff, especially in consultation with physicians and due attention to the specifics of their own case.  Read the rest of this entry »

Voters’ Best Interest

December 17, 2010

by Chidem Kurdas

Ronald Dworkin, a well-known legal scholar, describes last month’s election results as depressing and puzzling. In a commentary in the New York Review of Books, he asks, “Why do so many Americans insist on voting against their own best interests?”  Read the rest of this entry »

Emergency Rooms Just Encourage Drunk Driving

December 8, 2010

by Roger Koppl

I do not understand why so many pro-market commenters are opposed to extending unemployment relief.  The supposedly killer, knockdown, unanswerable argument is that unemployment relief encourages unemployment.  Hospital emergency rooms encourage drunk driving.   Should we therefore close hospital emergency rooms?   Read the rest of this entry »

Friedman on Social Security Reform

November 5, 2010

by Chidem Kurdas

This may be a good time to revisit Milton Friedman’s proposal for reforming all entitlement programs and social security, in one fell swoop. His idea goes back several decades but is no less powerful in its simplicity. A serious discussion on reform may now start with the Roadmap put forth by Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan, the next chairman of the House Budget Committee.   Read the rest of this entry »

Equality Destroyed in the Name of Equality

October 19, 2010

by Chidem Kurdas

Law and government should treat people equally. This old principle may seem obvious and firmly in place, but in fact it’s much violated. Instead, the focus is on income distribution. Thus Robert H Frank in the NYT points to the bad effects of income inequality – like people spending too much money to emulate the rich – and suggests we “try to do something about it.”

His column about the costs of income differences shows no awareness of the costs of equity-promoting policies.

Attempts to create income equality erode equality  before the law, as F. A. Hayek made clear. The Road to Serfdom – the historic experience as well as the title of Hayek’s book – is paved with egalitarian good intentions.  If you feel “serfdom” is too extreme a word, the operative term here is “the road”. Read the rest of this entry »

The Second Austrian Moment

September 18, 2010

by Mario Rizzo  

This is an important time for Austrians. During the Great Depression and for many years thereafter, J.M. Keynes and his followers dominated macroeconomic theory (some say they created it) as well as the conventional wisdom about the historical lessons of the Depression and the New Deal.  

We are now witnessing many important developments that will affect economics and public perceptions for a long time to come. Read the rest of this entry »

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