Interests are More Powerful than Ideas?

by Mario Rizzo There is an interesting interview with Ed Feulner, the outgoing president of the Heritage Foundation, in the weekend (Dec. 8-9) Wall Street Journal. The interview got me thinking about the progress made in the pro-economic-liberty cause, not only over the years of Heritage, but since, say, 1960. I choose this year deliberately … Continue reading Interests are More Powerful than Ideas?

Healthcare as Social Planning

by Mario Rizzo Although I am an advocate of voluntary birth control, I am not happy about (1) the equation of this choice with healthcare – even preventative healthcare (as if pregnancy were a disease); and (2) the government mandating that health insurers must cover these expenses, without even a copayment. A recent “non-partisan” committee has … Continue reading Healthcare as Social Planning

Libya and the Rule of Law

by Mario Rizzo   Frank H. Knight had an important insight about economics. Howsoever we may seek to narrow it, the basic human interests that make the subject important lie at the intersection of ethics, the theory of knowledge, and psychology (at least in a broad sense).  Friedrich Hayek was also right to think that the … Continue reading Libya and the Rule of Law

Easy Money, Emerging Market Miracles and the Revival of Industrial Policies

by Andreas Hoffmann and Gunther Schnabl While most advanced economies continue to suffer from high unemployment and record debt levels, monetary expansions in the advanced economies feed a tsunami of carry trades, hiking asset and raw material prices and accelerating growth rates in emerging markets from Brazil over the Middle East to China. While capital … Continue reading Easy Money, Emerging Market Miracles and the Revival of Industrial Policies

Could Sarah Palin Be Right?!

by Mario Rizzo   In an editorial the Wall Street Journal criticizes Sarah Palin for criticizing Michelle Obama’s anti-obesity campaign. The point seems to be that such talk from the Ms. Bully Pulpit is innocuous or benign. The writer makes an analogy with Nancy Reagan’s “Just Say No” anti-drug campaign.  Now if Michelle Obama were just … Continue reading Could Sarah Palin Be Right?!

Pragmatic Road to Bankruptcy

by Mario Rizzo In the September 15th Wall Street Journal there is a chart that gives a quick view of the "pragmatic" expansion of entitlement programs that has led to where we are now. Who could have predicted the long-term consequences of case-by-case pragmatic problem solving?  I suggest Herbert Spencer, Ludwig von Mises, and Friedrich Hayek. The … Continue reading Pragmatic Road to Bankruptcy

Lament for Conservatism

by Mario Rizzo   In today’s New York Times David Brooks argues that conservatives need to plan for “the day after tomorrow.” Tomorrow there will be the revolt against out-of-control government and that is good. But the day after America must return to its traditional non-ideological pragmatism about government. We need to solve problems as we … Continue reading Lament for Conservatism

When Nudging Isn’t Enough

by Glen Whitman In a New York Times op-ed, George Loewenstein and Peter Ubel argue that policymakers are relying too heavily on behavioral economics, when traditional -- that is, rational choice -- economics would often serve them better. On cursory reading, you might think this op-ed repudiates the facile use of behavioral economics to guide … Continue reading When Nudging Isn’t Enough

The Cost of Making Exceptions

by Mario Rizzo   As a political and legal culture, we do not know how to deal with slippery-slope tendencies. The recent discussion (here and here, and many other places) of the public-accommodations provision of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 has made me more conscious of this issue.   I am willing to agree for purposes … Continue reading The Cost of Making Exceptions

New Paternalism, Regulation and Cass Sunstein

by Mario Rizzo The New York Times magazine has an interesting, if somewhat uncritical, article on Cass Sunstein, the Obama regulation czar. The "best" part is the section about me: Some scholars dislike the strong, if subtle, governmental hand that is embedded in this last proposal. It seems more forceful than a nudge. “Once you get … Continue reading New Paternalism, Regulation and Cass Sunstein