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Archive for March, 2013
Sean Penn’s Hero, Killer of Free Speech

Joining those mourning the passing of Hugo Chavez in Venezuela recently, Sean Penn called him “a great hero to the majority of his people.” But how would he know? The final nail was driven into the coffin of independent journalism in Venezuela last week with the forced sale of the last remaining television network…
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Fire Safety Lessons from Nigeria

No one would mistake Lagos, Nigeria, for paradise. Litter blankets the streets, blackouts occur daily, and traffic moves at a snail’s pace. Yet, in one realm chaotic Lagos performs well above average: fire safety. Despite a dearth of fire-fighting equipment, building fires seem to be relatively uncommon. Why? Lagos’s success in fire prevention isn’t…
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Obamacare’s Regressive and Unfair Subsidies

Quite apart from the perverse economic incentives the subsidies of the Affordable Care Act create, the subsidies are completely arbitrary and unfair. For example, a $31,200-a-year family (about 133 percent of poverty) getting health insurance at work gets less than one-fourth as much help from the government, compared to a family making nearly three…
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Obamacare Subsidies Create Perverse Incentives

The Affordable Care Act offers radically different subsidies to people at the same income level, depending on where they obtain their health insurance—at work, through an exchange, or through Medicaid. These subsidies are arbitrary, unfair, and even regressive. Along with the accompanying mandates, they will cause millions of employees to lose their employer plans…
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The Sequester: Crisis Bungled

Robert Higgs’ wonderful book, Crisis and Leviathan, says that government grows in response to crises.  A crisis comes along and government responds by expanding, both in size and in scope.  After the crisis passes, government shrinks, but not back to its former level.  Government grows by ratcheting up in response to crises. Rahm Emanuel,…
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Governor Christie’s Favorite Charity

In the age of ceaseless parroting for “transparency,” it’s astounding to me that government do-gooders are apparently immune. The Asbury Park (NJ) Press is reporting: The Sandy relief fund chaired by New Jersey first lady Mary Pat Christie has raised more than $32 million so far. But four months after the superstorm, none of…
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Dangerous Medicine: When Preventive Care Meets Politics

Who should get a mammogram? At what age? How frequently? What about Pap smears and prostate cancer tests and colonoscopies? Aren’t these questions experts can decide? Unfortunately, no. Any reader of daily newspapers knows that we are forever getting conflicting advice from well-meaning people. Part of the problem is that people differ in their…
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Labor Markets Are Still in Bad Shape

The recent report that the standard (U-3) rate of unemployment fell to 7.7 percent last month seems to have stirred considerable joy in Mudville. But before we spend a lot of time shouting huzzahs, we might well bear in mind a few other data and, of course, recall that not so long ago, a…
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Rand Paul’s Filibuster Divides the Left and Right

Senator Rand Paul’s thirteen-hour filibuster of Obama’s appointee for CIA chief, John Brennan, was the ninth longest filibuster in U.S. history, and unlike most such spectacles in U.S. history, it concerned fundamental, core issues of American liberty. It will go down in the history books as one of the very few great moments in…
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The Seamy Side of the Military

The U.S. military is increasingly putting a feminine face forward in its ads and PR (for example, the bright smiling faces flanking Mrs. Obama at the Oscars). The Navy’s outreach to women proclaims: What’s it like being a woman in today’s Navy? Challenging. Exciting. Rewarding. But above all, it’s incredibly empowering. That’s because the…
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