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Archive for February, 2014
The U.S. Government Makes a Mockery of the Principal-Agent Relationship

The philosophical and legal foundation of the U.S. government (and some other governments) is that government officials are the agents of the citizens—in the familiar phrase, those who govern have the “consent of the governed.” An agent, of course, is someone I authorize to act on my behalf. For a host of reasons, this doctrine…
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America’s Spymasters and Cultural Propaganda

The U.S. intelligence community has come under fire for its mass electronic surveillance programs designed to discover what Americans talk about privately. But would it surprise anyone to learn that the nation’s spymasters have also tried to shape what Americans read? And not only disinformation they feed to credulous journalists—such skullduggery has been known…
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Krugman Plays a Mulligan

The CBO now estimates that Obamacare will reduce the labor supply by the equivalent of 2.4 million jobs by 2024. The main reason: the implicit marginal tax rates created by the withdrawal of the Obamacare tax subsidies in the health insurance exchanges. Like unemployment insurance, food stamps, and other welfare benefits, government help gets…
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Federal Government Gives Patients a New “Right”: Access to Lab Results

Many patients groups and their allies understandably cheered a new regulation that just came about as a result of many years of advocacy: Nationwide, patients now have a “right” to access their lab results directly. The “right” to receive test results directly from labs now ranks equally with the “right” to get our medical…
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Krugman: “Why aren’t wages going up?”

In his New York Times column yesterday, Princeton economist Paul Krugman argues that unprecedented extended unemployment benefits can’t have been the cause of the unprecedented average duration of unemployment during the “Great Recession.” He reasons, “If unemployment is high because people are unwilling to work, reducing the supply of labor, why aren’t wages going…
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Will the Federal Government Turn a Profit on Risk Corridors? That Can Be Stopped.

I have written twice about the “risk corridors” in Obamacare’s health-insurance exchanges. The first post described how risk corridors will work in the exchanges. Risk corridors exist for three years and are designed to partially immunize insurers from losing money in the exchanges. Recently, the risk corridors have been described as a “bailout,” especially…
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Against Libertarian Infighting

Like any ideology that has attracted a substantial following, libertarianism has splintered into a variety of sects. Thus, there are hard-core and soft-core libertarians; plumb-line and big-tent libertarians; Rothbard-loving and Rothbard-hating libertarians; pro-political and anti-political libertarians; academic and movement libertarians; thick and thin libertarians; socially conventional and libertine libertarians; pro-war and anti-war libertarians; bleeding-heart…
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The Police State Retaliates Against Mayor for Pension Reform

Mayor Jim Righeimer of Costa Mesa, California, is taking the city’s police union to court saying he was the target of police intimidation for trying to curb pension costs associated with the city’s police officers and other employees. Costa Mesa has $200 million of unfunded pension liabilities for its government workers. The city has…
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Are Young People Better Off Being Uninsured?

The Affordable Care Act makes health insurance more expensive for young adults while simultaneously making it far less risky to go without insurance, according to a study by Conor Ryan, a health care analyst, and Chris Holt, the director of health care policy, at the American Action Forum. They find that opting out of…
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Patient CARE Act Would Impose 37 Percent Marginal Income-Tax Hike on Late Middle-Aged

I have already written twice about three Republican Senators’ health-reform bill (here and here). Nevertheless, it continues to attract attention, and its likely most curious impact has not yet been described. The Patient CARE Act, put forward by Senators Hatch, Burr, and Coburn, would institute changes to marginal-income tax rates that would increase disincentives…
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