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Archive for July, 2014
A Hundred Years of War

One hundred years ago today, Austria-Hungary fired the first shots of World War I, sparking its conflict with Serbia. Gavrilo Princip, a Bosnian Serb, had assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand. Mutual defense agreements ensured that the political clash did not remain regional. Austria-Hungary got support from Germany, the Ottoman Empire, and Bulgaria. Serbia found allies…
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More States Abandoning the Sinking Common Core Ship

“Barbarians at the gate.” That’s what Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction John Huppenthal called opponents of Common Core national standards several weeks ago. His remarks are symptomatic of just how far elected officials within and outside Arizona have strayed from our Constitution, which doesn’t even contain the word “education.” Supporters claim Common Core will…
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A Hell of a Pinpoint Operation

Secretary of State John Kerry was right to call Israel’s Operation Protective Edge against Hamas “a hell of a pinpoint operation” in an apparently private comment that had the hallmark of a diplomatic move aimed at putting pressure on Tel Aviv. Except that he was referring ironically to the military aspect of the operation,…
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How to Pay for the Next Sovaldi?

Imagine a pill that could cure cancer with one course of therapy or reverse an inherited, deadly disease. If it cost $1 million, could you access it? This was the question asked at a recent panel discussion held by the American Enterprise Institute. The panel discussed a couple of new proposals to finance new…
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Is Medicaid Crowd-Out the Only Effect of Obamacare?

Medicaid “crowd-out” is the hypothesis that enrolling more people in Medicaid will cause some people to drop private coverage in favor of Medicaid. The rate of crowding out may reach 60 percent. Now, courtesy of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), we have evidence that the entire effect of Obamacare so far is to…
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Obamacare’s Tax Credits in Jeopardy

Today, we received dueling circuit court decisions on Obamacare’s tax credit component. The D.C. Circuit held (2-1) that the tax credits do not apply to health insurance purchases through an exchange established by the federal government, whereas the Fourth Circuit held that they do. If the subsidies are not available for insurance purchased through exchanges established by the feds, then Obamacare…
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Your Tax Dollars at Work at the Ex-Im Bank

Following up on my nationally syndicated column on the pending re-authorization of the Export-Import Bank (“Let the Ex-Im Bank Fail”), the Financial Services Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives issued a press release on July 21, 2014, stating that “Two of the four Russian firms targeted with new sanctions announced last week by…
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Gun Violence Is a Consequence of War

My hometown of Tallahassee, Florida, has recently shown an increased concern about gun violence.  Not only are Tallahasseans shooting each other, so far in 2014 the Tallahassee Police have shot four people, killing two.  A related concern is that people seem to have little trust in the police. The concern has been manifested in…
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Households Finance Only 70 Percent of Their Own Consumption, Down from 93 Percent in 1959

The leftish think tank Demos has published a very thorough criticism of how we measure Gross Domestic Product. Scholar Lew Daly argues that we give government too little credit for its spending, because government invests in goods and services that increase total GDP. For example, household incomes increased dramatically in the 20th century due…
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“Prize-Grants” or Patents for Pharmaceutical Innovation?

Over at the American Enterprise Institute’s online magazine, Arnold Kling has proposed “prize-grants” in favor of patents for pharmaceutical research. Kling dislikes patents: Patents have always been a problematic way to promote innovation. They raise prices of products far above marginal cost. They impose legal costs involved in obtaining, attacking, and defending patents. They…
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