Archive for February, 2011

Cy pres in Class Action Lawsuits: Alive and Well? »

Last Friday an Illinois court resurrected a previously overturned $10.1 billion tobacco verdict, sending the case back to Madison County, Ill., for a possible retrial. According to Yahoo! News carrying the AP story: In 2003, now-retired Madison County Circuit Judge Nicholas Byron found that Philip Morris misled customers about “light” and “low tar” cigarettes…
Read More »

Why Is Ralph Nader Surprised by Pres. Obama’s Uncharitableness? »

In a recent piece in The Chronicle of Philanthropy, Ralph Nader bemoans President Obama’s failure to use his position and standing to advance the non-profit sector: Yet, though he rhetorically urges more volunteerism, as all presidents do, in his travels around the country, he stops most often at factories and campaign fund-raising events patronized…
Read More »

A Quick Look at U.S. Government Debt »

The U.S. government historically went into debt suddenly to fight wars and then gradually repaid the debt, entirely or in large part, in the postwar period. This pattern held until the Great Depression and World War II, when the government went massively into debt, but did not pay off much of that debt afterward. However, it did not add much to the…
Read More »

Politics and Government “Investment” »

I hope that you are as tired as I am of hearing politicians trot out the term “investment” to justify spending the taxpayers’ money on such things as high-speed rail, “green” energy alternatives to fossil fuels, innovative R&D projects and highways, more widespread Internet access and other so-called infrastructure. The public sector does not…
Read More »

Numbers to Settle Debates: Three Cool Sites »

For handy reference, three of my favorite sites: (current data) (historical comparison are more shocking). I blogged about this site here. And, of course, (Government Cost Calculator)

GM Is Profitable Again, but Taxpayers Are Still in the Red »

Last Summer, as General Motors was preparing to make an initial public offering of stock, President Obama said the federal government had made an investment in GM, and that the taxpayers would get all their money back from this investment. I was skeptical, because for taxpayers to recover all their money meant that GM…
Read More »

What’s Holding Back the Recovery? »

To answer the question I’ve posed, consider the following table from the National Income and Product Accounts, accessed yesterday at the Bureau of Economic Analysis website. National Income and Product Accounts Table Table 1.1.6. Real Gross Domestic Product, Chained Dollars [Billions of chained (2005) dollars] According to the National Bureau of Economic Research, the…
Read More »

Obama’s Favor to BP: The Gift that Keeps on Giving »

After BP’s oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, President Obama demanded that BP turn over $20 billion to the federal government, to be paid as compensation to those who were harmed by the spill. At the time critics lashed out at Obama for his strong-arm tactics, extorting that money from BP, but as…
Read More »

A Presidents’ Day Prayer »

Great Leader, who art in Washington, Hallowed be thy name. Thy empire come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in the Oval Office. Give us this day our daily dole. And forgive us our late tax filings, as we forgive the IRS for refunding our overpayments without interest. And lead us…
Read More »

Presidential Role Model »

On this President’s Day weekend, let us commemorate the record of the best president in U.S. history: John Tyler. A random poll of Americans would draw mostly puzzled looks at the name, but according to Independent Institute Senior Fellow Ivan Eland, in his 2009 ranking of the presidents, Recarving Rushmore, this 10th U.S. president…
Read More »