Archive for August, 2012

TSA: Keeping America Safe...from Ron Paul? »

Everyone keeps harping on how the Israelis have licked their security problems through effective profiling of airline passengers, so the TSA decided it would give it a whirl—but it turns out TSA “Behavior Detection Officers” can’t do that well, either. Internal whistleblowers claim they’re engaging in racism, prompting “retraining,” according to this CNN report....
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The Pathology of U.S. Democracy »

Electoral politics is a moral and intellectual wasteland. There is no room for anyone of principle, whatever that principle might be. As a libertarian, I see little difference between Obama and Romney. They both favor a perpetual war on terror, an occupation of Afghanistan, military aid to Israel, indefinite detention of terror suspects, military...
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How Perverse Incentives Affect Healthcare Behavior »

Imagine a system in which health plans offer networks of doctors and hospitals in return for fixed premiums. People who are seriously ill and need specific, expensive medical treatment will select in a very different way from other people. As I discuss in my book Priceless: Curing the Healthcare Crisis, take a heart patient in...
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Country’s Largest Roman Catholic Education System Embraces “Entrepreneurial Partnerships” and Outsources School Management »

A private foundation will begin managing the country’s largest Roman Catholic education system on September 1. The Archdiocese of Philadelphia will transfer management of 17 high schools and four special-education schools to the Faith in the Future Foundation. Declining enrollments, closings, and rising costs prompted the shift. “We’ve done a good job for years...
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If Economics Were Like Fashion »

Keynesian models would attract few buyers because their aggregative fabrics are bland and colorless, with too much emphasis on gray (e.g., liquidity trap, low-level equilibrium, euthanasia of the rentier). No economic theory would be regarded as versatile unless it were suitable for discussion at a formal dinner party and also generated a high volume...
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EPA Fuel Efficiency Standards: Goals Are Not Policies »

The EPA issued new rules requiring the average fuel efficiency of new cars and trucks to get 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025. President Obama said, “These fuel standards represent the single most important step we’ve ever taken to reduce our dependence on foreign oil.” The new standard is a goal, not a policy....
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Stimulating—Enough Already! »

Despite the evidence to the contrary, the dominant sentiment among politicians, academics and journalists in the United States, Europe and Japan continues to be that stimulating the economy via fiscal and monetary policy is the answer to the economic stagnation. It was stimulation—coupled with lower tax revenue due to the recession—that got several European...
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Returns to For-Profit Higher Education »

The for-profit higher-education sector is routinely smeared in the media and established universities as low-brow, unproductive, pedestrian, a scam. Of course, the University of Phoenix isn’t Yale, and doesn’t pretend to be. But Hyundai belongs in the automobile market as much as Mercedes, and the market for higher education is no different—at least, it...
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Quality Competition Without Third-Party Payers »

In those healthcare markets where third-party payment is nonexistent or relatively unimportant, providers almost always compete for patients based on price. As I wrote in my recent book, Priceless: Curing the Healthcare Crisis, where there is price competition, transparency is almost never a problem. Not only are prices posted (e.g., at walk-in clinics, surgicenters,...
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The Fading Promise of the Euro »

When the euro was created in 1999 the new currency promised to facilitate trade within the euro zone, to further unify Europe, and to challenge the dollar as the world’s reserve currency. The common currency does facilitate trade, but the differing goals of the member countries seem to be creating more divisiveness than unity...
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