Archive for September, 2012

Promote Liberty by Reforming Higher Education? »

Liberty-minded philanthropists have managed to foster a vibrant network of scholars and organizations engaged in advancing the ideals of a free society. Some donors who have underwritten the liberty movement have also attempted to make colleges and universities across the United States more conducive to the spread of these ideals, but their efforts have...
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Designing Ideal Health Insurance »

The modern era has inherited two models of health insurance: the fee-for-service model and the HMO model. Both models create perverse incentives for patients and their doctors. As I wrote in my recent book, Priceless: Curing the Healthcare Crisis, virtually all recent variations on these two models are attempts to ameliorate and control those perverse incentives—usually...
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Who Are the Top 1% in Healthcare Spending? »

Have you ever read an article in which the writer compares the incomes of the top 1 percent to the bottom 99 percent over the last decade, say? The problem: The author is encouraging you to think that the people in the top 1 percent at the beginning of the decade are the same...
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Think You’re Smart? Try This Quiz from The Independent Review! »

The fall 2012 issue of The Independent Review, our quarterly journal edited by Robert Higgs, is hot off the press! As always, The Independent Review deals with a wide variety of fascinating questions about economic policy, political and social theory, and intellectual history. To test your wits, try answering the questions addressed in the...
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Thoughts for Constitution Day »

By my reading, almost nothing the federal government does is Constitutional. The entire national security state and empire are dubious at best. The welfare state is unauthorized. Nothing in Article I, Section 8, the clause empowering Congress to legislate, gives that body the general authority over education, health care, the environment, most businesses, and...
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Better Solutions for Pre-Existing Conditions »

In my book Priceless: Curing the Healthcare Crisis, I argue that we do not need more spending, more regulations, or more bureaucracy to fix the problems of our current system. Unfortunately, the Affordable Care Act prescribes heavy doses of all three. One outcome will be to make the problem of perverse incentives worse. Here...
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QE3: An Example of Regulatory Capture »

One of Nobel Laureate George Stigler’s best-known articles is his “The Theory of Economic Regulation,” in which he argues that over time, regulatory agencies that are designed to regulate industries for the public interest become “captured” by the industries they are supposed to regulate. Stigler’s “capture theory of regulation” concludes that regulators end up...
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GM, QE3, and Crony Capitalism »

Yesterday on The Beacon I noted that the Federal Reserve’s new “quantitative easing” measure, QE3, is an example of crony capitalism: the use of public policy to increase the profitability of specific firms and industries. Today I want to compare QE3 with another example of crony capitalism to reinforce the point. General Motors provides...
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The Fed’s New Foray Into Crony Capitalism »

I’ve been teaching economics for decades, and until 2008 I taught my students that the Federal Reserve Bank (Fed) engages in monetary policy through open market operations by buying and selling government securities. (They have other policy tools too.) They dealt in government securities partly because their operations would alter the money supply without...
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Don’t Blame the Libyan People »

Whether it was a planned terrorist attack in response to the U.S. interventions in the region, an assault involving past U.S. allies in the Libya war, or a mob reaction to the hateful anti-Islam movie whose actors say they were duped into starring in it, the murder of four Americans, including diplomat Chris Stevens,...
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