Archive for November, 2012

Legal Challenge to Federal Agriculture Policy »

The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear a challenge to the 75-year-old Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act, one of the few pieces of New Deal legislation to survive to the present day. The AMAA authorizes the US Department of Agriculture to establish and enforce “marketing orders” for particular agricultural commodities, detailed federal regulations that...
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Jurg Niehans (November 8, 1919 — April 23, 2007) »

When I arrived at the Johns Hopkins University to continue my graduate study in the fall of 1966, Jürg Niehans arrived there from Switzerland for an eleven-year stint as a professor in the Department of Political Economy. Because I had already completed a year of graduate work at the University of California, Santa Barbara,...
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Gaza and America »

When Hamas, a quasi-state claiming to represent the Palestinians, launches rockets that predictably kill or maim everyday Israelis, destroy property, and cause fear among civilians, it is committing terrorism. Regardless of the legitimate grievances Palestinians have, it is wrong to use deadly violence in a way that inevitably hurts the innocent. This is the...
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A Tale of Two Abolitionists »

An excellent movie released six years ago, “Amazing Grace,” depicted the life of William Wilberforce and his ultimately successful efforts to abolish, first, the British Slave Trade in 1806, and then slavery throughout the English empire with the Slavery Abolition Act of 1833. He did so entirely peacefully, through the British parliamentary system. It...
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Curing the Medical Malpractice Malady »

Despite its poor track record, the malpractice system in the United States imposes a heavy social cost—as much as $2,500 per household per year, including defensive medicine, at today’s prices.[1] And it may be making hospitals less safe than they otherwise would be. The malpractice system distorts the incentives of doctors and hospitals by...
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Big Brother in Government Schools: Trading in Civil Liberties for Cold, Hard Cash »

Texas launched its controversial “Student Locator Project” last month. When fully implemented, it will reach more than 100 Texas schools districts and around 100,000 students. Two San Antonio schools are among the first to participate, John Jay High School and Anson Jones Middle School in the Northside Independent School District. Basically students returned to...
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Dumbing Down for Dollars: A Tale of Two Floridas »

Florida students in government-run schools are being challenged to improve their math and reading performance significantly over the next six years. But some students are being held to higher standards than others depending on their race. The State Board of Education recently voted that by 2018, 74 percent of black students, 81 percent of...
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Love, Liberty, and the State »

Love and liberty are the basic building blocks with which decent people build good lives for themselves. Love takes many forms—in personal relations, in work and other creative endeavors, in charity toward the needy, in spiritual commitments that give deeper meaning to life amid its inevitable challenges and losses. Love gives us a reason...
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Hospitals and Doctors’ Offices Can Be Hazardous to Your Health »

Hospitals are dangerous places to be. Doctors’ offices aren’t very safe either. By one estimate, as many as 187,000 patients die every year for some reason other than the medical condition that caused them to seek care. By another estimate, there are 6.1 million injuries caused by the healthcare system, including hospital-acquired infections that...
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The Public-Private Double Standard »

As I explain in Priceless: Curing the Healthcare Crisis, there are many reasons why people disagree about healthcare policy. One obstacle to reaching an agreement is that many people don’t realize—or aren’t concerned—that they hold a double standard. If a private insurance company denies a breast cancer patient a bone marrow transplant, that’s considered...
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