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Archive for March, 2013

Why Are Cops Acting Like Soldiers? »

From the early days of the United States to the post-Reconstruction era and beyond, Americans viewed the separation of the military from law enforcement as essential for the health of the republic. In recent years, however, the line between the police and the military has become increasingly blurred, with police departments across the United...
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Not All Countries Are Analytically Equal »

Economists and other social scientists have a long history of conducting analyses based on cross-sectional international data. Sometimes these studies examine a handful of countries; sometimes they examine scores of countries. The studies with the larger samples are, it seems, generally viewed as more solidly based than those with smaller samples. It is common...
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Gaming the Healthcare System »

In recent blog posts I’ve discussed how the Affordable Care Act creates perverse incentives for employers and insurers. In this piece I’ll touch briefly on how it creates perverse incentives for individuals. (For more discussion, please see my Independent Institute book, Priceless: Curing the Healthcare Crisis.) One can get a glimpse of the problem...
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1913—The Final Days of the Old Regime in the United States »

In 1913, exactly a century ago, the United States was a flourishing, economically advanced country. Its real output per capita was the world’s highest. It produced a great abundance of agricultural products and was a leading exporter of cotton, wheat, and many other farm products. Yet it also had the world’s largest industrial sector,...
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Fascinating Questions from The Independent Review »

The Spring 2013 issue of The Independent Review—the Independent Institute’s flagship scholarly journal, edited by Robert Higgs—is hot off the press. Below you’ll find links to articles and book reviews that address a host of intriguing questions: Why have domestic police agencies across the United States resorted increasingly to “no-knock” raids and other military-type...
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Healthcare Insurers’ Incentives to Get Worse and Worse »

Under the current system virtually all employers and group insurers have perverse incentives to attract the healthy and avoid the sick. Once people have enrolled, the incentives are to overprovide to the healthy (to encourage them to stay) and underprovide to the sick (to encourage them to leave). Managed Competition in the Healthcare Exchanges...
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Prince of Peace »

As we enter Christians’ Holy Week, which culminates with Easter, the day of Jesus’ resurrection and the beginning of God’s new creation, it’s an apt time to reflect on Christ’s lasting teachings. Prior to Jesus’ incarnation, God had directly communicated His Law through the Ten Commandments. Number 6 reads “Thou shalt not kill.” Of...
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The Sluggish Recovery of Real Net Domestic Private Business Investment »

Making sense of economic fluctuations can be a daunting task. The economy comprises a gigantic set of interrelated assets, inputs, processes, transactions, and outputs, and its dimensions can be and have been measured in countless ways. If we are to speak sensibly about the economy as a whole—recognizing that almost anything we say about...
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Are You a Victim of Environmental Cancer Hype? »

When is a cancer cluster the result of environmental contamination—and when is it a misleading statistical artifact? Science journalist George Johnson deals with this question in his latest article for Slate, “Cancer Cluster or Chance?” Johnson’s skill in explaining why we often misinterpret epidemiological data can be seen in his opening paragraphs: Lay a...
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A Better Way to Encourage Private Health Insurance »

In my previous post I explained that the subsidies of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act are regressive and unfair and create high marginal tax rates. What would a better approach look like? To achieve the ideal, the federal government should offer people the same tax relief for the purchase of health insurance,...
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