Archive for December, 2013
Two Minimum Wage Fallacies

According to a recent report, Democrats plan to use a drive to increase federal and state minimum wages as a 2014 election strategy. (“Democrats Turn to Minimum Wage as 2014 Strategy”, NYT 12/30/13.) Generally, a binding minimum wage law will reduce the employment of the lowest-skilled workers. However, two economic fallacies that cloud the...
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Habeas corpus Still Dead, NSA Records Now Assist: Obama Signs NDAA 2014

As most Americans were contemplating where to put their new Christmas presents, President Obama on Thursday signed into law the 2014 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), the annual federal law that provides the budget for the Department of Defense—and lately has delivered a whole lot of power to the Executive, to boot. As reported...
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Private Exchanges: Getting Ready For Individual Health Insurance To Be The Standard

Professor John H. Cochrane of the University of Chicago had an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal on December 25, in which he gave a brief description of (among other things) a market in which individuals buy our own health insurance – and not from an Obamacare exchange. According to Professor Cochrane: “...we should...
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Entitlements

Here is a story about a recent court case in which a federal judge blocked the State of Georgia from charging $5 per month charge to low-income recipients for federally-subsidized cell phone service. One reason I find this interesting is that as recently as 1999 only 32% of Americans had cell phones, according to...
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Hooray! The Medicare “Doc Fix” Is Fixed Until March 31

Hooray! The Medicare “Doc Fix” Is Fixed Until March 31. Once again, Congress pretends to have fixed the unfixable: The way Medicare pays doctors. An earlier blog entry describes how Medicare pays physicians by using a method that puts the old Soviet Gosplan to shame. The simplest description is that a government-authorized committee determines...
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Obamacare Health Insurance Has “Narrow Networks,” but Why Are There Any Networks at All?

Julie Appleby of Kaiser Health News recently reported on a presentation by Paul Mango of McKinsey & Co. to an audience of health-insurance executives. According to Appleby’s report, Mr. Mango’s research found: About two-thirds of hospital networks on the exchanges are “narrow” or “ultra-narrow”; This was defined by surveying 20 urban areas and identifying...
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The Independent Review—Winter Issue Now Available

The winter 2014 issue of The Independent Review is hot off the press! This edition of the Independent Institute’s 160-page scholarly journal includes a stimulating mix of timely topics and enduring themes, including a symposium on Nobel laureate economist James M. Buchanan and classical liberalism. Read it and gain a deeper understanding of the...
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Obamacare Will Not Prevent Hospitals from Overcharging

In two recent posts I discussed out-of-control prices for hospital services, especially emergency-room care. In the first, I argued that sky-high hospital prices are the result of government interference. In the second, I cheered the fact that consumer-driven health plans are inducing hospitals (ever so gradually) to be more upfront with patients (at least,...
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Catching the Hint of Liberty in “Catching Fire” and “The Hunger Games”

Catching Fire, the second installment in the trilogy of films based on The Hunger Games books by Suzanne Collins, is burning through the box office, raking in revenues of more than $360 million since its November release. This makes the movie the third highest grossing movie of the year. And this bodes well for...
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Immigrants and Poor Kids Aren’t to Blame for Poor PISA Performance

Recently I wrote about the latest PISA results for American 15-year-olds in reading, math, and science. (See PISA Results Show We’re No. 1...in Spending, Not Performance.) One commenter stated that she saw “very little control for demographics” with international assessments such as PISA. In particular, the commenter objected that while other countries may surpass...
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