Archive for June, 2014
Does the United States Over Diagnose Cancer?

Ezra Klein challenges the notion that patients in the United States get better cancer treatment than patients in other developed countries. Klein was writing in response to the Commonwealth Fund’s comparison of health systems in eleven developed countries. As I noted previously, one problem with this survey is that there is no apparent relationship...
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Political Spam

I don’t know if you are as popular with the political insiders as I am, but already today I have received emails from Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi, and Debbie Wasserman Schultz. In fact, I’ve received more than a dozen emails today alone from either the Democratic Party, Democrats involved in election campaigns, or Democratic...
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Health Spending and First Quarter GDP: What Happened?

A couple of months ago, the Bureau of Economic Analysis told us that first quarter Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was going to decline by one percent, prevented from tanking only by explosive growth in health spending. However, the final estimate of real first quarter GDP has thrown everyone for a loop, reporting an annualized...
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50 Years of Mischief: The Triumph and Trashing of the Civil Rights Act

The Civil Rights Act was not a perfect law—no law is perfect–but it did embody two principles of the long civil rights movement: First, the individual (not the group) is the measure of justice. Secondly, nondiscrimination is mandatory for the government and worth pursuing in our private lives. If policymakers had enforced the Civil Rights Act in good faith, time might have eroded the tendency to view others as members of a group, rather than as individuals.

“Risky Business” in Climate Change Policy

Alicia Mundy writes in the Wall Street Journal of June 24, 2014, that a coalition of environmentalists and at least some of the many corporate cronies of the federal government are pressing a proposal to require private business entities to account for and to report to shareholders the risks to which they are exposed...
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The Independent Review—Summer 2014 Issue Now Available

Summer is here—and so is the summer issue of the Independent Institute’s quarterly journal. Here are some of the topics that subscribers of The Independent Review can look forward to reading about: What’s wrong with recent economic studies calling for new regulations meant to reduce so-called “systemic risks” to the financial system? According to...
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Who’s Behind IRS Targeting? Don’t Ask NPR

As I’ve mentioned before, “All the President’s Men” is one of my all-time favorite movies, depicting the heroic efforts of two cub reporters relentlessly pursuing a story of little interest to others until their efforts eventually resulted in bringing down the entire Nixon administration. When it was discovered in the course of the Congressional...
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Shining Light on Big Brother

“Will the digital age usher in the individual liberation and political freedoms that the Internet is uniquely capable of unleashing? Or will it bring about a system of omniscient monitoring and control, beyond the dreams of even the greatest tyrants of the past? Right now, either path is possible. Our actions will determine where...
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Broken Mirror on the Wall: On the Commonwealth Fund’s Increasingly Frustrating Comparison of International Health Systems

The Commonwealth Fund has released another edition of its Mirror, Mirror on the Wall, 2014 Update: How the U.S. Health Care System Compares Internationally. Following tradition, it concludes that the American health “system” is the worst of eleven developed countries. This time, it prompted the editorialists at the New York Times to conclude: Britain...
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The Economics of Offensive Trademarks

My fellow blogger William Shughart recently gave a good critique of the Patent and Trademark Office’s decision to rescind protection of the Washington Redskins’ name. I agree with him that whether some people view a trademark as offensive should not be a criterion for determining whether it should be protected. If a large number...
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