Archive for January, 2016
Obamacare’s Cost per Beneficiary Explodes with Shrinking Enrollment

The Congressional Budget Office’s latest budget estimate shows Obamacare’s costs per beneficiary have exploded, as enrolment in Obamacare’s broken exchanges collapses. January’s update estimates 2016 exchange enrolment at 13 million people (p. 69). Although the president’s administration had previously downgraded its estimate of Obamacare enrolment, this is the first significant change by the non-partisan...
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The Truth about Tesla Motors

During a January 19th panel discussion at the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Tesla Motors general counsel Todd Maron said: “We make money from one thing: car sales and car sales alone.” In reality, electric vehicle (EV) manufacturer Tesla Motors loses more than $4,000 on every car it sells on a “full-cost” basis (keep in...
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Alcohol Prohibition and the Rise of KY Meth Labs

Several months ago, I wrote on the decline in the number of meth labs in the United States. While many cheered at the news, I argued that economics, as it so often does, should lead us to be skeptical of the story. A decrease in the number of meth labs in the U.S. does...
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Private Sector Vigilance, Not Government Regulation, Protects Patients

Last July, I cheered Arizona for passing a law allowing patients to order blood tests without a doctor’s prescription. The company that lobbied for the change, Theranos, was also interesting because it posted its prices at venues where patients could get blood drawn. It had a widely promoted partnership with Walgreens, which has a...
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Another Reason to Scrap Obamacare’s Exchanges

New estimates project Obamacare will leave behind far more uninsured people than originally estimated. The Congressional Budget Office’s March 2010 estimate figured 26 million uninsured in 2015, while the March 2015 estimate figured 35 million uninsured in 2015. So, Andy Slavitt, the Acting Administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, recently announced steps to increase enrollment...
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“El Chapo,” Cartels, and the Consequences of the War on Drugs

The drug kingpin Joaquín Guzmán Loera, more commonly known as “El Chapo,” (“Shorty”) was finally captured. That is, he was captured again. For more than six months, Mexican authorities have been tracking Guzmán after he escaped from Mexico’s most secure prison through a tunnel in his cell. Reports state that the tunnel was not...
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Time to Privatize Federal Public Land

In a recent New York Times commentary titled “Give States Control Over Public Land Out West,” Robert H. Nelson wrote: “The federal government owns almost half the land in the American West—even California is some 46 percent federal land.” Here is what surface and subsurface federal ownership looks like on a map. The theory...
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Government Investment in Self-Driving Cars: Leading from Behind

The Obama administration announced that they were going to invest $4 billion in self-driving cars. Why? Private firms have already developed self-driving cars, and although none are available for purchase now, they are on their way with or without government involvement. Is this really a good use of our tax dollars? What investments can...
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Guess Who Pays the “Slacker Mandate”? Workers with No Kids!

The “slacker mandate” is the provision in Obamacare requiring employer-based health plans to offer benefits to adult dependents of their workers, up to age 26. I have discussed research showing that the mandate reduced work among adults, aged 19 to 26, and increased the time they spend socializing, sleeping, and exercising. What about the...
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The 2016 “Handicapper General”

In college, I read a short story titled “Harrison Bergeron.” The piece was written by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., in 1961, and published in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. That piece was eye-opening for me, and pushed me to think about the world, particularly government policies, in a different way. In the piece, Vonnegut...
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