Archive for May, 2016
Historical Understanding versus Moral Appraisal

To understand history, we must, as it were, enter into the minds of people in the past—a task that we can never accomplish except in a very incomplete way. We must try to understand how they viewed the choices they made, what various actions and categories of action meant to them. By looking at...
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Remembering Arthur Seldon, Champion of Capitalism

May 29 marks the centennial of Arthur Seldon’s 1916 birth. Called “one of the most influential economists of the late twentieth century,” for over three decades he was editorial director of the London-based Institute of Economic Affairs, which The Economist said, “brought to the lay reader the ideas of all the leading free-market economists...
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Don’t Be Fooled by Misleading Rhetoric on Medicare Payment Reform

A few weeks ago, Medicare proposed a pilot program to test a new way to pay doctors who inject drugs. Cancer is the big kahuna, cost-wise, when it comes to injected drugs. Medicare payment policy leads to certain industry practices to profit from the status quo. When the status quo is threatened, the “preservatives”...
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An 1883 Memo to Bernie, Hillary, and Donald on How to Help Ordinary People: Leave Them Alone!

In 1883, William Graham Sumner wrote a series of essays for Harper’s Weekly, which paid him $50 apiece. The excerpted essay below on “The Forgotten Man” is as relevant today as in 1883—even more so. Politicians continue to pile more burdens on ordinary people in the name of this or that professed well-intentioned cause,...
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Venezuela’s Problem Isn’t Oil—It’s Government

On Sunday night, my husband and I sat down to watch comedian John Oliver’s show “Last Week Tonight.” The news satire program is a guilty pleasure for the both of us. As the host, Oliver often brings humor to many otherwise (rightfully) dreadful topics. Although I usually enjoy the show, that’s not always the...
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Billions of Dollars Later, Veterans Health Administration Still Failing

Back in July 2014, over at another blog, I described how Congress was preparing to reward the Veterans Health Administration for its failure to ensure veterans get timely, adequate care, with a multi-billion dollar bailout. Because Republicans had taken the majority in both houses of Congress, the bailout was camouflaged as a method of...
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Europe Sees the Long March of the Extreme Right

Austria’s far right candidate, Norbert Hofer, has lost the second round of the election for the presidency by a mere thirty thousand votes to Alexander Van der Bellen, a former Green Party leader. Europe has breathed a sigh of relief, but the stunning success of the nationalists, who won the first round and caused...
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Expanding the Schooling Monopoly One Toddler at a Time

Universal preschool is (again) making headlines as a cure for what ails us. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is the latest in a long line of politicians claiming universal, government-run preschool will improve high school graduation rates, as well as college and job preparation. A few years back House Minority Leader Nancy...
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Fed ED Flunks

One of the leading claims proponents made for establishing a US Department of Education was that state and local citizens simply couldn’t be trusted with education. What proponents leave out, of course, is any rational explanation why DC bureaucrats know better than we hoi polloi taxpayers and parents. A recent column by Santa Clara...
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You Aren’t Entitled to a College Education

When I graduated from college, reality hit. I was now considered a “real adult.” In a matter of months I’d be moving out of my parents’ basement and some 700 miles away to start graduate school. I was also struck by something I knew was coming, but hadn’t quite appreciated. That “something” was my...
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