Archive for May, 2016
A Defense of “Big Bad Pharma”

Late last year Turing Pharmaceuticals provoked a serious backlash after hiking the price of the pill Daraprim from $13.50 to $750 per pill. The head of the company defended his firm against the criticism, but many found his arguments lacking. While we may question the overnight price jump of more than 5,400 percent, economics...
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Must We Work for Nuns If We Wish to Dodge Obamacare’s Mandates?

Obamacare’s opponents are cheering the Little Sisters of the Poor’s apparent Supreme Court victory over Obamacare’s mandate to cover artificial contraception, about which I wrote when the controversy first erupted. The Little Sisters defied the mandate, which is contrary to their Catholic faith. The mandate is relevant not to the nuns’ themselves (obviously), but...
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When Is Living in Terror Defined as Living in Harmony?

The authors of the new Independent Institute book, Nature Unbound, assert that “human beings are an integral part of the natural order and merit no less consideration than Earth’s other treasures.” To those who do not realize what a radical notion this is in today’s mainstream environmentalism—which views human beings as wholly foreign to...
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All Monocausal Theories of Economic Growth Are Wrong

For as long as economic growth has been a noticeable phenomenon—at least since Adam Smith’s day—economists, historians, and others have advanced theories to explain its occurrence. Many of these theories have identified a single factor that is regarded as “the answer” to the question at issue. Thus, the exploitation of wage labor, the enslavement...
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Parental Choice: A Better Way to Fulfill the Legacy of Brown v. Board of Education

This month marks the 62nd anniversary of the landmark Supreme Court case, Oliver Brown et al. v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas, which struck down the notion of “separate but equal” public schooling for black students. In spite of the civil rights advances we’ve realized over the past several decades, equal educational opportunities...
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Workers Increasingly Prefer Pay More Than “Benefits”

The Employee Benefits Research Institute (EBRI), a research organization with a mission “to contribute to, to encourage, and to enhance the development of sound employee benefit programs and sound public policy through objective research and education,” includes members as diverse as AARP, Aetna, Boeing, Charles Schwab, and Wal-Mart. In the benefits world, it sits...
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Litmus Test for Liberty: Is Exchange Willing or Unwilling?

A new Harvard survey reports that only 42 percent of those between 18 and 29 support capitalism, while 51 percent say they do not. It has been suggested that such views may be traced, at least in part, to the word capitalism. A plausible case could be made, particularly since many believe Karl Marx...
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Old Enough to Choose a President, but Not to Buy Cigarettes?

Once again, with Gov. Jerry Brown’s blessing, lawmakers in California have extended the long nose of government further into the private lives of their citizens. The latest intrusion comes from legislation that raises the minimum age for buying cigarettes and other tobacco products from 18 to 21 years old. With record-level support for marijuana...
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For the Love of Teaching and Economics

I love teaching economic principles. There is something truly exciting about introducing students to the economic way of thinking for the first time. It’s a privilege and honor I take very seriously. It seems to me, if more people understood basic economics, we could avoid a lot of patently backward policies. However, I also...
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Another Hit on Price Transparency in Health Care

JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association, has published a research article challenging the doctrine that price transparency leads to lower health costs. Sunita Desai, et al., found: Two large employers represented in multiple market areas across the United States offered an online health care price transparency tool to their employees. One introduced...
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