Various Thoughts

I’ve been very busy getting two papers ready, so I haven’t been posting. But there are some stories to which I want to draw your attention. 1. High gasoline prices are just one obvious way in which President Obama’s environmental and energy policies are bearing their intended and foreseen fruits. I’m delighted that people are remembering his 2008 claim: “Under my plan… electricity rates would … Continue reading Various Thoughts

Letting the VAT Out of the Bag

Obama and the Democrats have been spending money like there’s no tomorrow, sinking the country deeper into debt than we’ve ever been before. Moreover, we’re getting nothing for our money. At least the New Deal gave us the San Antonio Riverwalk. The U.S. has already been downgraded, and is bound to be downgraded again if Obama is reelected. Can’t Democrats do math? Don’t they realize … Continue reading Letting the VAT Out of the Bag

1989 and All That

Janet Daley asks why the lessons of the fall of Communism haven’t been learned. But in spite of the official agreement that there is no other way to organise the economic life of a free society than the present one (with a few tweaks), there are an awful lot of people implicitly behaving as if there were. Several political armies seem to be running on … Continue reading 1989 and All That

A Right to a College Education?

President Obama has announced that “every American will have to get more than a high school diploma.” He calls for the United States once again to have the highest percentage of college graduates in the world—60%. Michelle Singletary calls a college education a “right”—by which she means that you and I have to pay not only for our own children’s education but for the education … Continue reading A Right to a College Education?

Obama’s Latent Marxism?

Bill Kristol has observed that Obama’s shares Marx’s assumption that religion is the opiate of the masses. More broadly, he assumes with Marx that economic factors determine cultural ones, which are mere superstructure. Pennsylvania voters feel frustrated economically, Obama thinks, so they adopt certain cultural attitudes as a displacement of their real concerns. Sharing Marx’s assumption, of course, doesn’t make one a Marxist, something Joe … Continue reading Obama’s Latent Marxism?

More on Socialized Medicine

British doctors are deciding not to treat patients if they are “too old or lead unhealthy lives.” Smokers, heavy drinkers, the obese and the elderly should be barred from receiving some operations, according to doctors, with most saying the health service cannot afford to provide free care to everyone…. About one in 10 hospitals already deny some surgery to obese patients and smokers, with restrictions … Continue reading More on Socialized Medicine

Immigration and the Welfare State

Milton Friedman thought it was obvious that one cannot have both free immigration and a welfare state. It’s like giving out twenty dollar bills to an unlimited audience; one soon goes broke. Daniel Greenfield contemplates a variation on that theme. Socialized medicine, he argues, is a particularly strong and expensive form of the welfare state. It is so expensive, in fact, that it forces taxes … Continue reading Immigration and the Welfare State

Beware Benevolence!

Stephen Dubner and Steven Levitt point out a number of cases in which well-intended government intervention backfires. (HT: Ann Althouse.) They thus put contemporary teeth into an old conservative maxim, the Law of Unintended Consequences, which states that the unintended consequences of an act or, especially, policy ultimately outweigh the intended consequences in importance. The ADA has actually harmed employment prospects for the disabled. (This … Continue reading Beware Benevolence!