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Current Affairs

April 24, 2014

"Rationing Nostalgia The British Left has the answer to our problems: End food waste by rationing meals."

James Lileks pens a delightful dissection of one type of Liberal claptrap. Featuring beauties such as these:

The network of outrage is complex, each string vibrating on its own frequency. . . .

To sum it all up: The state must be allowed to consume what it wants and constrain your freedom for your own good — and the chickens’ — but it is not your place to question its appetites.

April 23, 2014

"The Market For Common Sense"

Conservative economists believe that markets usually work really well, but Richard Fernandez makes a good case for there being some imperfections in the market for "common sense"

"‘The Dread Obodai’: Content Farmer From Hell"

Funny and alarming at the same time

Any website’s comments section — even our fancy new one — gets its share of scam artists, luring in clicks with promises of work-from-home schemes or miracle diets. They seem so easy to spot and resist, it’s a wonder how they can possibly work. The answer might be, as always, to innovate. Consider the case of Austin Obodai, an accused con artist who, before he was arrested, found a way to use the comments section to sue big Internet media companies for millions. According to prosecutors, Obodai came up with a novel method of exploiting intellectual-property law to invent a new type of fraud. You could call him a copyright troll — or, as Google's lawyers did, "the Dread Obodai."

April 22, 2014

Obvious to some of us, part 1

"Majority of Pensions Headed for Bankruptcy".

Investment returns may be up since the recession, but public pensions are still in deep, deep trouble. On Wednesday, the hedge fund Bridgewater Associates released the results of a “stress test” on American public pension plans, and they weren’t pretty. According to the report, 85 percent of all plans are on track to go bankrupt within 30 years unless their average rate of return increases to 9 percent.

Obvious to some of us, part 2

"U.S. policy has gone liberals’ way for 70 years".

In response, conservatives make two simple claims: Most policies under debate are liberal, and Republican leaders sacrifice conservative principles when they compromise. History shows they are right on both counts.

Jagdish Bhagwati on a crucial difference between India and China


Once there was an idea, now mostly forgotten, that the “tortoise” India could eventually overtake the “hare” – China. “That’s an exaggeration, I think,” he says. A crucial difference between the two countries is the type of corruption they have. India’s is classic “rent-seeking”, where people jostle to grab a cut of existing wealth. “The Chinese have what I call profit-sharing corruption”: the Communist party puts a straw into the milkshake so “they have an interest in having the milkshake grow larger”.

"Save Lives & Deter Criminals--Help John Lott start the CPRC"

You can support John Lott on Indiegogo now.  His center concludes that "unbiased research shows that citizens protecting themselves with firearms leads to lower crime".

"Ten Welfare-Reform Lessons"

Robert Doar argues that significant welfare reform is possible.

From early 2007 until the end of 2013, I was the commissioner of the New York City Human Resources Administration (HRA), the agency with the 1960s-era name that occupies 180 Water Street. And before 2007, going back to early 1996, I worked at, and for a time led, the state agency that was responsible for overseeing many of the government-assistance programs administered by the city. But while my perspective is that of an insider, the facts speak for themselves: From 1995 until the end of 2013, New York City’s cash-welfare caseload shrunk from almost 1.1 million recipients to less than 347,000 — a drop of more than 700,000 men, women, and children.

April 21, 2014

"ACA Threatens Promise of Concierge Medicine"

Even if the ACA covered everybody, cheaply and efficiently, the complaints wouldn't stop because health care would still be plenty unequal. Look for further attempts to quash concierge medicine

(As Glenn Reynolds comments on the that article, "Of course it does. All workable alternatives must be destroyed." And I'd expect even attempts to undermine or surpress patient power to address their own problems.)

This despite the promise concierge medicine has in fixing doctors' increasing dissatisfaction with their jobs

"The ultimate campaign finance reform is smaller government"

Yesssss! Absolutely! James Pethokoukis:

If you are genuinely worried about the influence of Big Money on Big Government, the free-enterprise solution is to shrink the influence of Big Government. A government able to pick winners and losers through regulation, spending, or the tax code is a government worth influencing, whether through campaign donations or lobbying activities. Numerous studies and analyses have calculated a massive “return on investment” from lobbying. For instance: a 2013 Boston Globe series found that by forking over a mere $2 million over two years to Washington lobbyists, Whirlpool secured the renewal of an energy tax credit worth a combined $120 million over two years.

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