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September 30, 2014

"Americans Are O.K. With Big Business. It’s Business Lobbying Power They Hate."

New York Times columnist stumbles onto truth. But instead of lamenting how big business has gotten, why not greatly decrease what they can lobby for by limiting government?

September 29, 2014

"Thinking About Unions Post Market Basket: Public Versus Private"

Noted attorney Harvey Silverglate:

. . . . just about everywhere we turn, when we see the results of organized labor in the public sphere, we see disaster—not for the workers, but for those who are supposed to be served by vital public institutions and services.

With a very interesting personal anecdote about a teachers' union.

"Obamacare: Fewer Doctors, More Demand"

"One doesn’t have to be an economic genius to realize that increasing demand while decreasing supply is likely to cause a problem."

Truer words were never written.

Related: "Doctoring in the Age of ObamaCare: Endlessly entering data or calling for permission to prescribe or trying to avoid Medicare penalties—when should I see patients?"

"The 'Coincidence' of CVS and Tobacco"

Surprise, surprise, there was plenty of politics involved.

With the federal government taking over a large share of the health care business through the new Affordable Care Act exchanges, providers such as CVS need to be in regulators' good books. CVS's drug business is at the mercy of regulators from the Food and Drug Administration, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and numerous other agencies within the Department of Health and Human Services and elsewhere.

The company is taking no chances that it could fall out of government's favor. CVS spent $13 million on lobbying in 2013, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, over 17 times as much as the firm spent in 2007.

September 26, 2014

"Is Obamacare Working?"

John C. Goodman:

Sarah Kliff, another Obamacare supporter, estimates that health reform has enabled about 5 million people to become newly insured. But that’s only about 10 percent of the uninsured. What happened to the mandate that required that everyone have health insurance this year or face a fine? Turns out that the mandate doesn’t actually apply to millions of people. In fact, the Congressional Budget Office estimates that 90 percent of the uninsured are exempt from the mandate.

September 25, 2014

"The Reformer: An Interactive Tool to Fix Social Security"

Fix Social Security yourself. Economically easy.

Politically, hugely difficult.

September 23, 2014

"The Exaggerated Death of Inflation"

By Kenneth Rogoff of Harvard. Not known to be a gold bug or a right-wing nut. 

I am not arguing that inflation will return anytime soon in safe-haven economies such as the US or Japan. Though US labor markets are tightening, and the new Fed chair has emphatically emphasized the importance of maximum employment, there is still little risk of high inflation in the near future.

Still, over the longer run, there is no guarantee that any central bank will be able to hold the line in the face of adverse shocks such as continuing slow productivity growth, high debt levels, and pressure to reduce inequality through government transfers. The risk would be particularly high in the event of other major shocks – say, a general rise in global real interest rates.

September 22, 2014

"The Subsidy Show: Colbert, Fallon and the crony capitalism of the creative class"

More refutation of "government is the name we give to things we do together". Why should New York residents have to pay to keep Colbert and Fallon where they were going to stay anyway?

See also "California Triples Film And Tax Credits Even As Other States Say They're A Huge Waste Of Money" and "Are film tax credits cost effective?"

September 16, 2014

"Bond market conundrum redux"

A distiniguished economist, James Hamilton, tries to figure out what's going on with long-term interest rates and equities

September 15, 2014

"The Simple Lesson We Should Learn from Global Economics"

Daniel J. Mitchell, senior fellow at Cato:

I very rarely feel sorry for statists. After all, these are the people who think that their feelings of envy and inadequacy justify bigger and more coercive government. . . .

But I nonetheless feel sorry for statists when I see them fumble, stumble, duck, and weave when asked why global evidence contradicts them.

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