Mike Munger, Duke political scientist and sometime Libertarian Party of North Carolina gubernatorial candidate, explains his support for single-payer health insurance: I would prefer personal responsibility, and a competitive market in health care. Modeled after the very successful, constantly cheaper, constantly better quality, service in Lasik surgery and other "elective" surgeries. If someone, anyone, would … Continue reading Munger on Single-Payer
I am working on a book on socialism this summer, and my preparations for it have led me to read quite a bit of interesting material. Here are a few noteworthy titles, in no particular order: 1. How Much is Enough? Money and the Good Life, by Robert and Edward Skidelsky (New York: Other Press, 2012). … Continue reading Summer Books
Consider the following two policy options: Option A: You are required to buy health insurance. If you do not, you must pay a penalty of X dollars. Option B: Everyone’s taxes are raised by X dollars. If you have health insurance, you get a tax rebate of X dollars. How are these options different? In … Continue reading Mandate equivalence (or why everyone is wrong)
First, for most Americans the amount due will be far less than the price of insurance, and, by statute, it can never be more. It may often be a reasonable financial decision to make the payment rather than purchase insurance . . . Indeed, it is estimated that four million people each year will choose … Continue reading Was this a victory for universal coverage?
The Supreme Court's decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act (don't call it "Obamacare"!) gives me a great sigh of relief. Although I was one of those who thought it well-nigh impossible to be overturned when the lawsuits were initially filed, over the last several months I began to think that there was actually a … Continue reading Obamacare Upheld: Thank Goodness!
Markets fall after ObamaCare ruling?
Huh? Orin Kerr at VC notes this about That Man in the Supreme Court's thinking: If I am reading the Chief Justice’s opinion correctly, the upshot is that real economic mandates are beyond the power of Congress. Congress can’t force action where there was none. The individual mandate is constitutional because despite the name, it’s … Continue reading Tax Not So Coercive?
I respect Jonathan a lot but I'm not optimistic at all. Still, worth reading his "lose battle, win war" piece here. Sure, democracy is still a bulwark of sorts and politicians may find it harder to pass such things in the future when they will be seen clearly as taxes. But if the Founders thought … Continue reading Jonathan Adler – Optimist
...$1 billion tax on nonpossession of Chevy Volts. Not a mandate! UPDATE: Roberts' opinion actually addresses my concern: First, for most Americans the amount due will be far less than the price of insurance, and, by statute, it can never be more. It may often be a reasonable financial decision to make the payment rather … Continue reading Coming Soon to a Congress Near You… (updated)
Trying to coin a phrase but this is all that comes to mind: A switch of one that hurt a ton. Yep, it ain't my calling. Great point here on how sweeping this ruling may be (though we'll need time to digest): Andrew Quinn @AndrewCQuinn @JonahNRO If Congress can coerce anyone into anything by calling … Continue reading That Man in the Supreme Court
Mandate is not a tax according to President Obama, 2009.
If you really have to get the ObamaCare news as soon as possible, SCOTUSblog is the place to be. I was glued to it earlier in the week. Now, after the Washington Post did a story on the site, I worry that its system will crash and I'll have to wait a few more seconds … Continue reading Getting the ObamaCare Decision First
Intrade - an on-line prediction market - has ObamaCare's individual mandate being ruled unconstitutional at 72.2% (though this is down 3.7% today). I spent part of the evening getting "motivated" (as they say in the Army) for a pro-liberty outcome tomorrow by watching part of the PBS series "Liberty" with my kids. So inspiring to see our forefathers defeating the British under Burgoyne at … Continue reading Prediction Markets on ObamaCare Decision
Harvard economist Ed Glaeser weighs in on federal mandates in general: Although I am open to having state governments require more health coverage, I fear a federal government with too much power to control individual behavior. The track record of federal interventions in managing markets suggests a strong case for limiting that power. The question … Continue reading Ed Glaeser on Federal Mandates
Two good WAGs in Forbes on what Roberts will do: He'll strike it down (in part); no he won't, he'll uphold.
Policy wonks and pundits are waiting in anticipation for tomorrow’s decision on the Affordable Care Act (I know it was one of the first things that crossed my mind this morning as I prepared for the day). Although social scientists may not be too good at making predictions, I think most of us could have … Continue reading The Affordable Care Act and the Power of Meh!
Caught this NPR program on higher education in the car on Tuesday: here. Well worth a listen if you are interested in issues confronting the costs of college. As many have noted before, full-time faculty aren't the reason for the increase in the sticker price. Here is what Kevin Carey of the New America Foundation had to say: … Continue reading NPR – What’s Driving College Costs Higher?
One of the depressing things about being a classical liberal in today's world is that everywhere you turn, there a rent-seeker is and a politician to satisfy him/her. You can't escape such news - even on the sports page! Whether it is the recent renewal of the farm bill (and the more massive, perhaps the … Continue reading Rent-Seekers on Every Corner – Seattle Sports Edition
One thing is certain about the current political campaign: we are going to hear a never-ending stream of media commentators exaggerating the importance of independent political expenditures because of Citizens United. This will come in a million subtle and not-so-subtle ways, such as the “news” story today in the Times about how the presidential election … Continue reading Elections on the cheap
But here are the decisions below in the big cases today. My first thought was that the states and federalism lose (again). But need to read the decisions first. Arizona immigration decision Montana campaign finance decision
From John Locke in "A Letter Concerning Toleration" (1689): For the Political Society is instituted for no other end but only to secure every mans Possession of the things of this life. The care of each mans Soul, and of the things of Heaven, which neither does belong to the Commonwealth, nor can be subjected … Continue reading Sunday Morning Quotation – John Locke on the End of Government
Those of us who are members of the American Political Science Association have received a fair number of emails regarding the House of Representatives’ decision this past May to eliminate National Science Foundation support for political science research. The standard justification for government subsidies for basic research hinges on the existence of positive externalities. Can … Continue reading NSF Funding for Political Scientists
Economist Anna Schwartz, Milton Friedman’s coauthor of the stunning Monetary History of the United States, died yesterday at the age of 96. The New York Times obit is nicely written, describing her as the “high priestess of monetarism.” An excerpt (read the entire obit, it is worth it): During the financial collapse that began in … Continue reading Anna Schwartz, R.I.P.
Libertarians have generally opposed government mandates to participate in commerce on moral, economic, and constitutional grounds. Certainly, a federal government mandate to buy private health insurance contradicts standard libertarian understandings of the right to property and self-determination and the ability of individuals to decide for themselves their need for insurance (and concomitant skepticism of paternalist … Continue reading A Health Insurance Mandate Libertarians Can Support
Several commentators have weighed in on President Obama's decision to stop deporting certain immigrants under 30 who were brought illegally to the country when they were under 16. This morning, Andrew Napolitano and Ilya Somin have come down firmly on opposite sides of this issue. Napolitano: Along comes the president, and he has decided that … Continue reading President Obama’s Immigration Enforcement Decision: Good Policy but Illegal?
Apparently a settlement has been reached. I look forward to hearing details and seeing the great people on both sides continue to press the fight for liberty. BTW, as you can see from this news story, reporters (and academics) still don't get that libertarians/classical liberals aren't conservatives.
Apologies for the recent lack of posting; I had a medical issue that essentially prevented me from using the computer. As regular readers know, I was really hoping that Governor Mitch Daniels of Indiana would jump into the presidential race this year. With his talk of the "red menace" of government debts/deficit and of the need … Continue reading Mitch Daniels Will Be the Next President
The Supreme Court decision on the Affordable Care Act (aka ObamaCare) is due out this month. Indeed, it could come out any day. I feel the same sense of anticipation as a kid before Christmas - though this could turn out to be the scary morning parents threaten in which you get coal rather than toys. But what … Continue reading ObamaCare Supreme Court Decision
The Obama administration’s growing reliance on drones in the war on terror has attracted a great deal of attention, as of late. Things became interesting two weeks ago when the NYT published an article emphasizing the President’s role in approving the secret kill list. As the piece noted, the administration “in effect counts all military-age … Continue reading Drones, Drones, and More Drones
1. Will Wilkinson nicely channels Mill and Kant against the paternalistic soda ban in NYC and its defenders. I particularly liked this line: "I'm afraid Mr Noah's casual embrace of 'baby authoritarianism' illustrates just how thoroughly the technocratic paternalism of American progressivism extinguished the liberal instincts of the left." My only problem with the piece is that the Torquemada … Continue reading The Soda Ban, Police and Open Carry Exercise, and the Market Weeding out Bad Behaving Businesses
The NYT has an interesting article on Romney’s embrace of school choice, a move that counters the federalization of education and the kinds of accountability that were reinforced by the Bush administration. As the Times notes: Specifically, Mr. Romney proposed to change federal payments made to schools with large numbers of poor and disabled students … Continue reading Romney, School Choice, and Market Failure
My blood boiled this morning when I saw some propaganda for trap-neuter-return programs being shared around Facebook. Trap-neuter-return (TNR) is a method of dealing with feral cat populations by spaying and neutering them and then releasing them back into the wild. Conservation biologists have found that TNR fails to reduce populations of cats. As an … Continue reading Tax-Exempt Lies: The Trap-Neuter-Return Industry
James M. Buchanan in “Natural and Artifactual Man” from Liberty Press' What Should Economists Do?: Man wants liberty to become the man he wants to become. He does so precisely because he does not know what man he will want to become in time…. Man does not want liberty in order to maximize his utility, … Continue reading Sunday Evening Quotation – James Buchanan on “Why Liberty?”
One of the critics of the Constitution was a "Maryland Farmer" - likely John Francis Mercer - who worried about the dangers of creating a government that would cut "a figure in history": Whether any form of national government is preferable for the Americans, to a league or confederacy, is a previous question we must first make up our … Continue reading Sunday Morning Quotation – Thoughts on the New Constitution from a Maryland Farmer (1788)
In an otherwise reasonable column last week comparing Obama and Romney, Frank Bruni wrote the following: Although race represents a less central dynamic for Obama now than it did in 2008, it’s a factor in his political fortunes nonetheless. It poisons some of his opponents, pumping them full of a toxic zeal beyond the partisan … Continue reading The (not so) subtle racism of the Left
I've been seeing all kinds of abuse being hurled at Rand Paul for his endorsement of Mitt Romney in this year's presidential election. He doesn't deserve any of it. Let's recapitulate some facts for the benefit of blinkered Ron Paul devotees abusing Rand: Ron Paul can't win the GOP nomination. I don't care what Alex … Continue reading Nuts Ron Paul Fans Dis Rand for Mitt Plug
I grabbed this from National Review Online. I don't know who actually took it.
Given that my pleasure reading time has dwindled to almost nothing (a little bit of time before hitting the rack), it took me a while to finish Roy Baumeister and John Tierney's excellent new book, Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength. Now that I've done so, I highly recommend it to those looking to understand the science behind self-control and … Continue reading Willpower
One keeps hearing that the euro crisis could doom Obama's chances for reelection. (Because, after all, that's the reason we should be concerned about the economy: its effects on politics.) I'm not so sure. Voters are hardly well informed, but if the Eurozone goes into deep recession and the U.S. into a mild one, won't … Continue reading Eurozone Crisis & Obama Reelection/Cross-National Economic Voting Bleg