Remember the election

The post-election narrative that the media seems to have settled on is that Obama won, so the Republicans should just go along.  Given the narrow margin, they have avoided using the “mandate” word, but they still want to treat the election as if it were a mandate.  None of this is surprising. But the Republicans … Continue reading Remember the election

British NHS Starves, Dehydrates Babies to Death

The whole sickening story is here. Some quotations: Sick children are being discharged from NHS hospitals to die at home or in hospices on controversial ‘death pathways’. Until now, end of life regime the Liverpool Care Pathway was thought to have involved only elderly and terminally-ill adults. But the Mail can reveal the practice of … Continue reading British NHS Starves, Dehydrates Babies to Death

Intrade Banned in the U.S.

A casualty of "pro-consumer" financial regulation. John Stossel is on the story: Today, Americans were told that they must close their accounts. That happened because the federal government agency known as the "Commodity Futures Trading Commission" (CFTC) today sued the prediction market, where people from all over the world bet about things like who … Continue reading Intrade Banned in the U.S.

Catalan Election Results

Today's election results from Catalonia are in, and the verdict is: status quo. Turnout increased dramatically from 58.8% to 69.6%, but there was little change in the overall position of pro-independence and anti-independence forces. Explicitly pro-independence parties received 74 of 135 seats, down two from the previous parliament. However, if the pro-independence referendum quasi-nationalist Catalan … Continue reading Catalan Election Results

Sunday Morning Quotation – Phil Arena on Why Altruism Doesn’t Make (Strategic) Voting Rational Either

University at Buffalo, SUNY Professor Phil Arena contra the Monkey Cage's Andrew Gelman: Gelman's argument is essentially that pB - c > 0 will hold for altruists even though it cannot plausibly hold for narrowly self-interested voters. (If you haven't seen this formulation before: p is the probability that your individual vote determines the outcome … Continue reading Sunday Morning Quotation – Phil Arena on Why Altruism Doesn’t Make (Strategic) Voting Rational Either

Yet More on Catalonia

I don't think Catalan secession is an easy issue. There are good arguments on both sides (that is, to the desirability of secession, not whether Catalans should have the right to decide their future status). Precisely because it is a complex issue without easy answers, the haughty dismissal of Catalan independence from Anglo-American elites rubs … Continue reading Yet More on Catalonia

Once There Was Tank Man, Now There is House Family

A Chinese family resisting a government taking: Surprisingly, the government hasn't just bulldozed the place (yet).  Building a highway seems like a legitimate use of the eminent domain power of the state.  The problem in this case is that the state does not want to properly compensate the family.  The article suggests another problem in the case - but one that … Continue reading Once There Was Tank Man, Now There is House Family

Lack of Discrimination – Israel, Hamas, and Certain Individuals in Gaza

Bad news from Israel today where there was a bus bombing in Tel Aviv that injured a number of innocent, non-combatant civilian Israelis.  What I find monstrous is that individuals in Gaza are apparently celebrating the attack.  And here is what the Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said about the incident: "Hamas blesses the attack in Tel Aviv and … Continue reading Lack of Discrimination – Israel, Hamas, and Certain Individuals in Gaza

For an Anti-Farm Bill League (update)

Conservatives and taxpayer groups are ready to fight the $1 trillion farm bill when it comes up for a vote in the new Congress. Agricultural subsidies, price supports, and tariffs in developed countries (the U.S., Japan, and the European Union especially) not only harm consumers at home by hitting them with higher prices, but cause … Continue reading For an Anti-Farm Bill League (update)

Catalonia Update

The Monkey Cage is carrying an interesting update on the Catalonia situation from Duke political scientist Laia Balcells. Catalonia is heading to elections, called by the premier Artur Mas, from the Convergence and Unity (CiU) party, a moderate Catalan nationalist party on the center-right. The CiU has always favored a "right to self-determination" for Catalonia, … Continue reading Catalonia Update

Sunday Morning Quotation – From Michael Lewis’ Boomerang

Recently finished Michael Lewis' Boomerang.  It is a bit disappointing (compared to his other works) and slightly dated.  But it is still a valuable read for Americans who might be unconcerned about the fiscal problems we in the US face.  Although our situation is different in important ways, the European problem is a canary in a coal mine and Lewis gives … Continue reading Sunday Morning Quotation – From Michael Lewis’ Boomerang

Thanksgiving Again – “Black Friday Creep”

Given the current controversy over stores opening on Thanksgiving, I thought I'd repost my thoughts on the issue from way back in 2010 (when we thought that the oceans would stop rising and Obama would be a one-term President). Good Reasons to Avoid Sears on Thanksgiving November 12, 2010 Sears is apparently going to be … Continue reading Thanksgiving Again – “Black Friday Creep”

Democratic Failure Hypothesis

Big investment bear Marc Faber: “In a democracy, they’re not going to take the pain, they’re going to kick down the problems and they’re going to get bigger and bigger.” Looks like we'll get a test of the statement soon.  I'd provide this caveat: Sometimes kicking the can down the road isn't such a bad … Continue reading Democratic Failure Hypothesis

If You Can’t Beat Em, Join Em?

I understand the median voter theorem.  However, interest groups, candidates, and parties don't necessarily have to move towards the preferences of the median voter (at least in the medium to long-term) to win votes, elections, and hearts & minds.  These political actors can also attempt to pull the electorate towards their policy preferences by educating/persuading them in general or on … Continue reading If You Can’t Beat Em, Join Em?

The Unseen Now On Display

All those wonderful government programs have costs, as we see in this piece from Las Vegas.  Of course, for statists, they have benefits too.  Now we'll have more demand for government services and the possibility of more votes for the politicians who will "protect" those made casualties by the very people who the recipients now look … Continue reading The Unseen Now On Display

Why New Hampshire Should Give Its Electors to the National Popular Vote Winner

New Hampshire's status as a swing state has had several negative consequences for its residents: Its politics have been nationalized, and so the national political mood determines the partisan composition of the winning state legislative candidates. Its residents have to put up with avalanches of political advertising and campaigning by national candidates. There are controversies … Continue reading Why New Hampshire Should Give Its Electors to the National Popular Vote Winner

Bill O’Brien RIP (Politically)

One of the worst casualties of yesterday's election was the political death of Bill O'Brien, the now former Republican Speaker of the House of Representatives.  He flew high (cutting government spending substantially, including the sacred cow of higher ed funding) and had even higher aspirations (greater school choice and right to work status, for example) for New Hampshire.  … Continue reading Bill O’Brien RIP (Politically)

Puerto Rico Status Referendum

Media are reporting the results of the Puerto Rico status referendum as if the statehood option had won. Now, it may indeed be the case that the resident commissioner will present legislation of accession to the Union in the House of Representatives, but only an oddly structured ballot devised by the pro-statehood party allowed the … Continue reading Puerto Rico Status Referendum

Election Silver Linings

While a lot of folks are disappointed in last night's most prominent election results, there are some silver linings: Colorado and Washington passed ballot initiatives legalizing possession and sale of small quantities of marijuana. This could be the thin end of the wedge that ultimately dooms the drug war, as the DEA won't be able … Continue reading Election Silver Linings

Marijuana and Federalism

While I don't think marijuana use is the best thing one could do with one's freedom, I am glad to see two states legalize it for recreational purposes.  People should be free to engage in non-virtuous acts that don't violate the equal rights of others (and the immorality of moderate use of marijuana is debatable at best).  More importantly, I am excited … Continue reading Marijuana and Federalism

The Supreme Court

Aside from ObamaCare getting locked-in tonight (and helping put more nails in federalism and a government of limited and enumerated powers dedicated to securing individual liberty), the biggest potential problem with tonight's vote is what it means for the future of the Supreme Court.  I guess we better hope (and for the religious among you, pray) that Thomas, … Continue reading The Supreme Court

The Virtue of Moderation?

If the Ohio call by Fox is accurate, a moderate Republican has lost again.  Dole, McCain, and Romney - all moderate and all election losers.  If these guys can't win (the first and third against weakened incumbents), then should we assume that more moderate Republican candidates are better than more conservative ones.  Yes, if the following counterfactual is true: More conservative … Continue reading The Virtue of Moderation?

The Impact of the Libertarian Party on the Senate Race

Still very early, but looks like Libertarian candidates for Senate in Missouri and Indiana may grab significant shares of the vote.  Of course, Akin and Mourdock ran terrible campaigns and made huge errors (both are likely to significantly underperform the Republican presidential candidate in their states).  Plus they still could lose by a bigger margin than the … Continue reading The Impact of the Libertarian Party on the Senate Race

Adversity and Innovation

For my whole life people have been predicting the imminent collapse of Western civilization. Readers of this blog may recall that I myself have often gone in for some rather pessimistic fretting about the future, particularly concerning the national debt and growing international unrest. I see the point that some of my compatriots are making … Continue reading Adversity and Innovation

The real outsiders

When all the dust settles from the election today—who knows when that will be—the mainstream media will converge on a few narratives about the election.  As usual, most of those narratives will be ill-informed and mostly shaped by the biases that govern media coverage in America today. One narrative that will surely stick in the … Continue reading The real outsiders

My Vote and My Pairwise Preference

Following Grover's urging, I'm revealing my vote and my pairwise preference in the presidential contest. My vote in safely Democratic New York is for Libertarian Gary Johnson, but I do have a slight pairwise preference for Romney-Ryan over Obama-Biden. The reason is that while both sets of candidates are equally bad on all sorts of … Continue reading My Vote and My Pairwise Preference

Election Day Blues

I woke up this morning fully expecting to need a stiff drink by the end of the evening once the seemingly inevitable reelection of President Barack Obama is announced.  Since I rarely imbibe at home, I'll probably just try to bury my head in a book or some work instead.  Now I don't think this … Continue reading Election Day Blues

My Election Forecasts — And I’ve Made It Interesting

Here are my prognostications for Tuesday. I agree with Alex Tabarrok that a prognostication isn't worth much if the issuer isn't willing to put something behind it. Therefore, I'm willing to take bets on any of these. Probability of Obama victory: 4 to 1. Somewhere between Intrade and Nate Silver. In fact I tried to … Continue reading My Election Forecasts — And I’ve Made It Interesting

The “New Hampshire Advantage”: Nearly Killed Off in 2009-10

Here is what my coauthor William Ruger and I wrote about New Hampshire in the 2011 edition of Freedom in the 50 States: Index of Personal and Economic Freedom: New Hampshire is by our count the freest state in the country. Depending on weights, however, it really shares the slot with South Dakota. New Hampshire … Continue reading The “New Hampshire Advantage”: Nearly Killed Off in 2009-10

From the Department of Backhanded Compliments

Apparently NH lefties are passing around this lengthy condemnation of the Free State Project. Much of it, though, reads like something that could be put in an FSP recruiting brochure: Free Staters in NH are generally intelligent, focused and diligent people, who are sincerely interested in promoting personal responsibility in its broadest meaning. They are … Continue reading From the Department of Backhanded Compliments

On Nate Silver and Polls

Here is an interesting piece that challenges Nate Silver's 538 model (which Jason has referenced before).  Challenging or supporting Silver is becoming something of a fad among election watchers this season.  This is one of the better attempts to take on Silver and comes from the perspective of a quantitative baseball analyst.  As a baseball … Continue reading On Nate Silver and Polls