As policymakers look over the fiscal cliff, one can hope that their eyes fix on Afghanistan, the seemingly endless experiment in nation building. I understand that no president wants to seem the inevitable occur on his shift (consider the "optics"), but I sometimes wonder how many people would notice. I gave a lecture on the … Continue reading Peaking Over the Fiscal Cliff: Afghanistan
One of the books I read this summer was Bryan Caplan's Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids: Why Being a Great Parent Is Less Work and More Fun Than You Think. Having already read works like Judith Rich Harris's excellent books The Nurture Assumption: Why Children Turn Out the Way They Do and No Two Alike: Human … Continue reading Caplan on Parenting and Having Children
An update to an earlier Pileus post: The woman who had submitted the ballot measure that would ban circumcision in Santa Monica has now withdrawn the measure (h/t: Roger Ream). The woman in question, one Jena Troutman, claims it had not occurred to her that there might be religious objection to her measure, especially from Jews, for … Continue reading Circumcision in California: Update
From Peter Ubel in Free Market Madness: Why Human Nature Is at Odds with Economics---And Why It Matters (Harvard Business Press, 2009): The government could, theoretically, change the finances of the food industry enough to halt the obesity epidemic. [...] Given that information alone may not suffice to encourage better eating habits, policy makers should … Continue reading Frightening Sentences of the Day
Even under Hobbes-like assumptions skewed to the case for big government, the evidence proves that government is far larger than optimal in the U.S. and other advanced welfare states.
Two recent stories in the WSJ dramatically illustrate once again that people respond to incentives. And taxes are incentives. The first story suggests that one reason LeBron James might have chosen to go to Miami is to avoid the punitive taxes in the other places he was considering---especially Ohio and New York. The income tax … Continue reading Taxes and Incentives
Is Network Neutrality a racist policy? At least one prominent Chicago politician seems to think so. Cook County Commissioner Robert Steele recently voiced his objections to the FCC’s proposed regulatory attempts to achieve Net Neutrality. The principle of network neutrality asserts that broadband providers should not be able to block or limit use of their … Continue reading Is Net Neutrality Racist?
The current catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico is looking like a classic tragedy. It appears that BP and those who constructed the off-shore rig failed to meet acceptable standards in construction, warning and safety systems. In part this may have been a product of BP’s weighing of the costs and benefits, as suggested by an … Continue reading Of Oil, Arrogance, and Enlightened Self-Interest