09 October 2011

Digest: 9 Oct 2011

The Economist: Democracy in America | W.W. | When socialism and libertarianism collide: Who's to blame for American health care?
In my preferred version of the story, the woeful American health-care system is the wreckage of a collision between between the left's intense desire to put the finishing touch on the so-called "Second Bill of Rights" and the American majority's vaguely libertarianish hostility to socialist institutions. Liberals have tossed up one legislative Hail Mary after another only to get slapped down by public opinion and settle for half-measures which have led cumulatively to the patchwork absurdity of the status quo. [...]

If I had to lay blame for this mess on any single conviction, it would be the left's insistence that positive rights, such as the putative right of access to decent health-care, are best secured by a comprehensive system of government guarantees and regulatory supervision. This is the belief that, when Democrats try to put it into practice, wrecks repeatedly against the shoals of American public opinion. The problem is not so much the notion that access to health care is a human right—a notion I think most Americans endorse in some form or other—but the distinctively progressive vision of government's maximally extensive role in managing the provision of the entitlement. That is to say, our stupid health-care system cannot be attributed to the influence of the likes of Friedrich Hayek and Milton Friedman, neither of whom opposed a universal entitlement to health care. On the contrary, we would have long ago achieved the dream of universal access to decent care had liberals let go of their dream of big government's supervisory role and paid more attention to the likes of Messrs Hayek and Friedmen when they talked about about how to get this sort of thing done.
The division between the state's roll in financing and the state's roll in production and procurement is not appreciated often enough. This also applies in education.

Thought Catalog | Chelsea Fagan | Street Fashion Photography Is Messing With Me
What the hell are these people doing? I’m sorry, but a 50-year-old Asian man wearing a Paul Smith suit, a denim jacket, a mink stole, a Louis Vuitton backpack, Air Force Ones, and shutter shades — WHERE IS HE GOING? Does he work at an accounting firm run by Kanye West and a 10-year-old girl? Is he late for an appointment with Willy Wonka at the World Bank? Seriously, this man had one thing and one thing alone on his agenda that day: Stand awkwardly on the corner of the street, smoke a cigarette, and wait for people to come take his picture.
The Antiplanner | Randal O'Toole | The Density Fallacy

"Some density is good" does not entail "more density is good."

Captain Capitalism | The Bubble and Burst of Ballroom Dancing
And all men, maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow will soon realize you don't use attention to get women (that's where indifference, ignorance and lying about your income come in). You use it to reward the nice sweet ones that treat you nice and don't play games and like you for you.
I wish someone had told 14-year-old-SB7 this.

Via Fourth Checkraise

Think Progress | Matthew Yglesias | Copyrights And Creativity
If you’re talking about a very capital-intensive field, then you won’t have any new products unless there are large financial incentives to innovate. But if you’re talking about a field with low needs for capital inputs, then creating the large incentives is less important and strong IP rights are mostly acting as an obstacle to innovation. The rise of digital technology has made it much cheaper than it was before to produce and distribute most kinds of media. The correct policy response is to adopt somewhat weaker intellectual property rights. Instead, we’ve moved in the opposite direction to shore up firms threatened by potentially disruptive technological change. It’s a mistake.
Kids Prefer Cheese | Mike Munger | Every Solvent Country is the Same, But Each Insolvent Country is Insolvent in its Own Way

Reason: Hit & Run | Emily Ekins | Did Those Automaker Bailouts Work?
The variation in perception of bailout efficacy across partisan identification is clearly troubling. This question did not ask about what people expect to result from the policy, but rather their perception of an actual policy outcome. When different political groups consider the same facts and information and come to widely different conclusions, it calls into question how meaningful compromise can be achieved in the political process.
As Daniel Patrick Moynihan (?) said, "Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts."

Cafe Hayek | Russ Roberts | The Great Stagnation in the UK
Hmm. One percent a year, corrected for inflation isn’t exactly “barely any improvement.” And that may understate the gains if British inflation measures are overstated as they are here in the US. [...]

So the median (worker? occupation?) grew a measly 57 percent in real terms over 30 years. That’s 2% per year. That’s a crisis? That requires radically transforming society? They’re even crazier across the pond than we are here.
What is the actual goal for the Trades Union Congress? What value would what metric need to have for this group to pack up shop after announcing that British workers are doing just fine?

Popehat | Ken | What’s The Law? It’s What University of Wisconsin-Stout Administrators Feel That It Is, On Any Given Day.

This is important.

If I was taking a kid around to college information sessions I would be asking the adminstration what their opinion was about this. (This would likely mortify my child, but college vists are already peak mortification times, so why not?)

Does FIRE release college rankings? They should, or at least do more of this.

Rhymes with Cars & Girls | Sonic Charmer | The Fake Jobs Test

The Big Questions | Steve Landsburg | There He Goes Again

Landsburg planing of Krugman makes my day.

Reason: Hit & Run | Lucy Steigerwald | A Secret Panel Put Anwar al-Awlaki, Others, on Government Kill List

I'm not sure which is more terrifying: American citizens being killed because the POTUS just got it in his head one day to have them offed, or having an entire committee dedicated to figuring out whom to execute. Do you like your despotic proscriptions to have that old-school personal touch, or do you prefer that they have a more 20th century bureaucratic flavor?

Institute for Justice | John E. Kramer | IJ Challenges “Policing for Profit” in Massachusetts: New Report Documents How Civil Forfeiture Invites Abuse



The Daily What | War On Medicine of the Day
In late June, the Obama administration reversed its policy of leniency toward medical marijuana dispensaries, saying that so-called “pot shops” were subject to prosecution in accordance with federal anti-drug laws.
This was one of very few Obama policies I was happy about during his campaign, but like everything else its turned out to be hot air, abandoned at the earliest convenience. From where I sit, he's followed through on all the promises I didn't want him to keep, and abandoned the few I actually liked.

See also:
The last is the most troubling, because it's not just CA's US Attorneys that think that, it's ... seemingly the entire Administration and most of the Left.

Sidenote: why would anyone at all want to actually run one of these dispensaries? It sounds like the worst possible investment I can imagine. Everything you put into it, both time and money and sweat, could disappear at the drop of a USA's hat.

HuffoPo | Radley Balko | U.S. Drug Policy Would Be Imposed Globally By New House Bill
The House Judiciary Committee passed a bill yesterday that would make it a federal crime for U.S. residents to discuss or plan activities on foreign soil that, if carried out in the U.S., would violate the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) -- even if the planned activities are legal in the countries where they're carried out.
Because our drug policy and law enforcement generally is so rock solid that we ought to start enforcing hypothetical crimes.

Reddit | I Was A Writer's Assistant on Arrested Development

Don't miss the parts about the plans for Lucille II and the Cabin in Season 4.

Investor's Business Daily | John Merline | ObamaCare's Growing List Of Broken Promises

The Weekly Standard | Noemie Emery | Lifestyles of the Rich and Political

Via my buddy JAH

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