Issues in the News
Wal-Mart plans a price-cutting blitz for the holiday shopping season.
“What has been Wal-Mart’s real effect on the U.S. economy, and is it as dire as some of the critics suggest? The answer is that Wal-Mart has proven to be an enormously positive influence on the economy, single-handedly increasing overall productivity and keeping retail prices low throughout America. The company has managed this while maintaining pay and benefits for its workers well in line with the rest of the retail industry. Considering the facts, on balance, Wal-Mart has been — and continues to be — good for America.”
Workplace safety officials issue guidelines on a possible outbreak of avian flu.
“Vaccination to prevent viral and bacterial diseases is modern medicine’s most cost-effective intervention. Vaccines to prevent the expected avian flu pandemic could save the lives of millions—if vaccine R&D were not in such a sorry state, as the result of an unfortunate confluence of biology and public policy.”
The Senate Environment & Public Works Committee holds a hearing on the nomination of Alex Beehler to be inspector general of the Environment Protection Agency.
“Congress passed the Clean Air Act of 1970 based on the belief that reducing air pollution levels saves lives and improves health. The Act mandated the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to base its regulatory policies on good science. In 1997, EPA promulgated standards for fine particulate matter that were the most stringent and expensive in the agency’s 35-year history. The standards were widely criticized, and even EPA’s own science advisory committee did not endorse them. Instead of preventing 20,000 deaths and saving $69 to $144 billion a year at a cost of $6.3 billion (for partial attainment), as claimed, the standards have cost at least $70 billion a year to implement, eliminated hundreds of thousands of jobs a year, and likely have cost lives (because of the huge cost) without providing any public health benefit.”