June 28, 2008The U.S. is still the largest and most productive economy, but the warning signs are there. The latest is that America is losing its lead in share of millionaires worldwide. It's an imperfect measure of economic success, to be sure, but does offer a rough measure of entrepreneurship and economic regulation. And the score is not good. Reports Robert Frank in the Wall Street Journal:
The U.S. is losing its market share of global millionaires.
The population of millionaires grew five times as fast in emerging markets as it did in the U.S. last year, according to a survey released Tuesday. That was the largest divergence between the U.S. and the big emerging markets since the comparisons were first published in 2003.
The number of millionaires in Brazil, Russia, India and China jumped 19% in 2007...
June 28, 2008All you have to do is read British publications to see what the mess otherwise called the National Health Service. Yet the NHS is a sacred cow on right and left. The Institute of Economic Affairs has just published a new monograph which gives a flavor of the NHS's many problems:
Politicians will go to any lengths to persuade the voting public that the National Health Service is safe in their hands. Alternative policy models cannot be placed before the electorate unless political parties take huge risks. Yet, at the same time, we see even a Labour government drawing private finance into the health service and giving patients rights to use the private sector.
This groundbreaking new study shows that, although politicians do not feel confident in proposing radical new models of healthcare, elite opinion in...
June 27, 2008American politicians are busy talking about how to socialize the U.S. health care system. But in Canada the father of the nationalized system is prepared to kill his child.
David Gratzer writes in Investor's Business Daily:
Back in the 1960s, Castonguay chaired a Canadian government committee studying health reform and recommended that his home province of Quebec — then the largest and most affluent in the country — adopt government-administered health care, covering all citizens through tax levies.
The government followed his advice, leading to his modern-day moniker: "the father of Quebec medicare." Even this title seems modest; Castonguay's work triggered a domino effect across the country, until eventually his ideas were implemented from coast to coast.
Four decades later, as the chairman...
June 27, 2008Airplanes emit greenhouse gases, so airlines--and ultimately passengers--are about to pay for the privilege of flight.
Reports the New York Times:
The European Union reached a landmark agreement Thursday to cap emissions from aircraft, raising the stakes in an increasingly ferocious battle with the United States over how to regulate global greenhouse gases.
In the first requirement of its kind, all airlines arriving or leaving from airports in the European Union would be required to buy pollution credits beginning in 2012, joining...
June 27, 2008You'd better close your trash bin tightly, or else. At least if you live in England. Reports the New York Times:
But when Gareth Corkhill, a bus driver, was fined $215 — and given a further $225 fine and a criminal record when he failed to pay — for leaving his garbage can lid slightly ajar this spring, Whitehaven's residents banded together in dismay. They raised the money to pay the fine, and they began to complain.
“I consider the fine against Mr. Corkhill to be a matter of injustice, really, and as a Christian minister I'm required to speak out against injustice,” declared the Rev. John Bannister, the rector of Whitehaven, a seaside town in Cumbria, in the far northwest. Referring to the garbage cans residents...
June 22, 2008Travel used to be great. It was regulated and high-priced, so most people didn't travel that much. With regulated prices, airlines competed based on service. If you were traveling on business, at someone else's expense, flying was great.
Then came deregulation and the the Great Unwashed Masses showed up at the airports. They had the temerity to think that they were entitled to fly too. Airplanes got crowded and services deteriorated. Prices came down, but who cares if someone else is paying the freight!?
It's time to turn back the clock. Forget my personal comfort. It's for the public interest. Indeed, the interest of Mother Earth. You see, travel is killing the planet! Reports the New York Times:
The boom in low-cost air travel has turned this corner of...
June 18, 2008Who would have imagined it? Shrink government, and you get faster economic growth. Amazing!
Reports Keith Marsden in the Wall Street Journal:
My study, "Big, Not Better?" (Centre for Policy Studies, 2008), looks at the performance of 20 countries over the past two decades. The first 10 have slimmer governments with revenue and expenditure levels below 40% of GDP. This group includes Australia, Canada, Estonia, Hong Kong, Ireland, South Korea, Latvia, Singapore, the Slovak Republic and the U.S.
I compared their records to the 10 higher-taxed, bigger-government economies: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Sweden and the United Kingdom. Both groups cover a representative range of large, medium and small economies...
June 18, 2008Now what will the environmentlists do? China's lead in CO2 emissions keeps growing. Reports the New York Times:
China has clearly overtaken the United States as the world's leading emitter of carbon dioxide, the main heat-trapping gas, a new study has found, its emissions increasing 8 percent in 2007. The Chinese increase accounted for two-thirds of the growth in the year's global greenhouse gas emissions, the study found.
The report, released Friday by the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, found that in 2007 China's emissions were 14 percent higher than those of the United States. In the previous year's annual study, the researchers found for the first time that China had become the world's leading emitter, with carbon...
June 5, 2008I missed this when it was first published, but it turns out that fat people cause global warming! Reports Reuters:
Obesity contributes to global warming, too.
Obese and overweight people require more fuel to transport them and the food they eat, and the problem will worsen as the population literally swells in size, a team at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine says.
This adds to food shortages and higher energy prices, the school's researchers Phil Edwards and Ian Roberts wrote in the journal Lancet on Friday.
"We are all becoming heavier and it is a global responsibility," Edwards said in a telephone interview. "Obesity is a key part of the big picture."
I concede my own responsibility. Since having a...
May 28, 2008What can you say about a health care system that treats animals more quickly than humans? Reports Macleans:
Dr. Danny Joffe is only half joking when he says that if he'd fallen asleep on the last day of vet school in Saskatoon and woken up some two decades later in his current workplace, he would not have believed it was an animal hospital. Joffe is one of 11 specialists at the C.A.R.E. Centre, a 28,000-sq.-foot palace of veterinary medicine built two years ago in Calgary by a consortium that owns 23 vet clinics and animal hospitals across British Columbia and Alberta. It has four operating theatres, a $100,000 CT machine, two ultrasound machines, a digital X-ray unit, an endoscopy centre, a lab and 16 examination rooms. Its intensive care unit boasts 20 cages and eight...