May 23, 2008Mose Americans realize that Washington is dysfunctional and perverse. So is Washington, D.C. The city has long been unfriendly to business, encouraging enterprises to locate in the suburbs. Now the city fathers are upping business costs again by mandating paid family leave. Such a policy is unfair to all employees except those who take leave, since it shifts rather than expands benefits. And the law will further discourage job creation in the city.
Explains Carrie Lukas of the Independent Women's Forum:
For the nation's capital, it's one step forward, another step back. D.C. has long been recognized as one of the nation's least friendly business climates, but in recent years, officials have attempted to lure employers into the city...
May 23, 2008If the last seven years have proved anything on Capitol Hill, it is that there are no fiscal conservatives in Washington. The bipartisan desire to spend is overwhelming.
Consider the Farm Bill. It's not obvious why farmers--and not, say writers or engineers--deserve to be subsidized by Uncle Sam. But it's crazy to raise crop supports when prices are rising. Yet that's what our spendthrift legislators are doing.
Editorializes the Wall Street Journal:
Since the last farm bill in 2002, the price of cotton is up 105%, soybeans 164%, corn 169% and wheat 256%. Yet when Mr. Bush proposed the genuine change of limiting farm welfare to those earning less than $200,000 a year, he was laughed out of town. The bill purports to limit subsidies to those earning a mere $750,000, but...
May 17, 2008Remember, the answer to our health care problems is to turn over health care decisions to the government. Everyone will have access to health care. We will all live longer. World peace will envelope the globe.
Reports the Daily Mail:
As an ophthalmologist, I have spent my working life in the NHS. And for all its perceived failings, I have been proud of its fundamental role in our society - to provide equality of care for all.
Of course, I've heard the term postcode lottery but as a doctor I've only ever provided my patients with the best course of treatment available.
So when I've read about people being refused particular drugs simply because of where they lived, I've always believed there must be another reason - even if it wasn'...
May 12, 2008Great Britain's vaunted National Health Service denied a 61-year-old woman a heart operation because she was too old. Can't waste the money!
But then the media got involved. Reports the Daily Mail:
However late yesterday, following media interest in Mrs Simpson's plight, the PCT backed down and agreed to fund her treatment.
Medical director Dr David Geddes apologised to Mrs Simpson for the "distress" caused by the delay.
He said: "We have reviewed the case in the light of the additional clinical information and national guidance and, as Mrs Simpson fits the clinical criteria, we have agreed funding for her treatment."
"All decisions are taken on individual clinical needs; we do not discriminate on the grounds of age.
"Our procedures exist to...
May 5, 2008Not only has the planet not warmed over the last decade, but new peer-reviewed research suggests that it might not warm over the coming decade. Reports the Daily Telegraph:
Researchers studying long-term changes in sea temperatures said they now expect a "lull" for up to a decade while natural variations in climate cancel out the increases caused by man-made greenhouse gas emissions.
The average temperature of the sea around Europe and North America is expected to cool slightly over the decade while the tropical Pacific remains unchanged.
This would mean that the 0.3°C global average temperature rise which has been predicted for the next decade by the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change may not happen, according to the paper published in the scientific journal Nature.
However, the effect of...
May 5, 2008Airplanes emit CO2. Ergo people shouldn't fly. To do otherwise is, well, sinful in the view of some people Reports ABC News:
Moral authorities of varied stripes have weighed in. In 2006, London's Anglican Bishop John Chartres said flying abroad to vacation is a "symptom of sin" because it ignores "an overriding imperative to walk more lightly upon the earth." Environmentalists have also framed flying as a moral issue since it allegedly causes harm in pursuit of unnecessary ends. "You can be an environmental saint — drive a hybrid car, recycle, conserve your water — and if you take one air flight, it actually blows your carbon budget right out of the water," says Elle Morrell, director of a green-lifestyle program at the Australian Conservation Foundation. One round-trip flight from...
May 2, 2008Leave it to a Brit who used to be a communist to support relying on the profit motive to improve health care. Writing in the Guardian, Richard Smith argues:
Profit is a filthy word for many health campaigners. It evokes fears of the rich getting better treatment than the poor and of shareholders fattening themselves on money that should have gone to sick children. Sadly, this is a wholly erroneous and very English way of thinking - driven, I believe, by the Romantic poets (better hills than profits) and snobbery (it's people in trade who care about profits). The reality is that profit benefits health care just as it does all other enterprises.
I was once secretary of the Greenwich Young Communist League and deplored profits, although I knew nothing about economics....
May 2, 2008You don't have to be a free market ideologue to realize that markets are the best means of saving endangered plants and animals. Reports the New York Times:
SOME people would just as soon ignore the culinary potential of the Carolina flying squirrel or the Waldoboro green neck rutabaga. To them, the creamy Hutterite soup bean is too obscure and the Tennessee fainting goat, which keels over when startled, sounds more like a sideshow act than the centerpiece of a barbecue.
But not Gary Paul Nabhan. He has spent most of the past four years compiling a list of endangered plants and animals that were once fairly commonplace in American kitchens but are now threatened, endangered or essentially extinct in the marketplace. He has set out to save them, which often involves urging people to eat them....
May 2, 2008Who would have thought it? Gas prices go up, and the demand for smaller cars rises. Some cynics might even think that arbitrary regulations like Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards aren't necessary to encourage gas conservation.
Reports the New York Times:
Soaring gas prices have turned the steady migration by Americans to smaller cars into a stampede.
In what industry analysts are calling a first, about one in five vehicles sold in the United States was a compact or subcompact car during April, based on monthly sales data released Thursday. Almost a decade ago, when sport utility vehicles were at their peak of popularity, only one in every eight vehicles sold was a small car.
The switch to smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicles has been building in recent years, but has accelerated...
May 2, 2008Politicians are always looking for the easy source of money. New Jersey legislators hoping to pay for health care want to tax fast food. Reports WCBS TV:
The sputtering economy has caused an increase in prices of many staples including gasoline, rice, ice cream, even beer. Now some lawmakers in New Jersey are considering taking food taxes a step further and install a proverbial "sin" tax on fast food.
Yes, the idea of marking up your favorite fast food burger or pack of fries is actually being tossed around, and it's not settling well with many residents.
"They're taxing everything. Now you're gonna tax fast food? That's crazy," said Newark resident Miriam Robertson.
This proposal shows how government naturally begets government. Provide health care, so every unhealthy private action suddenly...