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OpenMarket: Doug Bandow

  • Criminalizing Politics

    March 9, 2008

    My friend Paul Jacob, the long-time term limits activist and head of the Citizens in Charge Foundation, continues to face charges in Oklahoma for aiding local citizens in attempting to place a tax limitation measure on the ballot. The indictment is pure politics, filed by the Democratic state attorney general against Jacob and two others. The case is an outrage and has led to creation of the Free Paul Jacob website. He could use the support of freedom-lovers everywhere.
  • So Much for the Wonders of Canadian Health Care

    March 9, 2008
    Let's see. The U.S. is supposed to follow Canada in nationalizing health care because it's such a wonderful success. NOT!

    A  former Liberal Party health minister in Quebec has proposed several reforms, including expanding the role of private providers. It seems that the existing system risks collapse. Reports the Toronto Star:
    The architect of Quebec's now-overburdened public health-care system is proposing a strong and controversial remedy that includes further privatization and user fees of up to $100 for people to see their family doctor.In a 338-page report, former provincial Liberal health minister Claude Castonguay concluded that Quebec can no longer sustain the annual growth in health-care costs. The province currently spends about $24 billion annually on health care, or about 40 per cent of its...
  • The Canadians Can't Get Enough of American Health Care

    March 9, 2008
    Canadians like to dismiss America's health care system, claiming that their system ensures coverage for everyone.  Apparently everyone except those sent to the U.S. to be treated. Reports Toronto's Globe and Mail (subscription required):
    More than 400 Canadians in the full throes of a heart attack or other cardiac emergency have been sent to the United States because no hospital can provide the lifesaving care they require here. Most of the heart patients who have been sent south since 2003 typically show up in Ontario hospitals, where they are given clot-busting drugs. If those drugs fail to open their clogged arteries, the scramble to locate angioplasty in the United States begins.
  • Those Wild and Crazy Europeans

    February 12, 2008
    Liberty-minded Europeans can only look on with increasing frustration as policy becomes increasingly centralized in Brussels. It's not just the regulations -- goodness knows the Feds micro-manage most everything -- but the opacity of the process.

    Consider the new rules which require running lights for daylight driving. Reports the blog EU Referendum:
    Tucked into The Sunday Telegraph very much as a down-page item is a story headed, "Daytime car lights to be mandatory".

    From this, we learn that all new cars are to be fitted with automatic daytime headlights within four years, the paper adding that the government had previously opposed the idea on the grounds...
  • Ah, Waiting for that Wonderful Socialized Health Care

    February 12, 2008
    Remember, I'm from the government and I'm here to help you. Especially when it comes to health care.

    Just look at Sweden. Reports Investor's Business Daily:
    If universal coverage can work anywhere, it should be Sweden, a small, homogenous nation where poverty is virtually unknown. Yet problems there have begun to undermine a health care system that dates back to the 1930s, when Social Democrats began to assemble a welfare state.

    Waiting times for care, long a problem in Sweden and too often deadly wherever they're found, are now the longest on the Continent, says European think tank Health Consumer Powerhouse.

    While Sweden "excels at medical outcomes," the HCP says in its Euro-Canada Health Consumer Index 2008, it is "really bad (and worsening!) at accessibility and service."

  • The Benefits of Globalization

    February 12, 2008
    It turns out that a speech I gave on globalization has ended up on the web. I've added a few pounds since then, so I'm no longer quite as ruggedly handsome, but the arguments remain valid. :-) Although not everyone benefits equally from globalization, the process has been a huge boon for the mass of humanity.
  • First They Came for my Light Bulbs. Then for my Plastic Bags.

    February 4, 2008
    The Irish government doesn't like plastic bags. So it has effectively banned them. Reports The New York Times:
    There is something missing from this otherwise typical bustling cityscape. There are taxis and buses. There are hip bars and pollution. Every other person is talking into a cellphone. But there are no plastic shopping bags, the ubiquitous symbol of urban life.

    In 2002, Ireland passed a tax on plastic bags; customers who want them must now pay 33 cents per bag at the register. There was an advertising awareness campaign. And then something happened...
  • The EU To Ban Patio Heaters: What's Next, Light Bulbs?

    January 31, 2008
    Those hilarious Europeans. They are threatening to ban patio heaters. Too big a carbon imprint, it seems. So much for convenience, choice, and individual liberty. Reports the Times of London:
    Britain's growing café culture and taste for alfresco drinking and dining may be under threat from MEPs who want to ban the patio heater.

    A vote in Brussels today is expected to call on the European Commission to abolish the heaters to help to tackle climate change. Such a move could cost the pub and catering trade dear.

    Pubs spent about £85 million on patio heaters after the smoking ban was introduced last year. Besides forcing smokers into the cold there is concern that a ban on patio heaters could bring a significant cash loss to pubs, cafés and restaurants.

    The hospitality industry...
  • Need a Dentist? Don't Go to Great Britain!

    January 29, 2008
    A toothache is never fun. It is likely to be particularly painful in Great Britain. Reports Investor's Business Daily:
    Since April 2006, one in every 10 dentists have stopped offering treatment under Great Britain's national health care system. Who can blame them? The government changed its contract with 21,000 dentists almost two years ago, and the result was more work for the dentists and limits on their earnings.

    Because of the shortage, 2.7 million Britons have gone nearly two years without dental work. Alice Thomson drolly summed up the situation thusly in Friday's London Telegraph:
    "In Britain today, you can stuff yourself on deep-fried Mars bars, drink 20 pints a night, inject yourself with heroin, smoke 60 cigarettes a day or decide to change your sex — and the NHS...
  • Social Engineering Abroad: Failure Squared

    January 27, 2008
    There are no easy answers to some problems. Such as failed and quasi-failed states around the world. But one thing that we know is that foreign meddling--almost always advanced by bombarding corrupt governments with bundles of taxpayer dollars in the name of aid--rarely has long-term positive results.

    Pakistan is a case in point. I make the case in a piece published in the Korea Times that it's time for Washington to stop attempting to micromanage that country. Our best hope for a positive influence is through private aid and development groups that act independently of the U.S. and Pakistani governments.


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