October 24, 2008Arlo Guthrie takes on federal bail-outs in a new song. He plans on heading down to Washington, D.C. After changing his name to Fannie Mae he's going to put his hand out for his own bail out: "What they did for Freddie Mac will be perfectly acceptable to me."
October 21, 2008
In 1989 Manhattan real estate developer erected the national debt clock near Times Square. The total was "only" $2.7 trillion. With the debt busting past $10 trillion, the clock is now out of room. Reports the Associated Press:
In a sign of the times, the National Debt Clock in New York City has run out of digits to record the growing figure.
As a short-term fix, the digital dollar sign on the billboard-style clock near Times Square has been switched...
October 15, 2008How do you find work as a financial wizard today?
My friend and former colleague Radley Balko posts a video that captures the new economic reality in America.
October 14, 2008One of most outrageous features of the federal social welfare state is that Uncle Sam doesn't want you to be independent. For instance, if you would prefer to handle your own health care needs as a retiree, rather than subject yourself to the restrictions and irritations of Medicare, you also would have to give up your Social Security benefits. Never mind that you've been taxed your entire lifetime to support both programs.
Now three Washington, D.C. residents are challenging this rule. Explains friend and colleague Quin Hillyer, a columnist for the Washington Examiner:
Did you know that American citizens on Social Security cannot refuse Medicare “benefits” even if they wish to save the government some money by paying for their own medical care?
October 11, 2008The British government has found the right strategy to cut down on complaints about the National Health Service--convince patients that nothing can be done. Then the bothersome people will simply go away.
Explains the Daily Mail:
One in seven patients using the NHS is unhappy, but most do not complain because they believe 'nothing will be done', a report reveals.
Just 5 per cent of dissatisfied patients made formal complaints last year - 133,600 about the health service and 17,100 about social care.
Those who failed to voice their concerns said they lacked confidence in the system, believed nothing would be done, or thought that they would be branded 'troublemakers'.
The report from the National Audit Office, released today, also...
October 10, 2008I've visited Switzerland several times. I've always believe the Swiss to be rational, level-headed people. Far more sober than so many Europeans. They've managed to preserve both peace and prosperity; they have a tiny national government; they spend most of their time making money rather than plotting how to run other people's lives or invade other countries. It all sounds good to me.
But it turns out they are crazy. The nation's constitution protects the dignity of ... plants. Uh, right.
As the Wall Street Journal explains:
For years, Swiss scientists have blithely created genetically modified rice, corn and apples. But did they ever stop to consider just how humiliating such experiments may be to plants?
That's a question they must now ask. Last spring, this small Alpine nation began...
October 8, 2008Climate alarmists are in good company. After all, for centuries at least, and probably since the beginning of humanity, some people have worried about the imminent end of civilization. Modern environmentalists are a skittish lot, and tend to see doom and gloom around most every corner. The Capital Research Center's www.greenwatch.org has generated the "Doom List," cataloguing recent prophecies of imminent trouble, if not disaster.
One of my favorite comes from the ever-busy Al Gore, who once heroically battled to solve the trash crisis. Reports CRC:
Al Gore was once a...
October 8, 2008Ameirca's health care system is messed up. Agreed. It is a bizarre amalgam of public and private, with government spending and tax policy creating counterproductive incentives which have created an employer-based system of health insurance that has tended towards cost-plus medicine. But while U.S. medical treatment tends to be expensive as a result, it is available. Not so in the foreign systems so often lauded by health care 'reformers" in America.
The website www.biggovhealth.org helps remind us that the wrong sort of "reform" in America could leave us all far worse off. It includes a list of case histories of people victimized by nationalized health care systems. Consider the case of Lindsay McCreith, for instance, who almost certainly would have died had the Canadian not jumped the queue, so to speak, by coming to...
October 8, 2008Japanese cities are dotted with Seven-Eleven stores, which typically are open 24 hours. They are wonderfully convenient. In September I attended a Mont Pelerin Society conference in Tokyo, and the nearby seven-eleven allowed me to satisfy my Diet Coke and chocolate (drinking the first allowed me to eat the second, at least so I rationalized!) cravings at all hours.
But now pressure is growing to close the stores down to ... stop global warming!
Reports Japan Today:
“Hey, this is no joke!” exclaims Weekly Playboy (July 14). No indeed. The city of Kyoto is playing with fire. In June, in a bid to reduce greenhouse gases and perhaps become a nationally designated “model environmental city,” the municipal government indicated it would request...
October 8, 2008If you looked around the world today, you probably wouldn't say the top problem was people eating too much meat and drinking too much milk. But you wouldn't have counted on the alarmists who believe the world is just a few years away from burning up. Some of them want to drastically cut meat and milk consumption--making the rest of us live the way the Cuban government makes its people live, though for ideological rather than environmental reasons.
Reports Investor's Business Daily:
Basing its recommendation on the theory that the greenhouse gases emitted by meat and dairy production are principal contributors to global warming, the Food Climate Research Network, operating out of the University of Surrey, strongly suggests that meat and milk consumption in developed countries be...