Progressivism vs. Libertarianism and Health Care Reform

Arnold Kling and Tyler Cowen provide some interesting analyses of the progressive worldview from a libertarian perspective.  Since the various public versus private sector proposals for health care depend critically upon these underlying worldviews (with progressives preferring more government intervention and libertarians preferring greater reliance upon market forces), I can’t help but wonder a less shrill and more constructive discussion and debate of healthcare reform could occur if the opposing sides had a better understanding of these worldviews.  I would be most grateful for any references concerning an analysis of the libertarian worldview from a progressive perspective.

End the Corporate Income Tax!

This is one of Megan McArdle’s ideas for “fixing the world”. She goes on to argue that:

“At 35 percent, America’s levy on corporate income is one of the highest in the developed world. In 2007, about 2.5 million companies prepared lengthy returns at great expense, yet the tax generated only about 15 percent of total federal tax revenue. The tax on corporate profits discourages capital formation, targets shareholders regardless of their wealth, and fuels frantic, and costly, business efforts to dodge it. Among experts who study its effects, support for the tax is at best sort of sheepish.”

The risk management literature actually has much to say about how the corporate tax code discourages capital formation.  Specifically, the asymmetric nature of the corporate income tax creates disincentives for firms to bear risk.  Tax asymmetries derive from two important features of the corporate income tax; specifically, tax rate progressivity and incomplete tax loss offsets.  Thus tax asymmetries incentivize firms  underinvest in risky (but potentially profitable) assets, which in turn limits the economy’s prospective growth potential. 

Assorted Links (8/18/2009)

Here’s a list of articles that I have been reading today (organized by topic):

Financial Crisis

Foreign Policy

  • Talking to the Enemy, by Bret Stephens
    WSJ: “We should know better than to talk to the Irans and North Koreas of the world.”

Game Theory

  • How to improve health care using game theory: the Prisoner’s Dilemma, by Presh Talwalkar

Health Care Reform

  • Whole Foolishness
    : “The left boycotts a progressive retailer.”
  • The Panel, by Andrew Klavan
    WSJ: “What death by bureaucratic fiat might look like.”


  • Harry Reid’s ‘Evil’ Moment’, by William McGurn
    WSJ: “And Democrats wonder why their health plan isn’t selling.”
  • Why Obama’s Ratings Are Sinking, by Arthur C. Brooks
    WSJ: “Americans will put up with a lot. But not with someone who imperils their future.”
  • Young Voters Sought Change, Got Only Stasis, by Michael Barone