Assorted Links (7/9/2012)

Here’s a list of articles that I have been reading lately:

A Short History of Congress’s Power to Tax

“In The Wall Street Journal, historian Paul Moreno writes that the Supreme Court has long distinguished the regulatory from the taxing power.”

America Already Is Europe

“In The Wall Street Journal, Arthur Brooks notes that in spending, debt and progressivity of taxes, the U.S. is as much a social-welfare state as Spain.”

America Has Too Many Teachers

“In The Wall Street Journal, Andrew Coulson writes that public-school employees have doubled in 40 years while student enrollment has increased by only 8.5%—and academic results have stagnated.”

Democrats and the Tax Cliff

“The Wall Street Journal reports several Senators suggest they may not want to take the November leap.”

Saving Money By Converting to Christianity

“At upwards of US$500, the cost of slaughtering a buffalo to revive a relative condemned to ill-health by the spirits has pushed the Jarai indigenous minority residents of Somkul village in Ratanakkiri to a more affordable religious option: Christianity.”

The Jobless Class of 2012

“The unemployment rate for those aged 18-29 may now be close to 17%.”

Motives vs. results

Excellent essay by GMU economics professor Russ Roberts. Quoting from the article, “Both sides want to make the world a better place. We just disagree on how to get there.”

Conservatives Are Happier, and Extremists Are Happiest of All

“WHO is happier about life — liberals or conservatives? Scholars on both the left and right have studied this question extensively, and have reached a consensus that it is conservatives who possess the happiness edge.”

In Health-Care Ruling, Roberts Writes His Own Law

“In the end, most of the arguments about President Barack Obama’s health-care overhaul turned out to be beside the point.”

How to cure health care

Here is a link to Milton Friedman’s (Winter 2001) National Affairs article entitled “How to cure health care”. Although it is a dated article, Friedman’s analysis is timeless, in that he identifies how over-reliance upon third party payment mechanisms (which Obamacare “doubles down” on) incentivizes consumers to over-consume health care and thereby drive up the overall costs of the system…

How to Replace Obamacare

This National Affairs article by health economists James C. Capretta and Robert E. Moffit provides a roadmap for “replace” after “repeal” has occurred… Tip of the hat to Kevin Stuart for making me aware of this article.

5 million jobs still missing since recession ended

“Five million jobs. That’s how many the economy has still failed to recover since the Great Recession officially ended three years ago. The nation lost nearly 8.8 million jobs between January 2008 and February 2010. Since then, it’s regained more than 3.8 million — less than 44 percent. The economy has added just 137,000 jobs a month since employment hit bottom. At that pace, it would take three more years for employment to return to where it was in January 2008.” — Paul Wiseman, AP Economics Writer (Source:

The imperial presidency revisited

Here’s the latest from Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer… “Obama’s policies are the very definition of executive overreach.”

The States Resist Obamacare

“Michael Tanner writes on NRO: One of the few bright spots in the Supreme Court’s ruling on Obamacare was its 7–2 decision striking down the Obama administration’s attempt to blackmail states into going along with a massive and costly expansion of Medicaid.”

A Choice, Not a Whine

“Opponents of Obama’s health care law should stop venting about John Roberts and instead provide a credible alternative.”

Supreme Court didn’t agree with Obama

“Despite president’s claims, justices did not endorse health care law’s core principles.”

A Strategy to Undo ObamaCare

“Stanford’s Keith Hennessey writes that to push through key parts of the Affordable Care Act, Democrats used the ‘reconciliation’ process. A Republican president, House and Senate can use reconciliation to repeal them.”

The Roberts rewrite: A fitting save for Obamacare

“Chief Justice John Roberts’ judicial sleight of hand, transforming Obamacare’s mandate into a tax, was a fittingly twisted save for a law of such grisly provenance.”

America, the Exceptional

Quoting from this inspiring article:

“A day after the signing of the Declaration of Independence, John Adams sent word to his wife with a prescient note:

The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.”

He was off by two days, not realizing the date on the document would overshadow the vote itself—a tribute to the skill with which Thomas Jefferson captured the zeitgeist of the moment. The Declaration was more than an announcement or a contract. It encapsulated a philosophy and vision that set the cornerstone of an exceptional nation.”

Obamacare: The Final Battle

“Republicans have to explain why it’s bad — and explain it soon.”

The Real Reason Companies Aren’t Investing

Quoting from this article, “In the wake of the financial crisis, the Facebook IPO debacle, the “flash crash,” and the developments in high-frequency trading, stock investors are questioning the very integrity of the markets, and the perceived risk of holding an equity portfolio has increased. Investors want a higher return to compensate for the risk, and issuers have to account for that in their spending choices.”