Assorted Links (2/25/2013)

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

The Critics Are Wrong About the Future of Free-Market Health Care Reform

“Douglas Holtz-Eakin and Avik Roy outline a market-based plan for entitlement reform and universal coverage that builds on a reformed version of Obamacare’s subsidized insurance exchanges.” In their “all-purpose rebuttal” to Matthew Yglesias, Paul Krugman, et al., Douglas Holtz-Eakin and Avik Roy provide a way forward which has as its end result “… a health-care system that resembles a slightly less-regulated version of Switzerland’s.”

Voters Grow Weary of Washington’s Drama

No kidding (about growing weary). Consider the following quote from this article, “After two years of creating and then resolving a series of budget showdowns, lawmakers are losing the power to summon concern—or even much interest—among the public, voters here say. “It just happens so often, it’s white noise to me,” said Eric Jones, general manager and partner of the Glenn Jones Ford dealer in Casa Grande…”

Noonan: Government by Freakout

“Obama’s scare tactics aren’t much of a long-term strategy, argues Peggy Noonan.” This is what it feels like these days – it seems like we are averaging at least one major fiscal crisis per month…

ObamaCare and the ’29ers’

“The Wall Street Journal reports how the Affordable Care Act’s new mandates are already reducing full-time employment.” Here’s a case study of the law of unintended consequences at work!

The Hollywood Tax Story They Won’t Tell at the Oscars

“In The Wall Street Journal’s Cross Country column, Glenn Harlan Reynolds writes that it’s easy to demand higher levies on the ‘rich’ when your own industry gets $1.5 billion in government handouts.” I am a big fan of the author of this article, Glenn Reynolds who blogs at Instapundit and is a law professor at University of Tennessee – check out this week’s Econtalk episode entitled “Glenn Reynolds on Politics, the Constitution, and Technology” @!

Generational Theft Needs to Be Arrested

“In The Wall Street Journal, Geoffrey Canada, Stanley Druckenmiller and Kevin Warsh write that a Democrat, an independent and a Republican can agree—government spending levels are unsustainable.”

The Shaky Science Behind Obama’s Universal Pre-K

AEI scholar Charles Murray and his assessment of the social science behind the Obama Administration’s universal Pre-K policy proposal…

Bad history, worse policy: How a false narrative about the financial crisis led to the Dodd-Frank Act

At an event on Tuesday, panelists joined AEI’s Peter Wallison and Alex Pollock to discuss Wallison’s new book “Bad History, Worse Policy: How a False Narrative about the Financial Crisis Led to the Dodd-Frank Act” (AEI Press, January 2013). This panel discussion from an American Enterprise Institute event that occurred last week provides insightful analysis of the so-called Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 (AKA “Dodd-Frank”). The bad news is that Dodd–Frank effectively codifies notions of too-big-too-fail (“TBTF”) and bailouts into the foundations of our financial system.

Obamacare: Nothing to Brag About

“The president’s health-care law increasingly does less and costs more.”

U.S. CEO to France: “How Stupid Do You Think We Are?”

“Instead of investing in France, the U.S. tire maker Titan is “going to buy a Chinese tire company or an Indian one, pay less than one Euro per hour and ship all the tires France needs,” its CEO said.” This is priceless – particularly the copy of the actual letter sent by Titan’s CEO to French industry minister Arnaud Montebourg that is attached to this article – well worth reading!

How Scientists Sank the U-Boat

“Marc Levinson reviews Stephen Budiansky’s Blackett’s War: The Men Who Defeated the Nazi U-Boats and Brought Science to the Art of Warfare.” This is a fascinating book review which describes, among other things, how WW II led to the development of operations research (a field which involves the application of statistical analysis to decision-making) and related fields such as game theory. To this day, these disciplines profoundly affect how decisions are made and strategies formulated, not only in the military but also myriad other public and private sector settings. I might have to read this book (that is, after I finish reading Andrew Roberts’ superb book about WWII entitled “The Storm of War” (cf.…

The Minority Youth Unemployment Act

“The Wall Street Journal says in an editorial that a higher minimum wage will most hurt President Obama’s most loyal supporters.” This article calls to mind the famous Thomas Huxley quote, “The great tragedy of Science: the slaying of a beautiful hypothesis by an ugly fact” (the “beautiful hypothesis” here being the claim made by the Obama administration that “…modestly raising the minimum wage increases earnings and reduces poverty without measurably reducing employment”).

I was impressed that this article references the highly cited 2006 monograph by Neumark and Wascher which looks at more than 100 (mostly peer reviewed) academic studies on the minimum wage and notes that the vast majority (85%) of these studies “…find a negative employment effect on low-skilled workers.” The article goes on to note, among other things, that “…the minimum wage has nothing to do with poverty or unemployment. It’s a political play to reward unions and box in Republicans. The minimum wage polls well because Americans naturally want everyone to make more money, and the damage in foregone jobs isn’t obvious.”

The Art and Politics of ‘Zero Dark Thirty’

“In The Wall Street Journal, Matthew Kaminski interviews the man behind the film about the hunt for bin Laden talks about how he combined facts with imagination and calls his Senate critics ‘intellectually dishonest.'”

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