Category Archives: Law

Assorted Links (6/29/2010)

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

Allan Meltzer: Why Obamanomics Has Failed – WSJ.com

online.wsj.com

“In The Wall Street Journal, Carnegie Mellon University economist Allan H. Meltzer says the Obama administration’s policies have introduced uncertainty about future taxes and regulations. This inhibits investment and job growth.”

If You Have to Be Wrong, How Can You Admit It More Easily? – Freakonomics Blog – NYTimes.com

www.nytimes.com

“Making admissions of error easier.”

Cash for Clunkers: A Retrospective

www.american.com

“Top-down industrial policy carried out through the sheer force of incentives is welcomed by behavioralist Washington.”

The Unemployment Insurance Crisis

www.american.com

“As of this summer, unemployment insurance trust funds in 30 states were insolvent.”

Fred Barnes: King of Pork—and Proud of It – WSJ.com

online.wsj.com

“In The Wall Street Journal, Fred Barnes writes that the late Robert Byrd made the most of his time in the Senate.”

Rupert Darwall: Britain Tries Fiscal Austerity – WSJ.com

online.wsj.com

“Rupert Darwall writes in The Wall Street Journal that Keynesianism goes out of fashion in London.”

Randy Barnett: The Supreme Court’s Gun Showdown – WSJ.com

online.wsj.com

“In The Wall Street Journal, Randy Barnett writes that thanks to five Justices, the right to keep and bear arms is now protected from state interference. And thanks to Clarence Thomas, an important clause in the Constitution has risen from the grave.”

Bill Wilson’s Gospel – NYTimes.com

nytimes.com

“The story of Alcoholics Anonymous teaches us about human nature and the kinds of social programs that do and don’t work.”

Congressional Budget Office – Distribution of Federal Taxes

www.cbo.gov

“The federal tax system is progressive–that is, average tax rates generally rise with income. Households in the bottom fifth of the income distribution (with average income of $18,400, under a broad definition of income) paid 4.0 percent of their income in federal taxes. The middle quintile, with average income of $64,500, paid 14.3 percent of that income in taxes, and the highest quintile, with average income of $264,700, paid 25.1 percent.”

Is Academic Freedom Worth Its Price? – Project Syndicate

www.project-syndicate.org

“In these hard economic times, when ordinary people are struggling to make ends meet, there is a nagging sense that universities are luxuries. In fact, universities may be the most consistently high-performing products of long-term capital investment.”

Review & Outlook: Kagan’s Commerce Clause – WSJ.com

online.wsj.com

“The Wall Street Journal says that Senators should ask Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan if Congress can compel Americans to do anything?”

Drilling for Better Information – WSJ.com

online.wsj.com

“In The Wall Street Journal, Information Age columnist Gordon Crovitz says that the financial crisis and BP share a common attribute: regulatory failure.”

Fouad Ajami: Petraeus, Obama and the War in Afghanistan – WSJ.com

online.wsj.com

“In The Wall Street Journal, Fouad Ajami says that there is a mismatch between the general’s Afghan mission and the president’s summons to his countrymen.”

Review & Outlook: Triumph of the Regulators – WSJ.com

online.wsj.com

“The Wall Street Journal says that the Dodd-Frank financial reform bill doubles down on the same system that failed.”

Russ Roberts: Hayek: An Economist’s Comeback – WSJ.com

online.wsj.com

“In The Wall Street Journal, Russell Roberts of George Mason University comments on the revival of interest in the Nobel Prize winning economist Friedrich Hayek.”

How Christianity Created Capitalism

www.torenewamerica.com

“It was the church more than any other agency, writes historian Randall Collins, that put in place what Weber called the preconditions of capitalism: the rule of law and a bureaucracy for resolving disputes rationally; a specialized and mobile labor force; the institutional permanence that allows for transgenerational investment and sustained intellectual and physical efforts, together with the accumulation of long-term capital; and a zest for discovery, enterprise, wealth creation, and new undertakings.”

Indiana ironing-board factory faces stiff competition from Chinese companies

www.washingtonpost.com

This article provides an interesting case study which clearly illustrates various dysfunctional aspects of trade protectionism in the real world; in particular, how tariffs shield US companies from having to compete and innovate in terms of the goods and services that they produce and the business models that they employ.

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Unintended consequence of expanding liability…

According to bloomberg.com, “Proposals in Congress to raise U.S. liability costs to $10 billion to drill for oil in the Gulf could leave just three companies — BP, Exxon Mobil Corp. and Royal Dutch Shell Plc — with the finances to self-insure”.  As I recall, prior to the BP Deepwater Horizon explosion and spill, liability for offshore oil drilling was capped at $75 million. Thus, an unintended consequence of expanding liability by a factor of 133 times (from $75 million to $10 billion) would be to make it virtually impossible for the insurance market to insure offshore oil drilling liability, which in turn would ensure that only the very largest companies in the world will have the financial capacity needed in order to be able to continue to pursue deep water drilling as a business activity (because companies such as BP, Exxon Mobil Corp. and Royal Dutch Shell Plc have the resources to self-insure this liability risk!). 

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Assorted Links (5/11/2010)

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

Did a Big Bet Help Trigger ‘Black Swan’ Stock Swoon? – WSJ.com

online.wsj.com

“A tsunami of selling pressure that spread to nearly all parts of the market last Thursday may have had its roots in a single bearish bet.”

Euro-zone Bailout Spurs Moral-Hazard Fears – WSJ.com

online.wsj.com

“A €750 billion bailout package for euro-zone governments facing debt troubles has created another urgent challenge for European policy makers: how to keep free-spending governments in line.”

Depression 2010?

www.realclearpolitics.com

“It is now conventional wisdom that the world has avoided a second Great Depression. Governments and the economists who advise them learned the lessons of the 1930s. When the gravity of the financial crisis became apparent in late 2008, the response was swift and aggressive.”

The Welfare State’s Death Spiral

www.realclearpolitics.com

“What we’re seeing in Greece is the death spiral of the welfare state. This isn’t Greece’s problem alone, and that’s why its crisis has rattled global stock markets and threatens economic recovery.”

What Happened to Due Process?

www.campaignforliberty.com

“A bipartisan group of legislators have introduced a bill that would focus on stripping Americans of their citizenship if they are found to be involved in “terrorism”.”

Landscapers find workers choosing jobless pay

detnews.com

“In a state with the nation’s highest jobless rate, landscaping companies are finding some job applicants are rejecting work offers so they can continue collecting unemployment benefits.”

Garven comment: Here is some compelling anecdotal evidence concerning the unintended consequences of unemployment benefits. Believe it or not, insuring people against the financial consequences of unemployment can actually create more unemployment!

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"Infectious Politics" – article about the flu vaccine shortage in today's Wall Street Journal

Wall Street Journal, there is a very interesting and insightful article entitled “Infectious Politics” that explains why flu vaccines in particular and vaccines for infectious diseases generally are in such short supply in the United States.  The contributing factors appear to involve a combination of price controls, regulation and tort lawyers.  Of course, I made the latter point (concerning tort) the other day in my blog entry entitled “Impact of the tort system on flu vaccine availability in the United States“.]]>

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“Infectious Politics” – article about the flu vaccine shortage in today’s Wall Street Journal

In today’s Wall Street Journal, there is a very interesting and insightful article entitled “Infectious Politics” that explains why flu vaccines in particular and vaccines for infectious diseases generally are in such short supply in the United States.  The contributing factors appear to involve a combination of price controls, regulation and tort lawyers.  Of course, I made the latter point (concerning tort) the other day in my blog entry entitled “Impact of the tort system on flu vaccine availability in the United States“.

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