Thursday, May 19, 2011

Libertarian Links

Bubbles, bubbles everywhere: Used cars get rarer and more expensive, natch, though this Wall Street Journal article today on the phenomenon of surging prices in used cars--$1,500 to $3,000 more than six months ago--never once mentions the words "cash for clunkers"--a program that removed 690,114 cars from the potential secondary market.

Health insurance lies: "[P]rivately insured individuals don’t end up paying higher premiums to make up for the uninsured because hospitals that serve lower-income families don’t have a lot of patients with insurance. He said the government pays about 75% of those unpaid hospital bills either by direct payment or through a disproportionate payment of Medicaid."

Nietzsche on the state:  In the mind of 19th Century German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, the growth of the State (Staat) was one of the most alarming developments of the modern world. Where others saw the promise of a new democratic age in which “the people” ruled, Nietzsche saw a “cold monster” that was, in reality, destructive of creative and independent forces. He described the State as a “clamp-iron” pressed upon society, shaping and harnessing it. The modern State was particularly problematic because it potentially recognized no limits in its efforts to satisfy the wants and desires of the common man. In order to fully understand Nietzsche’s pessimistic understanding of the modern State, however, it is important to understand his beliefs about the origin of that State.

EU fragmenting?: Because Denmark is a member of Europe's visa-free Schengen area, it cannot reinstate full frontier controls, and will still follow European Union rules with its current plan to station customs officers permanently at borders to conduct random checks on vehicles.

Genius graph: Probably much higher if we look at the historical volatility of the prices for onions, which is one of the only commodities that has no futures market, thanks to legislation passed by Congress in 1958 that banned all futures trading in onions.

Tax rates for gas.

How to save your country:  — The typical consolidation that failed relied on 47 percent spending cuts and 53 percent tax increases. — The typical consolidation that succeeded consisted of 85 percent spending cuts and 15 percent tax increases. — The “most wildly successful” efforts by nations, as Brooks put it, went into tax cut territory: Finland in the late 1990s, pointed out by Biggs and Hassett as a model of successful consolidation, had 108 percent spending cuts along with modest tax cuts. — In the third-rail department, they found that the typical successful consolidation allocated 38 percent of spending cuts to entitlements. In the howling unions department, they found that 25 percent of the cuts were in government salaries.

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