Thursday, May 26, 2011

Libertarian Links

Anti-China tariffs are backfiring, reports Andrew Higgins: "China’s export juggernaut is not unstoppable: Just ask Lawrence Yen, president of Woodworth Wooden Industries. His factory here in southern China used to ship 400 containers of bedroom furniture to the United States each month. It now sends 60. That is just what Yen’s struggling American competitors were hoping would happen when, back in January 2005, the Commerce Department slapped import tariffs on Chinese-made beds, nightstands and related wares. What happened next, though, was not part of the plan: Yen opened a factory in Vietnam and began exporting to the United States from there. Others did the same...The result: Imports now account for about 70 percent of the U.S. market for beds and similar items, up from 58 percent before Washington intervened."

Groups receiving stimulus money owe $750 million in taxes, reports Ed O'Keefe:
US has one of the most socialized health care systems in the world?

Tax rates (must-read): If the Democrats' millionaire surtax were to happen—and were added to other tax increases already enacted last year and other leading tax hike ideas on the table this year—this could leave the U.S. with a combined federal and state top tax rate on earnings of 62%. That's more than double the highest federal marginal rate of 28% when President Reagan left office in 1989. Welcome back to the 1970s.
Price controls: Henceforth, if a health-insurance premium is to be increased by more than 10 percent, the  company will be obliged to go and beg the government for its blessing. Incidentally, Congress has enacted no law regarding that 10 percent standard. Health and Human Services secretary Kathleen Sebelius simply issued a decree. She could have chosen 1 percent, 11 percent, or 0.01 percent. Why 10 percent? Because it sounds nice and won’t confuse dim voters who are not good with math. [...]The act does not empower her to block such increases. But many states already have that power, and so Sebelius & Co. will be using them — and $250 million appropriated to bribe them — to impose what Washington cannot: regulatory federalism in reverse.

US jobs causing weight gain?

A cardiologist at the University of California, San Francisco, Dr. Rita Redberg, has a pretty provocative op-ed in the New York Times saying Medicare could save between $75 billion and $150 billion a year simply by stopping paying for procedures that have no known medical benefit.

Is Cass Sunstein actually doing something good?  (Please take with a grain of salt.)

New health insurance law penalizes people for being married?

To be sure, the Medicare prescription drug benefit signed into law by President Bush in 2003 was a bad idea. But it could have been worse. Much worse. Unlike just about every other major government health program, Medicare Part D has cost significantly less—about 45 percent—than originally estimated.

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