Saturday, May 7, 2011

Saturday Libertarian Links

Is the EPA really looking out for you?:  EPA officials, however, refused to answer questions or make staff members available to explain the exact location and number of monitors, or the levels of radiation, if any, being recorded at existing monitors in California. Margot Perez-Sullivan, a spokeswoman at the EPA's regional headquarters in San Francisco, said the agency's written statement would stand on its own.

Beautiful volunteerism in AL post-tornado: Although Tuscaloosa Clear Channel normally caters to a white, conservative audience, grateful listeners often make tearful calls from predominantly black and Hispanic neighborhoods like Alberta that bore the brunt of the tornado. No other radio or television stations in the community, public or private, have come close to matching this effort.

Medical school: big businessIn 2009, for example, 53% of medical school revenues came from clinical services and 29% from extramural grants. By comparison, less than 4% came from tuition. [...]Dr. Movsesian pointed to “a recent study of clinical guidelines from the American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology, which noted that 56% of the authors of the guidelines received money or owned stock in companies that might benefit from the recommendations

Organizational structure at the FDA: A final problem with this organizational structure is that there is no clear authority inside the matrix charged with resolving scientific disagreements. For example, there is no formal Chief Medical Officer (CMO) role or office that can mediate between different scientific opinions.

Firedog Lake on the shifting Osama bin Laden story.

Like your federal housing assistance?: For instance a recent paper in Real Estate Economics estimates that only a third of the value of the Low Income Housing Tax Credit actually makes it to the renter in the form of lower rents.  The remaining two-thirds goes to benefit the developers, owners and others who live off the process.  So before we even think about spending more on federal rental assistance, how about making sure what we do spend actually goes to help the poor and not the special interests?

Chile's privatized Social Security: May 1 marks the 30 years since Chile became the first nation to privatize its social security system. By turning workers into investors, the move solved an entitlement crisis much like the one America faces today.

Oil: Another significant tax break allows companies to accelerate the deductions of the costs of labor and various other inputs associated with drilling oil or gas wells. Now, there's nothing wrong with deducting the cost of doing business from one's tax bill. In other industries these expenses would be capitalized and deducted over time as income is earned. But in the oil and gas sector, the tax code allows oil and gas firms to deduct 70% of these expenses in the very first year of a well's operation and the remainder over the next five years.

Medicaid: Gruber's MIT colleague Amy Finkelstein finds that Medicaid also crowds out private long-term care insurance. For those who qualify, the value of Medicaid's nursing-home and related benefits is two-thirds that of a typical private long-term care policy.  Medicaid thereby reduces the marginal benefit of private insurance to just one third of the marginal cost. Consumers therefore choose, quite rationally, not to purchase private coverage.

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