Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Libertarian Links

Ozone standards: The EPA estimates these new standards could cost business anywhere from $20 billion to $90 billion annually.

How two different states are dealing with natural gas.

Chinese billionaires dying: According to China Daily, 15 were murdered, 17 committed suicide, seven died from accidents and 19 died from illness. Oh, yes, and 14 were executed. (Welcome to China.)

In an effort to rid the country of Monsanto’s GMO products, Hungary has stepped up the pace.

Prosocial human behavior.

Stossel, Tom Woods and Damon Root on public unions and FDR.

Scott Walker's reforms save school district?

WOW: The Bureau of Economic Analysis tells us that total government spending at all levels has risen to 37% of gross domestic product today from 27% in 1960—and is set to reach 50% by 2038. The Tax Foundation reports that between 1986 and 2008, the share of federal income taxes paid by the top 5% of earners has risen to 59% from 43% (see chart above). Between 1986 and 2009, the percentage of Americans who pay zero or negative federal income taxes has increased to 51% from 18.5% (see chart above). And all this is accompanied by an increase in our national debt to 100% of GDP today from 42% in 1980.

Khan Academy: Khan’s programmer, Ben Kamens, has heard from teachers who’ve seen Khan Academy presentations and loved the idea but wondered whether they could modify it “to stop students from becoming this advanced.”

Interview with the author of Islam Without Extremes.

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Saturday, July 23, 2011

Libertarian Links

So, for a family in high-cost California taxed at the top federal rate, the expiration of the Bush tax cuts in 2013, the 0.9% increase in payroll taxes to fund ObamaCare, and the president's proposal to eventually uncap Social Security payroll taxes would lift its combined marginal tax rate to a stunning 58.4%.

All of which is to say that these banks repaid cash owed to a program run by the Treasury Department by. . . .borrowing from another program run by the Treasury Department.

U.S. taxpayers likely lost $1.3 billion in the government bailout of Chrysler, the Treasury Department announced Thursday.

Michael Bailey, 20, from Glasgow, left the messages on the social networking site, in a group called "Neil Lennon should be banned" and on his own page. He was caught after a police task force began reviewing internet sites after March's so-called Old Firm shame game.

Mortgage industry employees are still signing documents they haven’t read and using fake signatures more than eight months after big banks and mortgage companies promised to stop the illegal practices that led to a nationwide halt of home foreclosures.

The government forces oil companies to use ethanol. And that mandate is growing. Next year, it will call for more ethanol than the industry produced this year.

Yale researchers bought Virginia residents gift subscriptions to either the Washington Times or the Washington Post. The ones who were randomly assigned to the more left-leaning Post voted for the Democratic gubernatorial candidate 3.8 percentage points more than those who were randomly assigned the more right-leaning Times.  [...]major U.S. newspapers are 20 to 40 percent more likely to report a negative headline if the administration is Republicans than if it is Democratic." [...]Research about the political leanings of the journalists themselves is another area to explore: "in a typical presidential election Washington correspondents vote about 93-7 for the Democrat."

The federal government fired 0.55% of its workers in the budget year that ended Sept. 30 — 11,668 employees in its 2.1 million workforce. Research shows that the private sector fires about 3% of workers annually for poor performance, 

Between 1841 and 1843 eight states and one territory defaulted on their obligations, and by the end of the decade four states and one territory had repudiated all or part of their debts. These debts are properly seen as sovereign debts both because the United States Constitution precludes suits against states to enforce the payment of debts, and because most of the state debts were held by residents of other states and other countries (primarily Britain).…

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Thursday, July 7, 2011

Libertarian Links

Public union tries to crush think tank.

Oregon Medicaid experiment: "In 2008, Oregon decided to enroll an additional 10,000 people in its Medicaid program via lottery. The nation’s top health economists pounced on the opportunity to compare medical consumption, health outcomes, and financial stress among “able-bodied uninsured adults below 100 percent of [the] poverty [line],” some of whom were randomly assigned to Medicaid and some of whom were not. The Oregon Health Insurance Experiment is particularly relevant because, starting in 2014, President Obama’s new health-care law will enroll another 16 to 20 million such people in Medicaid."

 Great article on D.C.'s free entry taxi cab market (vs. all the other cities that require medallions.)

The case of a man let off death row.

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Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Libertarian Links

Blaming China for global cooling.

How much did the Marshal Plan cost?: "Roughly $13bn was paid out in the European Recovery Program (the Marshall plan's official name) and this proved indispensable in laying the foundations for the "miracle" of sustained economic growth in the decade that followed. This $13bn amounted to some 5% of America's national income in 1948. (The equivalent sum for the EU today would be in excess of $800bn.) The US wrote off prewar French debts; everyone wrote down Berlin's a few years later, even though they had just struggled through a war started by the Germans."

Unemployment fraud: "In the 12 months through March, the overpayment rate was 11.6% — more than $1 for every $9 paid out, Labor Department figures show."

Wealthy colleges (charging you more).

The costs of disclosing political activity

10 years of drug decriminalization in Portugal (amazing): The number of addicts considered "problematic" -- those who repeatedly use "hard" drugs and intravenous users -- had fallen by half since the early 1990s, when the figure was estimated at around 100,000 people, Goulao said.

China vs. Taiwan
: "The Chinese people do not need communist rule to prosper. We can see that plainly enough 112 miles across the Taiwan Strait. Under the rule of the Nationalist Party, the 23 million people of Taiwan made the transition from military rule to a lively, multiparty democracy with freedom of speech, assembly, and religion. Behind liberal economic reforms dating back to the 1960s, the Taiwanese people have achieved a per capita gross domestic product (at purchasing power parity) that is four and a half times greater than on the mainland—$35,700 vs. $7,600."

The rest of this is a great article about the muni pension crisis, but this is what I found most useful: "Compensation, including wages and benefits, accounts for just 30 percent of state general-fund expenditures, the National Governors Association reports—which makes sense, since states also spend money on programs in which worker pay isn’t the main expense, such as Medicaid."

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