Archive for the ‘USA’ Category

Thomas Sowell, senior fellow of the Hoover Institution, argues that the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) is just an old program:

An Old ‘New’ Program

What is older than the idea that some exalted elite know what is good for us better than we know ourselves?

Insurance is an institution for dealing with risks. It is a costly and counterproductive way to pay for things that are not risks […] Your annual checkup does not cost any less because it is covered by insurance.

Sowell also points out that Obamacare was initially supported by the idea to help the minority of people lacking health insurance. But instead of directly helping those people, the new health care policy now affects everyone.

Since there has never been a society of human beings without at least some segment with some problem, this is a formula for a never-ending expansion of government power.

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In the Washington Times, Senator Rand Paul suggests a new constitutional amendment:

A Long-Needed Constitutional Amendment

Congress shall make no law applicable to a citizen of the United States that is not equally applicable to Congress. This amendment also contains two provisions that apply that same principle to the executive branch and judicial branch of the federal government.

Moreover he refers to his so-called “Read the Bills” resolution

that would forbid voting on legislation until each bill is posted online and the Senate has been in session for at least one day for each 20 pages.

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For the Reason magazine, John Stossel argues that Americans are focused too much on negative news:

Longing to be a Victim

America was founded by people who were the opposite of victims, by people with grit. Overcoming obstacles is the route to prosperity — and happiness, too.

Whether people have real physical ailments or just see the economic deck stacked against them, the most damaging thing say to them is: Give up. You can’t make it on your own. Wait for help.

America is full of success stories. But if we obsess over stories about victimhood, that is what we’ll get.

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shutdown theater

Found a great comment by John Stossel on the current U.S. government shutdown:

Shutdown Theater

Government wants you to play a role in the ‘shutdown’ of the federal government. Your role is to panic.

If the public starts noticing that life goes on as usual without all 3.4 million federal workers, we might get dangerous ideas, like doing without so much government. Politicians don’t want that.

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balance the budget

The U.S. faces yet another stalemate because the government ran out of money. Back in 2011, I wrote a comment (link) on this and it turns out things have not changed much after all. Only the numbers may need an update:

With all the fuss about the U.S. debt problem, here’s one proposal: Go back to the spending level of 2009. That year was not austerity. Not by a mile. But going back to that spending level, the budget for 2014 would be balanced instantly.

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gates

Recently, Bill Gates went to Harvard for an interesting Q&A:

History always kind of oversimplifies. There were people who did things that completely failed but were very suggestive of the right answer.

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find syria

It is a well-known ploy but still telling: John Stossel asks people at Times Square to point at Syria on a blank map (today 9PM ET). Apparently, many have no clue. Do you?

Find Syria

Find Syria

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three branches

An interesting answer:

by Eagle Rising

(c) by Eagle Rising

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In a recent comment by Mark J. Perry, professor of economics at Michigan, the argument has been made that the decline in the middle class is the result of a positive trend: many middle-class families of the 1960s have risen into the upper class.

Over the same time period, however, the share of families with $25’000 and less has decreased only from 22 to about 18 percent.

Yes, the middle class has been disappearing

America’s “middle class” did start largely disappearing in the 1970s, but it was because they were moving up to a higher-income category, not down into a lower-income category.

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Words are probably the most important tools that politicians can use. Indeed, rhetoric is far more important in becoming a ‘successful’ politician than actual knowledge. More than a year ago, I found this wonderful sentence that ‘style often outweighs substance’ in political debates. It is basically a summary of decades of failed political crusades.

Thomas Sowell has followed and commentated on these crusades. He describes the sharp difference between words and realities in one of his articles on blacks and the housing market:

Misleading Words

It was one of the most valuable lessons, that words do not necessarily reflect reality.

Now the statistics tell us, belatedly, that blacks lost out, big time, from this “favor” done for them by politicians.

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