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Posts Tagged ‘Wall Street Journal’
November 2nd, 2015 at 9:37 am
WSJ’s O’Grady: “Puerto Rico Doesn’t Need Bankruptcy”
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We at CFIF have steadfastly opposed the effort by some to upend American bankruptcy laws in order to allow Puerto Rico to declare bankruptcy.  “American taxpayers,” we believe, “should not be saddled with yet another bailout and force Americans saving for retirement to take a financial hit.”  Rather, “Congressional Republicans should guide Puerto Rico into doing the right thing:  trim spending and taxes, stand up to unions and undertake badly-needed governing reforms.”

We’re therefore happy to find in this morning’s Wall Street Journal that weekly “Americas” columnist Mary Anastasia O’Grady agrees:

[T]here is little evidence that Puerto Rico faces a humanitarian crisis any more than the heavily indebted states of California and Illinois.  And as to the deteriorating fiscal environment, it seems to be largely the work of Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla, who has been signaling markets that default is a policy goal.  As Carlos Colon de Armas, a professor of finance at the Graduate School of Business at the University of Puerto Rico, told me last week, ‘If, instead of doing everything it can do in order not to pay, the government of Puerto Rico were doing everything it could do in order to pay, things would be very different.'”

The answers to Puerto Rico’s situation, as is the case with fiscally irresponsible states like Illinois and even the federal government itself, lie with the tried-and-true concepts of fiscal responsibility, lower taxes, fewer regulations and respect for established rule of law and contractual expectations.

October 30th, 2015 at 10:06 am
CFIF in Wall Street Journal: Gov’t Shouldn’t Pick Winners in Music Creator/Digital Broadcaster Negotiations
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This morning, The Wall Street Journal kindly included CFIF’s take on the ongoing compensation rate negotiations between music creators and digital broadcasters.  Simply put, our position is that the federal government shouldn’t be in the business of favoring one side or the other.  In an optimal world, the free market would dictate rates and the federal government would play no role.  Because current law mandates that federal regulators at the Library of Congress determine the rate that music creators receive when digital broadcasters play their songs, however, it is critical that regulators remain neutral rather than unfairly favoring one side or the other:

We agree with Bartlett Cleland that free-market negotiation between music creators and Internet broadcasters, not federal regulators, should optimally determine broadcast compensation rates.  Until that time, however, we respectfully disagree that regulators should artificially favor the streaming services industry.  Digital broadcasters possess no inherently superior right to their business model than do musicians, but Mr. Cleland’s suggested course unjustifiably favors the former over the latter.  If anything, artists possess the superior claim, since without their creations digital radio wouldn’t have that product to offer consumers.  And if streaming services consider payment requirements excessive, then they can adjust what they charge advertisers or subscribers to sustain their model.

The federal government should not be in the business of playing favorites.

Timothy Lee

Center for Individual Freedom, Alexandria, Va.

May 10th, 2013 at 4:17 pm
Wolf Whets Appetite for Benghazi Bipartisanship

For many months now, the excellent U.S. Rep. Frank Wolf, R-VA, has been calling for the appointment of a special “select” committee to investigate all aspects of the 9/11 catastrophe in Benghazi, Libya. In the wake of this week’s explosive hearings, Wolf renewed his call today in a letter to Speaker John Boehner. His argument always had made sense: “A thorough inquiry will require witnesses from across government – including the Defense Department, State Department, Intelligence Community, Justice Department and even the White House.  Only a Select Committee would be able to bring the cross-jurisdictional expertise and subpoena authority to compel answers from these agencies.” Also: “It’s worth restating that the committee would be bipartisan, thereby putting an end to misguided criticism from some that this investigation is only being done for political reasons.”

Wolf’s arguments always have made sense. It’s not that Chairman Darrel Issa’s committee has been doing a bad job — far from it — but it is just a reality that the media has treated Issa’s inquiry as being partisan, and also that a select committee would have the advantages of sole focus and of cross-jurisdictional authority.

Today, the Wall Street Journal endorsed the idea, and it closed with a particularly strong argument:

“Mr. Boehner said on Thursday that the administration should release its email communications on Benghazi, but it won’t do so unless they are subpoenaed. Frank Wolf, one of the House’s most senior members, has it right. Benghazi’s explanation deserves the best effort elected officials can give it, and the right vehicle is a Select Committee with subpoena power and deposition authority.”

Those emails, by the way, are almost certainly the key. Boehner has been right to focus on them. As Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky said in the past 24 hours, what really is important is not just whether there was a cover-up, but what was being covered up. What more can we learn about the State Department refusing multiple requests for added security in the months before the assault, and was the White House involved in those decisions. And, with what is more likely to have White House involvement, what about the now-confirmed story that rescuers were ready to at least try to fly to Benghazi, but were told to stand down? Who told them to stand down, and why? And where was Obama during all of this? Sleeping? Planning his fund-raising remarks for his trip to Las Vegas?

Anyway, a select committee can best look into all of this. As usual, Frank Wolf is right.

October 25th, 2012 at 6:32 pm
Income Inequality: It’s Easy to be Poor When We Don’t Count the Safety Net
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The American Enterprise Institute’s Kevin Hassett and Aparna Mathur have an important (and devastating) piece in today’s Wall Street Journal breaking down the misleading facets of the left’s argument that the U.S. is currently suffering through a crisis of economic inequality. Here’s a particularly eye-opening excerpt:

In the first place, studies that measure income inequality largely focus on pretax incomes while ignoring the transfer payments and spending from unemployment insurance, food stamps, Medicaid and other safety-net programs. Politicians who rest their demands for more redistribution on studies of income inequality but leave out the existing safety net are putting their thumb on the scale.

Second and more important, it is well known that people’s earnings in general rise over their working lifetime. And so, for example, a person who decides to invest more in education may experience a lengthy period of low income while studying, followed by significantly higher income later on. Snapshot measures of income inequality can be misleading.

Thomas Sowell frequently makes a point complimentary to Hassett and Mathur’s second observation above: that measuring income inequality over time tends to be deeply misleading because membership in any given income bracket is highly fluid, with people’s income often shifting dramatically over time. Thus, someone who’s in the bottom quintile of income in today’s measurements may be in the second quintile from the top in 15 years’ time. But we tend to analyze these groups as if their composition is static.

Hassett and Mathur’s first point, however, is the one that always bowls me over. If the point of a safety net is to remove people from the perils of indigence, yet the government refuses to factor those provisions into measurements of income, we end up with a perpetually imperiled underclass that only exists on paper. As Mark Twain said (supposedly quoting Disraeli), there are three kinds of lies: “Lies, damned lies, and statistics.”

June 1st, 2012 at 11:27 am
Another Blast at Holder the Racialist and Spreader of Lies

From the Wall Street Journal today:

Mr. Holder’s racial incitement strategy. If Mr. Obama is going to win those swing states again, he needs another burst of minority turnout. If hope won’t get them to vote for Mr. Obama again, then how about fear?…. The courts will eventually expose much of this as meritless, but it’s a shame the media won’t call Mr. Holder on this strategy before the election. Imagine the uproar if a Republican AG pursued a similar strategy. It’s worse than a shame that America’s first black Attorney General is using his considerable power to inflame racial antagonism.

May 30th, 2012 at 1:08 pm
Greek Liberals’ Economic Recovery Plan: Lie to the Rest of Europe
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It’s almost hackneyed at this point to evoke Greece as a warning sign to the rest of the Western World; as a promise of what’s in store should the artificial decadence of the welfare state completely strangle individual initiative in developed nations. Yet there’s a reason that California on the Aegean is always the cautionary tale of choice: when it comes to outright political absurdity, the birthplace of democracy is constantly outdoing itself. The most recent example — which has to be read to believed — comes courtesy of James Angelos reporting in the Wall Street Journal:

Greece’s radical left party has upended the country’s politics with an idea as simple as it is seductive: Athens can renege on the deals it made in exchange for a bailout, and still remain in the euro.

Greece’s future, and possibly that of Europe’s monetary union, may depend on how many Greeks buy into the idea.

The Coalition of the Radical Left, known as Syriza, is competing with Greece’s conservative New Democracy to become the biggest party in Parliament in June 17 elections that could send further shock waves through Europe …

Syriza leader Alexis Tsipras, a 37-year-old former Communist youth activist, promises that despite its dire financial straits, Greece can halt austerity programs, restore social spending and nevertheless continue to receive the payments from the euro zone and the International Monetary Fund that keep it from bankruptcy.

The repeated warnings to the contrary from Europe and the IMF are simply efforts to blackmail Greece into doing what they want it to do, Mr. Tsipras says.

A few facts about Greece to consider in light of Mr. Tsipras’s demagoguery. This is a nation where public employees have no compunction about taking monthly paychecks 14 times a year (yes, you read that right: 14) and where tax evasion is so widespread that it’s estimated that 30 percent of the national economy is in the black market. And now the proposed solution from one of the nation’s two major political parties is to welch on a deal with the rest of the continent?

Greece is experiencing an economic crisis, to be certain. But it looks increasingly like that is only a symptom of a deeper moral crisis.

March 12th, 2012 at 1:15 pm
California Willfully Rejects Prosperity
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Over the weekend, the Wall Street Journal‘s Stephen Moore had an instructive and inspiring piece on the economic boom occurring in North Dakota as a result of the Peace Garden State’s (yes, that’s their actual nickname) aggressive development of oil resources.  More depressing, however (especially for this Golden State resident), was the contrast Moore drew with California:

In 1995, the U.S. Geological Survey estimated 150 million “technically recoverable barrels of oil” from the Bakken Shale [in North Dakota]. In April 2008 that number was up to about four billion barrels, and in 2010 geologists at Continental Resources (the major drilling operation in North Dakota) put it at eight billion. This week, given the discovery of a lower shelf of oil, they announced 24 billion barrels. Current technology allows for the extraction of only about 6% of the oil trapped one to two miles beneath the earth’s surface, so as the technology advances recoverable oil could eventually exceed 500 billion barrels.

Now contrast this bonanza with what’s going on in another energy-rich state: California. While North Dakota’s oil production has tripled since 2007 (to more than 150 million barrels in 2011), the Golden State’s oil production has fallen by a third in the past 20 years, to 201 million barrels last year from 320 million in 1990. The problem isn’t that California is running out of oil: In 2008, when the USGS estimated four billion barrels of recoverable oil from the Bakken, it estimated closer to 15 billion barrels in California’s vast Monterey Shale.

As Moore elaborates later (and as I’ve written at length both here and elsewhere), California’s failures are the byproduct of a governing class that regards traditional (read: viable) energy sources with suspicion at best and contempt at worst, prohibiting many efforts at energy exploration, setting renewable energy mandates, and enacting a statewide version of cap and trade.

One statistical contrast tells the whole story. The resources in California’s Monterey Shale are nearly four times as great as those in North Dakota’s Bakken. Meanwhile, California’s 10.9 percent unemployment rate is more than three times as high as North Dakota’s 3.3 percent rate. This is not fate. This is the result of choices made by California’s policymakers. The state’s voters should judge them accordingly.

December 21st, 2011 at 6:07 pm
I’m With Boehner

Am I the only one in the non-congressional conservative universe who thinks John Boehner and the House are doing the right thing and should stand firm, with regard to the payroll tax cut holiday? The Wall Street Journal, Karl Rove, and all sorts of other worthies are all saying that Republicans have totally lost the politics on this issue and that they should acquiesce to the Democrats’ two-month extension.

I say their prescriptions are wrong, and that Boehner and company should stick to their guns. First of all, there are times when principle should be more important than politics. In this case, somebody needs to act the role of the adult and insist that doing what is technically a complete recipe for disaster is just a total non-starter. There are ways to turn the politics around. Boehner could call a prime-time press conference and say aloud that he KNOWS everybody says this is a political loser, but that he MUST do what’s right, specifically because of the procedural problems for small businesses in implementing a mere two-month tax cut AND because he, unlike the Dems, thinks that the tax cut should be for a full year. AND, for that matter, that it ought to be fully paid for. Furthermore, he could add, he could pledge right now that if the Democrats — the Dems, the Dems, the Dems, not the Republicans — fail to extend the tax cut, then Republicans pledge to make it up to voters when the Dems finally come to their senses. In other words, he can say that the tax cut, whenever it is finally passed, will be made retroactive to cover any time lost due to the Dems’ rank political gamesmanship. It is far easier for the government to retroactively provide a tax cut of this sort (it has been done a number of times in recent years) than it is for millions upon millions of small businesses to set up a payroll-withholding system for just two months, which is what the Democrats propose.

(As for me, I think this is the stupidest tax cut in my adult lifetime — and I’m a 33-year Reagan-Kemp-Laffer supply-side tax cutter — and I think it would be better to work for permanent tax relief on another front rather than temporary relief that drains Social Security. But if there IS to be this tax cut, which seems politically to be almost mandatory now, then it is absolutely idiotic to do it the way the Democrats have done it. Mitch McConnell and the Senate GOP REALLY REALLY screwed up by agreeing to this monstrosity. It is they, not Boehner and company, who screwed up both the policy AND the politics on this.)

The reality is that the Republican position of a year-long tax cut should be a political winner over the Dems’ two-month cut. There are ways to turn around the politics. They are ways that must be attempted, because the two-month cut is flat-out irresponsible. The Wall Street Journal, of all outfits, should understand this and point this out, rather than blasting the House GOP for a political problem definitely not of their own making. Responsible people should applaud rare acts of political courage for the purpose of responsible law-making. Boehner and company deserve praise and support, not sniping.

August 18th, 2011 at 10:54 am
Perry: VERY Wrong Words, Very Right Substance

I wish to associate myself with just about every word of today’s Wall Street Journal editorial on Rick Perry’s comments on the Fed.  It tracks what I have been writing here for some time. As the WSJ wrote, “[N]ow, even as the recovery is supposedly underway, their meager salary increases are being washed away with another burst of commodity inflation caused by near-zero interest rates and quantitative easing. This is what happens when politicians and central bankers try to use monetary policy to compensate for the slow growth caused by bad fiscal and regulatory policies.”

About the only thing I would take issue with is that I think the WSJ went too far to excuse Perry’s outrageous language about Bernanke being “treacherous, or treasonous.” Not only was it way out of line in substance, but it actually detracted from his message by making his central point, which was so worthwhile, seem part and parcel of extremist political rhetoric and thus much more easily dismissable rather than taken seriously. Shame on Perry for such language. The WSJ should have done far more to condemn it.

That said, again, the WSJ is right to have gone beyond Perry’s unfortunate language to the real import of his remarks. By all accounts, Bernanke is a good man. But I think his policy judgments have been disastrous. Perry is right to say so, and I applaud his stance even as I denounce the way he chose to say it.

August 15th, 2011 at 5:05 pm
Wall Street Journal Urges More Republicans into the Presidential Race
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After months in which the shape of the Republican presidential campaign has been amorphous, the events of the past weekend have, at long last, given the GOP contest some definition. Rick Perry is in, Tim Pawlenty is out, and Michele Bachmann is walking away victorious from the Ames Straw Poll. And now, conventional wisdom is beginning to congeal around the notion that the final showdown will be a three-way race between Perry, Bachmann, and Mitt Romney.

That conventional wisdom, however, isn’t good enough for the editorial board of the Wall Street Journal, as authoritative a voice as there is in the print wing of the conservative movement. In a staff editorial today analyzing the prospects of the candidates in the race, the Journal’s ed board weighs the candidates in the balance and finds them wanting. It wraps up on this brusque note:

Republicans and independents are desperate to find a candidate who can appeal across the party’s disparate factions and offer a vision of how to constrain a runaway government and revive America’s once-great private economy. If the current field isn’t up to that, perhaps someone still off the field will step in and run. Now would be the time.

There are still some major Republicans flirting with– or being courted for — a race for the White House. Sarah Palin and Rudy Giuliani fall into the former category, while Paul Ryan and Chris Christie are the two names most frequently cited for the latter. Will any of them get in? Those prospects probably defend on the performance of Perry, who has the chance to close down the field by filling the conservative vacuum or blow it open by becoming the second coming of Fred Thompson. To paraphrase a dictum familiar in Perry’s home state, the eyes of the party are upon him.

April 18th, 2011 at 8:32 pm
Government Imposes Tax on … Paying Taxes?
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You probably don’t need any more sources of gloom on this tax day. But what you do need is an understanding of just how destructive America’s current tax regime is. And for that you couldn’t do much better than the words of conservative economist extraordinaire Arthur Laffer, who writes in today’s Wall Street Journal:

There is a lot more to taxes than simply paying the bill. Taxpayers must spend significantly more than $1 in order to provide $1 of income-tax revenue to the federal government.

To start with, individuals and businesses must pay the government the $1 in revenue plus the costs of their own time spent filing and complying with the tax code; plus the tax collection costs of the IRS; plus the tax compliance outlays that individuals and businesses pay to help them file their taxes.

In a study published last week by the Laffer Center, my colleagues Wayne Winegarden, John Childs and I estimate that these costs alone are a staggering $431 billion annually. This is a cost markup of 30 cents on every dollar paid in taxes.

For those of you keeping score at home, that’s the equivalent of a 30% tax on … well, paying taxes.

March 15th, 2011 at 1:24 pm
Fed Board Member Gets Lesson in Real World Economics

In just a few hundred words a Wall Street Journal editorial writer summarizes how out-of-touch supposed ‘experts’ can be when it comes to how policies affect everyday Americans.  The object lesson comes courtesy of New York Fed President William Dudley’s failed attempt to convince citizens in Queens that the economy is doing much better than they think.

The former Goldman Sachs chief economist gave a speech explaining the economy’s progress and the Fed’s successes, but come question time the main thing the crowd wanted to know was why they’re paying so much more for food and gas. Keep in mind the Fed doesn’t think food and gas prices matter to its policy calculations because they aren’t part of “core” inflation.

So Mr. Dudley tried to explain that other prices are falling. “Today you can buy an iPad 2 that costs the same as an iPad 1 that is twice as powerful,” he said. “You have to look at the prices of all things.”

Reuters reports that this “prompted guffaws and widespread murmuring from the audience,” with someone quipping, “I can’t eat an iPad.” Another attendee asked, “When was the last time, sir, that you went grocery shopping?”

Mr. Dudley has been one of the leading proponents of negative real interest rates and quantitative easing, so this common-man razzing is a case of rough justice. If Mr. Dudley were wise, he’d take it to heart and understand that Americans aren’t buying the Fed’s line that rising commodity prices are no big deal. Unlike banks and hedge funds, they can’t borrow at near-zero interest rates, and most of them don’t have big stock portfolios. Wall Street and Congress may love the Fed’s free-money policy, but Mr. Dudley and Chairman Ben Bernanke ought to worry about losing the confidence of the middle class.

Ronald Reagan destroyed confidence in Jimmy Carter with one simple question: “Are you better off now than you were four years ago?”  Any Republican presidential hopeful that can channel the frustration in Queens into a similarly concise indictment of President Barack Obama will be well positioned to oust yet another bumbling Democratic incumbent.

January 31st, 2011 at 12:01 pm
Feisty Start to 2012 Race: Newt Picks Fight with Wall Street Journal
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Newt versus The Wall Street Journal editorial board – the unofficial 2012 Republican campaign is off to a very lively start.

On January 22, the Journal ran a commentary entitled “Amber Waves of Ethanol” in which it criticized federal ethanol subsidies.  It noted that, “Four of every 10 rows of corn now go to produce fuel for American cars or trucks, not food or feed,” which does nothing to improve the environment or our reliance on foreign oil, but wastes billions in taxpayer dollars and drives food price inflation.  Likely 2012 candidate Newt Gingrich responded in Iowa last Tuesday, repeatedly referring to himself “as an historian” and accusing the Journal as part of a sinister cabal, saying, “Obviously big urban newspapers want to kill it because it’s working, and you wonder, ‘What are their values?'”

This morning, the Journal responds in its lead commentary entitled “Professor Cornpone.” This dispute, it says, symbolizes the larger fight “between the House Republicans now trying to rationalize the federal fisc and the kind of corporate welfare that President Obama advanced in his State of the Union”:

Given that Mr. Gingrich aspires to be President, his ethanol lobbying raises larger questions about his convictions and judgment.  The Georgian has been campaigning in the Tea Party age as a fierce critic of spending and government, but his record on that score is, well, mixed…  Now Republicans have another chance to reform government, and a limited window of opportunity in which to do it…  So along comes Mr. Gingrich to offer his support for Mr. Obama’s brand of green-energy welfare, undermining House Republicans in the process.”

Regardless of one’s views toward Mr. Gingrich as a potential candidate, the fact that the race is already lively with substantive policy debate is a healthy sign.

January 16th, 2010 at 8:26 pm
Glenn Beck in WSJ

In today’s WSJ, Glenn Beck is profiled for the benefit of those who are not among the 30 million he already reaches. Mr. Beck’s previous exposure in the MSM has been largely limited to hit-pieces in newsweeklies, but this WSJ article is yet another step on his path towards mainstream respectability.

December 4th, 2009 at 12:57 pm
When Butter > Guns, a Nation = Toast

The Wall Street Journal offers some penetrating analysis on the inevitably inverse relationship between government financing of “guns” and “butter.”  When tax receipts dwindle, appropriators often choose between funding social welfare programs (butter) and national defense (guns).  Unsurprisingly, the European welfare state provides a cautionary example.

The overlooked culprit here is the rise of the modern welfare state. Since World War II and especially from the 1960s, Europe has built elaborate domestic income-maintenance programs, with government-run health care, pensions and jobless benefits. These are hugely expensive, requiring high taxes and government spending that is a huge proportion of GDP.

The Europeans’ obsession with income stabilization through higher taxes means there is less economic growth and less money to spend.  These continental priorities mirror the massive increases in social spending enacted or proposed under President Obama – economic stimulus, health care “reform,” cap-and-trade and job creation. 

As the U.S. federal deficit balloons, politicians and bureaucrats will look for ways to balance the books.  And given the current Administration’s and Congress’  love affair with “butter,” unfortunately, they’ll likely look to slash spending on national defense while our nation is at war.

November 21st, 2009 at 1:11 pm
Real Health Care Reform

Today’s Wall Street Journal profiles Dr. Devi Shetty, an Indian heart surgeon finding a way to deliver quality health care at lower prices.

Dr. Shetty, who entered the limelight in the early 1990s as Mother Teresa’s cardiac surgeon, offers cutting-edge medical care in India at a fraction of what it costs elsewhere in the world. His flagship heart hospital charges $2,000, on average, for open-heart surgery, compared with hospitals in the U.S. that are paid between $20,000 and $100,000, depending on the complexity of the surgery.

The approach has transformed health care in India through a simple premise that works in other industries: economies of scale. By driving huge volumes, even of procedures as sophisticated, delicate and dangerous as heart surgery, Dr. Shetty has managed to drive down the cost of health care in his nation of one billion.

Using economies of scale also allows doctors working at Shetty’s hospital to specialize in specific types of heart ailments by conducting the procedure hundreds, if not thousands, of times. This kind of repetition reduces the risk of something going wrong during surgery, thus leading to better patient outcomes.

When discussing how to reduce costs while maintaining quality, Shetty offers an insight that stands in stark contrast to the “comprehensive” reform of health care currently being pursued by the Democratic Party in America. “What health care needs is process innovation, not product innovation.” Perhaps the best line in the whole article is Shetty’s observation about implementing real, lasting changes that will bend the health care cost curve down. “In health care you can’t do one big thing and reduce the price. We have to do 1,000 small things.” That’s the view helping thousands of poor farmers and their children get better heart health at prices they can afford.

You can read the entire article here.

November 16th, 2009 at 3:24 pm
Pain Panels, Anyone?

Okay, so maybe the cost-control bureaucrats under ObamaCare wouldn’t directly kill people forced into a national health plan. However, a sobering article in today’s Wall Street Journal shows how a key element of every health reform bill now in Congress could cause death(s) by a thousand denials.

As envisioned by the Senate Finance Committee, the commission—all 15 members appointed by the President—would have to meet certain budget targets each year. Starting in 2015, Medicare could not grow more rapidly on a per capita basis than by a measure of inflation. After 2019, it could only grow at the same rate as GDP, plus one percentage point.

The theory is to let technocrats set Medicare payments free from political pressure, as with the military base closing commissions. But that process presented recommendations to Congress for an up-or-down vote. Here, the commission’s decisions would go into effect automatically if Congress couldn’t agree within six months on different cuts that met the same target. The board’s decisions would not be subject to ordinary notice-and-comment rule-making, or even judicial review.”

So, absent a congressional override, there is no appeal for a denial of care made in the name of cost-benefit analysis. Of course, the “costs” and “benefits” will be considered as collective values interpreted by government administrators – not individual patients and taxpayers.

The State of Washington already has a similarly functioning “independent commission” that is actively denying care like the types mentioned above. While the consequences could be deadly, the creation of prolonged pain in the interim borders on unconscionable. Such decisions will become a reality when the public “option” becomes a public “mandate” forcing all but the wealthiest to suffer under a rationed health care system. Let’s hope there is enough push-back from Congress and the country to guarantee similar types of “pain panels” don’t take up residence in the nation’s capitol.

November 6th, 2009 at 5:57 pm
When Creating Jobs, Look at Company’s Age, Not Its Size

There’s a fascinating article in today’s Wall Street Journal discussing the best way for government to help spur job creation.

Unfortunately, in troubled economic times the language of recovery is too often tilted toward large, established companies or to “small businesses,” a broad term that traditionally applies to businesses with fewer than 500 employees. The conventional wisdom is that such businesses account for half of the labor force and are therefore the engine of future job creation.

That’s not quite the case. The more precise factor is not the size of businesses, but rather their age. According to the Census Bureau, nearly all net job creation in the U.S. since 1980 occurred in firms less than five years old. A Kauffman Foundation report released yesterday shows that as recently as 2007, two-thirds of the jobs created were in such firms. Put more starkly, without new businesses, job creation in the American economy would have been negative for many years.”

The article by three experts at the Kauffman Foundation targets four measures needed to “create incentives to foster the creation and growth of new businesses.”

• First, welcome immigrants seeking scientific training at American universities by creating a “job creator’s” visa for immigrants who have founded a company in America and demonstrated they have at least one employee.

• Second, unleash America’s academic entrepreneurs by allowing university professors to commercialize ideas outside of their home university’s technology licensing office.

• Third, provide easier access to capital so that more flexible standards would allow prudent lending, when it is sorely needed by many firms to remain alive or meet demand when it begins to grow.

• Finally, make it easier for companies seeking capital to go public by allowing shareholders benefited by Sarbanes-Oxley to vote on whether or not they want to comply with all of the law’s (costly) requirements.

You can read the entire article here.

November 2nd, 2009 at 11:51 am
While You Were Distracted…

For those worrying about the lack of legislative action in our nation’s capitol, Jonathan Weisman at the Wall Street Journal writes a nice summary of the “other” legislation racing through Congress and landing on President Obama’s desk.

Last week, Mr. Obama signed defense-policy legislation that included an unrelated measure widening federal hate-crimes laws to cover sexual orientation and gender identification — 12 years after it was first introduced. The same legislation also tightened the rules of admissible evidence for military commissions, an issue that consumed Congress in debate in 2007 but received almost no attention this go-round.

Other new measures signed into law since the administration took office, all of which kicked up controversy in past congresses, make it easier for women to sue for equal pay, set aside land in the West from development, give the government the power to regulate tobacco and raise tobacco taxes to expand health insurance for children. Congress and the White House, in the new defense-policy bill, also killed weapons programs that have survived earlier attempts at termination, among them, the F-22 fighter jet, the VH-71 presidential helicopter and the Army’s Future Combat System.

Rob Nabors, the White House’s deputy budget director, called the series of new laws “a very, very quiet but important victory.”

But it’s not like the Republican opposition is asleep at the wheel. According to Rep. Tom Price (R. Ga.), “The administration is pushing so many things so rapidly it’s difficult to concentrate on all of them.” Hopefully, the bills they are concentrating on – health care, energy, education – can be stopped or modified before they too become unqualified Democratic victories.