Monday, May 03, 2004


Marginal Revolution discusses (Nobel prize winning economist) Gary Becker's plan to cut drug prices by cutting FDA red tape: "...a return to a safety standard alone would lower costs and raise the number of therapeutic compounds available. In particular, this would include more drugs from small biotech firms that do not have the deep pockets to invest in extended efficacy trials. And the resulting increase in competition would mean lower prices - without the bureaucratic burden of price controls..."

Is the EU a tax cartel? "Germany yesterday threw cold water on the festive mood ahead of this week's European Union enlargement by telling its eastern neighbours that low corporate tax rates used to attract foreign investment were unacceptable"

In Argentina privatization of the water supply led to a drop in child mortality of 5-7 percent, with reductions of 24% in the poorest areas

The Stossel "problem": "According to some leading journalists and consumer activists, ABC's news division suffers from a major problem: John Stossel. He used to be such a good consumer reporter, years ago, worthy of his numerous Emmies. But now he thinks that markets protect consumers better than governments do, and he's skeptical of all sorts of beliefs that we all just know are right. ... The real Stossel problem is that he's so alone..."

The private sector in Australia has been using new technology (mobile phones and trunk radio) to provide a better service to taxicab users. So the government wants to ban it: "Groups of entrepreneurial cabbies have created a thriving business providing luxurious, limo-class service at cab prices. The passengers are thrilled and the drivers are getting ahead in an ingenious example of how the market can outwit the leaden bureaucracies of big government regulation. But last week, the Transport Minister, Michael Costa, spoiled it all. As part of his "reform" of the taxi industry, Costa announced a ban on "private network" cab drivers who use mobile phones to service private clients, threatening fines ranging from $1100 to a staggering $110,000"

South Africa today. "South Africa now has a high rate of taxation, restrictive labor laws, is Africa's largest welfare state and has Africa's largest, most politically well-connected and politically influential labor union movement... At the present day, an estimated 42% or 8-million employable non-white South Africans are unemployed. The unemployment among this segment of the population is higher today than at any time during the apartheid era... South Africa's long term economic future appears bleak due to the policies that the nation's government has already enacted. The disarming of the civilian population has left it at the mercy of armed criminals."



On Saturday I linked without comment to an article about gun control that referred to work by John Lott. John Lott has of course been much criticized by Leftists because he could not produce the original data behind one of the surveys he quoted --- a fact originally brought to light by a libertarian blogger. Lott says he lost the data in a computer disk crash. As I have myself lost stuff that way despite being generally very careful about backups, I sympathize with such problems. Conservatives are divided over Lott's claim but I note that The person who knew Lott's work best at that time has testified in Lott's favour and that even the Leftist Mother Jones says that the particular survey concerned "isn't central to the argument".

There is a recent scholarly paper by G.A. Mauser here (PDF) surveying the results of gun control in Britain, Canada and Australia which describes Australia's gun-buyback scheme and associated bans as a "failed experiment". The article concludes: "In all cases, disarming the public has been ineffective, expensive and often counterproductive".

Nader: A man of principle? "Despite the millions of dollars he commands, he historically paid his professional staff less than minimum wage... When I worked for Ralph Nader in 1980-81, he paid us $8,000 a year, hardly enough to get by on even then. We could scarcely afford the time to spend money, though, because Nader expected staff to work around the clock.... Though Nader claims he wants to fight discrimination, he and his staff asked me my age, religion, sleeping habits, family tree, medical history and a lot of other highly personal questions in violation of District of Columbia's employment law".

More glories of socialized medicine: Canadian healthcare workers are on strike because their government wants to cut their annual leave from 9 weeks to a "measly" eight weeks! The poor darlings!

Crystal ball experts: "The United States said Monday it would not force the issue of placing armed sky marshals on trans-Atlantic planes if European countries reject such anti-terrorist precautions.... Portugal, Sweden and Denmark have signaled they prefer canceling flights to deploying armed guards on planes if there is a strong suspicion of an attack."

Hooray! "A Southern California college professor who received wide media attention when she claimed that racists had vandalized and defaced her car with ethnic slurs was charged on Monday with filing a false police report and insurance fraud.

For more postings, see GREENIE WATCH and POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH. Mirror sites here and here


The Left have always wanted more spent on welfare and made "Fascism" a swear-word. President Bush deposed a brutal Fascist dictator and sponsored a big expansion of welfare. But instead of being admired by the Left, he is hated with a passion. What does that tell you about the Left? It tells you that they have no principles at all: That everything they have ever claimed to stand for is fake.

All politicians seek power but conservatives bring with them a genuine concern for the welfare of their country. Leftists bring only their hate-filled Stalinist hearts and their pretend compassion

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