Wednesday, September 02, 2009


Expanding the power of the market in Syria.
  • In its "Daily Outrage" feature the Washington Examiner notes stimulus funding being used to buy 4 buses at $500,000 a pop that are then given to two private bus companies.
  • Georgetown professor John Hasnas describes what it feels like to be a libertarian -- basically it's not a lot of fun. When I was in college I listened to Hasnas give a fascinating lecture on the law from a libertarian perspective, and then we played pick-up soccer afterward. (HT: John Stossel)
  • The Wall Street Journal examines economic liberalization efforts in Syria.
  • The New York Times says that prospects for economic reform in Japan have dimmed after the recent election. Great article about Japan's economy.
  • Dennis Prager gives 5 reasons why big government results in less impressive people.


vince said...

Dennis prager's thing is stupid:

>>1. People who are able to take care of themselves and do so are generally better than people who are able to take care of themselves but rely on others.

WTF does that mean? So people in Sierra Leona are "better" than people in Denmark?

I'm "better" than someone on SSI or Medicaid?

I'm "better" than a military vet who was on active duty for 2 years and now has "free" health care?

What a dumb, unprovable statement.

>>2. The more people come to rely on government, the more they develop a sense of entitlement

like every f'ing major US corporation, agribusiness, and bank that lives off taxpayer funded subsidies? It's ok for the CEO of Conagra to "rely on government" but not a 70 year old diabetic?

Do i have a sense of entitlement because i rely on the government for roads, police, clean water, etc?

>>3. People develop disdain for work.

Last i checked, US is still one of the most productive countries - workers work harder than ever- and no health care reform is going to change that. Yet why are countries that are less productive more satisfied with their lives? And why are wages stagnant?

>>4. People become preoccupied with vacation time.

GOOD! Vacation rules. Most US workers get, at most 2 weeks a year. That's a crime, unless, of course, you want to do your own thing - then you can vacation all you want. Does Prager realize the value of vacation?

>>5. People are rendered more selfish.

Hmmm...20,000,000 Americans have no health insurance; many of them die because of it...yet Americans aren't selfish?

Lastly, Prager says, "Why care about, let alone risk dying for, another country's liberty?"

Oh was that you, Dennis, lining up at the Army recruitment station? Thanks buddy!

Colin said...

Frankly I find what Prager wrote to be terribly controversial. His basic message was that dependence on government promotes poor behavior, which strikes me as common sense.

Let's look at each argument:

1. Well, yes, people who take care of themselves tend to be better individuals than people who are capable of doing this but choose not to. Think about this: would you rather live a neighborhood filled with people dependent on welfare who are capable of working but choose not to, or a neighborhood of people with a similar socioeconomic background but who work? The answer is obvious.

2. You're basically making his point. I would be surprised if Prager favors corporations being dependent on government any more than individuals. It's bad for both.

And yes, we do have a sense of entitlement to police, good roads, etc. Do you not feel entitled to those things?

3. It's is demonstrable that people develop a disdain for work. When welfare was reformed we saw a surge in people entering the workforce.

4. Prager is on less firm ground here -- I love vacation -- but we should still focus on work. Without work and production we can't take vacations.

5. I think that Prager is making a great point here. If you make government the focus of social assistance then people increasingly feel they have done their jobs simply by paying taxes. It makes them disengaged from helping their fellow citizens. Simply look at charitable donation rates in Europe and the US, it isn't close.