You are browsing the archive for 2014 January 10.

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January 13th: Patients, Caregivers and Healthcare Providers Travel to Albany to Urge Cuomo and Senate to Pass Comprehensive Medical Marijuana Legislation to Effectively Relieve Patient Suffering

January 10, 2014 in PERSONAL LIBERTY

By drosenfeld

NY Patients, Families and Medical Experts: We Do Not Need “Feasibility Research Pilot Program,” We Need Comprehensive System

Albany – On Monday, January 13th, dozens of patients, families, caregivers and healthcare providers will gather in Albany for a press conference and lobby day to call upon Governor Andrew Cuomo and the State Senate to pass the Compassionate Care Act — A.6357-A (Gottfried) / S.4406-A (Savino) . The patients are living with cancer, multiple sclerosis, severe seizure disorders, and other serious, debilitating medical conditions, and the families include parents of children who suffer from severe forms of epilepsy, such as Dravet’s syndrome.

January 10, 2014

Drug Policy Alliance

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Source: DRUG POLICY

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Tactics in War on Poverty Have Failed Massachusetts and America

January 10, 2014 in Economics

By Michael D. Tanner

Michael D. Tanner

Fifty years ago, President Lyndon Johnson declared “war on poverty in America.” Poverty is winning.

At the time of Johnson’s speech, the poverty rate in New England (the federal government did not yet report this data on a state-by-state basis) was just under nine percent. That was about half the national average of 19 percent.

How could we have spent so much and achieved so little?”

Since then, federal, state, and local governments have spent more than $16 trillion fighting poverty. In 2012 alone, the federal government spent $668 billion to fund 126 separate anti-poverty programs. State and local governments kicked in another $284 billion, bringing total anti-poverty spending to nearly $1 trillion.

That amounts to $20,610 for every poor person in America, or $61,830 per poor family of three.

Yet today, 15 percent of Americans still live in poverty, with 22 percent of children still stuck there too (barely a point less than 1964). In Massachusetts, the poverty rate is 13.6 percent, suggesting that it has actually increased since the War on Poverty began!

How could we have spent so much and achieved so little?

The entire concept behind how we fight poverty is wrong.

The vast majority of current programs are focused on making poverty more comfortable — giving poor people more food, better shelter, health care, etc. — rather than giving people the tools that will help them escape poverty. As a result, we have been successful in reducing the worst privations of poverty.

But our goal should not be a society where people struggle along in poverty, dependent on government for just enough to survive, but rather a society where as few as possible live in poverty, and where every American can reach his or her full potential.

It would make sense therefore to shift our anti-poverty efforts to efforts to create the conditions and incentives that will make it easier for people to escape poverty.

What would such a policy look like? We actually have a pretty solid idea how to get out of and/or stay out of poverty: (1) finish school; (2) do not get pregnant outside marriage; and (3) get a job, any job, and stick with it.

An effective War on Poverty would reform our failed government school system to encourage competition and choice. High school dropouts are roughly three and a half times more likely to end up in poverty than those who complete at …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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Obamacare Proponents Have Done Long-lasting Damage to the Constitutional Order

January 10, 2014 in Economics

In the new issue of Regulation, Christina Sandefur and Timothy Sandefur argue that, in the pursuit of their goals, the Obama administration and its congressional allies have done long-lasting damage to a constitutional order that was meant to preserve individual liberty by cabining government power along clear, predictable, and democratically accountable lines. Also in this issue, Eric A. Posner and E. Glen Weyl make the case for using cost-benefit analysis for financial regulations.

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Source: CATO HEADLINES

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God’s Gold: The Story of Rockefeller and His Times

January 10, 2014 in Economics

By Mises Updates

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New ebook in the Mises Bookstore

God’s Gold: The Story of Rockefeller and His Times by John T. Flynn

In 1932, John T. Flynn had begun to rethink his old-style “progressivism” to develop intellectually into a defender of markets as against the regimentation of government management. A first product of these steps is this classic and extraordinary full biography of John D. Rockefeller. In this highly sympathetic portrayal, Flynn shows how Rockefeller employed the tools of capitalism to become enormously rich in the service of others, and how this unleashed the most unexpected backlash from anti-capitalists of all sorts, culminating in the breakup of Standard Oil. He saw that this was done at the behest of Rockefeller’s competition, and not in the public interest. It was the first and probably still the best biography of an American original.

See Thomas DiLorenzo for more on the “Robber Barons.”

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Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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How Time and Uncertainty Can Make Us “Antifragile”

January 10, 2014 in Economics

By Mises Updates

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David Howden writes in today’s Mises Daily

An applied example relevant to the present financial crisis would involve looking for those institutions that have been strengthened by current affairs. The crisis has taken its toll on many aspects of the financial services industry, but some general types of products have proven surprising resilient, or antifragile. Governments with prudent fiscal policies — e.g., Germany, Switzerland and Singapore — have fared well and indeed been strengthened as finances deteriorate in more profligate countries. Investment funds capitalizing on what were once unorthodox strategies, such as gold and other precious metal holdings, have out-performed more traditional investments as the financial crisis worsens. Readers of this journal will also notice that their stock in Austrian economics has increased in value over the past decade. Question begging and failed policies developed through more mainstream theories have led many former outsiders to the ranks of Austrian economists. An unwanted event caused an offsetting positive outcome in all these scenarios. That is what being antifragile is about.

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Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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Taxpayer-Funded Mercenaries Are Not the ‘Private Sector’

January 10, 2014 in Economics

By Ryan McMaken

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Austrian economics has finally reached that point where people who aren’t Austrian at all claim to be Austrians. A case in point is the fact that Erik Prince, founder of Blackwater (aka Xe Services, aka Academi) counts among his main influences Austrian economics and libertarianism. In a recent column at Forbes, the author writes:

Prince got his entrepreneurial insights from his father and the classroom. He had the wisdom to choose a college, Hillsdale, where the economics department recognizes that creative role of the entrepreneur. As he writes, “The thing that truly appealed to me about Hillsdale was its focus on libertarian, free-market economics.” It was there that, as an economics and political science minor, Prince learned the economics of the Austrian School which, in his words, “lionizes long-term laissez-faire policies without government intervention.” Hillsdale, like Grove City College, which also teaches Austrian economics, is one of the few colleges which does not accept government money.

Prince seems to be under the impression that he is some kind of market entrepreneur. In reality he is just a political entrepreneur. That is, his business model is based on getting the government to steal money from the taxpayers and then hand it over to his company. It’s ironic that Hillsdale College, which takes no government money, is mentioned, since Prince and Blackwater survive almost totally on government money.

Blackwater is a “security firm” that provides soldiers, firepower, surveillance, and a variety of other military services to governments. Among their biggest clients are the US military and the CIA, although Blackwater appears to work with local governments as well. Blackwater is privately owned, of course, but its revenues do not come through markets. They come from government institutions.

Whether or not Blackwater receives revenue is based on whether they can effectively lobby important people in the government to continue paying Blackwater for services. The money that goes to Blackwater, however, is not the money of the people Blackwater seeks to please. The money belongs to the taxpayers, who have no power to withdraw their financial support from Blackwater if a politician decides otherwise.

Thus, the relationship between the people who actually provide Blackwater’s revenue, and Blackwater itself is purely political, and has nothing at all to do with the sort of market entrepreneurship that Prince thinks he excels at.

Indeed, Prince is very confused. He has stated that ‘‘We are trying to do for the national security …read more

Source: MISES INSTITUTE