You are browsing the archive for 2014 May 16.

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BREAKING: State Senator Bonacic Becomes Fifth Republican Senator to Announce Support for Compassionate Care Act, New York's Comprehensive Medical Marijuana Bill

May 16, 2014 in PERSONAL LIBERTY

By mfarrington

Rapidly Building Republican Support for Bi-Partisan Bill Comes as Republican Senator Phil Boyle Introduces Inadequate Measure
Patients, Families and Advocates Respond: Good that Boyle Supports Medical Marijuana; Now He Can Support Patients by Endorsing the Compassionate Care Act

New York : Today in a meeting with patients, caregivers and providers, Senator John Bonacic (R-Middletown) announced his support for the comprehensive medical marijuana bill known as the Compassionate Care Act ( S.4406-B (Savino) / A.3567-A (Gottfried)). With this announcement, Bonacic becomes the fifth Republican state senator to publicly endorse the bill, which would allow eligible patients with serious and debilitating conditions to access medical marijuana under the supervision of their healthcare provider.

May 16, 2014

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Source: DRUG POLICY

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Five Crucial Facts about the So-Called 'Transportation Cliff'

May 16, 2014 in Economics

By Randal O’Toole

Randal O’Toole

Pundits are fretting over the looming insolvency of the Highway Trust Fund, which some call the “transportation cliff.” The fund, which distributes federal gas taxes to the states, is expected to run out of money in August, while Congressional authority to even collect gas taxes will expire in September.

The real battle is not over the cliff but how Congress spends the renewed gas tax. Here are five facts to help people understand this debate.

1. The transportation cliff resulted from overspending.

For four decades after creating the Highway Trust Fund in 1956, Congress ensured transportation spending did not exceed revenues.

The real battle is not over the cliff but how Congress spends the renewed gas tax.”

In 1998, however, Congress consciously decided to spend beyond its means. Since revenues declined in 2007, Congress has had to transfer $55 billion in general funds to the Highway Trust Fund. This is not a subsidy to highways; it is a subsidy to Congress’ lack of frugality.

2. User fees are better than taxes.

Despite alarms about crumbling infrastructure, much of our transportation infrastructure is in good shape, including state highways, airports and railroads. Local roads and transit systems, on the other hand, are in relatively poor shape. The difference is that user fees pay for most of the former while taxes pay for most of the latter.

For example, the state highway “roughness index” and the number of structurally deficient bridges have both steadily declined for more than two decades. Meanwhile, America’s rail transit systems have a $60 billion maintenance backlog and transit agencies aren’t even spending enough to keep them in their current poor state of repair.

Legislators value ribbon-cutting ceremonies over routine maintenance, so when taxes fund infrastructure, governments build more than they can maintain. If fees can’t support the construction and maintenance of a piece of infrastructure, then it shouldn’t be built.

3. Raising gas taxes is not the solution.

It is tempting to think Congress could solve the problems by simply raising gas taxes. But gas taxes, like a user fee, are far from perfect.

They fail to give users information about the true cost of roads or contractors information about the real demand for travel. They cover most costs of state highways but only about a quarter of the costs of local roads. They do nothing to mitigate rush-hour congestion.

Moreover, since the real problem is not a shortage of revenues but …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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How Narendra Modi Can Transform Economy in 6 Months

May 16, 2014 in Economics

By Swaminathan S. Anklesaria Aiyar

Swaminathan S. Anklesaria Aiyar

Landslide. Avalanche. Tsunami. The sheer magnitude of Narendra Modi’s election victory strains one’s vocabulary.

He kayoed Rahul Gandhi by winning more seats in Uttar Pradesh than Rahul did in the whole of India. The BJP has finally become an all-India party, winning seats all over the country and not just in a few states. Astonishingly, it has won as many seats as the Left Front in West Bengal, and left Mayawati seatless in UP.

Critics say the BJP has just got slightly more than the required 272 seats, so let’s not get too excited. Phooey! For the first time since 1984, a party has won an absolute majority in the Lok Sabha, and that’s a landmark. For the first time in 30 years, India will have a stable, decisive government.

Modi has broken the era of coalition politics. No longer is it necessary to create endless new ministries to accommodate endless more coalition allies. No longer is it necessary to induct criminals and crooks into the Cabinet in the name of “coalition dharma”. No longer is it necessary to constantly dither and sacrifice common sense for fear that an ally may defect. The Prime Minister can at last be consistent and decisive.

The stock markets have boomed, naturally, but sceptics already ask whether expectations are running too high. India faces deep structural problems for which there are no quick-fixes. Even with a strong Modi government, GDP growth this year is unlikely to exceed 5.5%.

But if Modi brings about the good management he has promised, growth could ramp up to 6.5% next year and stabilise around 7% subsequently. If so, Indian markets may be in for a sustained bull run. If not, the current euphoria will fade in a year or so.

Mould the Mood
The economy is currently mired in low growth, high inflation and bureaucratic paralysis. Modi has no magic wand. How can he transform the economy within six months?

Only by transforming the country’s mood. If he creates infectious optimism and enthusiasm, consumers will once again start consuming, investors once again start investing and bureaucrats once again start moving files.

The sheer size of his victory has already enthused the markets. He must now enthuse bureaucrats by promising them protection against wild allegations and vendettas. This means changing the current rule saying that if a decision has benefitted any private party, the bureaucrat concerned can be prosecuted for corruption even if he …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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The Fed and the 1%: Mark Thornton on the Tom Woods Show

May 16, 2014 in Economics

By Mises Updates

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Interviewed by host Tom Woods, Mark Thornton discusses a recent article in the Financial Times, and why its recommendations for Fed policy will benefit the wealthiest at the expense of everyone else.

Mp3, 25 minutes.

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Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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Mark Thornton Explains “The Consequences of Cheap Money”

May 16, 2014 in Economics

By Mises Updates

Mark Thornton discusses Martin Wolf’s recent claim that “cautious savers no longer serve a useful economic purpose.”

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Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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Anarcho-Capitalists Against Ayn Rand

May 16, 2014 in Economics

By Mises Updates

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David Gordon writes in today’s Mises Daily

Oliver’s principal contribution arises from his reaction to two intellectual movements. Like many in the 1960s and 70s, he was attracted to the Objectivist philosophy of Ayn Rand. Together with several others in the Objectivist movement, though, Oliver disagreed with the political conclusions that Rand and her inner circle drew from her philosophy. “Some students of the philosophy concluded that Rand and the ‘orthodox’ Objectivists had failed to develop a political theory that followed from the more basic principles of Objectivism. It was at that time that Rand’s advocacy of limited government began to come under attack from a growing number of deviant ‘objectivists.’ The libertarian-objectivists … declared that government, limited or otherwise, is without justification, and that the only social system consistent with man’s nature is a non-state, market society, or anarcho-capitalism.”

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Source: MISES INSTITUTE