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Deneen on Historical Change

January 28, 2018 in Economics

By David Gordon


By: David Gordon

There is a central theme in Patrick Deneen’s Why Liberalism Failed which I failed to note in my review of it. Deenen has a radical view of the role of intellectuals in modern history. He says, “The foundations of liberalism were laid by a series of thinkers whose central aim was to disassemble what they concluded were irrational religious and social norms in the pursuit of civil peace that might in turn foster stability and prosperity, and eventually individual liberty of conscience and action.”(p.24)

I quoted most of this passage in my review and questioned whether Locke, one of these thinkers, held the opinions Deneen attributes to him. But the passage deserves scrutiny for another reason. Deneen takes for granted that great thinkers by their teaching mold the way history develops. Surely this contention ought to be supported by argument. Even if Deneen is right about their views, it does not follow that their ideas were the primary factor in the growth of modern liberal institutions. What about other causal factors, such as changes in technology and social institutions, or, for that matter, ideas of less “great” thinkers? Deneen passes by all this, instead offering his “top-down” approach to historical change as if it were self-evidently true.

Again, in discussing the U.S. Constitution, he says: “The Constitution is the embodiment of a set of modern principles that sought to overturn ancient teachings and shape a distinctly different modern human.”(p.101). Once more, the influence of “foundational” thinkers is assumed without argument to be paramount. For all I have said, Deneen may be right; but he should argue for his views, not simply “tell us.”

…read more


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The Cheap Assault on the Immigration Visa Lottery

January 28, 2018 in Economics

By Alex Nowrasteh

Alex Nowrasteh

Congress is in the thick of another intense debate on
immigration reform, which comes to a head on Feb. 8, the deadline
by which lawmakers must pass a spending bill or the government
shuts down again.

At center stage is what what happens to Dreamers, illegal
immigrants brought here as children, but Republicans have also
thrown into the mix significant overhaul of legal immigration
— including the total elimination of a program called the
diversity visa, by which thousands of people come to America.

Trump has offered roughly this trade: Get rid of the diversity
visa — and greatly restrict so-called chain migration while
you’re at it, while adding billions in funding for a border
wall — or the Dreamers will be hung out to dry.

The U.S. immigration
system needs reform, and the diversity visa is no exception. But it
doesn’t deserve to be scapegoated by President Trump and
congressional Republicans for so many problems that have nothing to
do with it.

President Trump justifies his animus toward the diversity visa
program by describing it this way: “They give us their worst
people, put them in a bin … they’re picking the worst of
the worst.”

This is a gross mischaracterization.

Immigrants on the diversity visa aren’t chosen randomly
from the nearly 7.3 billion non-Americans in the world. Nor do
corrupt governments in places Trump might call
“shitholes” place names of people they’d like to
see leave their country into a hat.

Instead, a foreigner has to choose to enter a lottery to gain
one of the 50,000 diversity visas a year, as about 14.4 million did
in 2015. And it’s only available to those from so-called
“low-admission” countries that send few immigrants
here, like Egypt, Nepal and Ukraine.

Nor does winning the lottery guarantee them a green card and
permanent residence status. It merely guarantees them a chance at
getting through the rest of the immigration system which is,
according to Rutgers law professor Elizabeth Hull, “second
only to the Internal Revenue Code in complexity.”

To get a green card, they must have at least a high school
education or demonstrate two years of work experience in a
sufficiently skilled occupation. Then they must also pass the
criminal, national security and medical checks that every immigrant
must go through.

The diversity visa is the closest thing to an actual immigration
line that moves. Immigrants in other green card categories can
expect to wait decades or even a century to earn a green card.
Diversity winners can get theirs within two years of entering the
lottery if everything goes smoothly, according to immigration
attorney Matt Kolken.

The diversity visa certainly isn’t a means …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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Cuomo’s Smart Attack on the Flu — and Md’s Monopoly on Basic Care

January 28, 2018 in Economics

By David A. Hyman, Charles Silver

David A. Hyman and Charles Silver

Gov. Cuomo has signed an executive order allowing pharmacists to give flu shots to
. The governor’s recent budget proposal also includes a
provision that, if approved, will allow Walmart, CVS and other
retailers to operate medical clinics in their stores. Both of these
initiatives are sensible strategies for making health care in New
York less expensive and more convenient.

Why are such steps necessary? There are about 8,000 New Yorkers
with the flu as we write this, and almost 1,800 have required
hospitalization. Pharmacists were already allowed to give flu shots
to adults. If they can be trusted to do that, it makes sense to
allow them to deliver flu shots more broadly, particularly when an
epidemic is sweeping the state.

What about allowing retailers to operate medical clinics? In
2015, New York had only 18 such clinics, “one of the lowest
penetration rates, per capita, nationally,” according to a
report produced by the United Hospital Fund. Other states have more
retail clinics because they allow them to be staffed by physician
assistants and nurse practitioners. New York requires physicians to
man the few clinics in the state.

Patients who visit retail
clinics are likely to be treated as well as they are at doctors’
offices, but at much lower cost.

The established medical industry doesn’t want to compete
with mid-level professionals for patients, so its leaders try to
limit the growth of retail clinics by sowing fears about the
quality of care. When asked about Cuomo’s proposal, the
president of the Medical Society of the State of New York argued
that “the care that is given in these settings … is not

In reality, patients who visit retail clinics are likely to be
treated as well as they are at doctors’ offices, but at much
lower cost. The leading study, which appeared in the Annals of
Internal Medicine in 2009, found that retail clinics consistently
charged less for services that were also delivered at
physicians’ offices, urgent-care centers and emergency

For example, an initial evaluation that averaged $66 at a retail
clinic cost $106, $103 and $358 at a physician’s office,
urgent-care center and emergency room, respectively. On the quality
front, the Annals study found that retail clinics were
indistinguishable from doctors’ offices and urgent-care
centers — and better than ERs.

The conclusion? “Retail clinics provide less costly
treatment … with no apparent adverse effect on the quality of
care of [the] delivery of preventive care.”

Other studies have yielded similar findings. A 2011 study in the
American Journal of Medical Quality found that “the quality
of care delivered to [children] by …read more

Source: OP-EDS