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Archive of posts published in the tag: The End is Near and Its Going to Be Awesome

The Futility of Political Consensus

“The concepts of legitimacy and consent are the foundation of the moralistic view of politics, which converts government from a machine for doing things into a directorate for telling us what to do. This happens on the presumption that there…

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The True Cost of Government

“The federal budget suggests that just over 20 percent of what the national government does involves the provision of public goods, and the rest involves taking from A and giving to B because politicians want it that way. This isn’t…

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The Illusion of Wealth

“The charade that is fundamental to the political game—pretending that politicians have wealth that they can give away to favored constituencies rather than wealth that they can expropriate from one group of people for the enjoyment of others—does not work…

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Subsidizing Consumption vs Production

“As with the Connecticut parking spaces, we have through the entitlements (and through the tax preferences given to employer-based medical benefits) done a great deal to encourage the consumption of health-care services while doing nothing to encourage the production of…

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The Value of a Social Security Right of Exit

“Social Security was an extraordinarily good deal for the first beneficiaries. Over time, the program has become less and less of a good deal, and will continue to do so. And it looks even less attractive relative to plausible alternatives.…

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An Insurmountable Information Deficit

“In politics there is very little reason to grow less wrong, and sometimes good reason to grow more wrong. In aggregate, this leads to destructive policy choices. This is a structural defect inherent in the political model of decision making.…

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A Brief History of American Healthcare

“There are many volumes to be written on the history of what went wrong with American health care, but here is a short and very simplified version: The Roosevelt administration began imposing central planning on broad swathes of the U.S.…

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Health Care Cost Loop

“Strange that I can get an exact price on an iPhone, a Honda Civic, or a pizza, but not on something as essential to my well-being as health care. There are almost no consumer prices in health care. Because there…

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Political Diversity

“We disagree about how to achieve the good life because we disagree about what constitutes the good life. Political crusaders are constantly telling themselves and their partisans that if only they could make their opponents hear reason, then their opponents…

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The Immortal Corporation

“Politics is a kind of island in the evolutionary stream—isolated, unchanging, incapable of learning because it is insulated against going extinct. Politics is the last monopoly, the Immortal Corporation. You’ll never see a capitol building with a GOING OUT OF…

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Ceasar is Everywhere

“In his wonderfully humane book The Lily: Evolution, Play, and the Power of a Free Society, Daniel Cloud makes the following so-obvious-nobody-ever-quite-said-it observation about the role of ships in the ancient world: “Once you own a ship, you, like a…

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The Socialist Calculation Problem

“Mises argued that under central planning, economic calculation never actually happened because it became de facto impossible—information is dispersed throughout the marketplace, central planners have no way of gathering information about people’s real preferences, and in any event the sheer…

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The Right to Say No

“The cell phone’s radical evolutionary improvement happened only because people had the right to walk away from devices and service providers that did not satisfy them. It seems an obvious point, but it is one that is often overlooked and…

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Failure Makes Us Rich

“It seems paradoxical, but failure is what makes us rich. (And we are, even in these troubled times, fabulously rich.) We’d all be a lot worse off if corporations such as U.S. Steel did in fact live forever. Obvious counterexamples…

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The Tyranny of the Single Standard

“Those who would argue today that we must have a single standard of education, a single standard of health insurance, or even a single standard for settling legal disputes are making precisely the same error Queen Elizabeth made, and in…

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Political Resistance to Innovation

“The problem of politics is that it does not know how to get less wrong. It is as a practical matter impossible to design a national health-care policy that can be tweaked and improved every quarter, or on-the-fly in real…

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Rational Economic Planning

“In the real world, the complexity here gets pretty hairy pretty quickly: There’s a lot more to health care than picking any 12 of 50 options out of a hat and ranking them. There are hundreds or thousands of factors…

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A Social Security Solution

“The simplest method is to begin with an opt-out provision for Social Security. People who understand the benefits of deferring consumption in order to invest for retirement should have the option to act on that knowledge using their own resources.…

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Unhealthy Medical Economics

“As with the Connecticut parking spaces, we have through the entitlements (and through the tax preferences given to employer-based medical benefits) done a great deal to encourage the consumption of health-care services while doing nothing to encourage the production of…

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Uninhabitable Utopias

“There is a price to pay for being wrong in politics, but the effects are widely dispersed and time-delayed. And the pain of being wrong in politics is likely to fall on somebody other than the politician. Partly this insulation…

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