Commentary

I’m an American, and I believe passionately in freedom. I believe in the individual pursuit of happiness. So it troubles me when my president wants to take that away and starts sounding like a socialist. In a socialist society, no one gets to keep the product of his work. Instead, the government redistributes money to force financial “equality” upon the people. Bush recently chimed in on the popular political notion of “income inequality,” claiming an increasing gap and the possibility that something should be done about it. Something … like what? Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke gave us a clue... continue reading
After making a brief appearance in 2005 and spending 2006 in the wings, Social Security reform took center stage again last week with the inclusion of “personal retirement accounts” in President Bush’s budget proposal. Following the delivery of that budget blueprint, Congressional Democrats announced they were no longer willing to discuss reform options. A bipartisan working group being shaped by the Administration to explore solutions to the looming entitlement crises all but fell apart. Unfortunately, ignoring the situation isn’t an option. The president’s fiscal year 2008 budget envisions providing resources for voluntary accounts funded by a portion of a worker’s... continue reading
Longtime Internet users will recognize the phrase “ All your base are belong to us.” It’s a comically stupid but popular English translation from a late ’80s Japanese video game. In a nutshell, it is a declaration of dominance – everything of yours is now mine. That sentiment has emerged in Washington – from Hillary Clinton. The presidential candidate used it when she made her feelings about private property known at the Democratic National Committee’s winter meeting. Clinton must have been shocked that the free market works so well that some Americans actually profit from dealings other than Whitewater. So... continue reading
If you want to shut down a debate, simply call your opponent a Nazi. It’s quick, easy and requires no thought whatsoever. Laugh at your opponent without allowing him to speak. Oh, and make a film about your point of view and name it “The Truth.” It’s worked well for the global warming bandwagoners – and conservatives can’t seem to get out of defensive mode. “Every time you address the Holocaust, you don’t bring somebody in that says it didn’t happen. And we’re at that stage now. We have Holocaust deniers; we have climate change deniers. And to be honest,... continue reading
"The Power of Choice: The Life and Ideas of Milton Friedman" is scheduled to air on PBS Monday, Jan. 29, 2007 at 10 p.m. ET. For local listings click here . “The Power of Choice,” a documentary on the life and ideas of Milton Friedman, is an excellent film, but it should have been titled "The Power of Ideas." It is the inspiring story of how a son of poor immigrants by the power of his ideas changed the lives of millions of people for the better. Milton Friedman was a true champion of freedom, as the film makes clear,... continue reading
President Bush announced in his State of the Union address that Americans should reduce gasoline usage by 20 percent over the next 10 years. But how will this be achieved? With or without government In 1931 Harold Hotelling published a paper, “The Economics of Exhaustible Resources,” that showed that the market process efficiently allocates the exploitation of a non-renewable resource over time. His basic point is that as the supply of a resource shrinks, the price begins to rise. That leads to an effect on the demand side. As the price of oil rises, people will use less oil. Automakers... continue reading
The Depression was only “great” because of the great harm it caused to millions. While the Dust Bowl devastated farmland, the stock market crash wiped out companies and unemployment overwhelmed the nation’s workforce. Folk singer Woody Guthrie captured the gritty spirit of the Great Depression like no one else. In “Talking Dust Bowl Blues,” he spun the tale of a typical farm family that had lost nearly everything. “ We got out to the West Coast broke, so dad-gum hungry I thought I'd croak,” he sang. Hardly a fit metaphor for the 2006 economy, is it? Only news people seem... continue reading
“The weather outside is frightful.” That used to mean something ominous – like the dreaded four-letter word “snow.” Now “frightful” has come to describe a warm, spring-like day filled with golfers and Frisbee players. And the quote above wasn’t just a song reference, it was an actual Washington Post headline from January 8. For several days, the Northeast enjoyed a wonderful warm spell that hit 70 degrees in both the nation’s capital and New York City according to the Weather Channel. I’m having a hot flash just thinking about it. Apparently, I’m not the only one. Manny Fernandez of The... continue reading
As Democrats take power in Congress, speculation has swirled around the question of why Republicans lost. But there is a factor – a costly factor affecting American businesses – that has gone largely unnoticed. In the summer of 2002, in response to Enron and WorldCom, Congress passed a slew of business regulations called the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. Although it was written largely by the then-Democratic-controlled Senate, most Republicans barely criticized the law when they regained power. Even when studies showed its costs were several times greater than anticipated and it was crippling small public companies, GOP leaders were reluctant to take... continue reading
Freedom of information is the backbone of good journalism. Keeping information open and available also helps democracy function. But contrary to the “information-wants-to-be-free” mindset left over from the dot-com era, free information isn’t free. In fact, information costs a lot of money – to produce, maintain and distribute. That’s one reason why what’s called an “open access” plan floating around Congress is such a bad idea. The proposal, under the mouthful Federal Research Public Access Act, would mandate “free online public access to such final peer-reviewed manuscripts or published versions as soon as practicable, but not later than 6 months... continue reading