Commentary

Everyone’s talking about the environment these days, whether it’s Al Gore’s army of global warming slide show presenters or billionaire Richard Branson’s quest for alternative fuels. I’m nostalgic for the old days when all the environmentalists wanted was for us to recycle. In class a few years ago I was lecturing on the economics of environmental protection. As I described the market’s surprisingly robust ability to conserve natural resources, one student asked me “Do you recycle?” “No,” I answered. “Thanks for the effort,” he replied sarcastically. He then angrily marched from the room. I detected that most of the remaining... continue reading
Usually, spotting inconsistencies in the left’s arguments is fun. But in the case of Robert Greenwald’s new propagandumentary, “Iraq for Sale: The War Profiteers,” it’s serious business. Greenwald, who also made “Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price” (covered by BMI here), was on hand to discuss the film with its Washington, D.C., premiere audience on September 18. He said he had wanted to “put a personal face on profiteering” – something he accomplished in more ways than he likely intended. “Iraq for Sale” is a mishmash of allegations against four main companies: CACI International Inc., Titan (now L-3 Communications... continue reading
When gas prices shot up in spring, some in the media were quick to criticize “corporate greed,” but as prices plummet, even that decline has to be a “conspiracy.” If you think I’m kidding then you don’t know Jack – Jack Cafferty that is. Cafferty shoots from the lip often enough as a CNN host, but on the August 30 edition of that network’s “Situation Room,” he outdid himself. After a story about how gas prices might get close to $2 by Thanksgiving, Cafferty grabbed his tinfoil hat and came up with his own conspiracy theory. “You know, if you... continue reading
Near the end of the movie “Saving Private Ryan,” Capt. Miller used his last breath urging the young private to “Earn this.” Brave men had given their lives to rescue Ryan and return him to his family after the deaths of his brothers. When Ryan wouldn’t leave “the only brothers I had left,” Miller and his command stood with them to the end in a fight against overwhelming odds. Miller’s last words reminded Ryan forever of those sacrifices, so that he would live a life that would have made those men proud. Throughout America’s history, men and women have made... continue reading
Labor Day isn’t just a holiday. It’s one more chance for the media to bemoan the state of the American worker. This isn’t a case of glass half full or half empty. In the news, there isn’t any glass at all – it’s been outsourced to Asia. TV reporters portray today’s work world as one part “Office Space” and another “Bridge Over the River Kwai” without the catchy whistling. “We’re working ourselves to death,” ABC’s Diane Sawyer told “Good Morning America” viewers on August 29 after a study connected some jobs with high blood pressure. Less than a week earlier... continue reading
Paul Leonard did not buy flood insurance, but through his attorney, Dickie Scruggs, filed a lawsuit arguing that Nationwide Insurance should cover his losses from Hurricane Katrina regardless of what his insurance contract said. Here is the clause in the Leonards’ contract: “We do not cover loss to any property resulting directly or indirectly from … flood, surface water, waves, tidal waves, overflow of a body of water, spray from these, whether or not driven by wind.” Nevertheless, the lawsuit had support from Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood, who, for the last year, has been shamelessly demonizing insurance companies over... continue reading
It was the summer of love all over again. Only this time we didn’t have hookah pipes, tie-dyed shirts and the Doors singing “People Are Strange.” All journalists had was their love for one man – Al Gore – and this summer he and the media both proved the song was right. Yes, that Al Gore – the former vice president now turned into full-time global warming pitchman. The media couldn’t get enough of the Wonk-in-Chief. The newly crowned movie star and his type of documentary – cinema scare-ité – were discussed on at least 99 TV shows from network... continue reading
There’s no business like show business – thank goodness. No other industry would make a name for itself attacking the very businessmen who make it a success. Hollywood goes even further, undermining the very concept of free enterprise that supports its industry. Already the movies this year are repeating the anti-business slant of the previous 12 months. One-sided, anti-business documentaries like “An Inconvenient Truth” and “Who Killed the Electric Car?” have filled the screen where similar stories like “Syriana” and “North Country” left off. Now we get Meryl Streep’s Miranda Priestly in “The Devil Wears Prada” to take over from... continue reading
The Senate recently blocked a vote on the bill that would have reduced the inheritance tax. In the media and in Congress, people have asked a lot of questions about the tax. Why would we want to reduce or eliminate it? Wouldn’t this be a tax break for the rich? Wouldn’t its reduction result in a major addition to the federal debt? Doesn’t the tax reduce the disparity of income and isn’t that a good thing? The Rich First, if we learn anything from the study of economics it is that individuals respond to incentives. When we place a tax... continue reading
The news media have been living in a bubble since before 9/11. Despite facts that indicate the market is cooling as many experts had expected, journalists insist there is a housing crisis. It’s unsurprising that the home market came back to earth a bit after its meteoric rise. But news that it was “cooling,” as Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke had predicted, was treated as “kinda boring” by Gerri Willis of CNN’s “American Morning” on July 21. That’s pretty amazing, given that reporters have been cautioning us about the housing bubble as far back as September 2001, when Forbes and BusinessWeek... continue reading