Wednesday, August 22, 2012 - A Nation Adrift From the Rule of Law

The numerous deviations from the rule of law is probably my #1 complaint against the Obummer administration. - Opinion: A Nation Adrift From the Rule of Law

“The notion that we are governed by rules that are transparent and enacted through the legislative process—not by the whims of our leaders—is at the heart of that commitment. If legislators exceed their authority under the Constitution, or if otherwise legitimate laws are misused, courts must step in to prevent or remedy the potential harm.

Though one might excuse departures from the rule of law at the height of a crisis, one would expect to see a prompt reversion to rule-of-law principles immediately thereafter.

By far the most disturbing element of recent trends is that precisely the opposite seems to be taking place. The commitment of government officials to the rule of law has continued to crumble—even after the crisis has subsided.

Rule-of-law matters cannot be separated entirely from questions about the size and role of government. The more government grows, the harder it is to preserve rule-of-law virtues like transparency and clear rules of the game. But the rule of law is nevertheless a distinct and extraordinarily important concern, and it deserves separate consideration as the presidential campaign begins in earnest.

Monday, August 20, 2012 - The Panic Over Fukushima - The Panic Over Fukushima


The tsunami that hit Japan in March 2011 was horrendous. Over 15,000 people were killed by the giant wave itself. The economic consequences of the reactor destruction were massive. The human consequences, in terms of death and evacuation, were also large. But the radiation deaths will likely be a number so small [best estimate ~100], compared with the tsunami deaths, that they should not be a central consideration in policy decisions.

Looking back more than a year after the event, it is clear that the Fukushima reactor complex, though nowhere close to state-of-the-art, was adequately designed to contain radiation. New reactors can be made even safer, of course, but the bottom line is that Fukushima passed the test.

The great tragedy of the Fukushima accident is that Japan shut down all its nuclear reactors.


Wednesday, August 15, 2012 - Why the Doctor Can't See You - Opinion: John C. Goodman: Why the Doctor Can't See You


When demand exceeds supply in a normal market, the price rises until it reaches a market-clearing level. But in this country, as in other developed nations, Americans do not primarily pay for care with their own money. They pay with time.


How long does it take you on the phone to make an appointment to see a doctor? How many days do you have to wait before she can see you? How long does it take to get to the doctor's office? Once there, how long do you have to wait before being seen? These are all non-price barriers to care, and there is substantial evidence that they are more important in deterring care than the fee the doctor charges, even for low-income patients.


When demand exceeds supply, doctors have a great deal of flexibility about who they see and when they see them. Not surprisingly, they tend to see those patients first who pay the highest fees.