Recommended Reading – Thursday, February 9th
Why Does President Obama Dislike Freedom Of Conscience (Cato Institute)
“Authoritarian liberalism has taken over Obama administration policy. People must be forced to accept anything and everything in the name of tolerance. The only valid belief is no belief. Acting on one’s faith must be punished.
Such is the impact of the new Department of Health and Human Services ruling on birth control (as well as abortifacients, or “morning after” pills, and sterilization procedures). Even religious organizations must provide policies offering full coverage with no shared payment. Never mind if the people involved believe that contraception is morally wrong.” (Click here for the rest of the article)
Global Warming Hysteria: Another Prediction Bites the Dust (Secondhand Smoke)
“Oh, this isn’t good. Those Himalayan glaciers that were supposed to have disappeared by 2035 according to the IPCC (since retracted as nonsense), haven’t even shrunk in ten years. From the Guardian story:
The world’s greatest snow-capped peaks, which run in a chain from the Himalayas to Tian Shan on the border of China and Kyrgyzstan, have lost no ice over the last decade, new research shows. The discovery has stunned scientists, who had believed that around 50bn tonnes of meltwater were being shed each year and not being replaced by new snowfall.
And another one (prediction) bites the dust.
Oh, and the Arctic melt ain’t what it was projected to be either, to the tune of 30% less than thought. From the U.S. News and World Report:
The team used data from the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment satellite, which was launched as a joint project between NASA and Germany in 2002. The GRACE satellite measures gravity, which is related to mass, in 20 distinct regions worldwide. Wahr says that gives the team more accurate estimates, because previous teams had to measure ice loss at “a few easily accessible glaciers” and then extrapolate it to the 200,000 glaciers worldwide.
As projection after dire prediction has failed to materialize, the credibility of the sector continues to plummet, and for good reason.” (Click here for the rest of the article)
Related, and highly recommended – Understanding the Global Warming Debate
The Secret Agreement That Revolutionized China (Marginal Revolution)
” Farmers from 18 households in Xiaogang signed a secret life-and-death agreement ending collective farming with their thumbprints. (From Cowen and Tabarrok, Modern Principles: Macroeconomics)
The Great Leap Forward was a great leap backward – agricultural land was less productive in 1978 than it had been in 1949 when the communists took over. In 1978, however, farmers in the village of Xiaogang held a secret meeting. The farmers agreed to divide the communal land and assign it to individuals – each farmer had to produce a quota for the government but anything he or she produced in excess of the quota they would keep. The agreement violated government policy and as a result the farmers also pledged that if any of them were to be killed or jailed the others would raise his or her children until the age of 18. [The actual agreement is shown at right.]
The change from collective property rights to something closer to private property rights had an immediate effect, investment, work effort and productivity increased. “You can’t be lazy when you work for your family and yourself,” said one of the farmers.
Word of the secret agreement leaked out and local bureaucrats cut off Xiaogang from fertilizer, seeds and pesticides. But amazingly, before Xiaogang could be stopped, farmers in other villages also began to abandon collective property. In Beijing, Mao Zedong was dead and a new set of rulers, seeing the productivity improvements, decided to let the experiment proceed.” (Click here for the rest of the article)
Data in New World Bank Report Shows That Large Public Sectors Reduce Economic Growth (Cato Institute)
“When Ronald Reagan said that big government undermined the economy, some people dismissed his comments because of his philosophical belief in liberty.
And when I discuss my work on the economic impact of government spending, I often get the same reaction.
This is why it’s important that a growing number of establishment outfits are slowly but surely coming around to the same point of view.
- The European Central Bank published a study showing “…a significant negative effect of the size of government on growth.”
- A study by two Harvard economists found that “large adjustments in fiscal policy, if based on well-targeted spending cuts, have often led to expansions.”
- The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development noted in recent research that welfare programs are economically destructive because they lure people into dependency because “net disposable income would increase despite putting in fewer hours.”
- A study from the International Monetary Fund concluded that “Cuts to pension and health entitlements had the most beneficial effect on economic growth.” (Click here for the rest of the article)