Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The Mankiw Review

Feb. 22: Obama at agrees with at least some libertarian sentiments, despite his recent anti-NAFTA rhetoric. In The Audacity of Hope, Obama writes that "the conservative revolution that Reagan helped usher in gained traction because Reagan's central insight--that the liberal welfare state had grown complacent and overly bureaucratic, with Democratic policy makers more obsessed with slicing the economic pie than with growing the pie--contained a good deal of truth."

Feb. 22: A cancer patient in the United Kingdom reportedly was forced to choose between these two options:
1.) Receiving public, less-than-state-of-the-art free treatment.
2.) Seeking treatment completely on her own, without public support.
She was not allowed to receive the public treatment for free while adding additional treatments at her own expense, thanks to the philosophy that rich patients should not have an unfair advantage over poorer ones. Mankiw adds, "This kind of situation is likely to arise more over time. Technological advance is making state-of-the-art health care increasingly expensive. In any kind of national health system, some treatments will, by simple cost-benefit calculation, be deemed too expensive to provide to all citizens."

Feb. 26: Reportedly, McCain has taken the unpopular-but-scientifically-excellent position that ethanol subsidies are a bad idea, because ethanol is an extremely inefficient alternative source of energy, and in at least some cases may contribute more to greenhouse gases than regular gasoline. Corn ethanol production is the worst, while sugarcane ethanol is not so bad.

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