The Locker Room

April 17, 2009

Feds looking into Cannonsgate

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 4:52 PM

So says the News & Observer.

Don't remember Cannonsgate? You can learn more here.

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If you think the stimulus package is bad ...

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 4:39 PM

... a graphic in the new Atlantic might raise your eyebrows. It focuses on the role of the Federal Reserve. 

For more on the Fed's contribution to our current economic problems, be sure to check out Thomas Woods' latest book.

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An interesting exchange on drug prices

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 4:33 PM

The letters section of the latest Atlantic includes this contribution from David Work, retired executive director of the N.C. Board of Pharmacy:

Virginia Postrel omits the most important word from her article on cancer treatment: price. Drug companies claim that it costs them about $900 million to bring a drug to market, but that figure has never been subject to audit. Pharmaceutical manufacturers charge and get any price they want for drugs that probably cost them pennies per dose.

I propose that as a condition for FDA approval of any new drug, the manufacturer must agree to a price calculated by the Government Accountability Office. This price would consist of the actual cost to produce the product plus a percent markup, all of which would be public record.

Click the link for Virginia Postrel's full response. The key point is this:

The cost of a successful drug includes the costs of the many, many promising ideas that never make it.

Work’s specific prescription would corrupt the FDA’s approval process, which should be focused on scientific questions of safety and efficacy, not economic considerations.

Note that Postrel is not making the "if it saves one life, it's worth it" argument. Instead she's saying that the federal drug-safety bureaucrats are not the ones who should be making decisions involving economic considerations.

Under a system in which consumers drive health-care costs (as supported by folks such as Regina Herzlinger and Sally Pipes), economic decisions rest in the hands of those who should make those decisions.

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Quote of the day: Mises on education

Posted by Dr. Terry Stoops at 12:22 AM

A little bit of perspective from Ludwig von Mises:

If public education were more efficient than it really is, the political parties would urgently aim at the domination of the school system in order to determine the mode in which these subjects are to be taught. However, general education plays only a minor role in the formation of the political, social, and economic ideas of the rising generation. The impact of the press, the radio, and environmental conditions is much more powerful than that of teachers and textbooks. The propaganda of the churches, the political parties, and the pressure groups outstrips the influence of the schools, whatever they may teach. What is learned in school is often very soon forgotten and cannot carry on against the continuous hammering of the social milieu in which a man moves.
From Human Action: A Treatise on Economics
Part 7, Chapter XXXVIII. The Place of Economics in Learning

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EPA Planning to Regulate CO2

Posted by Daren Bakst at 12:10 AM

The EPA has set in motion the process that will regulate greenhouse gas emissions for the first time.  The agency has made a finding that CO2 may endanger public health or welfare.  There will be a public comment period on this finding.   This is an attempt to force Congress to pass cap and trade legislation (and to force opponents to stop fighting cap and trade) or else deal with a convoluted regulatory mess:

"The best solution, and I believe this in my heart, is to work with Congress to form and pass comprehensive legislation to deal with climate change," Jackson [EPA Director] said. " We hope to avert a regulatory thicket where governments and businesses spend an inordinate amount of time fighting. We are not looking for a doomsday solution."

The impact of this will have a devastating impact on the economy.  According to former EPA General Counsel Roger Martella:

"The proposal, once finalized, will give EPA far more responsibility than addressing climate change. It effectively will assign EPA broad authority over the use and control of energy, in turn authorizing it to regulate virtually every sector of the economy."

We officially now have turned the reins over to the environmental extremists.

Businesses (the ethical ones fighting cap and trade) and opponents need to keep fighting cap and trade and let the EPA do whatever it wants--then take them to court and push this off for years.

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Skirting the tea party issue

Posted by David N. Bass at 10:49 AM

I'm struck by the number of letters to the editor or quoted sources that accuse rally participants of being against taxes for such core services as police and firemen.

I'll give two examples. The first is from the N&O:

Across the street, Anna Holm of Raleigh was walking into the post office when she saw the protesters and several police officers that had been assigned to control the crowd. She was instantly angered.

"How do they think we pay for those police officers?" she said.

"I don't like paying taxes," she added, "but if I don't, we won't have street lights, or police or firefighters and our children won't be educated."

The second example is a letter to the editor in the Seattle Times:

All that is asked of our citizens is that we provide a small amount of the money we earn to share the cost of basic necessities that would be exorbitantly expensive for each of us alone.

I cannot afford a private firefighting force, but by paying my taxes, I can share in the cost of a fire department that protects my family and me.

Let's be candid for a moment. Is any rational observer under the impression that participants in these rallies oppose paying tax dollars for basic services? I don't think so. Rather, the protests are about bailouts for GM and the mortgage industry, pork barrel spending, and economic policies that mire future generations in unfathomable debt.

Do I detect an attempt to skirt the issue?

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N.C. unemployment continues to climb

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 10:34 AM

You'll find Roy Cordato's reaction here.

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This weekend on Carolina Journal Radio

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 07:07 AM

Double-digit unemployment offers the most glaring indication that North Carolina’s economy is struggling. How much blame does former Gov. Mike Easley’s administration deserve for the state’s poor economic picture? John Hood explores that topic in the next edition of Carolina Journal Radio.

If state leaders want to reform their economic policies, they might consider starting with tax reform. Roy Cordato offers some ideas for reform, based on his latest Macon Series report. And speaking of reform, Terry Stoops will respond to education reform ideas Senate Republican Leader Phil Berger has offered this year.

We’ll also discuss two topics related to the news industry. Media attorney Mark Prak will explain why a return to the era of the Fairness Doctrine would be bad, and Michael Lowrey will explore some of the news coverage changes he’s noted in his work compiling Carolina Journal Online’s daily report.

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Today's Carolina Journal Online features

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 06:59 AM

This week's Carolina Journal Friday interview features Donna Martinez's conversation with Terry Stoops about the new president's education priorities.

Today's Daily Journal explores how ignorance about the current income tax system affects debates about tax reform.

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