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InsiderOnline Blog: October 2008

The Insider, Fall 2008

The Fall issue of The Insider is out. Here’s the editor’s note running down the articles:

Energy, unfortunately, is one of those commodities that many people believe is too important to be left to the free market. Many in Congress hold this view, and they have responded to rising energy prices with proposals for a variety of new government interventions, including price controls on gasoline, windfall profits taxes on oil companies, and more subsidies and mandates promoting the development of particular alternative energy technologies.

But as Ben Liebermann and Nicolas Loris, and Rob Gordon show in their respective articles, these policies have been tried before and they have failed before. If you’re old enough to remember the gas lines of the 1970s, then you know a good part of the story. Are members of Congress old enough to remember the 1970s?

While gas lines are a mystery to some politicians, other problems much too obviously arise from government policy. Such is the case with Medicaid, so Michael Greve and Philip Wallach explain. The program rewards states for increasing spending and punishes them for fiscal restraint. If that sounds like a recipe for a budget crisis to you, then it probably sounds like phase one of nationalized health care to many liberal politicians.

Local governments meanwhile are busy playing a rigged game of their own. In his article, Doug Kaplan describes the red tape and bureaucracy that city governments have created for entrepreneurs who want to bring a little business to town. At the same time, however, city planning agencies are set up to help some businesses cut through the red tape, obtain favorable financing, and even obtain their fellow citizens’ property through eminent domain. The result is economic development that makes politicians happy instead of consumers.

In other stories this issue, Victoria Hughes tells how the Bill of Rights Institute is teaching young people about the Constitution, and Jay Richards urges conservatives to take up the challenge of making good documentaries that promote liberty.

Posted on 10/03/08 12:54 PM by Alex Adrianson

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