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The Lighthouse


The Lighthouse is the weekly email newsletter of the Independent Institute.
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Volume 16, Issue 46: November 18, 2014

  1. Healthcare Solutions for Post-Obamacare America
  2. To Woo Voters, Clinton May Need to Drop ‘War on Women’ Rhetoric
  3. Is Obama Risking a Future War with China?
  4. Eastern Europe after the Berlin Wall
  5. New Blog Posts
  6. Selected News Alerts



1) Healthcare Solutions for Post-Obamacare America

If more than a year’s worth of opinion polls showing Obamacare’s unpopularity weren’t persuasive, then last week’s election results surely prove it: By and large, the American electorate disdains the federal takeover of the nation’s healthcare system. The question is, what will the 114th Congress do about this? Will it pass legislation designed to correct only the surface flaws of Obamacare—or will it try to address the deeper, systemic problems that plague American healthcare? And which principles should policymakers embrace in order to craft common-sense reform? These questions demand answers from someone who has thought long and hard about the intricacies of healthcare policy. Fortunately, Independent Institute Senior Fellow John C. Goodman, who has contributed to the healthcare debate for more than three decades, has written an insightful and timely study, Healthcare Solutions for Post-Obamacare America. The study will be officially distributed to the news media later this week.

Part I of Goodman’s report looks at the six major problems of the Affordable Care Act and six principles for commonsense reform. Part II takes a closer look at those principles—choice, fairness, universal coverage, portability, patient power, and real insurance. Part III puts forth additional ideas for curing the healthcare crisis, including four measures that would correct most of the problems caused by Obamacare, the case for a fixed-sum tax credit, and Goodman’s vision for a more equitable healthcare system.

Whether you’re a policymaker eager for fresh ideas or a concerned citizen who wants to better understand the causes and cures for America’s healthcare predicament, reading Goodman’s diagnosis and prescription will transform the way you view healthcare policy.

Healthcare Solutions for Post-Obamacare America, by John C. Goodman

Priceless: Curing the Healthcare Crisis, by John C. Goodman

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2) To Woo Voters, Clinton May Need to Drop ‘War on Women’ Rhetoric

Republican victories in several U.S. Senate races in the midterm elections reveal important new truths about political affiliation and gender. Among them, according to Independent Institute Research Fellow Wendy McElroy, are these three developments: “Republicans are fielding formidable female candidates who counter the argument that the GOP is anti-woman; the ‘woman vote’ is being split; and men have emerged as a new power base that Democrats ignore at great risk.”

Some pundits, such as neo-conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer, argue that such developments reveal a trend that spells electoral doom for Democrats who continue to sloganeer about their Republican rivals’ alleged “war on women.” If so, then few Democratic politicians will need to change their tune more than Hillary Clinton, if and when the presumed presidential aspirant officially announces her bid for the White House.

“Clinton’s main perceived advantage is an ability to mobilize women voters through her signature approach of legislating feminism,” McElroy writes. “If this drives men further toward the GOP, however, it may be her main disadvantage.”

If the ‘War on Women’ Is Over, Whither Hillary Clinton?, by Wendy McElroy (The Hill, 11/12/14)

Liberty for Women: Freedom and Feminism in the 21st Century, edited by Wendy McElroy

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3) Is Obama Risking a Future War with China?

In his recent visit to China, Barack Obama delivered more than a little dose of diplomatic deception. The president publicly told his hosts that he welcomed their nation’s appearance on the world stage. In reality, the Obama administration has worked hard to constrain China. For a superpower such as the United States, such perfidy is par for the course. But more importantly, according to Independent Institute Senior Fellow Ivan Eland, the security interests of the American people would be better served by a foreign policy that gave China greater flexibility to rise as a peaceful power.

Two ways in which Obama’s “pivot toward Asia” has worked to block China’s ascendency, to the detriment of America’s genuine self-interest, involve U.S. military alliances and trade agreements. The White House has been strengthening bilateral security agreements with several countries in East Asia and the region’s Pacific Rim; however, Eland notes that these alliances risk drawing the United States into a nuclear confrontation with Beijing if its territorial disputes with U.S. allies intensify. Also, the Obama administration has been negotiating a regional trade pact—the Trans-Pacific Partnership—that would strengthen U.S. commercial ties with non-Chinese trading partners in the region. Excluding Beijing from such agreements, however, misses an important opportunity to help establish friendly relations between China and the United States.

The irony of all of this is that China is one of the U.S. government’s greatest financial benefactors. As Eland writes, “Essentially, the ridiculous situation has arisen whereby China loans the United States the money to help other wealthy countries defend themselves against...well, China.”

The United States Should Give China Breathing Room to Rise Peacefully, by Ivan Eland (The Huffington Post, 11/11/14)

Recarving Rushmore: Ranking the Presidents on Peace, Prosperity, and Liberty (Updated Edition), by Ivan Eland

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4) Eastern Europe after the Berlin Wall

It’s been 25 years since freedom-loving Germans stood up together to tear down the Berlin Wall. The event marked the beginning of the end of socialism in central and eastern Europe. Two years later, the same wave of pro-freedom sentiment would send even Moscow’s Communist dictatorship packing. The end of European socialism has done wonders for the economic well-being of its former subjects, Independent Institute Senior Fellow Benjamin Powell reports in his latest piece for the Huffington Post.

“The march toward liberty has not been without detours, and the regulatory threat from bureaucrats in Brussels looms large,” Powell writes. “But, for lovers of liberty, there is much to celebrate a generation after the fall of the wall.”

Real incomes in Eastern Europe have risen with increases in economic freedom, but past results are no guarantee of future performance. What’s in store for the region? Fortunately, it’s full of young minds who are eagerly soaking up the wisdom of free-market prophets like F. A. Hayek and Ludwig von Mises, as Powell observed in his visits to Romania and Kosovo. “The former socialist countries in Europe have made a lot of progress toward freeing their markets since the fall of the Berlin Wall,” Powell continues. “Let’s hope we’ve seen only the beginning of much more to come.”

Free Markets 25 Years After the Berlin Wall, by Benjamin Powell (The Huffington Post, 11/12/14)

Making Poor Nations Rich: Entrepreneurship and the Process of Economic Development, edited by Benjamin W. Powell

The Power of Ideas, by Mary Theroux (The Beacon, 11/9/14)

The Bulgarian Economic Growth and Transition Project (The Independent Institute, 10/1/90)

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5) New Blog Posts

From The Beacon:

From MyGovCost News & Blog:

Government Scam Cell Anniversary
K. Lloyd Billingsley (11/17/14)

The Federal Student Loan Racket
Craig Eyermann (11/14/14)

Bay Bridge Crane Giveaway Another Bad Deal for Taxpayers
K. Lloyd Billingsley (11/12/14)

Veterans Triple Dip Disability Benefits
Craig Eyermann (11/11/14)

You can find the Independent Institute’s Spanish-language website here and blog here.

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6) Selected News Alerts

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  • MyGovCost.org
  • FDAReview.org
  • OnPower.org
  • elindependent.org