Volume 16, Issue 48: December 2, 2014
- Obamacares Big-Business Loophole
- Does Gun Control Really Protect the Public?
- Afghanistan and the Familiar Face of Failure
- Let the Market Tackle the Redskins
- Make Giving Tuesday Count!
- New Blog Posts
- Selected News Alerts
1) Obamacares Big-Business Loophole
Small-business owners often criticize Obamacare, but why do the largest employers almost never voice complaints? One answer may be that big companies that pay their employees healthcare costs directlyso-called self-insurersalso enjoy a significant loophole that most medium and large firms dont get. According to Independent Institute Senior Fellow John C. Goodman, author of a new study on healthcare reform, so long as they cover 60 percent of their employees expected healthcare costs, these self-insured companies can avoid having to pay for hospital stays, specialist services, CT and MRI scans, and even visits to the emergency roomhealth benefits that other employers are required to cover.
In a nutshell, the largest firms can offer the skimpiest plans, Goodman writes in the Daily Caller. Moreover, Once the employer offers compliant insurance, the employee is ineligible for subsidized insurance that does cover these services in the (Obamacare) health insurance exchange.
These loopholes are so wide that, on the eve of the midterm elections, the Obama administration hinted it will narrow them. The next day, the Treasury Department announced that, going forward, all employer health plans that are not yet finalized will be required to cover hospitalization and doctor services. Self-insured companies will face higher coverage costs, and some may still elect not to offer the coverage but instead pay a $3,000 per employee fine. In all these cases, Goodman concludes, whats good for the employer is bad for the employee and vice versa.
Obamacares Gift to Big Business: The Largest Firms Can Offer the Skimpiest Health Plans, by John C. Goodman (The Daily Caller, 11/25/14)
Healthcare Solutions for Post-Obamacare America, by John C. Goodman
Priceless: Curing the Healthcare Crisis, by John C. Goodman
2) Does Gun Control Really Protect the Public?
In the aftermath of last months deadly terrorist attack on a Jerusalem synagogue, Israeli officials have relaxed their restrictions on gun ownership. Unfortunately, the change doesnt go far enough. Because it applies only to security guards and others already authorized to carry firearms, the new policy likely would not have prevented the slaughter. According to Independent Institute Research Fellow Stephen P. Halbrook, the attackand the governments feeble responseshould prompt policymakers to remember the strict gun restrictions enacted in Weimar Germany, which served as a prelude to the horrors inflicted by the Nazi regime.
Free people throughout the West, and especially in Israel, should remember the bitter lessons of Weimar gun control, Halbrook writes in a new op-ed for Newsmax.
As Halbrook explains, to quell ideologically motivated violence, the Weimar Republic issued strict gun control laws that authorized the government to seize firearms if it deemed this necessary to ensure public security. It also required gun owners to register their firearms with the authorities. Both measures made it easier for the Nazi regime to oppress Jews and enemies of the state, as Alfred Flatow learned. When the former Olympic gold medalist surrendered his lawfully owned firearms to the Berlin police department, he was arrested and turned over to the Gestapo; later he was sent to a concentration camp where he died of hunger. The lesson, according to Halbrook, is clear: Democratic governments that wish to protect their citizens by depriving them of firearms sometimes accomplish the very oppositeand leave the law-abiding at the mercy of those who will flout any statute, tell any lie, engage in any conspiracy, to gain power over the innocent, he writes. Good people, rendered helpless, are historys victims.
Gun Control Measures Hazardous for Citizens, by Stephen P. Halbrook (Newsmax, 11/26/14)
Gun Control in the Third Reich: Disarming Jews and Enemies of the State, by Stephen P. Halbrook
3) Afghanistan and the Familiar Face of Failure
U.S. troops are moving ahead with their formal withdrawal from Afghanistan by years end, but dont call it an American victory. The Afghan military and police are slowly imploding, and the Taliban is gaining ground. In a recent op-ed in the Huffington Post, Independent Institute Senior Fellow Ivan Eland examines the causes.
That the worlds greatest superpower has failed to pacify Afghanistan shouldnt be too surprising. No occupying force has been able to do so since Persias Cyrus that Great pulled it off more than 2500 years ago. One reason, according to Eland, is that many locals dont look kindly on foreign invaders, even if they happen to treat the native population better than their homegrown rulers did. When fighting indigenous insurgents, the foreign invader never gets the benefit of the doubt, Eland writes.
In addition, American policymakers are unrealistic about the capabilities of their armed forces. Ignorant of Afghanistans history and culture, the U.S. military is astonishingly ill-equipped to perform what amounts to social work. But even a scorched-earth campaignlike that of the Soviet occupierswould likely have failed (and would have been morally bankrupt, besides). The U.S. experiment in Afghanistan therefore offers a valuable lesson: Sending the military to war should only be done in the most dire cases of national security, Eland writes. Military restraint was the founders vision, but we have drifted far from it into a militaristic society in constant war.
Afghanistan: A Similar Pattern of Military Incompetence, by Ivan Eland (The Huffington Post, 11/24/14)
4) Let the Market Tackle the Redskins
Should the Washington Redskins football team have its federal tax-exempt status pulled? A bill submitted to the House of Representatives would do exactly that. Its sponsor, District of Columbia congressional delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, believes that government action is the best way to treat Native Americans with dignity. Apparently, Norton hasnt been following the commentary of Independent Institute Research Director William F. Shughart II.
As I and many other commentators have written over the past year or so, Redskins was adopted long ago as a nickname intended to honor the memory of the head coachs mother, who was a member of the Sioux nation, Shughart writes in the Washington Times.
Shughart counsels against government action and offers a market-based alternative: The obvious policy to follow is to allow the fans of the Washington Redskins to determine the nicknames fate, he writes. If enough of them truly are offended, the market will determine its fate. Fewer ticket sales and viewers of live game broadcasts would have more influence on the teams owner and on the NFL itself than the opinion of one non-voting delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives, especially if she represents only a minority, politically correct point of view.... At the end of the day, the teams nickname is a private matter for its owner and the National Football League, and not one that rises to the level of the U.S. Congress.
RedskinsFor Want of a Politically Correct Name, by William F. Shughart II (The Washington Times, 11/17/14)
Taxing Choice: The Predatory Politics of Fiscal Discrimination, edited by William F. Shughart II
5) Make Giving Tuesday Count!
Attention, Lighthouse readers: Want to help advance peaceful, prosperous, and free societies grounded in a commitment to human worth and dignity? Then please lend a helping hand to the Independent Institute this holiday season.
And if you wish to make your dollar donation count for even more than a dollar, please donate on Giving Tuesday, December 2.
Thanks to a generous dollar-for-dollar matching grant, donations made through December 2 will go twice as far!
6) New Blog Posts
From The Beacon:
Income Inequality Is a Statistical Artifact
Robert Higgs (12/1/14)
Interstellar Liberty and the Foibles of Progressivism
Sam Staley (11/28/14)
Small Business Suffers: The Riots, Past and Present
Jonathan Bean (11/26/14)
Cadillac Tax Will Hit 38 Percent of Employers in 2018
John R. Graham (11/26/14)
Will Obamacare Hit Its Enrollment Target?
John R. Graham (11/25/14)
Stores to Open on Thanksgiving Don't Complain.
Abigail Hall (11/25/14)
From MyGovCost News & Blog:
Government Gasbag Punishes the Working Poor
K. Lloyd Billingsley (12/1/14)
Debt Death Spiral Watch
Craig Eyermann (11/29/14)
Pillage People Hold Lifetime Contract
K. Lloyd Billingsley (11/26/14)
When Will the U.S. National Debt Exceed $18 Trillion?
Craig Eyermann (11/25/14)
7) Selected News Alerts