Volume 17, Issue 38: September 22, 2015
- The Independent Review: Fall 2015 Issue Now Available
- Constitution Day: A Federal Exercise in Irony
- Experts Refute Doomsayers on Immigration
- FDA Expands Its Hazardous Reach
- Job Opportunity: Digital Marketing Manager
- New Blog Posts
- Selected News Alerts
1) The Independent Review: Fall 2015 Issue Now Available
The Fall 2015 edition of The Independent Review is one of our most diverse issues ever! Read it and learn about a plethora of timely topics:
- Causes and Consequences of the Climate Science Boom (includes full article)
- DoddFrank: Accretion of Power, Illusion of Reform
- Why Did Chinas Population Grow so Quickly?
- Academic Piracy: Rebranding Social Criticism as Critical Thinking
- Countering the Modern Luddite Impulse
- Thomas Pikettys Flawed Analyses of Public Debt and Executive Compensation
- How Big Is Government in the United States? (includes full article)
And to keep you abreast of important new books, our Fall issue features reviews of the following recent releases:
- Conscience and Its Enemies: Confronting the Dogmas of Liberal Secularism, by Robert P. George
- Money, Banking, and the Business Cycle, Vol. 1 & 2, by Brian P. Simpson
- Suicide Pact: The Radical Expansion of Presidential Powers and the Lethal Threat to American Liberty, by Andrew P. Napolitano
- How Adam Smith Can Change Your Life: An Unexpected Guide to Human Nature and Happiness, by Russ Roberts
- Why Not Capitalism?, by Jason Brennan
- A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race and Human History, by Nicholas Wade
- We Are Better Than This: How Government Should Spend Our Money, by Edward D. Kleinbard
Also, were now featuring additional book reviews exclusively on our website. Our first collection includes reviews of:
- The Age of Cryptocurrency: How Bitcoin and Digital Money are Challenging the Global Economic Order, by Paul Vigna and Michael J. Casey
- Hubris: Why Economists Failed to Predict the Crisis and How to Avoid the Next One by Meghnad Desai
- Tapping Water Markets by Terry L. Anderson, Brandon Scarborough, and Lawrence R. Watson
Get your e-subscription or print subscription today! (Print subscriptions include FREE book.)
2) Constitution Day: A Federal Exercise in Irony
Thursday, September 17, marked Constitution Day, an annual day of observance that Congress established in 2004 to remind us all of the words and ambitions of the federal governments charter. Perhaps the first point Americans should keep in mind, according to Independent Institute Research Fellow William J. Watkins Jr., is that nowhere in the document is the federal government given authority to establish Constitution Dayor, for that matter, to intervene at all in education. (Writing in The Beacon, Independent Institute Research Fellow Vicki Alger concurs and suggests that federal intervention in education deserves a failing grade.)
The feds have, of course, long undertaken actions not authorized by the Constitution. Ironically, the great enabler of extra-legal encroachments, Watkins explains in an op-ed published in The Hill, is the judiciary. The Supreme Court decided in 1936, for example, that the General Welfare clause authorizes Congress to spend money on nearly anything it claims will promote the national welfaredespite James Madisons insistence to the contrary in Federalist No. 41. The nations highest court has also eroded the Constitutions limits on federal power via its gross misinterpretations of the Commerce Clause, the Necessary and Proper Clause, the treaty power, and the judicial power, Watkins writes.
In a separate op-ed for The Daily Caller, Watkins implores Americans to remember the Articles of Confederationthe nations first Constitution. Despite its flaws, that document made vital, pro-liberty contributions for which it should be commended: it helped secure Americas independence from the British government (by strengthening the economic might of the emerging republic) and it preserved the right to self-government (by establishing term limits meant to hinder the rise of a self-perpetuating political aristocracy, by requiring a supermajority for the authorization of government borrowing, and by stating explicitly that the states possess sovereignty, freedom and independence). In this respect, Watkins writes, the Articles were an unqualified success.
A Lesson Plan for Constitution Day by William J. Watkins Jr. (The Hill, 9/17/15)
Remembering Our First Constitution by William J. Watkins Jr. (The Daily Caller, 9/17/15)
Reclaiming the American Revolution: The Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions and Their Legacy, by William J. Watkins Jr.
Happy Birthday, US Department of Education...Now Go Away, by Vicki Alger (The Beacon, 9/19/15)
Some Constitution Day Reflections about Governments Role in Education, by Vicki Alger (The Beacon, 9/17/15)
3) Experts Refute Doomsayers on Immigration
Donald Trump may be winning in the GOP polls, but hes failing in his claims about Americas immigrant population. The business mogul, reality-TV star, and presidential hopeful has said, for example, that the influx of foreign workers holds down salaries and keeps unemployment high for non-immigrants. Such assertions garner headlines, but according to Independent Institute Senior Fellow Benjamin W. Powell, almost none of the claims Trump has made about immigration have a scholarly leg to stand on.
In an op-ed for southern New Jerseys Courier-Post, Powell offers a refreshing antidote to the feverish pitch of the anti-immigrant crowd: he discusses the findings of social scientists who have studied immigration. Although the scholars differ on the policies they would like to see, they agree that newcomers to the United States have not pushed down wages overall. Instead, they debate whether immigration causes the wages of high school dropouts to fall by as much as 7 percent or whether their wages slightly increase, writes Powell, whose forthcoming book, The Economics of Immigration, provides much needed objectivity.
The second canard hurled at immigrants is that they are an obvious drain on the U.S. treasury. This claim, Powell explains, overlooks the contributions that newcomers make to the public purse by paying sales taxes and often income taxes. Moreover, as the children of immigrants begin to earn paychecks, they too generate tax revenues. Thus, while respectable studies disagree about the precise impact of immigration on the public coffer, in all cases, the magnitudes are small and clustered around zero, Powell writes.
Why Trumps Wrong on Immigration, by Benjamin W. Powell (Courier-Post, 11/14/15)
Making Poor Nations Rich: Entrepreneurship and the Process of Economic Development, by Benjamin W. Powell
Global Crossings: Immigration, Civilization, and America, by Alvaro Vargas Llosa
Broken Borders: Government, Foreign-Born Workers, and the U.S. Economy, by Benjamin W. Powell and Zachary Gochenour
4) FDA Expands Its Hazardous Reach
No one who reads The Lighthouse should be surprised to find news reports that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration continues to obstruct access to the life-enhancing innovations of the pharmaceutical industry. As many people have come to realize, the agency faces strong incentives to slow the introduction of new drugs that could save livesdeadly overcaution, some call itall while claiming that it promotes safety and effectiveness in medicine. Less known is that the agency also hinders medical progress by hampering access to pharmaceuticals currently available only outside the realm of traditional commerce.
Independent Institute Policy Fellow K. Lloyd Billingsley reports on a recent notable example in the Washington Times. The FDA, he explains, has worked to suppress the market for kratom, a substance from a Southeast Asian plant that scientists have found reduces pain and lessens dependence on opiates. Ignoring these benefits, the FDA directed U.S. marshals to seize 25,000 pounds of kratom last year in Van Nuys, Calif. Instead of criminalizing kratom, Billingsley urges government officials to seek expert testimony and act accordingly, and calls for voters to be given the opportunity to strike down state prohibitions of kratom, just as many voters have weighed in on their states marijuana policies.
The FDA is also encroaching on the world of video games. As Independent Institute Marketing Coordinator Aaron Tao explains, the agency is requiring clinical trials for a game called Project Evo, whose creators claim will improve cognitive skills and improve mental health. I can only wish them the best, and hope Schumpeterian creative destruction eventually sweeps the whole field of medicine, Tao writes in a piece first published in The Beacon and picked up by Newsweek. Abolishing the FDA and eliminating its too-often abused power to withhold innovative medical treatments from patients and providers would be one step toward genuine healthcare reform.
An Excuse for Crushing Kratom, by K. Lloyd Billingsley (The Washington Times, 7/23/15)
Game Developers Face Final Boss: The FDA, by Aaron Tao (The Beacon, 8/20/15)
Hazardous to Our Health? FDA Regulation of Health Care Products, edited by Robert Higgs
Is the FDA safe and effective? See FDAReview.org.
5) Job Opportunity: Digital Marketing Manager
Independent Institute is currently seeking a Digital Marketing Manager to lead our social media program and to promote the work of our public-policy scholars and our award-winning publications. For listings of this and other job opportunities, please visit our Employment Opportunities page.
6) New Blog Posts
From The Beacon:
Freedom, Fairness, and the Transitional Gains Trap
Gary Galles (9/21/15)
Happy Birthday, US Department of Education...Now Go Away
Vicki Alger (9/19/15)
The Feds Interest Rate Hike Is Overdue
Randall Holcombe (9/18/15)
Clintons Pitching $350 Billion in Free College
Vicki Alger (9/18/15)
Some Constitution Day Reflections about Governments Role in Education
Vicki Alger (9/17/15)
Ronald Coase and the Battle of Breastfeeding
Abigail Hall (9/17/15)
Is China Really Crashing?
Alvaro Vargas Llosa (9/15/15)
British National Health Service Stops Paying for Lifesaving Drugs
John R. Graham (9/15/15)
From MyGovCost News & Blog:
California Capitol Not Taxpayers House
K. Lloyd Billingsley (9/18/15)
Negative Dashboard Indicators for the U.S. National Debt
Craig Eyermann (9/17/15)
K. Lloyd Billingsley (9/15/15)
7) Selected News Alerts