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The Lighthouse®

The Lighthouse® is the weekly email newsletter of the Independent Institute.
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Volume 15, Issue 40: October 1, 2013

  1. Obamacare Is Bad Medicine for the Ailing Healthcare System
  2. New Book Exposes the Ten Worst U.S. Economic Policy Mistakes
  3. Kenya Terrorist Attack Stems from U.S. Meddling
  4. The Physicians Summit 2013—Prescription: Freedom (Nov. 1-2, Dallas, Texas)
  5. New Blog Posts
  6. Selected News Alerts

The Independent Review: Subscribe or renew today and get a free copy of the 25th Anniversary Edition of Crisis and Levithan: Critical Episodes in the Growth of American Government, by Robert Higgs.

1) Obamacare Is Bad Medicine for the Ailing Healthcare System

Last week, the AFL-CIO passed a resolution harshly criticizing Obamacare, citing concerns about new taxes on the “Cadillac” health plans enjoyed by many of its members. Until recently, the union had been a staunch supporter of the healthcare reform law. Its change of heart is one sign of many that Obama’s chief legislative achievement is unraveling, according to Independent Institute Senior Fellow Lawrence J. McQuillan.

One flaw of Obamacare, but certainly not its only flaw, is the sheer speed at which it would transform American healthcare. “Expanding health insurance coverage to so many people so quickly will reduce access to care for many low-income people because nothing in the law increases the number of doctors, nurses, clinics, or hospitals,” McQuillan writes in Forbes. “Waiting times will soar and studies show many people give up and don’t get the care they require when ‘rationing-by-waiting’ becomes more burdensome.”

The nation needs a sound cure to the ailing health system, but Obamacare isn’t it. What would best fix it? Reprising recommendations made by Priceless author John C. Goodman, McQuillan writes: “An alternative should provide uniform refundable tax credits to empower all individuals to purchase portable health insurance, which would largely solve the pre-existing conditions problem. And eliminate the unfairness in the tax code that favors employer-provided insurance.”

Healthcare Contract with America: The Pivotal Alternative to Obamacare, by Lawrence J. McQuillan (9/30/13)

As Obamacare Unravels Before Our Eyes, It’s Time to Craft an Alternative, by Lawrence J. McQuillan (Forbes, 9/27/13)


2) New Book Exposes the Ten Worst U.S. Economic Policy Mistakes

Despite enjoying impressive economic growth over the past century, Americans have also been the victims of scores of stupid government mistakes that have made them poorer. For many the blunders led only to temporary setbacks, but for others the errors created life-altering disasters from which they never recovered. In the new book The Terrible 10: A Century of Economic Folly, Independent Institute Research Fellow and Director Burton A. Abrams tells the story of the ten worst U.S. economic policy mistakes of the past one hundred years, assesses their magnitudes, and pinpoints the underlying causes that led politicians and bureaucrats to make them.

Written in an accessible style for a general audience, The Terrible 10 provides fascinating (and often little-known) details about the 20th and 21st centuries’ most destructive economic policies: Prohibition, Federal Reserve policy during the Great Depression, the Smoot-Hawley trade tariffs, the byzantine U.S. tax code, counterproductive entitlements, the Nixon-Burns political business cycle, environmental mismanagement, policies that caused the Great Recession, runaway federal spending, and more. One of the book’s key findings is that foolish policymaking is not the monopoly of any single political party. “The blunders divide fairly equally among Democrats and Republicans,” Abrams writes. “Basic forces work to encourage the production of wasteful economic policies, regardless of the political party in power.”

The Terrible 10 goes beyond identifying the worst U.S. economic policies and their causes and effects, as valuable as that achievement is. It also makes recommendations designed to change the incentives and constraints that foster bad decision-making. Readers who absorb the book’s timeless lessons will better appreciate the resilience and dynamism of the free-market elements that still remain in today’s mixed economy. And they’ll be better equipped to articulate the reasons why virtually no one’s pocketbook and livelihood are secure so long as federal lawmakers and their bureaucratic stooges are at work.

The Terrible 10: A Century of Economic Folly, by Burton A. Abrams – Home of the Government Cost Calculator


3) Kenya Terrorist Attack Stems from U.S. Meddling

The terrorist attack at the Westgate Shopping Mall in Nairobi, Kenya, caught the public off guard, but the massacre didn’t happen completely out of the blue. Retaliation by Islamist militants seeking to settle scores with Kenya for its contribution to the African Union’s invasion of Somalia in late 2006—a textbook example of blowback—could have been anticipated. This is one important lesson from the horrific incident. Another is that U.S. foreign policies often have deadly consequences for American allies and client states.

According to Independent Institute Senior Fellow Ivan Eland, the mall massacre is in large measure the result of U.S. policies in Somalia. In 2006, the CIA began to back Somali warlords who clashed with the Islamic Courts Union, a previously unpopular paramilitary group that implemented sharia law in parts of the country. The sharia forces lost, but al-Shabab, the militant cell that conducted the Nairobi attack, arose from their ashes. Al-Shabab is also responsible for the 2010 bombing of a soccer stadium in Uganda, killing 76 people.

“The American public needs to wake up and pressure its government (as do probably Kenyans and Ugandans their governments) to stop intervention in Somalia,” Eland writes. “After all, the CIA intervention in the country in 2006 caused the resurgence of Islamic militias there, and continued American meddling may be leading the Shabab from pursuing only local objectives into waging global jihad.”

Terrorist Attack on Kenyan Shopping Mall Should Cause Americans to Pause, by Ivan Eland

No War for Oil: U.S. Dependency and the Middle East, by Ivan Eland


4) The Physicians Summit 2013—Prescription: Freedom (Nov. 1-2, Dallas, Texas)

Attention, doctors and other healthcare providers: Are you prepared for Obamacare? If you’re unsure about how best to cope with challenges of practicing medicine under the Affordable Care Act, then you won’t want to miss “The Physicians Summit 2013—Prescription: Freedom” in Dallas, Texas, November 1-2.

Co-sponsored by the Independent Institute, this one-of-a-kind conference was created to share the very best insights, knowledge, and practical strategies for your medical practice to survive and flourish, despite the plethora of regulations being created daily under the Affordable Care Act.

Topics include:

  • Practical instruction on how to save practices from the onslaught of the new healthcare law and regulations
  • Learning from those who have figured out how to practice medicine in a way that they love, is lucrative, and with much less hassle
  • Getting back to what inspired you to practice medicine—helping patients while receiving a fair compensation for your expertise
  • Analysis of a for-profit surgical center that outperforms and undercharges non-profit hospitals
  • Why and how doctors make great entrepreneurs
  • Adopting a primary care practice model that’s affordable for the uninsured and underinsured, and which you can ease into without having to stop taking insurance and Medicare...until and unless you want to
  • Review of several practices that charge cash for time...for less than insurance co-pays
  • Learning how to help local small businesses care for their employees by partnering with you and self-insuring
  • Partnering with local diagnostic and imaging centers to provide your patients the best deal—creating win-win medicine
  • Private Practice organizational structures and capital preservation
  • To what end has Obamacare been designed to fail, why, and what's next?
  • Maintaining a secure digital presence, both professionally and personally
  • And much more...

The Physicians Summit 2013—Prescription: Freedom (Nov. 1-2, Dallas, Texas)


5) New Blog Posts

From The Beacon:

The Standing Army Marches On
Anthony Gregory (9/30/13)

Young Adults and ObamaCare
John C. Goodman (9/26/13)

Good News! SB 1 Dies (For Now)
Lawrence J. McQuillan (9/25/13)

The Emperor in Denial
Anthony Gregory (9/25/13)

GOP Health Plan: Good, Bad and Ugly
John C. Goodman (9/24/13)

From MyGovCost News & Blog:

Obamacare Wreaks Destructive Destruction
K. Lloyd Billingsley (9/30/13)

How Washington D.C. Works, Or Not, Part 6
Craig Eyermann (9/29/13)

Obamacare: Designed to Fail?
Burt Abrams (9/27/13)

The Annual Federal Spending Free-For-All
Craig Eyermann (9/27/13)

Government Ignoromics Harms Workers
K. Lloyd Billingsley (9/25/13)

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


6) Selected News Alerts


  • Catalyst
  • Beyond Homeless