The Power of Independent Thinking


Stay Connected
Get the latest updates straight to your inbox.

The Lighthouse®

The Lighthouse® is the weekly email newsletter of the Independent Institute.
Subscribe now, or browse Back Issues.

Volume 17, Issue 27: July 7, 2015

  1. Love Gov Video Series Satirizes Intrusive Government
  2. How Not to ‘Reform’ Healthcare
  3. Let Greece Leave the Eurozone
  4. Free Speech after Obergefell
  5. New Blog Posts
  6. Selected News Alerts


1) Love Gov Video Series Satirizes Intrusive Government

The United States just celebrated 239 years of independence from England, but have Americans become too dependent on Washington, D.C.? And what does it mean—in human terms—when we say that the federal government has become too involved in the lives of young adults? Rather than address the question with numbers and graphs, we thought it would be more memorable (and entertaining) to tell you the story of Alexis Smith—an idealistic college student who falls for Scott “Gov” Govinsky in Love Gov, a satirical video series from Independent Institute that we’ve just released on YouTube.

Each of the series’ five episodes follows Alexis’s relationship with Gov, a confident young man whose “good intentions” wreak (comic) havoc on her life. Watch Alexis as she deals with excessive student debt, costly housing, underemployment, bureaucratic healthcare, and more. Alexis’s loyal friend Libby tries to help her see Gov for what he really is—a menace. But will Alexis come to her senses in time? Tune in to find out!

Love Gov is a way to help anyone, especially Millennials, understand the federal government’s ever-expanding reach into personal lives,” says David J. Theroux, founder and president of Independent Institute. “It’s a lighthearted approach to reach audiences on a personal level, and inspire them to learn more and take action.”

The Love Gov video series also connects with the updated MyGovCost mobile app, a tool that helps users estimate their lifetime federal tax liability, their contribution to 17 federal spending categories, and the amount of money they would have accumulated if they had invested the money they paid to the U.S. Treasury and earned a modest six percent return.

Love Gov: From First Date to Mandate

MyGovCost mobile app


2) How Not to ‘Reform’ Healthcare

Some members of Congress propose reforming American healthcare through a type of decentralization and federalism—by getting the federal government to provide Obamacare-funded block grants to the states, so these laboratories of democracy can try their own approaches to the nation’s healthcare challenges. How well would this approach deal with the Big Six problems that genuine reform must fix? Not well at all, according to Independent Institute Senior Fellow John C. Goodman.

“I don’t see any problems going away here,” Goodman writes at Forbes. “I see a host of new problems arising as they are shifted [from the federal government to the states].

And those problems wouldn’t be easy to fix. How, for example, would the states deal with ERISA and HIPAA? Would they create their own rules and enforcement mechanisms? Simply providing states block grants wouldn’t enable the states to clear the hurdles set by those laws. Nor would federal grants correct the perverse incentives that encourage insurers to seek out healthy consumers and avoid the sick. These and a host of other issues mean that simple block grants are entirely inadequate to reform the healthcare system. For meaningful solutions, see Goodman’s latest book, A Better Choice: Healthcare Solutions for America.

Block Granting Obamacare to the States: Sense or Nonsense?, by John C. Goodman (Forbes, 6/30/15)

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

A Better Choice: Healthcare Solutions for America, by John C. Goodman


3) Let Greece Leave the Eurozone

Greek voters rejected an international aid package and the fiscal belt-tightening that came with it. What’s next for the debt-laden nation? Independent Institute Senior Fellow Ivan Eland recommends letting Greece leave the Eurozone.

“In the long term, this ‘tough love’ policy will benefit Europe, the world financial system, and even Greece itself, although not without a lot of self-induced short-term pain,” Eland writes in the Huffington Post.

New York Times columnist Paul Krugman feels sympathy for Athens, but not for taxpayers in more frugal European countries. This view, however, focuses too much on the short term and not enough on the long term, Eland argues. “Such short-term austerity, he continues, “is painful, but is the only thing that will return Greece to genuine economic growth—rather than a temporary government sugar high of artificial prosperity, which makes things worse in the long term. Unfortunately, apparently the long-profligate Greeks need to learn this lesson the hard way.” America’s spendthrift politicians should heed the warning.

Say ‘No’ to Greek Financial Irresponsibility, by Ivan Eland (The Huffington Post, 7/6/15)

Let Greece Leave the Eurozone, by Ivan Eland (The Huffington Post, 6/30/15)


4) Free Speech after Obergefell

In the wake of the Supreme Court’s 5-4 ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges, a judge in Oregon has reportedly imposed a gag order prohibiting Christian bakery owners from “publishing any material indicating a refusal to bake cakes for same-sex weddings,” writes Melantcon Smith at The Beacon.

Central to the decision are Oregon’s public accommodation laws, which, according to Smith, go far beyond the legal traditions embodied in the common law. That tradition, Smith writes, “imposed a duty to serve all comers on businesses providing essential goods and services to travelers.” That meant providing access to private inns or common carriers such as railroads, back when traveling without lodging or transportation posed a mortal danger. Wedding cakes—regardless of who is getting married—aren’t in the same league.

Smith worries that contemporary public-accommodation laws threaten free speech, especially with the expansion of legally protected groups and “suspect” classifications. “Actually, the First Amendment and common sense require that we do rethink these laws,” Smith concludes.

Oregon Judge Attacks Free Speech in Wake of Obergefell, by Melancton Smith (The Beacon, 7/3/15)

When Thinking about Obergefell We Must Distinguish between Policy and Law, by Melancton Smith (The Beacon, 6/28/15)

Libertarians Should Be Cautious in Celebrating Obergefell, by Melancton Smith (The Beacon, 6/26/15)


5) New Blog Posts

From The Beacon:

From MyGovCost News & Blog:

Coming Soon!
Craig Eyermann (7/6/15)

American Debt in Patriotic Colors
Craig Eyermann (7/3/15)

K. Lloyd Billingsley (7/2/15)

Puerto Rico’s Debt Clock Runs Out of Time
Craig Eyermann (6/30/15)

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


6) Selected News Alerts


  • Catalyst
  • Beyond Homeless