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Volume 15, Issue 1: January 3, 2013

  1. For Many, Access to Healthcare Will Worsen
  2. Climate Politics: The Road Ahead
  3. That Sinking Feeling: The Decline of the U.S. Navy
  4. Greatest Hits of 2012
  5. New Blog Posts

1) For Many, Access to Healthcare Will Worsen

The Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. Obamacare) cannot make good on its promises, economist John C. Goodman explained at a recent talk at the Independent Institute’s headquarters in Oakland, Calif., “Replacing Obamacare and Curing the Healthcare Crisis.” After it goes fully into effect and brings insurance coverage to 30 million people, the demand for health screenings will increase dramatically, but the supply of doctors and other care providers will not. The resulting shortages will hit the most vulnerable populations the worst.

The first step toward improving American healthcare, according to Goodman, is to lift restrictions that reduce access to high-quality healthcare. Under current regulations, for example, doctors are not allowed to accept payments directly from Medicaid patients, and many doctors choose not to participate in the program. This causes major problems for low-income people. Often they must spend inordinate amounts of time searching for a doctor who will see Medicaid patients, and then they must travel farther and put up with longer waiting times in order to get care—or else they may rely on crowded hospital emergency rooms for care that would have cost less had it been delivered at a doctor’s office.

One way to fix this problem, Goodman explained, is to make Medicaid operate like food stamps, with enrollees getting a voucher whose value they could augment with their own funds. This would also enable Medicaid patients to choose from a wide array of doctors. Goodman also proposed many other reforms, all drawn from his path-breaking Independent Institute book, Priceless: Curing the Healthcare Crisis.

Video: John C. Goodman on Replacing Obamacare and Curing the Healthcare Crisis (The Independent Institute, 10/4/12)

Transcript: Replacing Obamacare and Curing the Healthcare Crisis, featuring John C. Goodman (The Independent Institute, 10/4/12)

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


2) Climate Politics: The Road Ahead

2012 brought good news and bad news to the world of climate politics. Atmospheric physicist S. Fred Singer recaps a portion of the scorecard in his latest article at American Thinker. On the plus side, although the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change makes a flimsy case that global warming is driven by human activity (and its forthcoming Fifth Assessment Report claims 95 percent certainty!), the massive and authoritative study by the rival (and non-alarmist) Non-governmental Panel on Climate Change effectively challenges climate alarmism—and is being translated by the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Now for some of the bad news: Although the 1997 Kyoto Protocol died in December, national efforts to control CO2 emissions continue. In addition, the World Bank commissioned an alarmist report on climate change that could redirect billions of dollars away from efforts to develop reliable, low-cost electric power in poor countries. “They may instead be forced into dubious windmill and solar projects that claim ‘sustainability’ and zero-CO2 emissions—but are uneconomic, intermittent, and not suitable for industrial development,” Singer writes.

One key item may be in play in 2013 on the legal front. A federal court in June struck down a lawsuit that challenged the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s authority to issue an Endangerment Finding that declared carbon dioxide a pollutant subject to regulation under the Clean Air Act. However, the court later ruled that the EPA must undertake “independent analysis” to support its claim that CO2 is harmful. The agency’s Finding may be legally vulnerable to a statutory requirement that regulations promoted in the name of curbing air pollution in fact promote cleaner air as per the National Ambient Air Quality Standards. In other words, federal bureaucrats can’t regulate something they deem to be a “pollutant” if regulating it fails to reduce pollution. An anti-EPA lawsuit based on this point seems forthcoming.

Climate Science vs. Politics: The Road Ahead, by S. Fred Singer (American Thinker, 12/27/12)

Hot Talk, Cold Science: Global Warming’s Unfinished Debate, by S. Fred Singer


3) That Sinking Feeling: The Decline of the U.S. Navy

The U.S. Navy is in a bad way: The fleet is deteriorating, but the service is spending more and more money on super-expensive non-essentials, such as the F-35C fighter-bomber. In a three-part series for Time magazine’s Battleland military blog, Independent Institute Research Fellow Winslow T. Wheeler shows how the Navy has steered genuine naval preparedness toward a whirlpool.

“The shrinking size of the fleet,” Wheeler writes, “is just one variable in considering [the Navy’s] adequacy: the ability to perform assigned missions, especially after withstanding whatever threats may exist, is a far better measure than mere numbers.”

Wheeler examines the Navy’s capacity to deal with potential threats such as enemy mines, diesel-electric submarines, the air threat, and more. Due to politicized spending and misplaced priorities, he explains, the hapless American taxpayer is getting less and less for the dollars spent on the Navy. “The trends—shrinking, inadequate forces at unaffordable prices—are replicated in each of the other military services,” Wheeler continues. “Our political and military leaders, alas, have chosen to ignore these problems. In fact, their willful ignorance will only make them worse.”

If More Money Buys a Smaller Fleet, What Will Less Money Buy?, by Winslow T. Wheeler (Time, 12/3/12)

More Than the Navy’s Numbers Could Be Sinking, by Winslow T. Wheeler (Time, 12/4/12)

Is the Fleet Steaming Forward...or Backward?, by Winslow T. Wheeler (Time, 12/5/12)

Arms, Politics, and the Economy, edited by Robert Higgs


4) Greatest Hits of 2012

Which articles on the Independent Institute’s websites and blogs received the most views last year? We thought you might be wondering! To satisfy your curiosity, we’ve put together two lists—each one shedding light on what most attracts the attention of our Internet audience.

The first list of “articles” includes blog posts from The Beacon and the MyGovCost blog, journal articles, and event transcripts that received the greatest number of “pageviews” in 2012—even if that material was posted prior to last year. This list shows that several pieces that were written many years ago still attract a relatively large number of readers—which is great news for an organization that takes pride in producing material of lasting relevance!

The second list of “articles” was compiled the same way—except that it includes only pieces that were actually written and posted in 2012. In both lists, you’ll often see the names of third-party periodicals in which a piece was published, although the rankings below reflect only the relative viewership of the piece on the Independent Institute’s websites. (And neither list reflects the number of “likes” or “shares” that a piece received via Facebook and other social media.)

Articles with the Most Pageviews in 2012 (including content posted in previous years)

  1. Insinuation as War Propaganda, by Anthony Gregory (The Beacon, 2/23/12)
  2. Sweatshops and Third World Living Standards: Are the Jobs Worth the Sweat?, by Benjamin Powell and David B. Skarbek (Independent Institute Working Paper #53, 9/27/04)
  3. The Killing Machine: Che Guevara, from Communist Firebrand to Capitalist Brand, by Alvaro Vargas Llosa (The New Republic, 7/11/05)
  4. How U.S. Economic Warfare Provoked Japan’s Attack on Pearl Harbor, by Robert Higgs (The Freeman, 5/1/06)
  5. Is Walmart Good or Bad for America? A Debate Featuring Richard K. Vedder and Ken Jacobs (Independent Policy Forum, 7/8/07
  6. Do Freedom of Information Act Files Prove FDR Had Foreknowledge of Pearl Harbor?, by Robert B. Stinnett and Douglas Cirignano (3/11/02)
  7. To Whom Does the U.S. Government Really Owe Money?, by Craig Eyermann (MyGovCost Blog, 2/11/11)
  8. The Culture of Violence in the American West: Myth versus Reality, by Thomas J. DiLorenzo (The Independent Review, Fall 2010)
  9. Does Globalization Destroy Culture?, by Art Carden (Daily Sun News, 7/8/08)
  10. Wartime Prosperity? A Reassessment of the U.S. Economy in the 1940s, by Robert Higgs (The Journal of Economic History, March 1992)

Articles with the Most Pageviews Written in 2012

  1. Insinuation as War Propaganda, by Anthony Gregory (The Beacon, 2/23/12)
  2. Who Is Most Likely to Oppose Totalitarianism?, by Robert Higgs (The Beacon, 3/29/12)
  3. Who Really Owns The U.S. National Debt (Spring 2012 Edition!), by Craig Eyermann (MyGovCost Blog, 4/2/12)
  4. Secular Theocracy: The Foundations and Folly of Modern Tyranny, by David J. Theroux (To the Source, Patheos, Bastiat Institute, and Ignatius Insight, 1/11/12)
  5. Did Federal Grant Bankroll Colorado Gun Rampage?, by K. Lloyd Billingsley (MyGovCost Blog, 7/27/12)
  6. “War Is Horrible, but . . .” , by Robert Higgs (The Independent Review, Fall 2012)
  7. Why Your Dog Doesn’t Own Your Entire House, and the Government Doesn’t, Either, By Robert Higgs (The Beacon, 1/6/12)
  8. You Call This a War? I’ll Show You a War, by Anthony Gregory (The Beacon, 3/20/12)
  9. Jack of No Trade, Masters of War, by Joseph R. Stromberg (The Independent Review, Summer 2012)
  10. Federal Debt Climbs Past Annual GDP, by Emily Skarbek (MyGovCost Blog, 1/14/12)


5) New Blog Posts

From The Beacon:

From MyGovCost News & Blog:

President Bumps Fed Pay, Grinds Everybody Else
K. Lloyd Billingsley (1/2/13)

Unprecedebted Sellout?

K. Lloyd Billingsley (12/31/12)

U.S. Markets Already Over the Fiscal Cliff
Craig Eyermann (12/30/12)

More Hidden Millions
K. Lloyd Billingsley (12/27/12)

Fiscal Cliff Sock Puppets
Craig Eyermann (12/26/12)

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


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